Swift designs involving geometric patterns and shapes blended together to make bold statements, tell stories, and to display works of art in public spaces. Graffiti writing has a long, and often misunderstood, history. People associate the word with lowered property values and delinquent activity. However, the assumptions about graffiti art have evolved over time to recognize the style as an art form.
The Los Angeles exhibition, Beyond The Streets, aims to showcase a selection of paintings, sculpture, photography, and various installations that celebrate the journey that graffiti art movement has taken throughout the more than 40,000 square feet of industrial indoor and outdoor space.
The exhibition opened May 6th at Werkartz an industrial space located at 1667 N. Main Street in Los Angeles, California, and was extended past its July 6 closing date through August 26.
Graffiti historian, urban anthropologist, and collector, Roger Gastman, curates Beyond The Streets. Gastman was responsible for the success of the Art in the Streets exhibition at MoCA Los Angeles, founded and co-published Swindle magazine with Shepard Fairey, co-authored The History of American Graffiti, and co-produced the Oscar Award-nominated Banksy documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop.
Juxtapoz Magazine Editor in Chief, Evan Pricco, author and historian, Caleb Neelon, and legendary NYC graffiti writer and historian, David “Chino” Villorente, also helped curate the exhibit. Director of MCA Denver, Adam Lerner, serves as a curatorial advisor and is produced by Ian Mazie. The team hopes to not only educate the public about the history of graffiti but also celebrate the diverse culture and the often-marginalized artists behind the work.
“Don’t let museums reduce art to the small number of artists who have won a popularity contest among big-time dealers, curators, and collectors,” a Guerrilla Girls poster reads outside the exit of “Beyond the Streets.”
The exhibition does a beautiful job of arranging the various art pieces, so that tell the stories of those who are not often given the opportunity to share with others in an exciting way. There are interactive content and photo opportunities mixed in with significant and informative content.
“One of our missions was to educate through entertainment,” said organizer Roger Gastman in another interview for The Los Angeles Times. “People are coming here, experiencing things, asking questions. Artists are saying they’ve been having interactions with people finding out about their work. People are coming multiple times.
It doesn’t dwell on history. It respects the past and showcases the past while keeping the work fresh with what these artists are up to today.”
The exhibition, which has been extended through August 26, 2018, in Los Angeles, also has plans to take the show to NYC and Miami. It is open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 11AM to 6PM.