Fifteen years ago, graffiti artist Crook was on his way to prison for writing his name on walls. Today, his art is in a museum. The events may seem mutually exclusive, but Miami’s outlaw street art folklore is intrinsic to the city’s identity. That’s why HistoryMiami, the coolest Smithsonian-aligned cultural institution in the world, has hosted its street-art exhibition, “Some Like It Hot,” like a summerlong aerosol fever dream. Included in the examination of Miami graffiti culture are Dos Alas’ black-lined Henry Flagler, appearing like a mirage amid the hurricane swirl of the infamous MSG (Miami Style Gods) wall of fame; Atomik’s smiling Florida orange; Quake’s explosive palette; Abstrk’s distinctive linework; and Pucho’s indelible technique. Graffitihead-turned-gallery artist Brand Opalka curated the show, and 20 prominent local artists combined forces to create the exhibit. The visual uppercut is an honest representation of pictographic archaeology and an appraisal of its current relevance. Vice President of Curatorial Affairs Michael Knoll hopes it will spur conversation about street art. “We’re not here to say if it’s good or bad,” he says, “but it’s definitely happening, and presenting it is part of our mission to explore the now.”
Aug. 8-10, 2014
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