So apparently we’ve finally reached the point where the term ‘street art’ has become a synonym for ‘advertising agency that have run out of ideas and are desperately trying to stay relevant’. The signs have been there for a while, first we saw the Zoo Magazine graffiti cover, and now we’ve got ‘The Piece’ wine courtesy of Longview (who’ve conveniently rebranded themselves as LV for us Gen Y’ers who can’t comprehend anything longer than three characters).
The wine incorporates graffiti culture right down to the ‘Hello My Name Is’ sticker on the label and the dripping chrome paint around the neck (presumably to invoke images of ‘urban’ junkies chroming out of soft drink bottles). Now I’m sure Longview (sorry, LV) make a fantastic drop, but my problem is that there is absolutely nothing here to connect to graffiti culture. Simply slapping a label on something doesn’t mean that you suddenly get cultural credibility, and even if you did who exactly are they appealing to here? Sommeliers who bomb trains on their days off? Their parents?
There’s no point in rehashing a graffiti-culture-is-for-graffiti-writers argument here. This is not seventies New York, elements of this culture are undeniably mainstream now and where there’s money to be made no one can blame an artist for trying to pay their bills. But when you’ve got nice young families picnicking in a vineyard and taking in the refreshing scent of Belton chrome in the idyllic countryside, something has gone wrong.
The Piece wine retails for $70 a bottle and it’s recommended that it be cellared for ten years or more to best bring out its ‘aromas of white pepper, liquorice and chocolate coupled with restrained French oak’. So how about we check back in 2022 and see which has persevered, global graffiti culture or the marketing company behind this desperate grab for cash.