Orchestrated by curator-collector-consultant Roger Gastman, the ticketed event, which opens to the public May 6, will examine mark making and rule breaking. Gastman knows a good deal about both, having caused a ruckus last week by rallying artists to boycott H&M after the Swedish chain challenged copyright protection of street art with a lawsuit in a federal court in New York. Within 24 hours of his Instagram call-to-action, the fast fashion retailer withdrew its legal complaint and pledged its support to artists.
The ties between graffiti and fashion remain strong. Balenciaga’s fall runway featured a graffiti-covered mountain, Christopher Bailey’s final Burberry collection included neon graffiti looks and Coach hooked up with the Keith Haring Foundation for a collaboration. The latter also enlisted street artists such as Crash, SUCH, WhIsBe and Tats Cru to create 13 murals for an outdoor project. Gastman said, “Fashion is constantly looking at the streets to see what the new cultures are, what the kids are clamoring towards, who has more followers now on social media and who are the underground stars. Over and over that’s become visual artists – graffiti and street are in a sense in your face whether you want them to be or not. People like that, especially the younger people who are being looked at as – I hate the word – tastemakers. They love this stuff.”
When Beyond The Streets bows in a 40,000-square-foot space at Werkartz, work from Maripol, Jenny Holzer, Shepard Fairey, Takashi Murakami, Dash Snow, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Stephen Powers and others will be among the 100-plus graffiti and street artists whose work will be featured in the project. Additional big-name artists will be featured in the indoor-and-outdoor venue as the weeks progress. There will also be a handball court and fully-skateable recreation of the Venice Beach graffiti spot and Kenny Scharf’s day-glo installation. “Education through entertainment” was a key motivator “because people want to take photos with things and people want to look at great art so why not at the same time teach them about the birth of graffiti and street art and where it’s gone.” Gastman said.
Gastman expect 100,000 people to visit the venue, which will include a gift shop with limited run items including an Adidas Skateboarding capsule collection. Another one of his Los Angeles attractions, “Art in the Streets” at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) with Jeffrey Deitch reeled in a recordbreaking 220,000 people. As Beyond The Streets’ partners Adidas Skateboarding and Stoked Mentoring will be teaming up to help introduce kids to art and skateboarding. Adidas Skateboarding will also send them home with a few gifts. Each week children will tour the museum, take a skateboarding lesson from an Adidas-sponsored pro skater in the replica Venice Pit and then take part in an artist-led workshop. Martha Cooper, Stay High 149, Kilroy Was Here and KC Ortiz have pitched in for the project.