Etat de l’Art Urbain



The French Minister of Culture and the University of Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense will organize an international symposium in Paris, at la Grande Halle de la Villette (salle Boris Vian), on October 13th and 14th. État de l’art urbain, Oxymores III is an invite to historian and art critics, artists and people having an intense knowlege in graffiti and street art to discuss and debate about 50 years of urban creativity. It would allow to confirmed and young artists, both from France and abroad, to talk with researchers and people working inside public and private institutions about politics, society, aesthetics and laws.

What art historians have to say about art in the streets? Is it a research topic, now that the art market and institutions start to be interested in it? What is the place for utopia and the original purity of these street culture nowadays? The aim of this symposium is to investigate this urban art practices. These are only a few questions that will be soon debated in Paris.

If you would like to take part to the symposium, do not forget to write a mail to communication.dgca@culture.gouv.fr in order to reserve your seat.

Facebook event



Thursday 13th: Urban Scenes, an Art History in the streets

The first day will be dedicated to the history of Street Art, and the reinstatement of its artistic demonstrations in Art History. Pieces and documents selected by the contributors will be presented in order to understand and analyse the evolution of this creative landscape in the last decades.

9 AM: Opening

Foreword by Pierre Oudart, Deputy Director of the Direction Générale de la Création Artistique, Ministry of Culture and Communication, and Thierry Dufrêne, professor of contemporary art history at University Paris 10 Nanterre La Défense.

9.30 / 11.30

Foreword and presentation of the main urban scenes by Stéphanie Lemoine, journalist and teacher, Christian Omodeo, researcher and curator and Hugo Vitrani, curator-at-large at the Palais de Tokyo and journalist,

This foreword will aim to introduce urban art and its diverse expressions, as well as to question some of the issues and debates inherent to this field.

- Jean Faucheur, artist (Paris)
- Ilaria Hoppe, researcher (Linz)
- Pedro Soares Neves, graphic designer, professor (Lisboa)
- Magda Danysz, gallery owner and art critic (Paris)
- François Chastanet, architect and graphic designer (Bordeaux)
- RCF1, artist, (Paris)
- Valériane Mondot, consultant (Paris)

11.30 / 1.30: Tool box / Conceptual tools

Moderator: Thierry Dufrêne, art historian (Paris)

Which tools can be used to describe, analyse, compare and define urban art ? In this sequence, we will move away from the chronological and thematic framework to favour a more transversal approach to the phenomenon, in order to define set tools and useful concepts to understand and talk about urban art.

- Jérémie Koering, art historian (Paris)
- Frédéric Keck, anthropologist and philosophy historian (Paris)
- Rémi Labrusse, art historian (Paris)
- Ralf Marsault, photographer and anthropologist (Berlin)
- Patrice Poch, artist (Paris)
- Lek & Sowat, artists (Paris)

3.00 / 5.00: Urban art in the digital era

Moderator: Stéphanie Lemoine, journalist and art critic

Between street art, new media and urban hacking, this discussion aims to analyse the impact of the technological revolution on the practice and aesthetics of urban artists. The influence of Internet culture will be discussed, focusing particularly on the role of social networks and the notion of freedom within a practice heavily influenced by new technologies of information and communication.

- Christophe Genin, professor of philosophy and cultural studies (Paris)
- Émile Abinal, producer et director of atelier JR (Paris)
- Lokiss, artist (La Souterraine)
- Benjamin Gaulon, artist (Paris)
- Katja Glaser, researcher (Cologne)

5.00 / 7.00: Rights to the streets / Rights of the streets

Moderator : Emmanuel Moyne, attorney (Paris)

Illegality is one of the main characteristics of urban art. It can be either reclaimed or endured by the artists, but it nevertheless defines the aesthetic of urban art and distinguishes it from other forms of urban creation, including public art and muralism. The fact that these types of interventions are often prohibited explains that certain artists – from the graffiti world and beyond – face arrests, sanctions and sometimes trials all along their career – although their pieces are protectable (and often protected) by copyright laws.
Recognizing the artistic characteristic of the majority of pieces created in the streets leads to many contradictions for the judicial regime of urban arts. Confronting copyright and criminal law might lead to an unstable legal situation, in which the judicial institution might be swayed by the aesthetic quality of an artwork and the notoriety and popularity of its author. Do all urban interventions hold the same value in the eyes of the law?

- Pascale Suissa-Elbaz, head of legal affairs, DGCA (Paris)
- Maître Jean-François Jésus, attorney (Paris)
- Cokney, graffiti and tattoo artist (Paris)
- Fancie SDK, artist (Paris)
- Karim Boukercha, graffeur, journalist and author (Morocco, Paris)

8.00 / 10.00: Film projection

Oxymores by Cristobal Diaz ,Omnia, une œuvre urbaine par Robert Proch by Olivier Landes and Vincent Laborde, 1973 NYC by Marc Aurèle Vecchione, Mausolée by Lek & Sowat and Kan, Ousiriyé Project by Stéréophonk, Street Art Sans Frontières et Hip Hop évolution, Wall Democracy, les arts urbains en temps de crise, by Indastryt.

