Friday, March 19, 2010

Calling all Creative Criminals

And the men and women who love them: The Living Walls Conference is a big-ass and highly legit symposium on street art and urbanism taking place in Atlanta, Georgia in August. Scholars and exhibitors are coming from around the world to discuss the phenomenon of art (outlaw or otherwise) on city walls. It will be held at Eyedrum and Georgia Tech from the 13th to the 15th.

I genuinely believe there is a real need for critical dialogue on this subject. There have been conferences on this, but I didn't go to them and there's definitely room for more. Street art is one of the most vibrant and influential aspects of art and visual culture in the world today, and yet I encounter very little analytical talk on the subject. Sure, there are lots of picture books on this stuff and I love magazines like Hi Fructose, but they tend to serve more as champions for individual artists in the movement than as critics. A lot of the blogs I read that publicize street art are decidedly post-literate. (If there's a thoughtful essay about current street art on the web, don't hold out on me.)

The power of so much street art that I see, like the piece by Swampy above, is its ability to convey a great deal to many people without needing explanations from an art world intermediary. But for that very reason I'm eager to hear some reflective conversation about these extremely articulate images.

Currently, the organizers are calling for submissions of posters from street artists. So if you know a talented wheat paster or kamikaze muralist, why not tell them about Living Walls. Applying to participate in the conference could keep her off the streets and out of trouble for a good hour and a half. The deadline is July 13.

Full Disclosure: I am ridiculously proud to be a friend of some of the folks involved in this project.

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