Thursday, November 23, 2017

Painting the town: Wynwood, Miami, Florida

Back in 2003, some forward-thinking folks created an arts district in a run down part of the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami that would eventually turn it into one of the largest open-air art installations in the world. Tony Goldman, a real estate developer and arts visionary, came up with the idea of capitalizing on the graffiti in the area due to its dilapidated state and spearheaded the painting of exterior murals by some of the world's premier street artists in an effort to increase pedestrian traffic. The area now houses art galleries, museums, restaurants, shops and art fairs and draws in locals and tourists from around the world. The art evolves, too, with new murals being created all the time. The neighborhood is still quite gritty, which adds to the credibility of the artworks' subject matter but the juxtaposition of a double-decker tourist bus with socks-and-sandals-wearing out-of-towners trundling through this ultra-urban art scene is amusing.

So if graffiti is welcomed by a community, does that diminish its credibility and rebellious nature? Will whitewashing a building become the new form of renegade art? Do pretentious
questions about what is and isn't art give you a headache? I think we've hit the wall here.