By Susan Michals Susan Michals Car by Kenny Scharf from the Art in the Street event.
Who knew Justin Timberlake and Jake Gyllenhaal were such big art fans? Art in the Streets, a history of street art and graffiti, is running at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Los Angeles, and recently held a party that featured the two aforementioned actors in tow. The exhibition, brought to you by MOCA director Jeffrey Deitch and co-curators Roger Gastman and Aaron Rose, gives viewers a detailed and often entertaining historical timeline, as well as a healthy dose of artful eye candy showcasing installations by 50 artists, ranging from the always clandestine Bansky, to Brazilian twins Os Gêmeos and Shepard “Hope” Fairey. The show is a visual rollercoaster of color, attitude and history from floor to ceiling – starting with tricked out cars by Kenny Scharf and the late Keith Haring.
Street art has gotten a bad rap over the years, and some cultural experts have resisted recognizing it as a legitimate art form, let alone one worthy of a retrospective. Deitch’s show will undoubtedly help to continue to erode that view, if the thousands of people standing in line this weekend to get in is any sort of indication. and the crowd – like the art on display – was a real cross section – from tattoo laden locals to a surprising overabundance of celebs. Justin Timberlake hung out in the Banksy room with Seth Rogen. Jake Gyllenhaal made the rounds with niece Ramona and his mom; Gwen Stefani and husband Gavin Rossdale chatted with Shepard Fairey along with Drew Barrymore, and the ultimate New York gal, Rosie Perez held court with her boyfriend, artist Eric Haze.
Born and raised in NYC, Haze has been making his mark in the street art world for over 30 years. he was seminal in defining the look of Hip Hop – some of his most recognizable work includes designs for Public Enemy and the Beastie Boys. he was also the first street artist to create the look that would ultimately become street wear. Perez grew up surrounded by street art, and for her, witnessing this show flooded her with emotion. “I was there in the beginning,” said the actress. “When I came in here (to the MOCA show) I was overwhelmed; it takes me back to the time when this was all new and people still didn’t know about this or even really hip hop. They used to say hip hop was music for black people, but it’s for everyone. That goes for street art too – it’s art for everyone.”
The show runs through August of this year, then heads to the Brooklyn Museum in 2012. Needless to say, according to Perez, Broadway can’t be far behind.
Art in the Streets, Geffen Contemporary at MOCA runs through August, 2011.