Urban Art: Fun To Look At

Chilean professor Pedro Celedón studies arte publico and spoke on that subject last week in Paraguay. But before he could talk about artistic interventions in urban space, he started by speaking of The City, with the way it’s changed since the industrial revolution as a major transformation that must have ramifications for art. Prior to the industrial revolution the city was, universally, a civilizing space (i.e. by going to it, walking among the temples, participating in rituals) individuals and peoples became civilized. Even the word “civilization” comes from the word “city.” These functions as ritualistic, political, and religious centers sharply diminished with the industrial revolution, however. With the growth of factories, the city became a site of economic production. And this, so-and-so says, has effected the visual performance of a city (walled enclaves, non-existent public gathering places).
And so, the interventions of urban artists are all the more disruptive. And, to me, all the more important because they are a way that individuals reassert themselves in a homogenizing, sterile environment. Also, I think it’s pretty.
(All images are from Porto Alegre)
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