In or Out? It Makes a Difference
So I checked out "Wall Snatchers" last night. The new graffiti art exhibit had some high points, but I left the show wanting something more.
The exhibit features the work of six artists -- Bask, Eon, Mister Never, Nick Z, Tes One and the collective Faile. The artists hail from Boston, Florida, New York and D.C., but their work has been thrown up on buildings all over the world. They were given free rein to paint on the industrial-looking walls of the old Staples building in Georgetown and they left several large-scale paintings and stencil works. Even Borf, D.C.'s best-known graffiti artist as of late, made an appearance with a few stray words ("Bush Hates Borf," etc.), but without his trademark grinning face.
I've always been a huge fan of graffiti art and these big works were as good examples as any. I was particularly fond of the quirky arrows in the collaboration between Nick Z and Mister Never on one of the gallery's first walls. I also liked the Faile collective's "Lichtenstein-esque" pictures of women on painted backgrounds.
I came away thinking that these works had lost something when they were on inside walls. As the "tools of the trade" part of the exhibit -- spray paint cans, markers and rollers, hung on the gallery's first wall -- shows, the level of detail these artists can create with short time, low lighting and basic tools is pretty amazing. The gallery's 10-foot walls seemed too small to capture all of the work that goes into one of these paintings. Graffiti like Borf's face on the Roosevelt Bridge sign makes the passer-by wonder how it got up there. For me, that's part of the magic of graffiti. I would have liked to see photographs of some of the artists' other works, some of the ones that have made it to continents far, far away.
Washington Project for the Arts/Corcoran (the group that also brought us Frank Warren's PostSecret exhibit last year) has joined a number of U.S. galleries in welcoming these artists from outside the gallery world and given them an inside -- and legal -- space to display their work. I'm glad they did it, because the graffiti art on display is pretty fantastic, but I just wish I could have seen more than the few walls in the old Staples building could accomodate.
So there were a bunch of people at yesterday's opening -- what did the rest of you think?
Posted by: trace | February 25, 2006 1:35 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: louis | February 25, 2006 11:27 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Julia | February 26, 2006 9:06 AM | Report abuse
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