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Street Art, Tamed: An Exploration of Street Art in Museum Contexts, Jessamine Burch

Btoy, Evelyn Nesbitt

Evelyn Nesbitt
, 2016
Part of the Street Art Museum Amsterdam collection

jessamine burch

My senior inquiry presents my research relating to the complexities of displaying and commodifying street art in galleries and the museum world.

The aims of the paper are to consider how the history of graffiti and street art influences the necessary measures taken by curators to create exhibitions that are fully functional, working with both the community and artists.

I trace the history of street art from graffiti artists and taggers in Philadelphia and New York to the global street art movement of the 21st century. I pay particular attention to street art exhibits that have failed in the past, due to curatorial error, as well as museums that have found success through various curatorial choices that work to keep street art in its context.

From these starting points, and actively exploring how successful and unsuccessful exhibitions have been structured, my senior inquiry demonstrates how displaying and commodifying street art must be done with extreme care and thoughtful consideration of its context.

I also explore the possibilities of a fully functional street art museum that is community based, giving recognition and opportunities to street artists and creating a micro-economy in its neighborhood location.