A couple of days ago graffiti artist Sever, member of MSK crew, painted a controversial piece in Detroit showing six notorious street artists (Shepard Fairey, Os Gemeos, Twist, Bansky, Futura and Kaws) carrying a coffin labeled ‘Street Art’, and since that moment everybody in the street art community are trying to figure out what he means with it.
RJ Rushmore from Vandalog wrote a very good article in which he analyses many different possible explanations: starting from his post I’d like to add a couple of considerations too.
The first thing I though is Sever wants to demonstrate how easy is to produce a street artwork that can spread virally on the internet and make any artist or person quite popular in just few hours. His point could be that doing street art is extremely simple and you don’t need big skills, in opposition to graffiti. Moreover, thinking about the complexity of some graffiti works and the fact some really skilled graffiti artists are often unknown to the majority of people, Sever’s point of view could make completely sense.
The question now is: did you hear about Sever before? Honestly I didn’t (really shame on me), but after a bit of researching I can say he and his MSK crew mates are some of the most known artists in the graffiti community. This simply means one thing: his work received huge attention also from outside the graffiti niche and he proved his point that it’s so easy becoming popular with street art. But do you think this work could really receive the same attention if I made it myself, or you for example? From my point of view the piece works well because Sever is a graffiti artist (and well known in the niche) and also because it’s really well painted.
The second possible meaning coming into my mind is Sever is criticising the artists depicted because bringing their works from the streets to the galleries (and museums, auctions, …) they are spoiling (and killing) street art, that should be art for the streets, done to be there and visible by everyone, not to be sold just to who can afford it. In my opinion this could really be the meaning of this controversial wall.
And you? What do you think about Sever’s piece and in general about the direction Street Art is taking?