Thirty years ago, when the NYPD declared war on graffiti via a newly-minted vandal squad, it would have been difficult to imagine odes to the spray can at a high-brow international art fair. But these are different times, when crews who did stints for vandalism can now get paid by corporations to draw up murals that garner IBM and SONY "street cred" and dollar signs. The folks behind Sushi Samba-sponsored Graffiti Gone Global, a yearly urban art exhibit running parallel to Art Basel Miami Beach, understand how to straddle the mid-point. Far from trying to co-opt street murals into some corporate advertising scheme, they 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
year's "Fresh Produce" features work from dozens of international
artists arranged on a large-scale sculptural installation by Dutch duo
Haas & Hahn that resembles a Brazilian favela. Can graffiti go mainstream without losing its soul? Judge for yourself among these five pieces that will debut at the event.
Twin brothers from New York City Ad and Droo are best known for their
"When Dogs Fly" project -- thousands of wooden silk-screened, hand-cut
sneakers tossed over power lines around the globe, mimicking the popular
symbol of change represented by real kicks dangling from a line in the
'hood. Several of their street scene murals like this one will be up at
2. Erik Otto
Hailing from the Mission District in San Francisco, Erik Otto works with
reclaimed paint and materials. His work has been exhibited in New York,
Los Angeles, Portland, and Vancouver before arriving at the Magic City.
Augustine Kofie AKA Kofie'One has been a part of the west Los Angeles
graffiti scene since the mid '90s. He describes the murals he's drawn up
all over the city as composed of "organically complex structures and
heavy earth-tone palettes [that] develop into a multilayered,
architecturally inspired world that is a vintage futuristic realm not
subject to gravity."
Victor Reyes, who simply signs "Reyes," is another Cali graff artist who
has shown his work all over the world. His pieces were last seen at an
exhibition with Wynwood mainstays Primary Flight titled
"blue.print.for.space" at Art Basel 2009.
5. Eames Inspiration
A bunch of Eames molded plywood chairs painted-over by graffiti artists
from all over the world will be also be on display. SushiSamba purchased
the works at an auction benefiting a creative mentorship program. They
originally belonged to Barneys, where they were part of a window display
designed by Simon Doonan.