Not another opportunistic maze of Instagram backdrops, Beyond the Streets is a bona fide contemporary art show. Yes, this will definitely improve the ‘gram feed, but the astounding 40,000 square-foot collection of new, museum and museum-worthy artwork will boggle the mind. Meant to be a continuance of MOCA’s 2011 Art in the Streets show, curator Roger Gastman has pulled together over 100 artists with new or never before seen works from everyone from Gordon Matta-Clark to Zeser MSK, with some of the installations exclusive to the Los Angeles exhibit.
Opening May 6 and running through July 6, run, don’t walk to see this stunning street art and graffiti survey in Downtown L.A. More surprises are in store, but here are 10 things not to miss.
ICYMI because you were born in the '90s, BTS has recreated a historical replica of Venice Beach’s legendary graffiti and skate destination – the Venice Pavilion. Made possible by Adidas Skateboarding and curated by RISK, the installation is sans the beautiful ocean view, but has rebuilt the organic, moderne-style concrete picnic tables, and features graffiti by iconic writers from the Venice community. Dogtown legend C.R. Stecyk also has a space within the show, so keep an eye out for his iconic tags (“Ratbones” please) that may or may not be found in the “pavilion”.
Originally installed at a town square in Lisbon, Portugal in 2010, this will be only the second time this stunning piece of ceramic, iron and brick work has been seen in the U.S. FAILE’s full scale destruction of a temple, worships all things FAILE – fans will recognize motifs from FAILE paintings and prints throughout the years – complete with spinning prayer wheels and a pagan scuba horse idol. This was the first iteration of the artists obsession with tile. Since then they’ve covered a house in Venice (741 California Ave) and a coffee house in Highland Park (Collage Coffee).
In 2017, Takashi Murakami collaborated with MADSAKI, fukitalltokyo and TENGA ONE to create this ode to graffiti. Easily 20 feet high, the massive canvas is hung on a circular ring from the ceiling to encompass the viewer in a flood of color and texture. Have a seat between photos to be mesmerized by the marks of his collaborators, or just rest your brain on the brink of an art overload – everyone looks good against this shade of fire orange.
Complete with customized pews and its own iconography paintings on the walls, tattoo legend Mister Cartoon takes the word on the street to a higher level with his own sacred space. He began his career as a graffiti artist in East L.A. before branching into murals, album covers, logos, and now most famously, tattoos. His church-like installation reflects his relationship with religion while commenting on the ubiquitous Southern California strip mall church. All hail the black and gray.
Tucked away near Murakami's massive hanging installation and HuskMitNavn's drawing workshop is the TRASHED Record Store, a curated assortment of records, stickers, posters, skate decks and memorabilia showing graffiti’s impact on music and pop culture, all housed in a late 80's/early 90s-era record store. Guests can browse and play records, flip through racks of posters, and peer into display cases of various merch and ephemera.
Long before the Times Up movement, the Guerrilla Girls kicked their way into the male-dominated art world in 1985 with impromptu performances, billboard installations and pranks. They haven’t stopped. Beyond the Streets highlights the anonymous, mask-wearing mommas and their neon colored protest banners which serves as both a retrospective and an overview of what they have to say about the current state of affairs. Sadly, even more relevant today than 30 years ago.
“New York City is the handball capital of the world and handball courts are found throughout the city parks across the five boroughs,” states Lee Quinones, one of graffiti’s original artists and star of the 1982 Wild Style feature film. LEE’s Lion’s Den mural was his third large scale public piece and marked a new, conceptual approach to murals, bringing graffiti off the N.Y. train cars and into the public conversation.
L.A.'s own gangsta gardener, Ron Finley has made a name for himself planting guerrilla gardens in South Los Angeles - mostly on traffic medians and discarded properties - in the interest of providing fresh food and green space to otherwise barren urban neighborhoods. His environmental vandalism has evolved into a TED Talk and a documentary, “Can You Dig This.” His edible Gangsta Garden installation for Beyond the Streets will greet visitors at the entrance, reminding us that “We Grow Together.” A pink cat by HuskMitNavn waters itself in the garden, while HACER’s geometric 10-foot rabbit statue stands guard nearby.
DABSMYLA's ubiquitous flower paintings have been all the rage for a couple of years now, so when the artists met Los Angeles florist Amelia Posada, of Birch and Bone, an instant connection was made. The collaborative result is a true mixed media installation spanning three large walls. Not only will BTS debut a new direction for DABSMYLA’s paintings, the walls will feature 500 fresh roses on opening weekend.
Banksy himself has contributed a new painting for BTS. Get inspired by the title of his Oscar-nominated documentary and take a piece of real art home for yourself. At the Beyond the Streets gift shop, there will be the requisite limited-edition t-shirts, prints, pins, and an exquisitely produced show catalogue, but worth noting are the gorgeous Basquiat, Haring and Fairey Modernica shell chairs. All merch, with the exception of a couple of artist biographies, are exclusive to the show, so don’t sleep.