Artists vs. Hipsters: Who’s Winning the Battle of the Bohemians?


Hipsters and artists should be a match made in heaven. Hipsters build their hyper-cultured lifestyle around the art scene, providing the artist with an eager audience that is sometimes large enough to launch an underground nobody into the mainstream spotlight. As symbiotic as that sounds, underlying these superficial benefits is a whole lot of tension, expressed best in the flood of irreverent, hipster-centric art we’ve seen. Now, we’re going to start keeping score. Who gets the last laugh with these pieces: hipsters, artists, culture in general, no one at all? Find out after the jump.

Unhappy Hipsters

This one’s a tough call: At the beginning of 2010, Unhappy Hipsters opened its digital doors to the streamlined aesthetic of hip interior design magazine Dwell, pairing the oftentimes ridiculous images with explanatory quotes encapsulating the dramatized melancholic ennui that is the perennial plight of the hipster. (Above: “Mom needed some crazy to balance her otherwise pale and minimalist home. Using the kids as decorations seemed like the best choice.”) Both are technically under fire, but we give points to the hipsters for calling out the over-the-top photos and being able to laugh at themselves.

Point: Hipsters

“The Hipster Trap”

A can of PBR, a pack of American Spirit cigarettes, a bike chain, and neon pink Wayfarers: never has there been more perfect hipster bait. (We can only hope that they’ll spot the steel-jaw trap they’re perched in.) Spotted by a Reddit editor on the streets of New York City, we would like to express our hearty approval. Touché, art world. Well played.

Point: Artists

Don’t Feed The Hipsters

Brooklyn’s McCarren Park hosted a guerilla installation last spring, with The Trustocorp crew’s Don’t Feed The Hipsters. The PSA’s cute and well done, but we’re siding with the hungry hipsters on this one. Since when are starving artists ones to talk? They totally don’t deserve half of that vegan sandwich after this one.

Point: Hipsters

The Art Boat

At the end of 2010, a bunch of Brooklyn artists created an art boat — no, a “sculptural rivercraft” — in the Gowanus Canal and planned to float down the Ganges River in India. They served oysters and champagne at an on-board bar, and planned to pay $3,000 to ship it to India, all in the name of “art” (here, we’re guessing, meaning “edgy vacation”). We’re not sure there’s a winner here, but we’re thinking art lost this one.

Point: Ugh. None.

Robert Knoke’s Portraits of the Hipster Avant-Garde

Traditional German portraitist Robert Knoke puts a very non-traditional world under the stroke of his ballpoint pen: the artful subculture of hipsterdom. Above, he portrayed DJ Geordon Nicol, who “did a new thing by inviting certain people and attracted a crowd that just looked different from the typical club scene in New York” when the scene was falling flat. His unironic, sociological stance is a bit of a refreshing take on hipster culture.

Point: Artists

The G Train Doesn’t Care About You

More often than not, we’re pretty convinced that cheeky guerilla artists and hipsters are one and the same. Case in point: the homemade G train subway service change signs posted in October 2010, which officially named the G train the most frustrating and unpredictable train ever. “Don’t like it?” the poster reads, “Consider alternate service on the FU train.”

Point: Everybody is a winner! Points all around! It’s not like they matter!

Hipster Disney

Hipster Disney: one of those rare memes that was as smart as it was funny. Photoshopping black glasses and big blocky text onto Disney movie screencaps, hipsters made one of our favorite hipster-centric works as of late, and with little to no actual art involved to boot.

Point: Hipsters

“Come on Guy”

Richie Budd and Will Robison’s “Come on Guy” at the Scope Art Show in New York this month aimed its attention at a different, salient subsection of youth culture: frat boys. Putting them behind a glass with cases upon cases of Natty Light and a bona-fide piss bucket, they entertained viewers with their life-as-spectacle for hours. New Jersey ruffians are any hipster’s worst nightmare (what with their self-absorbed ignorance and sheer volume), so the art world picking a new darling probably stung that much more.

Point: Artists


Artists: 3

Hipsters: 3

Nobody: 1

Everybody: 1

Ties all around! Looks like this battle ain’t over yet.