Do you like Street Art? I Sure do. Whether you’re already an avid fan of street art, or are just curious about, and open to, getting schooled on the evolution of this rather phenomenal genre of pop culture, you have through the final weekend in September to immerse yourself in an ambitious, but temporary, street art museum called Beyond the Streets.
Beyond The Streets is a celebration of society’s most pervasive mark makers and rule breakers with unprecedented purpose and scale; inside these walls you will find a collection of stories and works by artists past and present who have helped to propel graffiti and street art to extraordinary heights. Works from more than 150 of the world’s leading graffiti and street artists from past and present are represented, alongside cutting-edge contemporary artists and pop culture icons. The exhibit spans two full floors on the footprint of an entire city block, in a newly-constructed high rise office building on the waterfront in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (the views alone are worth the price of admission).
Beyond The Streets explores the collective urgency of using the street as a canvas for expression, and while the subject matter varies and the mediums are many, it is in the public sphere where these messages find a home.
The story starts more than 50 years ago, in the mid to late 1960s, when the contemporary concept of graffiti took shape in the streets of New York and Philadelphia. Disenfranchised youth, inspired equally from boredom and ego, started scrawling their names and monikers everywhere, spawning copycats and competition.
These early acts of letter-based marks, created in both marker and spray paint, became monumental when repeated on a global scale.
People have long taken to the streets to share a name, phrase, image or cause with the world around them to force a public discourse. Streets act as the symbolically important public stage that is both local and universal, the bedrock for both public protest and anonymous action.
The streets also act as a tool for civic engagement and activism, and Beyond The Streets includes figures who have used their art to unite the oppressed around a common cause. As it is so often said, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” and simple gestures in public spaces can quickly galvanize a movement, raising awareness of an issue and resulting in change.
For some, the streets were a starting point to evolve their message and style. Pushing their craft in figurative, illustrative, realist or abstract directions, they turned their energy and experience toward more traditional settings. For others, graffiti was never an origin, but an inspiration. Elements of graffiti and street art can be found across music, fashion and contemporary art, all helping this culture to proliferate further.
Beastie Boys Logo By Cey Adams
The Beasties Boys have multiple galleries dedicated to their music, memorabilia and hip hop legacy. If you’re a fan, you won’t want to miss it!
Beyond The Streets affirms a truth that cannot be overstated: Graffiti and Street Art would not have become what they have without New York City! Let’s take a look at a selection of the thousands of pieces of art — including sculptures, paintings, posters, flyers, installations, photography, and other ephemera that you’ll see in this fantastic exhibit!
Friendly docent Lynzy gently reminds a pair of enthusiastic young ones that there is no touching of the art!
Check out this crazy thing: the Magic Touch Porch Tattoo Parlor installation by Bert Krak and Alexis Ross. So cool!
Art Above and Below By André Saraiva.
The politically-themed art of Shepard Fairey gets a huge amount of space in the exhibit (see below). All his stuff is great.
Beyond the Streets is all kinds of crazy fun, and there is so much more on display than what I’ve had room for here. We spent close to three hours exploring the exhibit, just taking our time and looking at everything, but you could easily make a full afternoon of it if you really wanted to read all the stories and take a ton of selfies (there are many excellent selfie opportunities that I didn’t cover here, but trust me that the exhibit is infinitely Instagram-able). I’d suggest allowing a minimum of two and one-half hours inside the exhibit. Plan your visit now!
Beyond the Streets Runs Through September 29th, 2019 and is Located at 25 Kent Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY (Take the L Train to the Bedford Stop and Walk about 10 Minutes). Tickets are $25 for Adults and Kids Over 12, $11 for Kids Aged 6 to 11, and Free for Kids Aged 5 and Under. Visit This Link For More Information Such as Hours, Discounts, and to Purchase Tickets!
Art Above and Below By Faile (Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller)