Has the urban art movement finished?

Has the urban art movement finished?
Adrian Doyle

There is a variety of complexities involved in any attempt to define street art.

Normally, a movement, or a period in art and history, is defined by historians, academics, writers, and social theorists after a movement has come to some sort of a conclusion.

It could be argued this retrospective distance between the movement and the historians’ documentation of its ideas allow for a beginning, for philosophical changes and a climax, which also allows for future theories and projected predictions.

Academics and writers place a movement within a cultural or contemporary context, making casual links to broader notions of sociology and contemporary history.

As the movement of street art is still active and changing – still very current – its fluidity can make it difficult to adequately capture its influences and contributions to fine art, design, and culture.

It is, however, undisputedly an expression of the young, and it has certainly caused a disruption to the cultural fabric of Melbourne.

It is hard to define the contribution that the early street art movement has had in Melbourne, yet there is no denying that it has made Melbourne a cultural capital and changed how the rest of the world views Melbourne.

The urban art movement has had enormous benefits for Melbourne, culturally and economically. It has helped in the modernisation and, sadly, to the gentrification of the city. The true benefits of the urban art movement like the genre itself, will only be understood in time. 

The urban art movement may be ending as we move into nu-muralism, but the benefits will stay for years to come. So too will Melbourne’s reputation as a cultural capital.

Thanks for reading, have a beautiful new year. •

Dr Adrian Doyle

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