Art in the Streets – Sk8 Life

The Active Team finally got a chance to check out the Art in the Streets Exhibit at MOCA, in Los Angeles. The show opened on April 17th, and will run until August 8th, when it will move to NYC. The scope of this show is almost impossible to grasp, unless you have had the opportunity to see it with your own eyes. Art in the Streets, may be one of the most important group shows we have ever attended.

Organized by MOCA Director, Jeffery Deitch, and co-currated by Roger Gastman and Aaron Rose, Art in the Streets, is packed with some of the most celebrated and controversial artists of our generation, tracing the history of Pop-Art, traditional graffiti and street art back to its roots, during the late 60s/early 70s. We have been to hundreds of exhibits, that cater to this subversive style of art, but this show, and the sheer magnitude of prolific talent, trumps them all. From Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat to Stephen Powers and Shepard Fairey, the scope of works created and cataloged are beyond impressive.

We thought it would be fun to hone in on some of the skate and surf influences that were showcased, as these against-the-grain subcultures have always fed off of each other. Please keep in mind, this is only a snapshot of the show, we could sit here for DAYS, calling out artists that impressed us.

One of the first installations we encountered (made possible by Nike SB) was designed by artist Geoff McFetridge and legendary pro-skater Lance Mountain. This fully interactive, highly graphic, mini-skate park, was put to the test during a media preview, as members from the Nike SB team, including Eric Koston and Brian Anderson, skated it throughout the day. Also on display were the Paper Dunk High’s designed by McFetridge, which are composed from an original piece of the artist’s work. Only 24 of these kicks were made, and they will be auctioned off on May 26, 2011, with all proceeds going towards the MOCA Foundation.

Top to Bottom, Left to Right: Geoff McFetridge + Lance Mountain, Geoff McFetridge for Nike

Surf culture on the West Coast, also played a pivotal role in the development of graphic styles adopted by artists in this scene. In 1972, Zephyr Surfboard Productions, a surfshop in Venice Beach, was formed by Jeff Ho, Skip Engblom and Craig R. Stecyk III. An original member of Dogtown, Stecyk was one of the first artists to combine elements of traditional Cholo graffiti with Surf and Skateboards, creating a completely new graphic language to experiment with. Also one of our favorite artists, the late and incredibly influential, Margaret Kilgallen, an avid surfer, was known for incorporating surf-related imagery into her artwork.

Top to Bottom, Left to Right: Craig R. Stecyk III, TRACY 168, Surfboards by Barry McGee and Todd James, Stephen Powers, Margaret Kilgallen,

Skateboarding and graffiti go hand-in-hand, as both embody a true anti-establishment sensibility. In fact, a huge percentage of the art on display, was either created or influenced by Skateboarding. A few of our favorite pieces were the oversized mirrors by iconic pro-skater/artist Mark Gonzales, original Thrasher Magazines, a photo collage by Ed Templeton and the lurker alley by Neckface. Hugh Holland, Spike Jonze and Larry Clark also had some rather infamous photographs on display, rounding out the portfolio of influential skate artists.

Top to Bottom, Left to Right: Mark Gonzales, Thrasher Magazine, Hugh Holland, Ed Templeton, Powell-Peralta Decks, Neckface

Also, don’t forget to check out our coverage of Art in the Streets on WARNING! Graphic Content & DAILY DENIM DOSE [3D]

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