NEW YORK, NY.- West Chelsea Contemporary
(WCC), the world-class art gallery offering museum quality 20th century and contemporary art in Austin and New York City, is presenting Concrete to Canvas, the second annual exhibition celebrating the artists born from the graffiti and street art movements. Epic in scope and visceral in feel, Concrete to Canvas began with private viewings on October 28, and opened to the public October 29.
With works by over two dozen artists, spanning over four decades, Concrete to Canvas features the stylistic range, immense influence, and immersive experience of street art. Graffiti pioneerssuch as CRASH, Delta 2, and DAZEcreate studio works that both pay homage to their roots and represent the diverse aesthetic they found within the movement. Contemporary street artistssuch as RETNA, OSGEMEOS, and Swooninvite viewers into their unique private universes while exploring themes of language, allegory, and activism. While not typically identified with the street or graffiti movements, Yoshitomo Naras intervention at Niagara, a Lower East Side dive, prompts new perspectives on how studio artists are compelled to engage with public space.
Remaining true to its art for all mission, WCC shares the rich history of graffiti with its New York audience through this exhibition. The movement appeared almost overnight in the 1970s, with cryptic signature tags scrawled across New York City on subway cars, basketball courts, and building facades, and quickly became one of the most influential movements. In fact, graffitis integral impact on the landscape of contemporary art has led graffiti historian Roger Gastman to describe it as the biggest cultural art movement of the last 50-plus years. Often political and deeply personal, this form of self-expression established itself apart from the typical white cube, asserting that art can function outside of systems of law and property: democratic and accessible to all people regardless of race, age, gender, and economic status.
Graffiti quickly evolved from branding walls into design-focused and intricate pieces. By the end of the 1980s, its influence extended across fine art, marketing, politics, hip-hop, and more. As the subversive culture of graffiti boomed across the globe, the term street art became a catch-all for visual art created in the public domain. White originally inherently illegal and powerfully subversive, the popularity and shifting conversation over the medium led to an increase in commissioned murals across the world.
Today, with artists transitioning from the street to studio, street art has come to embrace everything from traditional media - such as painting and prints - to innovative media like vinyl toys and fashion collaborations. WCCs placement of street art works in the gallery setting contributes to shifting coded perceptions of the genre and solidifying its place in the history of art.
Concrete to Canvas will be open to the public and can be viewed at West Chelsea Contemporary (231 10th Ave., NY 10011) through December 23. For more information, please visit https://wcc.art/ or to book an appointment please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.