EKG, Futura & Os Gêmeos, gilf!, Icy & Sot, Invader, Jordan Betten, José Parlá & JR, KATSU, Kenny Scharf, Kobra, Phlegm and Stikman
Chelsea, New York — Summer 2013 — The Street Museum of Art (SMoA) has returned to New York for the launch of its summer exhibition — Breaking Out of the Box — currently on view throughout the streets of Chelsea. Appropriating the public work of EKG, Futura & Os Gêmeos, gilf!, Icy & Sot, Invader, Jordan Betten, José Parlá & JR, KATSU, Kenny Scharf, Kobra, Phlegm and Stikman, SMoA’s current exhibition focuses on the power of placement and its significance in defining street art.
Referencing Brian O’Doherty’s 1976 essay “Inside the White Cube,” Breaking Out of the Boxhighlights the dichotomy between traditional exhibition methods and the contemporary street art movement. Artists working on the street today are consciously breaking away from the “non-spaces” of galleries and museums to coincide with the urban terrain. O’Doherty argues that the defining characteristics of the “white cube” environment — clean, static, artificial, and inornate — become as much a determining factor in our interpretation of the art exhibited within this setting as the actual work itself. When we encounter street art, the surrounding city inevitably becomes an essential element. Unavoidable noises, demanding visual stimulation, even the questionable smells of New York City become equally as important to the work’s completion as any wheat paste or spray paint used by the artist. Breaking Out of the Box explores the difference between two very distinguishable art viewing experiences— considering the importance of both.
With over 300 galleries located in one area, there is no better neighborhood to demonstrate this distinction than the epicenter of New York City’s commercial art world. As summer officially begins to heat up and galleries close their doors for the season, SMoA is taking over Chelsea with an alternative exhibition experience that breaks away from the omnipresent “white cube” standards. Street art’s anti-traditional, DIY spirit calls for both artists and institutions to think outside the box and embrace innovative ways in which art and life can coexist. By appropriating the work of graffiti writers, muralists, street artists and more traditionally trained painters working within the public realm,Breaking Out of the Box emphasizes that it is not necessarily the artist but the environment in which we experience their work that defines “street art.”