Street & Sign Language Shows at Woodward Gallery

ArtCal just posted my take on the “Street Language” (featuring Matt Siren & Darkcloud) and “Sign Language” (various artists) show at the Lower East Side’s Woodward Gallery.

Some bits from my review:

The problem is that removed from the city, these sanctioned works don’t edit as much as decorate. Robbed of their “natural” context they look design-y. That’s not to say they aren’t good, but their success is in spite of the gallery context. The works themselves are small and suffer from the choke hold of their diminutive size.

About the illustrious Darkcloud:

Darkcloud is the poet laureate of the street artist set. He can’t hide his painterly tendencies in his street work, which often consists of painted stickers that look like they were grafted from a larger composition. His outdoor work doesn’t easily strike up a conversation with neighboring street art. His cloudy brand offers up a small patch of meditation in a sea of urbanity, like haikus on a newspaper page.

The skinny:

The paired exhibitions offer insight into the direction this marriage of street and gallery may lead, namely harnessing the allure of an illegal activity into a tamer commercial setting. If this “art whispering” is to be successful, not only will the artists need to adapt but so will the galleries.

Check out the whole article here.

3 responses to “Street & Sign Language Shows at Woodward Gallery”

  1. You show a inexplicable bias toward street artists in this review. Why only implicate the gallery as the commercial whore in this scenario? Aren’t these artists as guilty of cashing in on their rising fame as the galleries that represent them? I’ve never seen a group of artists – and I use that term loosely in this situation – gain so much notoriety for such shallow ideologies, which they in turn roll over on as quickly as they would their grandmother, to make a few bucks, but more importantly to legitimize themselves with the institutions they are supposedly indifferent to.

  2. I feel I’ve been critical of “street artists” in the past…check out my article titled THE VERY PUBLIC LIFE OF STREET ART but remember that when the cubists practiced collage in the early 20th C. or the dadaists during WWI exhibited found objects people thought they were just pulling a fast one. Nowadays we don’t think so.

    The conclusion I’ve come to is that we can’t lump them all together…some street artists are con artists while others are quite talented and eager to explore new terrain.

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