Painted OverStreet Art is in the air (as well as on the streets) right now. Witness the fuss about the misbegotten Blu mural, JR getting the TED award, and Banksy almost winning an Oscar for Exit Through The Gift Shop. I am not sure why it is so hot when street art of the spray can era has been around for several decades now. But it is having a zeitgeist moment, perhaps because of the titillating anonymity of some of the current masters of the genre. Or perhaps because it is part of pop-up culture that is so popular right now. Or that despite art world appropriation, it manages still to symbolize rebellion in a time when entrenched wealth and power seems ever more unshakeable. Or, simply, perhaps it is visually more fun and vital and expressive than much art school-approved art.

Anyway, next month MOCA opens its big survey, “Art in The Streets,” And right now at LACE, there is a year-long exhibit, entitled Painted Over/Under: Parts 1-4, a highly conceptual meditation on the vestiges of obliterated street art.

The show was curated by Venice-based artist Kim Schoenstadt, and is described by LACE as “a year-long project based on the mismatched color patterning created by “graffiti maintenance” on freeway retaining walls and other open walls in the city. Parts 1-3 have incorporated guest curators Les Figues Press, Jens Hoffman and Erin Cullerton, who invited writers, artists and architects to create drawings in shifts on the walls in LACE’s rear gallery. With each part of the project, works have been written and/or drawn onto the walls, then painted over with Schoenstadt’s color palette, creating a layered, abstracted painting defined by the shapes of past projects, offering a new starting point for the next group, and so on (see image left). Prior to each “painting out,” Schoenstadt has applied tape on the large wall-works to preserve portions of the work below.”

Currently, Painted Over/Under Part 3: Making Place, is the turn of the architects. Erin Cullerton invited Los Angeles-based architecture and design firms Predock_Frane Architects, Chee Salette Architecture Office (csao), and Florencia Pita to showcase two-dimensional, abstracted vignettes of the Los Angeles cityscape in a work called Making Place. And tonight, I will moderate a panel with Erin Cullerton, Kim Schoenstadt and architects John Frane, Hadrian Predock, Marc Salette, and Florencia Pita about “the ways thoughtful placemaking has shaped the city of Los Angeles.”

Conversations on Making Place is sponsored by LACE, de LaB, AIA Los Angeles and FORM magazine. The panel discussion starts at 7.30, with cocktails at 6.30.

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