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Street appropriation: Subversion as commodity in Dublin

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This article examines the recent intense public interest in Dublin street art collective Subset’s urban painting, which co-opts the language, practices and attitude of graffiti culture as brand narrative, producing a commodity from their portrayal of subversion, which they self-promote on social media. While the career trajectory from vandal or graffiti artist to the established art world is nothing new, what is particularly interesting is how Subset went from an unknown group of art college graduates in early 2017 to their acceptance and recognition by the arts establishment in late 2019. The case of Subset is interesting in terms of the evident cultural cachet of their synthesis of subversive practices and the promotion of their brand in their work, which has proven very popular with the public. As a result, the Subset brand has in turn been co-opted by traditional media, political discourse and the arts establishment.
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Keywords: Dublin; brand; commodity; graffiti; street art; subversion

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2020

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  • The scope of the journal is broad and is aimed at facilitating a wide spectrum of perspectives. It is essentially a medium for engaging the rich and multifaceted process of learning and teaching art that takes place in the classroom, studio, and beyond. However, the seriousness of journal is not out weighed by making critical topics accessible and readable to a large constituency of readers. It is a forum to be reflective on the process of creating and teaching art, embrace teaching art in a variety of contexts, engage art appreciation experiences, share scholarship in teaching artistry, and celebrate the rich traditions of art making and teaching.
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