I was in the Wynwood area of Miami driving to go to a soccer game my Bf was playing in got lost and dropped right into what used to be some of the most dangerous areas of Miami. Lo and behold , my god , Art everywhere. Graffitti of the best level. A few days later I walked to meet my cousin Toniko for lunch and ran smack into the mural the uber talented David Cooper did for Trendy studios . I worked with him at Siempre Mujer and was literally blown away by his talent in grafitti art. He did a piece for Sprite, if you havent seen it look it up its up there with the best. There was Retna, Kenny Scharf, Boxi, Space invader. All the illegally put up offerings. There was rumored to be a Banksy which we didnt see. Shepard Fairey has exploded all over the walls at the Wynwood Kitchen and Bar ( incidentally the food is really good too) and in the back a series of courtyards including a labrynth with even more provacative pieces.
It reminded me of the art scene in Paris 1920’s , when audiences cared so much about Art , dance, and music, they rioted after seeing the Sacres de Printemps. Or got Riotous after Picasso’s Bordel d’Avignon.
Art since the 70’s has become the domain of the elite, isolating and very difficult to understand for those that did not get an art school education. Piles of shit ( literally) , Expelling stomachs that result in a pile of compacted synthetic poo in a jar to buy ( remember this in Germany and then it got gas and started flatulating in the museum), uncomfortable flesh like latex used to construct flanges and objects and then people ask what does it mean? And despair to find meaning in it, in this contrived universe of forced ideas. Where has the passion gone?
My mentor introduced me to an elderly painter who was from the Picasso era in Paris. He was rough, ballsy, and talented . He left the urbane sanctuary of my mentor’s house in huff after being told to get his shoes off the couch to go drink and pick up women. Artists were the unrepenting rock stars of their times. Full of passion, piss, and vinegar.
Enter the graffiti artist. I was unaware of this movement till my younger brother opened my eyes skating around the city, he showed me the city as I hadn’t seen it before. As an even younger grom he had written Fairey to help spread the OBEY message and put up Fairey posters around Montpellier. Kenny Sharf was a childhood friend and had painted my brother a motorcycle helmet way before Gap had him paint shirts. I had been so caught up in the elite Art world that I missed the art world that was happening right before me. Keith Haring and the like was alive and well in the works of Banksy. These kids were taking risks to make their voices heard. You have to admire that kind of dedication.
Blossoming on the side of Art Basel’s Art elite was the even more vibrant street art underground festival.
I once said that Hip hop would save the world, giving a common language to different levels of societies , demographics , and the downtrodden in all countries . It also gave them an outlet with which to make themselves heard. Pakistani hip hop, Cuban hip hop, Palistinian hip hop, Israeli Hip hop , South African hip hop. Worth checking out. www.slingshothiphop.com were the girls that turned me onto this. Young kids using music to speak out against the things that have been imposed on them. Not the Arab traditional roles for women or the war. I will expand on this later.
So the same I say for you. Art world, this baggy jean and sweatshirt wearing crew just may be the thing that saves you from extinction.