Art in the Streets



It’s hard to believe that this is the first major survey of graffiti and street art.

I’d hoped this exhibit would be as energetic and free flowing as street art, itself.  The artist Banksy (Exit from the Gift Shop)  made the exhibit much more accessible by sponsoring free Mondays.

“I don’t think you should have to pay to look at graffiti. You should only pay if you want to get rid of it.”

But  the exhibit is strangely Disney-like.    Tame.

The image above wasn’t the only staged event.   There are two animatronic figures “fake” spraying graffiti. They play like a failed urban exhibit at Universal Studios.

I have no words.

One space has a drum set and guitars open for visitors to play, although oddly no turntables or mic.
One FB post captured the lack of spontaneity perfectly:

via my F’book post: My only wish is that they had an interactive exhibit…. where anyone can spray paint, doodle, or place a sticker…. isn’t that what street art is all about?!!

Some parts of the exhibit are puzzling. A room of photographs with young people felt very random.  It was very hard to see their connection to street art.  The aesthetic of the framing was much more Avedon than street cred.

A simulation of a New York street complete with beloved window gate comes closest to the anarchic dark energy of the streets. The grime and claustrophobia, the fake homeless man fading into began to approach the visual despair that made graffiti feel like hope.

There are several sublime murals inside and outside of the exhibit (on a bus).  The women’s bathroom has graffiti so lifelike that several women doubted its cleanliness 🙂

Decide for yourself.  Photographs courtesy of Adam Fox.


Car Culture

Wall of Flyers




The Environment


U.K., Nice Touch


Mexican iconography. Sci-fi illusions.


Ah, the el(evated) (subway)


Low Rider. LA rules!


The Influence of Commercial Art


Which street is this simulating?

The U.K. again.






About liftingasweclimb

Mildred Lewis writes and directs for theater, television, film and the web. She's also a full time professor, Christian, activist and troublemaker with a passion to save as much of the world as she can.
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