Monday, May 19, 2008
I'm a fan of the San Francisco graffiti artist Barry McGee - work pictured above - and we went to a show of his at a local museum over the weekend.
I was a T.A. for an art class at BYU when he came and spoke as part of the visiting artist lecture series (D came to the lecture and became a McGee fan as well). His lecture was the most memorable of the series - my first exposure to the theory behind many graffiti artists (not all of them, some are just vandals.)
During his lecture McGee discussed the interesting relationship between graffiti artists and the general public - something an artist exhibiting in a gallery or museum does not have because of the small portion of the general public that enters the museum. The immediacy, both of production and removal, of graffiti art was something I had never thought about - and how different it is from an artist working primarily in his studio.
He also discussed the complexities of living in urban centers - the pressures and constant stream of imagery, primarily via advertising, that is part of urban life. For many, graffiti is an outward expression or release of those pressures - a voice.
Anyway, Barry McGee is a giant in the contemporary art world and I love reading his interviews. Some of his graffiti friends consider him a sell-out because he left his graffiti roots and entered the mainstream art world, but McGee continues to champion the "artists of the street" and expose the many complexities of art production and consumption.
We went to the McGee show with our artist friend Carleton Christy. D and I have been friends with him since our undergrad days at BYU. Carleton got his MFA at Long Beach and teaches drawing and printmaking at various colleges in SoCal. One of his works hangs in Little S's room. At lunch, Carleton gave us a gift of 2 of his recent works! I'll post pics later - we love them and are going to get them framed for D's office.