The ugly truth: Street Art, Graffiti and the Creative City | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 3, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 2042-793X
  • E-ISSN: 2042-7948



‘The ugly truth’ explores the relationship between Street Art and the Creative City. Examining the recuperation of this supposedly insurgent aesthetic, it exposes the ‘artwashing’ that Street Art is now implicated within, the simulacrum of authenticity and the beautiful lie that it now presents. Reacting against the impulses of both publicly and privately funded contemporary public art projects, as well as the complicity and lack of criticality of many Street Artists themselves, this article will call for a re-examination of the types of visuality our cities need. Concluding with an examination of a number of truly critical independent public art projects, the article will thus stake a claim for that which may be ‘ugly’ yet important, disagreeable but necessary. It will stake a claim for the ugly truth essential to the sustainability of a vibrant public sphere.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): Creative City; gentrification; Graffiti; Public Art; recuperation; Street Art
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