Street art, an inherently anti-institutional art movement, resists preservation and formal recognition. However, as the art has become more and more recognized and established, a public desire to save this work has necessitated a compromise. Museums and galleries attempt to institutionalize this work, independent alternative exhibition projects have emerged, and finally, plexiglass is installed on the street, covering the pieces where they were originally tagged. All three options challenge the integrity of the work in significant and specific ways: the importance of context is questioned, illegality is typically lost, hierarchies and an element of selectivity are introduced to the work, the transitory and collaborative elements afforded this art on the street are typically eliminated, etc. This study examines the ensuing consequences, and attempts to illustrate the complexities of maintaining the ethos of this movement in the face of formal recognition.


Presciutti, Diana


Art and Art History


History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology | Theory and Criticism


street art, banksy, museums, the underbelly project, galleries

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2013 Emily Timmerman