A Brief Tour of the World’s Best Street Art

The Google Cultural Institute (who knew?) has had a highly productive morning. Using the combined powers of Google Maps and Instagram, everyone’s favorite mega-site has curated an online gallery featuring street art from around the world. As graffiti and, ahem, “non-commissioned murals” are known for their short shelf lives, the gallery promises to be a remarkable resource. On the site, both devoted and mildly curious fans of the medium can watch videos made by the artists, zoom in on pieces so as to observe them from multiple angles, and essentially skip from Queens to San Paolo sans passport. And best of all, great art that may well be white-washed by tomorrow morning is allowed to live forever.

The whole project is worth a gander, but here are some of the highlights:

5 Pointz: The Institute of Higher Burning

As a Queens resident, I used to mark my mornings with a daily peek at Jonathan “Meres” Cohen’s “5 Pointz” — New York’s once beloved graffiti hub. I could see the big behemoth from the 7 train. The old warehouse, covered in both murals and tags from artists all around the world, usually had some new piece to discover every day. Hunting for new art on the walls made for a fun little commuter’s puzzle. Alas, “5 Pointz” was entirely white-washed last fall, after the curators failed to receive historical landmark status from the city. But now, thanks to Google, we can still get a glimpse of these gems:


Bogota, Colombia is well-known for its street art scene. Colorful murals are bountiful, and rarely condemned like they are in the States. Google’s gallery has profiled artists like the popular Stinkfish…

…and the slightly more subversive graffiti artist, DjLu:

Les Bains

The Les Bains project was the definitive graffiti pop-up. In 2012, the owner of the popular “Les Bains” nightclub in Paris commissioned fifty artists from various disciplines to create “masterpieces” in four months’ time. The only caveat? The pieces would be destroyed at the end of the hyper-brief “residency” period. The result is a series of mysterious, ephemeral pieces that make excellent use of the former nightclub’s geography. Like…

From Los Angeles to New York to Paris to South America, there’s excellent and bizarre art to be found just about everywhere you look — but it’s never been this easy to see it all in one place. Thank you, Internet gods!

(Images via Google Cultural Institute)