Subscribe to our newsletter

Get the latest news, reviews, and commentary delivered directly to your inbox.

Support Hyperallergic’s independent arts journalism.

Posted inArt

Everyone Wants to be First

There is apparently something about institutional street art shows that move museum folk towards declarations of their firstness. Street Art at the Tate Modern in 2008 was billed as “the first major public museum display of Street Art in London” while just last winter Hugh Davies, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, glowed that he was “really proud” to be “the first (American) museum to do an international street art show of this scale and scope.”

Art In The Streets, the latest and of course much buzzed exhibition opening at Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art is billed by MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch as — surprise surprise — “the first exhibition to position the work … from street culture in the context of contemporary art history.”

Posted inArt

Graffiti’s US History & Art in the Streets: Interview with Roger Gastman

On April 17, MOCA LA’s Art in the Streets exhibition opens. The show, which was organized in roughly a year or since Deitch became director of the institution, promises to be a major exploration of street art, graffiti and skateboard culture at one of the country’s most important contemporary art institutions. Today, I spoke to one of the exhibition’s curators, Roger Gastman about his important new book, The History of American Graffiti, which he co-authored with Caleb Neelon, and the MOCA show.

Posted inNews

Protesters Stage ‘Funeral Procession of Free Artistic Expression’ in LA Against Smithsonian Censorship

Los Angeles — With a cardboard cross and draped coffin, a group of activists and artists assembled in front of downtown LA’s Millennium Biltmore Hotel to stage a “Funeral Procession of Free Artistic Expression,” where Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough was speaking as part of the Town Hall Los Angeles public issues series on “New Perspectives at the Smithsonian.”

The funeral procession was organized in large part by the art protest group LA Raw and the Center for the Study of Political Graphics (CSPG), in response to Clough’s ordered removal of David Wojnarowicz’s 1987 video “A Fire in My Belly” from the National Portrait Gallery’s Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture exhibition in late November 2010.

Posted inNews

Deitch Condoms Ensures Your Art Is ‘Safe’

Last Thursday January 13, there was a panel discussion at LA’s Fowler Museum titled “How Does Street Art Humanize Cities?” Organized with Zócalo, the event featured curators, artists, and reporters, most of whom were associated in some way with the LA MOCA’s upcoming street art exhibition, yet to everyone’s surprise the topic of the Blu mural whitewash wasn’t even discussed. But that’s not to say it didn’t come up in other ways. A new protest group, LA Raw, handed out condoms branded with MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch’s name on them to remind those in attendance that the erasure of artist Blu’s mural is not forgotten. One source told us that he estimates 80% of the audience to the Fowler event received one of the protest condoms as they walked in and additional condoms were placed around the venue.

Posted inNews

Artists & Veterans Protest Deitch at MOCA Geffen [UPDATED]

Even if LA MOCA thinks the Blu Mural Censorship controversy is going to go away, it isn’t. The institution has not responded to Hyperallergic’s requests for comments on the issue or an unedited interview on the topic of the Blu mural censorship. And now, LA Times‘s Culture Monster reports on the latest action by some street artists, including Chicano artist/Vietnam War veteran Leo Limon and Joey Krebs (aka The Phantom Street Artist), equipped with projectors at the MOCA Geffen Contemporary wall.