What is the difference between Public Art, Street Art and Graffiti? My opinion on the subject is that the difference is in the degree of public, political and civic acceptability. Public art is economically and aspirationally supported and encouraged. Street Art is neither financially supported or fully accepted by society but it is "tolerated" especially when said street artists become "famous" (saleable). Graffiti, lowly sister of the arts as it is, is not supported in anyway and is considered blight to be eradicated.
Loney Planet website offers this post on the best public art works in the world. While this is not street art, it is free and unemcumbered by museum and gallery walls and is out in the open. And some of their chosen spots are in fact street art. How can I resist? So here is the Lonely Planet links to the best public art in the world. Enjoy.
Here are a couple of highlights:
East Side Gallery, Berlin
Germany’s Berlin Wall, torn down by the people in September 1989, was a target for Berliners’ rage against the communist machine; the so-called East Side Gallery, the longest extant stretch of the wall, has been covered with more than 100 murals and graffiti. Although vandalism and the elements have destroyed much of the gallery’s power, it’s still a powerful reminder of the former regime of iron, with artworks ranging from Dalíesque freak shows to Pink Floydian bricks. Happily, a restoration project is under way. The gallery is near the city centre; get the train to Ostbahnhof. For history and information about the conservation effort visit www.eastsidegallery.com.
The works of enigmatic artist Banksy can be seen around the world, from the Israeli West Bank barrier to his (rumoured) home town of Bristol, England. Largely satirical takes on politics and culture, Banksy’s pieces combine stencils with graffiti and have raised street art to the highest ranks (a fact he finds amusing). The prolific artist has said that he began creating stencils because graffiti took too long. Tips for seeing his work in situ are a case of hurry before it’s painted over by the local council or before it goes up for auction at Sotheby’s for more than £100,000. Read Banksy’s latest manifesto and see his work at www.banksy.co.uk.