Street art, public art, graffiti, vandalism: call it what you will, but this stuff is all over Denmark in a way you won’t see in the states. Which is lucky for me, because ever since I saw the documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop (if you haven’t seen it, you should), I’ve been obsessed with the stuff.
You can imagine my excitement when I discovered that we would be discussing street art in the one-credit class on contemporary art in Copenhagen, including a field study to a street art exhibit which we went to last Wednesday!
Right to left: Andy Warhol's portrait of Basquiat, kickin' it with Warhol and Basquiat, Basquiat's portrait of Andy Warhol as a banana...
After a quick stop at a museum with a really great Andy Warhol/Basquiat exhibition (see image above), we headed down to Køge, a town just a little south of Copenhagen. In Køge there is a museum called Køs that is dedicated to art in public spaces. They currently have an exhibition (if you can call it that), called Walk This Way, which consists of street art spread across the whole town. We were given some hard-to-read maps and sent on our way.
Art, art everywhere!
The exhibit sent us into deserted and warehouse areas that I definitely wouldn’t have gone to on my own, and really made us look carefully at our surroundings in order to find all the art. Some of it was very obvious, other pieces were really hard to find. I definitely wouldn’t have noticed some of it if I wasn’t looking, and I don’t think I was even able to find all of it when I was looking very closely!
Which is art?
The most interesting thing was that it made me really question what was art included in the exhibit, was was art done by people separate from the exhibit, and what was just there but I was interpreting it as art because that was the mindset I was in. For example, is the stack of tires in the picture to the right street art, or just some industrial storage? Going through this exhibition definitely brought up a lot of questions about what art is. Does the fact that these works on on the street make them any less legitimate than the works by Warhol and Basquiat in the museum?
The best part about the experience was that it really made me pay attention when I was walking around, really made me look at things. In an effort to keep this up in my day-to-day life, I’m going to continue the exhibition on my blog with a series called Walk This Way, where I’ll feature images of my street art finds around Copenhagen! Check out the images below to see the art featured in the exhibition and keep an eye on the blog for more public art treasures to come!
Artist Josefine Günschel painted left her mark on some of the trees around town.
Yarn bombing is a bit of a new public art trend, and it's pretty amazing what these people can do! The work here was done by Stickkontakt.
Swoon, a more well known street artist, does her thought-provoking work on thick, parchment-like paper that she pasts up on the walls and then let's weather as it will. I think one of her drawings may have been entirely gone because of wind and rain.
Pink army was probably my favorite artist there. The main thing they do is take the little plastic army figures, paint them bright pink, and then hide them around the city. I didn't see many of them because of how hard they are to find, but they had larger pieces too, such as the submarine by the harbor (right) and the pink army housing (left, and yes that is a trampoline).
I love Koge for it's support of public art! Work here by Papfar.
Everybody’s got an opinion–what do you think about street art?
p.s. If you want to see more, this Flikr set has some great pictures of some of the art I didn’t get!