Panel debate: Facedown in the Mainstream
Discussion led by: Susan Hansen
Panel: Jacob Kimvall, Cedar Lewisohn (UK), Ciaran Glöbel (UK)
Street art – like Graffiti, Hip-hop and Punk before it – is a global movement that has transitioned from the margins to the mainstream: a vernacular culture that today bleeds into various aspects of society.
But where do vernacular cultures such as street art and its forbearers possess their greatest capacity for change? Is it in the subcultural circles they spring forth from or is it, in fact, when they transition into and start to scratch the surface of mainstream consciousness?
If we package vernacular cultures as ‘subcultural’ movements in order to retain their perceived authenticity, do we risk stripping them of their power to impact the ‘establishment’ by placing them outside of this discourse? Or does the necessary dilution of these movements when entering into the mainstream negate and belie their true transformative potential?
Cedar Lewisohn is an artist, writer and curator. He has worked on many museum projects for institutions such as Tate Britain, Tate Modern, The British Council and recently Hangar Biccoca in Milan. He has published two books (Street Art, Tate 2008, and Abstract Graffiti, Marrell, 2011). He writes regularly about the crossover between art and gastronomy, and has recently edited a publication for Saatchi Gallery’s Art and Music Magazine, which he renamed Art and Food.