If you have not yet seen Art in The Streets, now is the time to do so. Courtesy of Brit bad boy Banksy, MOCA will be open for free on Monday night, through August 8.
The show is huge, including work by many of the best known artists and trailblazers in the field, both from the US and abroad. This includes some of my favourite artists such as Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Keith Harding, Irak and Barry McGee as well as many others I didn’t know about and who have now made my list.
The first show of its kind (more of a retrospective than just a “street art now” exhibition) by a major U.S. Museum, it seems like just about everyone in Los Angeles has been checking it out. I’ve run into numerous people I know while there and even sighted actor, Jason Biggs, one time. Apart from its other draws, the impermanent nature of the work itself (many pieces were created for the show and will not last beyond it) means that you either see it in person now or never.
On my first visit, my friends and I ran into Los Angeles’ newest celebrity, MOCA’s new director, Jeffrey Deitch. Not long after we spoke to him, everyone else also realized he was there and he was soon surrounded by a crowd.
Another time I was looking at the pieces painted on the building’s exterior when I ran into one of the artists giving a graffti workshop, using his work as an example he went into great detail about the influences, technique and ideas behind the piece and his work as a whole.
Like the art in the exhibition, this show has had its share of controversy, like the uproar over the Blu mural that was painted over. The decision about which artists to include and which not to. And while I was there guards realized one of the pieces had been sticker bombed. I was told that this has been a regular occurrence with this show – sticker bombing and the walls being tagged. But that is a reminder of the dog-marking-his-territory nature of graffiti.
Beyond the art pieces are the spaces that have been recreated; Rammellzee’s art studio, “Battle Zone”; a Neckface signature haunted house; a recreation of FUN gallery and an urban setting populated with animatronic taggers, where each ‘store front’ is devoted to the work of a different artist.