“The true significance of ‘Art In The Streets’ was greater than the actual show. Above and beyond any individual’s work, the exhibition heralded the value and importance of the graffiti ‘movement’ in an unprecedented way, leaving a permanent imprint on art history that we will continue to evolve from for years to come.” —Eric HAZE, Artist
ART IN THE STREETS
Street art has its coming-out party.
Calling Art in the Streets a blockbuster exhibition is something of an understatement. Yes, it drew record crowds to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles (the exhibition ran from April 17 to August 8). But it was also tailor-made for blog-fueled hype, extending the force of the installation well beyond the eyes that caught it in person.
Curated by Jeffrey Deitch—recently named MoCA’s director after years as a pioneering gallery owner in New York City—and graffiti historian Roger Gastman, Art in the Streets offered a comprehensive look at the global rise of graffiti and the international scene the New York–born urban art form spawned. It documented the emergence of legends like ESPO, HAZE, and KAWS from the Big Apple, followed by new faces such as FAILE and SWOON. BANKSY and JR came from Europe, and San Francisco contributed Barry McGee, who moved from the streets to the galleries. San Paulo’s Os Gemeos pioneered a new breed of graffiti in Brazil, helping to round out the international scope of street art.
All of these figures played a role in Art in the Streets. Their artistic passion and unique aesthetic also forged unprecedented museum and brand collaborations with Levi’s and Nike. This propelled the exhibition beyond the blockbuster and into a cultural phenomenon that outlived the run of the show. —Nick Schonberger
The resurgence of a streetwear staple.
Snapbacks weren’t invented in 2011, but that was when they reached a new level of prominence in the streetwear world. Beyond Tyga and Chris Brown’s “Snapback Back” song, streetwear brands like Stüssy, Supreme, and HUF had all dropped myriad interpretations of the cap. Often emblazoned with antiquated logos of NBA and NFL teams, the throwback game was dominated by Mitchell & Ness, who garnered even more street cred when Don C. remixed the snapbacks with genuine snakeskin, which became an instant hit with Kanye West, Jay-Z, and others.