Street Art : The Transfiguration Of The Commonplaces ' Riggle Essay

Street Art : The Transfiguration Of The Commonplaces ' Riggle Essay

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In ‘Street Art: The Transfiguration of the Commonplaces’ Riggle presents his theory of the conditions in which an artwork can be considered ‘street art’. One of the most important of his points being "An artwork is street art if, and only if, its material use of the street is internal to its meaning” (246). Riggle also presents a series of conditions for art to be considered street art. These are conditions are:
1. The art is open to being destroyed, stolen, defaced etc.
2. The artist relinquishes any claim over the works integrity
3. The meaning of the art is comprised when moved from street
4. The work is anonymous or pseudonyms and normally act of vandalism
5. The work is deeply antithetical to the art world

This essay will consist of some counter-examples to the points above in an attempt to show what is problematic with Riggle’s theory. A counter-example is typically defined as “an example or fact that is inconsistent with a hypothesis and may be used in argument against it”, which this essay will use (“counter-example”).
A few objections come to mind when assessing these conditions. Firstly, one could argue that all artists relinquish hold over the meaning of their art. No artist ever has real control over how their work will be perceived whether street art, performance art or whatever. Art is often subject to ideals, categorization and matters of taste which all affect how an artwork is interpreted. Whether in the streets or in a gallery as soon as art is presented as a piece to the public, authority is relinquished as it can either be defaced or sold off or examined without the artist present.
In addition, while on the note of ephemerality, to say that this is a condition of street art in particular seems rather ob...


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...m? Most would say it in fact does the opposite and adds to the culture and beauty of the streets but again this is all personal interpretation. He counter acts this by differentiating between “mere graffiti” and “art graffiti”, but if his conditions are to hold extra weight this should be further clarified in the fourth point.
It seems that Riggle’s theory of street art is particularly strong however there are minor flaws which seem to result from overlooking specific details. If Riggle wanted to convince his audience even further on how these conditions can define “all street art and exclude everything that isn’t” then he would need to specify further what he means by ephemerality, vandalism, anti-thetical and meaning. Otherwise the counter-examples provided such as the Mona Lisa, Swoon and Banksy could be considered exceptions to the conditions he has presented.

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