The British capital continues to be a playground for artists who use the walls as their canvas.
Any punk with their wits about them is bound to react rather viscerally to the words “punk rock,” “rainbow” and “sparkle” being tossed together in the same salad of a sentence. So, naturally, when I walked into Jonathan LeVine gallery last month to catch the tail-end of Natalia Fabia’s East Coast debut, I shivered at the sight of its title. Punk Rock Rainbow Sparkle? I shook my head, wondering what I had walked into. Whatever it was, I stood convinced that at best it would be an uncomfortable experience I’d hopefully forget. However, I soon got a schooling in the life lesson, “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” or rather, you can’t judge a show by its title.
In the history of street art, New York’s Dan Witz is a pioneer and one of the only names in the field that continues to enjoy an impeccable reputation based on skill, reinvention, and innovation. Yet, his monograph In Plain View is more than your conventional street art book. Its 220+ pages document a personality who arrived in New York in the late 1970s to attend art school, played in a band in the city’s thriving music scene, started working on the street because of the lack of opportunities for young artists to show in galleries, and continued to develop related but independent bodies of work both in public and in his studio. What makes Witz’s artistic contribution impressive is his endless stream of ideas that demonstrate an incredible knack for adapting to the times without falling victim to trends.
2010 has begun with some fascinating street art, including works by Bansky, Shepard Fairey, Kid Acne, Ema, El Sol 25, TrustCorp …
Thanks to artist Mark Jenkins, life just got a little more complicated than it used to be. In addition to the age-old dilemma of “Is it art?” we are now forced to confront the question “Is it street art?”
As the reality of Deitch’s appointment to MOCA sinks in, let’s take a step back and look at his role as a street art advocate. Was he the prophet for the scene or just one of many fans? And where could this all lead?