Framing Street Art
Photo: Sabina Andron
The Nice Street Art Project is pleased to announce its third edition focusing on Framing Street Art, after the 2015 Conference “Street Art. Contours & Détours” and the 2016 Conference “Poets on the Walls. Street Art & Poésie”.
Art is everywhere. You just have to open your eyes and/or decide that something is art. This is what Ernest Pignon-Ernest showed when he glued frames on the walls of Nice, France, from 2004 to 2013. Known for the celebration of the chosen place as a place of poetry and history, the artist used the frame as a sign to reveal the artistic potential of the walls, ie a tool of “artification” (Heinich et Shapiro 2012). The frame refers to the museum piece, which it encircles, protects and highlights. By definition, street artworks don’t have a physical frame, if by Street Art we mean a self-authorized art (Blanché 2015) situated in the public place or in abandoned places, or any form of site-specific art. Nevertheless, the frame is an essential and problematic question in many regards.
First of all, the frame is a recurring element in Street Art imagery, whether it is a physical frame encircling the artwork or the natural boundaries wherein it is inscribed. Artists who encircle their works mean that it is as worthy as a museum piece. They also mean that the place where the artwork is located (outdoor, public, free) is on par with usual venues of art exhibition (indoor, private, not free). The frame encompasses the issue of the location of Street Art, which is considered as a site-specific art as well as a white cube art, since a market of contemporary urban art has been increasing for a few years. An urban artwork by Pøbel & Atle Østrem shows two men trying in vain to bring into a golden frame the throw-up STREETCRED. The street gives to the artwork its legitimacy, but the institution (embodied in the two suited men) wants to lock it up in a box (a frame seen as a set of established rules), which entails amputating it, damaging it. Urban contemporary art is not Street Art: the first one respects the institutional rules, and is fixed and kitsh (Génin 2015) whereas the latter is free and alive. Urban art might rather be a cousin of Street Art.
Moreover, the frame, not as an object anymore but as a space delimiting the photographed artwork, is a necessary and crucial choice for both the viewer and the artist. They often take a photo of the piece and sometimes put it on the Internet. This choice means not only that the piece is two-dimensional, but also that it is possible to decide of its physical limits, and additionally, that it is possible to fix it forever. But, on one hand, a piece of Street Art is site-specific and, on the other hand, it is participative, it is an open “conversation” (Hansen and Flynn 2016), “shared” (Bertini 2015), often transitory, in progress: “term Street Art cannot be defined conclusively since what it encompasses is constantly being negotiated” (Bengtsen 2014). Can we consider that the picture of the piece, which only embraces one shape of it in its natural evolving process, is the piece of art in itself or a part of it, as artists taking photos of their in-situ pieces let us think? Has Street Art become an “Internet Art” (Glaser 2015)?
Finally, many artists – writers and street artists – don’t like the recent academic interest in their works, because taking Street Art as an object of research means trying to frame it, potentially enclosing it or locking it up. The frame here has a figurative meaning : « nonphysical boundaries as the institutional frame, the perceptual frame, the semiotic frame, or the gendered frame » (Duro 1996). To frame also means to conspire to incriminate (someone) on a false charge, or to contrive the dishonest outcome (of something). Street Art is polemic indeed. Polemic within the academic research, because of the controversial interpretation of the umbrella-term and between those who consider only self-authorized practices and those who also include compromises in their definition, like commissioned works. Polemic also within the people and political authorities, because of the illegal status of most pieces, and because of the question of the occupation of the visual space in the public arena, filled with signs of injunction and information and adverts of any kind. The conference is up to take into consideration this other aspect of the title Framing Street Art, including criticism and self-criticism, in a constructive and dialogic set of mind.
The conference will focus on three main topics, even though other topics related to the issue of framing are still possible:
1. Artification of Street Art
2. Limits and status of Street Art works
3. Criticism of Street Art and of Research on Street Art
Bengtsen, P. (2014) The Street Art World, Lund: Almendros de Granada Press
Bertini, M.-J. (2015) « Figures de l'anonymat. De quoi Banksy est-il le non ? Une économie politique du visible », http://narratologie.revues.org/7325
Blanché, U. (2015/2) “Qu’est-ce que le Street art ? Essai et discussion des définitions », http://narratologie.revues.org/7325
Duro, P. (1996) « Introduction », in Paul Duro (ed.), The Rhetoric of the Frame. Essays on the Boundaries of the Artwork, Cambridge – New-York – Melbourne: Cambridge University Press
Génin, C. (2015) « Le street art : de nouveaux principes ? », http://narratologie.revues.org/7325
Glaser, K. (2015) “The ‘Place to Be’ for Street Art Nowadays is no Longer the Street, it ́s the Internet”, in: Street
Art & Urban Creativity Scientific Journal. Methodologies for Research, vol. 1 / n. 2
Hansen, S. and Flynn, D. (2016) « Longitudinal photo-documentation: Recording living walls”, in: Street Art &
Urban Creativity Scientific Journal. Methodologies for Research, vol. 1 / n. 1
Heinich, N. & Shapiro, R. (2012) De l’artification. Enquêtes sur le passage à l’art, Paris : EHESS
Auditorium de la Bibliothèque Louis Nucéra, place Yves Klein, Nice, France
Faculté des Lettres, Arts et Sciences Humaines, 98 boulevard Édouard Herriot, Nice, France
Dates : June 8-9-10 2017
Paper proposals must include: -a title
-a 300-words abstract
-a list of key-words (5 max.) -a short bibliography
-the name of the author(s)
-a short biography (100 words max.)
-a statement ensuring payment of the 50€ fees per speaker in case the proposal is accepted.
Abstracts can be submitted in English or French and must be sent in PDF format by 15 February 2017 to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Presentations (in English or French) will be scheduled for 30 minutes. An abstract and short biography will be needed in both languages (English and French) one month before the conference. No translation services will be provided.
Accommodation and transportation costs are at the contributor’s expense. The registration fees cover the participation in the conference, coffee breaks and lunch programs.
Ulrich Blanché, Assistant Professor, Heidelberg University
Edwige Comoy Fusaro, Maître de Conférences HDR, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis Hélène Gaillard, Maître de Conférences, Université de Bourgogne
Christophe Genin, Professeur des universités, Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne Liliane Louvel, Professeur émérite, Université de Poitiers
Carole Talon-Hugon, Professeur des universités, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis, Institut Universitaire de France
Edwige Comoy Fusaro, Maître de Conférences HDR, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis Cécilia Murgue, étudiante en Master, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis
José Gimeno, étudiant en Master, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis
Centre de Recherches en Histoire des Idées EA 4318 (Université Nice Sophia Antipolis) Centre Interlangues Texte, Image, Langage EA 4182 (Université de Bourgogne)
Institut ACTE UMR 8218 (Université Panthéon-Sorbonne, CNRS)
Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire Récits, Cultures Et Sociétés EA 3159 (Université Nice Sophia Antipolis)