The street art theme partially builds on the experience of the research project Coming Clean, with participants both from UCL and UGOT, as well as several other institutions from different parts of the world. But it also extends beyond this project and connects to the research project A critical examination of the conservation of Wall Paintings in Sweden, funded by the Swedish National Heritage Board.
Street art, event I: Street art perplexions
The first event in May 2021 called Street art perplexions: a panel discussion on value, conservation, policy and education had panel discussant from Greece, Germany and Sweden, and participants from a large range of countries, including officials from the Getty Institute in the US.
The background is the growing international recognition of the importance of developing methods and approaches to the conservation of street art and the multitude of materials used by artists for their public creations. Studies have demonstrated the often extremely ephemeral nature of pigments and binding media used in the production of street art, and recent studies have focused on testing of materials to address specific degradation phenomena. Conservation aims to document condition, understand artistic process and conserve wall paintings in situ. The panel brought together different experts to discuss the role of art history, policy, education and the development of the conservation profession for the preservation of street art:
- Jacob Kimvall (University of Stockholm): The creation, listing and unlisting of the graffiti mural Fascinate (1989)
- Henrik Widmark (University of Uppsala) : Loving the team – The thin line between autonomous expressions and janitorial work
- Hélène Svahn Garreau (Tyrens): Approaches to conserving public art
- Catherine Mellander Backman (Swedish National Heritage Board): Public Art and Conservation Policy
- Adrian Heritage (Cologne University of Applied Sciences): It's Like Talkin to a Wall
- Maria Chatzidakis (University of West Attica): Street art conservation: from the kindness of strangers to a conservation policy.
The discussion started with short statements of the participants, it was followed by a discussion based on a series of questions by the moderators and followed by a general debate with the audience. The arguments were sometimes heated, and it became obvious that there are highly diverging viewpoints on if, why and how to conserve street art with high relevance both for conservation professionals and for critical heritage studies as such. The seminar also led to the formulation of a second session on the subject.
Steet art part II: Street and Public Art
The next event titled Street and Public Art: artists, communities and the conservation of history in the making was planned for December but had to be postponed to January 28th 2022.
Public art is usually commissioned while street art is typically unauthorised and ephemeral. Despite the differences in scope and context between them, the public often engages with public and street art, with strong reactions related to disavowal and aversion, enjoyment and adoration, and many artworks in the public space stir controversy.
The University of Gothenburg is organizing a discussion on the topic of the conservation and the preservation of contemporary and recent public and street art. Who decides what is to be preserved and how? Bringing together artists, art historians, policy makers and conservators the panel will discuss how public and street art is curated and preserved in Sweden and abroad. We will also examine the ways in which the public attributes values in different contexts and the role communities play in the preservation of public and street art.
The panel includes:
Carolina Falkholt (Artist)
Marina Pugliese (Head of Public Art, City of Milan)
Karin Hermeren (Head of Conservation, Moderna Museet, Stockholm)
Cathrine Mellander Backman, (Senior Advisor, Swedish National Heritage Board)
Flavia Perugini (Senior Project Specialist, Getty Conservation Institute)
The program is a part of the FOU project “A critical assessment of Wall Painting Conservation in Sweden” funded by the the National Heritage Board, Sweden and coordinated by the University of Gothenburg. This is a second panel of three related to the field of street art.