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Of Materiality and Meaning: The Illegality Condition in Street Art

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Street art is an art form that entails creating public works incorporating the street physically and in their meaning. That physical property is employed as an artistic resource in street art raises two questions. Are street artworks necessarily illegal? Does being illegal change the nature of production and aesthetic appreciation? First, I argue street artworks must be in the street. On my view, both the physical and sociocultural senses of the street can be constitutive of meaning. Second, I argue that illegality is a prototypical and paradigmatic feature of street art. While illegality alone does not make works better than sanctioned street art, it affects the production process and changes what is available to appreciate.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2016

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