The monetization of the street art world and the fossilization of urban public space

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article considers how the monetization of the street art world is affecting the ecosystem of expressions found in the street. It takes as a point of departure that a central quality of street art is its potential to turn public space into a site of exploration. What is meant by this, briefly, is that the presence of ephemeral street art can motivate people to explore their surroundings and perhaps question how public space is being used and how they want it to be used. This article argues that the ongoing monetization of the street art world may lead to the fossilization of urban public space – a situation where the otherwise constant flux of visual expressions in the street may come to a halt as the growing presence of sanctioned work, along with potential financial interests in placating facilitators of such work, means that fewer spaces are available for unsanctioned interventions. This fossilization of urban public space can negatively impact street-based art’s potential to influence how we think about our environs, as well as the possibilities for emerging artists to hone their skills in the street without curatorial restrictions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-58
Number of pages14
JournalVisual Inquiry: Learning & Teaching Art
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sep

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Art History
  • Sociology


  • tagging
  • graffiti tagging
  • tags
  • graffiti tags
  • graffiti
  • street art studies
  • street art
  • urban art
  • urban creativity
  • gentrification
  • global street art
  • bushwick collective


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  • The Preservation and Ethics of Street Art

    Peter Bengtsen (Member of panel), David Brafman (Member of panel), Marina Pugliese (Member of panel), Ana Lizeth Mata Delgado (Member of panel), Alan Ket (Member of panel) & Flavia Perugini (Chair)

    2022 Sep 13

    Activity: Talk or presentationPublic lecture/debate/seminar

  • University of Copenhagen

    Peter Bengtsen (Visiting lecturer)

    2022 Jul 26

    Activity: Visiting an external institutionResearch or teaching at external organisation

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