Recently I went for a wander over in San Lorenzo, a neighborhood that is little frequented by tourists, is generally full of students, and was up-and-coming in the ’90s (don’t believe any guide that says it’s up-and-coming at the moment, it has already come and gone). San Lorenzo isn’t far from where I live, but aside from a few ventures across the Termini tracks for dinners I haven’t spent much time there. But thank goodness I did, because hallelujah, I found the Alice Pasquini and street art motherload.
First a few of the biggies:
And then what did I spy when I rounded a corner but a city-block long wall filled with murals by Alice Pasquini:
Magical, gorgeous stuff. A million times better than a blank wall. I don’t know if this mural was commissioned (I would assume by its size that it might have been?) But even if it wasn’t, I would argue until blue in the face that art like this ADDS to a city, rather than detracts. And in that vein I want to say RIP to two paintings that I have featured here before, one of which was by Alice (though there’s a signature on the other, I can’t read it and so far I haven’t been able to ID the artist), that are now lost to us. The last time I walked by I noticed the utilities panels these two were on were painted over to a plain beige, matching their buildings (and they’re very red here because these photos were taken at night):
I know there are thorny issues related to street art. Vandalism. Private Property. Trespassing. Destruction of Property. City Ordinances, etc. However, in my professional opinion as a snobby art historian, beautiful and provocative images belong in cities, and are ten bajillion times better than plain walls/panels/doors.
I love street art. I love happening upon it, unexpectedly. I have never seen a painting (and again we’re talking about things more significant here than a single-color tag), which didn’t improve the surface it was on. I love seeing how the elements weather and change the imagery and I appreciate the ephemerality of it all: any day the owner of the building/wall/door/whatever could remove the painting (or sticker or poster) forever. The hunt continues…