In 2011, MOCA's Art in the Streets broke attendance records for its exhibition filled with work by street art luminaries like Banksy and Os Gemeos. Seven years later, a new exhibition spread over more than 40,000 square feet is building on that legacy and exploring the world of graffiti and street art. Beyond the Streets, curated by graffiti historian and Exit Through the Gift Shop co-producer Roger Gastman, is a celebration of this dynamic modern art movement.
The exhibition is a true multi-media event. Painting, sculpture, photography, video, and installations help immerse visitors in the work of cutting-edge artists on the street and how this has translated into their studio practice. “Beyond the Streets is not intended to be a historical retrospective but rather an examination of cultural outlaws who embody the spirit of the graffiti and street art culture,” write the organizers. “The exhibition includes well-known artists whose work is influenced or inspired by these risk takers and whose efforts have elevated the movement to new heights.”
The participating artists are pulled from every era and genre of graffiti and street art. From early graffiti legends like Cornbread and TAKI 183 to Jenny Holzer's insightful text art and Martha Cooper‘s incredible street photography, the early movement is well represented.
Artists like Greg “Craola” Simkins—who we recently interviewed—and Ron English show how graffiti translates to the canvas through their surreal pop art inspired work, while Futura 2000 and Maya Hayuk provide a glimpse of how abstract art can seep into the streets.
The highlight of the exhibition is the incredible installations that pull visitors into immersive experiences. This includes a full-size handball court painted by legendary NYC artist Lee Quiñones and a historical recreation of the iconic Venice Pavilion, a skateboarding and graffiti destination in Venice Beach. FAILE also brings their interactive temple installation, which references historic religious architecture while inviting the public to play and contemplate the surroundings.
And proving that street art goes well beyond painted murals, LA-based art activist Ron Finley has installed an outdoor garden representative of his “gangsta gardening” projects—deemed illegal by city officials—to bring food sources back to inner-city communities.