Thirty years ago when the NYPD declared war on graffiti via a vandal squad, laws restricting the sale of paint to minors, and guards posted at subway yards it would have been difficult to imagine odes to the spray can at a highbrow international fair such as Art Basel. But these are different times, and corporations such as IBM and Sony pay graff crews to design murals that garner the firms street cred as well as dollar signs. The folks behind Sushi Samba-sponsored Graffiti Gone Global, a yearly urban art exhibit running parallel to Art Basel, understand how to straddle this divide.
Far from trying to co-opt street murals into a corporate advertising scheme, the organizers give underground artists from all over the world room to scrawl their visions and messages to a wider audience without threat of a paint-over job. Curated by Venezuelan artist Cristina Gonzalez of She Kills He, this years Fresh Produce theme features dozens of international artists such as the London Police, Revok, and Erik Otto. Theyve been invited to showcase their tags and designs in Dutch duo Haas & Hahns large-scale sculptural installation, which resembles a Brazilian favela. Can graffiti go mainstream without losing its soul? Judge for yourself this Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at 70 NW 25th St. in Miamis Wynwood Arts District.
Thursdays-Sundays, 11 a.m. Starts: Dec. 2. Continues through Dec. 5, 2010