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Museum Exhibition Gave a Group of Artists Free Reign over Their White Walls

A new exhibition at the Long Beach Museum of Art shows what happens when contemporary artists are given free reign to fill the walls of a gallery, however they see fit. Titled Vitality and Verve: Transforming the Urban Landscape, the show was completed over a period of two weeks and is a fantastic mix of graffiti, street art, mixed media installations, and works on canvas.

Vitality and Verve features an array of artistic approaches. Some works, like a painting by Audrey Kawasaki, includes a stylized figure and limited color palette. Artist Cryptik went a different route and decided to affix mandala-like patterns on the blank walls, while James Bullough created a hyperrealistic portrait of a woman. His contribution is a clever skew on traditional painting, in which he offsets parts of the composition and fractures the overall image.

The exhibition will run through September 27th and, when it's over, the walls will be painted white yet again. This fleeting nature is something the artists are already familiar with, and impermanence is part of their practice. The museum's Executive Director, Ron Nelson, explains, “One of the goals behind Vitality and Verve is to spotlight artists who are stepping out of their studios to paint on a grand scale using outdoor walls as their canvas, as well as urban artists who are beginning to work in a traditional studio setting.”

Artists participating in Vitality and Verve include: Aaron Horkey, Alex Yanes, Andrew Schoultz, Audrey Kawasaki, Brendan Monroe, Brandon Shigeta, Cryptik, Esao Andrews, Greg ‘Craola' Simkins, Hot Tea, James Bullough, Jeff Soto, John S. Culqui, Low Bros, Meggs, Nosego, Nychos, Saber, and Tristan Eaton.

Above: Audrey Kawasaki



Alex Yanes

Brendan Monroe


Low Bros

James Bullough

Esao Andrews

David ‘Meggs' Hooke

Long Beach Museum of Art: Website
via [Twisted Sifter]

Photography by Twisted Sifter

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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