Will "Red Bull Street Art View" Give Street Art Wings?
The Web site of Red Bull Street Art View describes itself as a "collaborative collection of Google's Street View locations showcasing Street Art from all over the world." Visitors can peruse a map, with markers picking out locales where users have found images of graffitied murals in Google's woozy street scenes. And of course, visitors can contribute to the tagging themselves — tagging images, not walls, that is — if they want to contribute to the exercise, which aims to become "the biggest art collection in the world."[content:shareblock]
Given the fact that the project was launched by a Brazilian ad firm — and also given the Latin-American country's legendarily fertile street art scene — by far the largest number of works are tagged in Brazil: a whopping 245, compared to scant 24 in Los Angeles or 7 in the New York area. Nevertheless, it is neat to be able to find in situ images of works by Banksy, Os Gemeos, Keith Haring, Blu, and Space Invader, all at the click of a mouse, even if the quality of the imagery is a far cry from the 17 crystal-clear, razor-sharp gigapixel works the Google Art Project boasts from its participating museums. Well, street art should be a little rougher around the edges than museum art anyway, shouldn't it?[link:view-slideshow]
The initiative is likely to raise concerns about the particularly brazen way that Red Bull is appropriating the countercultural cachet of graffiti — often viewed as an anti-commercial gesture — to flog caffeinated syrup. In fact, the company is already famous (or infamous?) for its efforts to tap into art's various subcultures for cost-effective marketing. Recall, for instance, "Red Bull Art of Can" — which, like "Red Bull Street Art View," is a terribly unlovely name — an initiative involving a contest that had would-be artists competed to fashion art out of Red Bull containers. Last year's winner got an all-expenses-paid trip to Art Basel for creating "Robot Red Bull Dog," a tin pooch staring at a fire hydrant. The fire hydrant was also made of a can.[content:advertisement-center]