Graffiti largely began with young vandals in the Bronx staking their claim upon the world. Since then, it has evolved into a widely respected art-form – works of art outside of the museum walls. This spring, ArtsWestchester will bring these works of art from the streets into its gallery. ArtsWestchester’s From the Streets exhibition follows the stylistic evolution of graffiti, from its genesis as a 1980s youth subculture in the Bronx to its rising prominence in the global art scene. Anchored by large-scale mural commissions by some of the best-known American urban artists, the exhibition’s murals, photographs, installations and works on canvas explore the evolution of this artistic movement and demonstrates the diverse range of talent amongst this “who’s who” of iconic street artists.
Graffiti began in the 1970s as an expression of the experiences of urban youth but rose to prominence in the 80s, when competition between now-legendary artists urged one another on to greater innovations and pushed boundaries of cultural and artistic expression. Today, it is a recognized art-form and is often seen as a welcome contribution to the economic development of communities.
This spring, the artworks of more than 25 artists will move into a gallery setting, on view at ArtsWestchester from April 11 through July 15. “Putting this work in a gallery setting opens up the experience to a wider audience,” says Melissa McCaig-Welles, who co-curated the show with Marc Leader. “It also gives these works the recognition that they deserve, allowing a greater appreciation for this form of expression that changes communities and inspires so many of us.”
Leader added: “Setting From The Streets in a former bank-turned-art-gallery provides the perfect context for people to reevaluate preconceived notions and explore the diverse facets that make up a global movement.”
To accompany the exhibition, ArtsWestchester will present a series of gallery events, including documentary screenings and performances, which position the artwork within a broader cultural context. For more info, visit: artsw.org/fromthestreets.
Related April Events
April 8, 4-8pm
Opening Reception: From the Streets
Get a sneak peek of the exhibited artwork while you meet the curators and artists. At ArtsWestchester’s Gallery.
April 27, 7pm
Documentary: Wall Writers: Graffiti in Its Innocence
This documentary is an exclusive account from the artists, journalists and politicians who were part of the beginnings (1967–1972) of the largest art movement of the Twentieth Century. At ArtsWestchester’s Gallery.
April 29, 11am-5pm
Benefit: From the Streets to Bloomingdale’s
An afternoon of hip-hop dance performances and a pop-up shop of hand-embellished t-shirts inspired by the show. A portion of sales will benefit ArtsWestchester’s arts-in-education programs. At Bloomingdale’s, White Plains.
April 29, 7pm
Documentary and Q&A: Meet the Mural Kings
A viewing of acclaimed feature documentary TATS CRU: THE MURAL KINGS, followed by a Q&A with exhibiting TATS CRU artists (BIO, BG183 and NICER) and Director Mark Kotlinki. At ArtsWestchester’s Gallery.
For tickets and additional gallery events: visit artsw.org/fromthestreets or call 914-428-4220.
A version of this article first appeared in the April 2017 issue of ArtsNews, ArtsWestchester’s monthly publication. ArtsNews is distributed throughout Westchester County. A digital copy is also available at artsw.org/artsnews.
Photo caption: Artist Crash at work on a mural (photo courtesy of the artist)