Last year, Wynwood Walls included artists like Futura and Os Gêmeos and was organized by Deitch Project and Goldman Properties. This year, Goldman Properties is expanding the event and changing it up a bit: Ryan McGinness will be putting up a mural in a new “art park,” Jonathan LeVine has curated a show including Judith Supine and Doze Green, Barry McGee and Clare Rojas will be screening some video art, Ron English has just completed a mural, DB Burkeman (who just put together that great sticker book) will be organizing a “sticker wall,” Jeff Soto and Invader will each make new murals, Shepard Fairey and other artists will be decorating Wynwood Kitchen & Bar and there will be a few other events as well.
While I’m looking forward to seeing a bunch of good art and new murals go up in Wynwood, the whole event gives me a bit of a funny feeling. I’m a Primary Flight fan, and it looks looks to me like somebody with more resources is trying to take their concept, expand it, make it more upscale and take take credit for revitalizing Wynwood through murals. The whole event just rubs me the wrong way.
That said, there are some talented artists involved in Wynwood Walls and I’m sure they are going to paint some cool things. After the invite-only opening parties are over, after the bloggers like me and the suits like my dad have left Miami, there will still be some nice new art up in Wynwood, and that’s what matters, not the reason that the art got there.
Which brings me to something else I’ve been thinking about a lot: the way that street art gentrifies areas. There are plenty of examples: Shoreditch, The Mission, Times Square (kind of), Williamsburg, Soho and now Wynwood. Maybe those are just coincides, but I think that having Goldman Properties behind Wynwood Walls is a sign that people are putting their money behind the idea that street art leads to gentrification. Goldman Properties describes itself as “Leaders in the restoration and transformation of declining historic districts into popular, thriving mixed-use destinations,” and they’re trying to transform Wynwood, so obviously they think that street art will help that process. And I’ll leave it to others to decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
Photo by l_a_i_aCategory: Random | Tags: wynwood walls