Friday 14th: Facing the street : what’s next?

The second day will deal with the political, contextual, sociological and topological questions (which street, who does the street belong to?) from the perspective of the artistic question (what do we inherit, heritage, the artistry of urban expressions), as well as what is left to do for contemporary artists. The growing interest in urban art (festivals, market, institutions...) will be questioned: is there really an opposition between illegal graffiti and sell-out graffiti?

9.30 / 11.30: The street, a political issue

Moderator: Maud Le Floc’h, urban planner, director of the pOlau-pôle des arts urbains

Urban art includes a wide variety of forms: graffiti, “wild” political posters, plays on urban signs (from advertisement to signposts), the occupation of public spaces or even spontaneous attempts at embellishing living environments. All of these forms can be read both as a reaction against urban planning by “official” urban experts – elected representatives, urban planners, developers and companies – and as a way of expressing an emancipating right to the city. Because of their nature, these practices have been perceived as a subversive art since their beginnings, as well as an « insurrection of the signs »: urban art is an act against functionalism, the hegemony of advertising and an authoritarian construction of the city.
How can we explain this evolution, exemplified by the emergence of sponsors from city planning background in recent years? What are its effects on urban practices?
Are we opening the path to a new way to approach public commissioning in a context where public resources and urban production modes are in crisis?

- Rafael Schacter, anthropologist, researcher and art critic (London)
- David Demougeot, founder of Bien Urbain (Besançon)
- Gérard Paquet, chairman of Planètes Émergences et Inouk Moncorgé, director of SRL2 (Marseille)
- Élise Herzkowicz, director of Art Azoï (Paris)
- Roti, artist (Paris)
- Isabelle Delamont, visual arts advisor, DRAC Île-de-France (Paris)

11.30 / 1.30: Making history / Keeping traces, passing on memory
Moderator: Christian Omodeo, researcher and curator

As most transitory arts (from Happening to Land art or Tattoo), urban art is confronted with the question of its documentation and its preservation. Archiving endeavours are complicated by the illegal nature of some works, by the amateurism of the certain actors and by the relative rarity, until recently, of academic studies and publications dedicated to the matter.
How can we preserve urban arts? How are those practices documented, and who is documenting them? What are their archives? How did digital technologies modify our way archiving, documenting and circulating urban art?

- Carlo McCormick, art critic (New York)
- Heba Y. Amin, artist and researcher (Cairo)
- Nicolas Gzeley, journalist (Paris)
- Roland May et Alain Colombini, director and chemist at the CICRP (Marseille)
-  Claire Calogirou, ethnologist and researcher at MuCEM (Marseille)

2.30 / 4.30: The School of the Streets

Moderator : Hugo Vitrani, curator-at-large at the Palais de Tokyo and journalist

The street plays an instrumental part in art history as a whole. Some artists taught themselves in the street in the same way some attended fine arts schools. Some did both. Others were inspired by the street to create studio pieces discussing urbanism, ruins, illegality, marginality, or politics.  How does the street participate in shaping the imagination and iconography of artists? What remains in the street when those who were introduced to artistic reaction via urban interventions later leave behind their original working environment? How can the street penetrate the studio? Finally, to quote Daniel Buren, “After a history of taking to the streets, can art finally rise up from them”?

- Olivier Kosta-Théfaine, artist (Roma)
- Antwan Horfée, artist (Paris)
- Aline Bouvy, artist (Brussels)
- SKKI, artist (Paris)
- Philippe Baudelocque, artist (Paris)

17.00: Closing by Jean-François Balaudé, Chancellor of University Paris Ouest Nanterre la Défense and Régine Hatchondo, Director of the Direction générale de la création artistique, ministry of Culture and Communication.


Photo: Photography of the exhibition Oxymores I avec Lek & Sowat, Jacques Villéglé et O'Clock © Nicolas Gzeley

  • colloque
  • symposium
  • etat de l'art urbain
  • paris
  • art urbain
  • graffiti
  • street art
  • urban art
In the south bronx of america

In the south bronx of america

Mel Rosenthal's photos at the Museum of the City of New York...

  • in the south bronx of america
  • mcny
  • museum of the city of new york
  • photography
  • mel rosenthal
Lee Quinones Pop Up Show

Lee Quinones Pop Up Show

Master drawings in NYC...

  • lee quinones
  • pop up show
  • nicole klagsbrun
  • new york
  • drawings
  • graffiti
  • writing
  • urban art
  • calligraphy
Urban Films Festival

Urban Films Festival

Le programme de la dixième édition enfin dévoilé...

  • urban films festival
  • paris
  • hip hop
  • graffiti
  • street art
  • urban art
  • cinema
  • film
  • documentaire
  • court métrage