A giant spray can with wings, looking well-used, called We-Are-Here. In a gallery of traditional sculpture.

We Are Here: Urban Art  

Posted by Speakeasy News > Thursday 27 June 2024 > Shine Bright Collège Shine Bright Lycée What's On

An exhibition at the Petit Palais in Paris till November would be a great way to get pupils thinking about art. Works by street artists from around the world are on display amongst the museum’s more traditional collection. The artists include, from the U.S., Shepard Fairey (famous for his Obama campaign poster) and Swoon, from the U.K. D*Face and Hush, and from Ireland Conor Harrington.

Pupils are generally enthusiastic about street art and its presentation here in contrast with the more traditional, canonical art in the Petit Palais’s collection opens up possibilities of a joint project with art teachers, or asking pupils to compare and contrast two works.

Twenty 2024 works by urban artists in response to works in the collection are displayed throughout the collection display rooms. And then visitors arrive in a room crammed full of 60 works of urban art, named after the 1863 Salon des refuses which marked the rejection of academic art styles and the move towards Impressionism. Pupils can have fun choosing their favourite images to analyse. Will they spot the tiny Banksy?

A wall full of colourful urban art paintings.
Le salon des refusés room, various artists.

London-based D*Face has several works on display, including Here to Spray at the top of the page. They often include a little pair of wings.

Shepard Fairey, also known as OBEY, is famous for his screen prints and murals, often on themes of ecology or civil rights. He created a version of this image in response to the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. To Fairey, the image represented revolution and solidarity. But in response to activists who felt that those revolutionary ideals weren’t always respected today, he has added a tear to Marianne’s face for this version.

A red, white and blue in the form of the French flag with a woman's face in Art Nouveau woodcut style and the words Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité,. There is a single red tear on the woman's face.
Shepard Fairey (OBEY), Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité, 2024.

British artist Hush uses layering of patterns and textures in his work, here contrasted with older, more traditional images of women.

A bright modern urban art painting of a woman in multi-patterned textiles surrounded by gold rain in a room of traditional paintings and sculptures of women.
Hush, La divinité feminine en or, 2024.

Los-Angeles-based Cleon Harrington’s work, both in sculpture and paint, is often monochrome.

A headless statue of a man riding a horse and brandishing an axe.
Cleon Peterson, Echo of Tomorrow, 2024.

We Are Here
Petit Palais
Till 17 November 2024

Shepard Fairey also has a personal exhibition, Swan Song, at the Galérie Itinérrance in Paris from 20 June to 15 July 2024.

You can find biographical information and examples of images for several of the artists on the Itinérrance site.


Downloadable resources ready to use in class
> Banksy in Venice
> Keith Haring Street Art