Street art’s most laudable feature is undoubtedly its accessibility. It can be seen in any city, on construction barriers, churches, high-rises, and monuments alike. However, it has been less common until late to see it in the same corners as traditional art. Whether from a need to regulate an otherwise illegal activity, or from the inevitable capitalism that befalls any marketable good, spray paint has started hitting fewer subway cars and more canvases.
To own privately something that was intended for the public is correctly paradoxical and wholly alluring. As street art transformed into a craft, and the appeal shifted from the location and the graphics alone, artists became recognized for their subject matter and conceptions. It is not surprising that everyone from individual collectors to brawny museums then wanted their own piece.
Sprawling throughout ten different cities, Buzz Art Auction is also helping fuel this “fine art” conversion of graffiti and street art. Last Thursday evening, the New York City outpost of the event took place on the penthouse floor atop Hudson Yards occupied by Studio 450. The artist roster was an extensive mix of street talent, including Mr. Brainwash, Shepard Fairey, Sonni, Cey Adams, SeeOne, Adam Dare and Bisco Smith, amongst others.
Reeled in by live entertainment, complimentary Bombay Sapphire cocktails, and celebrity appearances (shout out to Darryl “DMC” McDaniels), the bidding audience was diverse to say the least. However inclusion is at the core of the street art movement and the night was an unquestionable success, both for casual guests and those who helped set record valuations on the featured works. Everything sold, to the benefit of the artists and select charities – most notably The Jam Master Jay Foundation, which works towards increasing children’s accessibility to the arts and creative outlets. As it all boils down, street art will always be the most accessible style we have, whether it plays out in public, private, or in an auction room.
Writing by Lisa Marsova
Photographs provided by the event and AF