Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Street Art and Graffiti: Foreshadowed by Paris Advertising Art of Toulouse-Lautrec

A new exhibit at NYC's MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) showcases "The Paris of Toulouse-Lautrec: Prints and Posters." Henri Toulouse-Lautrec is remembered for his posters advertising the night life of dance halls, theaters and cafes in Paris' Montmarte district.

In the late 1800's Montmartre's bohemian and decadent night life attracted tourists and locals to a lifestyle flaunting alcohol, prostitutes and frequently drugs. As a handicapped artist needing to make a living, Toulouse-Lautrec was hired to make posters promoting the Montmartre lifestyle. His 'art' was scorned by many other artists, but his confidence from an aristocratic background and deteriorating health from alcoholism and birth defects left him few options to earn a living.

Ironically, today Henri Toulouse-Lautrec is renown for his advertisements depicting the people, places and moral decay of Montmartre.

Once considered a crime, graffiti art was quickly cleaned or painted over, and removed from buildings, buses, billboards and trains. Today street art is becoming increasingly popular and collectible. Urban artists such as Banksy and Zephyr are hailed as artists, rather than criminals, and their street art is preserved and showcased.

Reminiscent of Toulouse-Lautrec, street artists are being hired for graffiti advertising campaigns by companies including Miller beer, IBM and Domino's Pizza to target young, hip consumers.

I love the vibrant, energetic colors and shapes these artists bring to our world: while I never want private property defaced or destroyed, I welcome the art being easily available to the public. Take a look below at some street art from urban artists around the world, and see my Pinterest board for more examples of urban art.

à la prochaine,  


street art by Banksy

              British urban artist Banksy 

                Mexican urban artist Neuzz

graffiti art on the High Line in NYC

1 comment:

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