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Posted inArt

Does Barry McGee Have Something to Prove?

BERKELEY, California — Recently I went on my first visit to the Berkeley Art Museum to see their Barry McGee show. To be honest, I was mostly indifferent to McGee walking into the show, and largely skeptical about graffiti or street artists’ role in a museum setting. Although the show convinced me of McGee’s talent, it still left me wondering about representing graffiti institutionally. Having studied painting and printmaking at a San Francisco Art Institute, and several large shows in museums and galleries across the world, the San Franciscan native who garnered fame for street tags like Ray Fong, Lydia Fong, Bernon Vernon, Ray Virgil, and Twist is no outsider artist anymore.

Posted inBooks

Stickers: Stuck-Up Piece of Crap

Looking at Stickers: Stuck-Up Piece of Crap: From Punk Rock to Contemporary Art, a history of stickers from various subcultures, from graffiti and street art to skating and punk music, two years after its publication, the book remains significant as the first major publication on Do-It-Yourself sticker culture; yet the book has also become outdated, as the sticker scene, at least in New York, has evolved past glossy, printed stickers.

Posted inOpinion

Keith Haring Products Redefine the Ability to Find Pleasure in Art

Last week I got an email advertising a collaboration between Shepard Fairey’s apparel company OBEY and the Keith Haring Foundation, resulting in T-shirts, tank tops and baseball hats — including one with an unsettling combination of Haring’s three-eyed face and Fairey’s OBEY graphic — sold at mall hipster-mecca Urban Outfitters. This was enough to make begin questioning the Keith Haring Foundation’s treatment of the artist’s legacy — and then I heard about the Tenga x Keith Haring sex toys.

Posted inArt

26th Street Courts the Masses with a Block Party

In unofficial conjunction with the inauguration of Frieze New York on Randall’s Island, the galleries on Chelsea’s 26th Street decided to go big and throw a block party last Saturday. If there is one kind of party that galleries excel at, it’s glamorous and exclusive after-hours functions, on a rooftop suite somewhere far above the streets of Chelsea; if there’s one area where galleries are found unanimously wanting, it’s dealing with the public, with “regular” people, the viewers who venture through their doors simply to look and not to buy. Considering this, it was surprising and encouraging to see high-end Chelsea galleries reaching out, in a coordinated effort, to the art-going public.