Art In the Streets

What do the original Z-Boys photo and Super-8 artist and Adam Colton have in common?  Well, they're both among the cadre of skateboarder artists that have an influence upon...

 

Art In the Streets

L.A. Museum of Contemporary Arts

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Street art, graffiti, or the more politically correct term, "urban ar",t has taken over American mainstream culture. Urban art is now taking over the high art scene, with artists the likes of Banksy and Mark Gonzalez being shown in museums. Movies like “Beautiful Losers” and “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” have informed the masses to this public art form. This mass knowledge and accompanying popularity has, in part, aided in allowing these artists to sell pieces for large amounts of money. Such as the Banksy painting “Bombing Middle England,” sold at a Sotheby’s auction in 2007 for over $200,000.

This popularization of street art is either good or bad; I guess it all depends on which side of the table you sit or on which side you wish you were sitting. But for as long as this street art is being collected and shown in galleries and museums, which ultimately means it’s being preserved, so go out and experience the thought, time and skill behind it. For all you longboarders living in or visiting Southern California, jump on your Dervishes topped with your trick Banksy inspired grip tape design and ride yourself down to see some good ol’ fashioned (and new fashioned) street art. “Art in the Streets” is showing from April 17th to August 8th, at the Geffen MOCA in Los Angeles, for more info and a very short synopsis on a very large exhibit go to http://www.moca.org/.  For a preview look, click through and read more, here.

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“Art in the Streets” opened Saturday April 16th at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Little Tokyo, the show has been touted by many in Los Angeles as “the biggest show of the year.” The exhibition features such street artist’s work as Banksy, Swoon, Barry McGee, Mark Gonzalez, Os Gemeos, Invader, Keith Haring, and the list goes on to include photographic work of anonymous street artists. The museum was filled with fan boys, collectors, followers, professional skaters, and the artists themselves were in attendance. The pieces that filled the relatively large space were everything from massive installations to small sketchbooks encased in glass topped viewing tables.

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The largest pieces were either Os Gemeos’ installation or the massive recreation of the streets of Barry “TWIST” McGee’s hometown, San Francisco. Os Gemeos, two brothers from Sao Paolo, said it took 20 days to install their piece. However, not to down play any of the artists in the show, the work being shown is undoubtedly beautiful and masterfully crafted. Swoon exhibited a 15 to 20 foot tall piece made exclusively from paper adorned with her skillful sketch like paintings. Keith Haring’s work was shown at the exhibit along with some of his personal sketch books. Haring is one of the oldest and most established ‘street artists’ known for being a trail blazer in the New York graffiti scene in the 70’s with his chalk drawings in the subways. He then established himself as a prominate collaborator and designer working with companies such as Swatch and artist the likes of Madonna and William S. Burrows. Haring died in 1990 from AIDS, however before passing he established a foundation that supported various AIDS awareness organizations.

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The most influential artist at the show in regards to skateboarding and the culture it has created is, Craig R Stecyk III. Stecyk, a journalist for Surfer, and Skateboarder magazines, had a huge hand by putting the Z-boys and their respective names into the mainstream popular culture of the 70s. He propelled them to national notoriety when he covered their life and ground breaking style in an article for Skateboarder Magazine. He also designed the Rat Bones logo for Powell-Peralta, which, yet again, propelled skateboarding far past the ‘fad’ everyone had once thought it was. However Stecyk didn’t stop there; in 1993 he curated the show “Kustom Kulture” at the Laguna Art Museum which brought names like Von Dutch, and Ed “Bigdaddy” Roth into an institution for the first time, further solidifying urban art as a collectable art form. Stecyk’s screen printed and stencil work was shown at “Art in the Streets,” this body of work was created in collaboration with Nike SB and their retro line of skateboarding shoes featuring the great Lance Mountain.

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Oh yeah, and before I forget, would someone please get Adam Colton’s work in a gallery and not just on some T-shirts and bamboo decks, we might as well throw a talented longboarder into the mix.

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