MOCA is bringing the streets to museum patrons in a comprehensive overview of the history of street art from 1967 through present day in “Art in the Streets”. It is the first major exhibit of its kind in the U.S.
“Art in the Streets” primarily focuses on graffiti art’s infamous rise in an economically tumultuous N.Y. during the 1970’s and explores the diversity of mediums represented in Los Angeles’ Cholo style and skate culture. According to MOCA’s director Jeffrey Deitch, the exhibit provides a historical context while highlighting the innovators and the cities where important styles emerged. As a result, the exhibition presents street art as a global movement with additional representation from San Francisco, London, Paris, Santiago and Sao Paulo. In fact, many critics have drawn parallels between the cultural and economic identities between Sao Paulo and N.Y. in the ‘70’s.
The underlying theme to the exhibition is the strength of community formed through art, music, dance and fashion. Wild Style takes center stage, with a wide array of artists descending from Wild Style’s lineage. N.Y. in the 1970’s saw a convergence of hip hop and punk which is also highlighted in some of the galleries in the exhibit. A diversity of mediums are represented from writing and skate board art to stencils and paper cutting. An ambitious and truly breathtaking piece can be found in a tented piece by N.Y. artist Swoon. The installation took over one month to create and is truly one of the most beautiful pieces of art I’ve seen.
Over 50 artists are represented from the pioneers from 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s including Cornbread ,Taki 183, Lee Quinones, Fab 5 Freddy, and Futura to current street art luminaries Shepard Fairey, JR, Banksy and Os Gemeos.
There are some interesting surprises including a posthumous tribute to Rammellzee who passed away early this year and the exhibit includes a recreation of his Tribeca loft. There’s also a skate ramp which was designed by legendary Powell Peralta skater Lance Mountain and a recreation of Patti Astor’s New York “Fun Gallery” which features works by Basquiat and Keith Haring.
The member’s preview will be held on Saturday, April 16th and the exhibit’s official run commences Sunday, April 17th through August 8, 2011. From there the exhibit will travel to the Brooklyn Museum in 2012.
Art in the Streets
The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, 152 N.Central Ave., Los Angeles, CA