Today, graffiti and street art is an integral part of all urban aesthetic landscapes. Street artists, also known as writers, are often invited to create original works for walls & storefront gates, which are a source of pride for many local business owners. On a grander scale in New York, it is the celebrated wall at the intersection of Bowery & Houston streets – where by invitation only different street artists are encouraged to create complex murals. These compositions are highly anticipated and receive global media coverage.
However, graffiti was not always celebrated. In New York It exploded in the 1960’s as an act of defiance and a public expression of deplorable urban conditions– defacing public spaces, including and most popularly, subway trains. But as the styles of these writers evolved it became more of an art form that was accessible young urban artists. Elaborate compositions covered entire exteriors of subway cars with “crews” claiming specific subway lines for their exclusive use. Despite many efforts by cities and government agencies, the street art movement grew and the writers prevailed.
Over the years graffiti art has moved from the streets to the white-cube of the gallery and has reached a wider audience in the sphere of fine art but the sentiments have remained the same. Artists are using their vision to both adorn and vandalize the urban landscape but also to deliver their very personalized message. Tagging one’s name on a wall is not only a way to brand and market the artist but to increase a following that will define the message. They saw the city as a canvas and wanted to say their piece and say it out loud.
The graffiti movement is both re-appropriation and revolution. It is an established form of art that is still palpable and meaningful today. For this, the consequence and legacy of street art and graffiti are undeniable.
Dorian Grey Gallery presents an exhibition spanning thirty years of pivotal graffiti artists and writers whose work have helped define the medium and style. Featured works include such iconic New York names as Keith Haring, LA 2, Futura, Richard Hambleton, COPE 2, & CRASH. International artists such as Bansky and DOLK are paired with the modern innovators XAM, SeeOne, Penn & AVone.