Art In The Streets @ The MOCA

July 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

No LA culture collective is complete without a review of the season’s most controversial happening—Art In The Streets at the MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary.  Featuring a range of artists from Blade to Basquiat to Banksy, the show presents itself as the first “major U.S. museum survey of graffiti and street art,” and is certainly America’s largest street art exhibit. The brainchild of Museum Director and chief show curator Jeffery Deitch, the AITS show is jam-packed with artists spanning many graffiti periods from early hobo street art to LA Chicano art.  It also includes contemporary artists like Shepard Fairey, a name most households recognize for his famous Hope Obama print.

            Upon entering the show the viewer is overwhelmed by the massive scale and volume of work within four white museum walls.  It is easy to spend several hours in the exhibition and still miss a good deal of what the show offers. Highlights include the Cosmic Fun Zone, a hallway with blasting disco music, black lights, and floor-to-ceiling neon trinkets.  Neckface recreated a dark inner-city alleyway complete with a live hobo (actor) who jumps out of the shadows and scares visitors.  And of course no graffiti show is complete without Banksy, whose work includes an actual steamroller, surveillance cameras that mimic chirping birds, and a graffiti stained-glass window created in collaboration with a Los Angeles elementary school. 

            Other highlights include the AITS’s impressive list of partners. Nike, one of the largest sponsors, created a special-edition shoe for exhibition and currently funds live skaters to skate bi-weekly on ramps near the front of the exhibition.  Levis also made a grand appearance at AITS with a free film workshop open to the public whenever museum doors are open, offering classes by famous videographers.  Additionally, Juxtapoz devoted an entire issue to the exhibition as a mini exhibition catalogue.

            Despite its attempt to be a comprehensive survey of graffiti, the show has received major criticism from the Los Angeles art community. While the show is visually stunning, critics find the show to lack a comprehensive presentation of contemporary graffiti movements.  Additionally, though the museum is a show of “the people’s art”, all graffiti that appears in the museum without museum permission is promptly removed at closing.  The greatest source of controversy may stem from an event that occurred four months prior to the show’s opening—Italian artist Blu was invited to paint a mural on the exterior of the building but when his work proved too controversial, the museum whitewashed it and requested a different mural.  Blu refused and withdrew from the exhibition.

            Regardless of criticism, the show is a landmark exhibition for Los Angeles and will be one of the most discussed shows this decade.  It is a must-see for anyone devoted to Los Angeles culture and contemporary art.


Art In The Streets runs April 15 to August 8 with free museum admission every Monday.

Written by Amanda Evans


Featured Photographer: Laura Taylor

June 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

Here at the 138, we love our local photographers. We want you to love them too. So, from time to time, we will pick some of our favorite images from one of our favorite LA photographers, and show them to you.

Today we present Laura Taylor. Based in Los Angeles, Taylor provides a personal experience for her audience. Upon viewing her images, we are welcomed into tender, intimate moments by way of soft light, and softer portraits. She locates herself in Southern California – her work is peppered with beaches and palm trees and cars and warm sunsets. Her work can be seen on her website, the darling life, or on her blog.

Written by Corey Vaughan, Staff Writer

Covered: The 5th Annual Design for Humanity Charity Event

June 22, 2011 § Leave a comment

The 5th annual Design for Humanity event, hosted by Billabong, began just like any other summertime L.A. block-party – only significantly bigger. The event raised over $100,000 for VH1’s Save the Music campaign and was a smashing success on all fronts – a massively successful art auction curated by Daniel Chang, a cutting-edge fashion show by Billabong design director Mandy Robinson, food provided by The Burnt Truck and a stellar musical performance by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes.

     For this year’s DFH event, Mandy Robinson used VH1’s Save the Music as an inspiration for the fashion show. Many of the garments hearken back to 70’s/80’s rock n’ roll culture and the entire line kept a strong sense of cohesiveness using music as the inspiration. Keeping in-step with the Save the Music idea, Edward Sharpe played a satisfactorily long, instrumentally heavy set and allowed audience participation at many points. Alex Ebert, frontman for Edward Sharpe, holds a stage presence and energy that is unsurpassed by other artists in the genre.

      Daniel Chang and AR4T Gallery curated an art show featuring notable artists such as Tara McPherson, Jeff Soto, Dave Kinsey and The Clayton Brothers. Other events, such as live surfboard shaping, break-dancing and a DJ, solidified the evening as a fantastic way to kick off the summer season and brought the creative communities of Southern California to one location for the beginning of what promises to be a year of innovation, community and hope for the future. 

Written by Austin Ranson, Staff Writer

Photos by Seth Johnson

Artist Feature: Photographer Michelle Mosqueda

December 11, 2010 § 1 Comment

Artist contact:

In the Gallery: Sander Jackson Siswojo

December 11, 2010 § Leave a comment

Coming to the Gallery 12/13/10

Local artist, Sander Jackson Siswojo, has a show opening on December 13th at the Biola Art Gallery. Come out for some food, drinks, and great art. Reception starts at 7!

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