04 May 2011

art in the streets

Second floor view of "Street" featuring Todd James, Barry McGee, Stephen Powers, Devin Flynn, Josh Lazcano, Dan Murphy and Alexis Ross at MOCA, 2011..

Second floor view of "Street" featuring Todd James, Barry McGee, Stephen Powers, Devin Flynn, Josh Lazcano, Dan Murphy and Alexis Ross at MOCA, 2011..

Here are some detail images I shot while at MOCA’s Art in the Streets exhibition this weekend. My photographs are limited in number because within the first 20 minutes of my visit I went into visual overload mode, unable to make sense of what I was seeing while also documenting. Yet, there was plenty of familiar work. For instance, in 2005 I saw Barry McGee’s solo show One More Thing at Deitch Projects which had a similar feel to the "Street" section of MOCA's show, and much of the other work—or similar—I've seen on the blogosphere or in books.

McGee at Deitch Projects, 2005

McGee at Deitch Projects, 2005

McGee, 2005

McGee, 2005

More McGee, 2005

More McGee, 2005

And more McGee at Deitch Projects, 2005

And more McGee at Deitch Projects, 2005

Strange then, that that familiarity still didn’t make the show easy to digest.

OS GEMEOS

OS GEMEOS

Detail from the "Street"

Detail from the "Street"

A highlight, however, is Swoon’s The Ice Queen. The interaction of light, shadow, fabric and form engages with the gallery space rather than ignores it. And, even though the piece is clearly not from the street, there is a clear relationship between the piece and her work there.

Swoon's "The Ice Queen" at MOCA, 2011

Swoon's "The Ice Queen" at MOCA, 2011

I also enjoyed the conversations the show prompted with my Otis colleagues. We touched on many topics as we stood in the gallery watching people of all ages and ethnicities wander through, including: the definition of “street art” and if context is inherent to the form, corporate involvement in public museums, and whether “style” is content or if the best street art today should also carry a message. One of those colleagues referred me to Doug Harvey’s smart review which says more than I could about what to make of “Art in the Streets”.

Finally, adding to the museum-as-theme-park vibe was seeing Shepard Fairey guide comedian Russell Brand through the exhibition with a stop at Fairey’s controversial Obama “Hope” poster. It was certainly one of those “Only in Los Angeles” moments.