Notes and Notices

On art, architecture and design

5/09/2011

Seen: Art in the Streets

Posted by Carren Jao Pineda |

MOCA's Art in the Streets lends credence to an artform that is the anti-thesis of the institution. It's strange to wander large walls painted with street art within the context of a museum and, truth to tell, the art loses a bit of its bad boy sheen. But it still does amaze.

If you don't have time to wander New York, Los Angeles or London, check out "Art in the Streets" and wander for an hour or so inside MOCA in Los Angeles. Prepare for an onslaught of images while wandering the museum. If I were you, I'd set aside two days to take in the whole show. Trying to see everything in one go is a formula for tired eyes and an overstimulated brain. Here are some sights to see:

There were no walls left untouched.

Space...invaded. These critters by French artist Invader were always a welcome sight, wherever they appeared.

Wouldn't you like to drive this car by NYC street artist Kenny Scharf?

Borrowing "Retna" from a Wu-Tang Clan song, LA street artist Marquis Lewis is inspired by hieroglyphics and calligraphy. Seeing this, I am reminded of Ming Dynasty porcelain.

Photographer Henry Chalfant captured about 800 subway cars with graffiti tags on them. It was a virtual visual whirlwind.

I came in wearing a white shirt to this black-lit room and I was glowing. Street and hip-hop artist Rammellzee was best known for the concept of Gothic Futurism. This room was an extensive showing of his figurines, prints and costumes. To me, it looked like Samurais mixed with Transformers. I was waiting for this one to come to life.

I love these guys, not just because they're twins (like my sister and me), but because their work is truly distinctive. I can pinpoint their style from miles away. Brazilian artists Os Gemeos commandeered two whole walls and maybe a bit of the ceiling to create this musical wonderland on one side and this wonderland of a house on the other.

Watch out for that house and chair above you!

Steve "Espo" Powers, Todd "Reas" James and Barry McGee reprise and update their 2000 Street Market show at Deitch Projects. That isn't such a spectacular leap of the imagination since Deitch is now the new MOCA director. Nevertheless, that doesn't take away from the feat the trio have accomplished in this corner of the MOCA. Within a few square feet of MOCA is every street that I've walked on all rolled into one--from the Philippines to New York, and that is quite amazing.

LA represents with Mister Cartoon's contribution. A tattoo artist by trade (his clients include 50 Cent, Eminem and Justin Timberlake), Mister Cartoon (aka Mark Machado) has mastered the use of one tone to convey a world of detail.

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