“Art in the Streets” at MOCA, The Geffen Contemporary, in 2011 saw the beginning of museums opening their walls and exhibition space to the burgeoning street art community. The who’s who of the international street art scene were present at that show, past and current. We’re talking Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Kaws, Retna, Futura, Lee, Fab 5 Freddy, Os Gemeos, Barry McGee, Steve Espo Powers, Todd Reas James, Neckface, and these are just the artists off the top my head. “Vitality and Verve” seem to be looking to tap this niche as well.
“Vitality and Verve” isn’t as expansive or audacious in scale as “Art in the Streets”, but it is in the same vein. LBMA (@lbmaorg) invited artists in the street art scene, like Saber, Nychos, and Tristan Eaton, as well as artists from what is being called New Contemporary, like Esao Andrews and Audrey Kawasaki, to paint the white, blank museum walls as they pleased. The result is what you see below. This is LBMA’s second foray into these particular art scenes, the first being “Masterworks” in October, 2014. From speaking with LBMA staff, it sounds like “Vitality and Verve” won’t be the last show of this kind at the museum.
What we’re going to try to do in this post is to walk you through the exhibit as if you were walking through the museum yourself. In Part Uno, we’ll explore the first floor of the museum.
The first piece that you see is “Promiscuous” by Hot Tea (I really hope he enjoys hot tea, @hotxtea), which is various colored yarn hanging from the ceiling. Hot Tea manually hung each piece of yarn from the ceiling one by one.
Walking through the entrance to the first major wall, you will find Saber (@saberawr)’s contribution, “Too Many Names”. Overlaid on top of an American flag in gray and white is a long list of names of some of those who were killed in police shooting over the last year. Saber says, “The list of names is too big to fit into this piece.” Hector, which is written in large blue letters using a fire extinguisher filled with paint, refers to Hector Morejon, an unarmed 19-year-old shot to death by Long Beach City police officer responding to a vandalism call during daylight on April 23, 2015.
In front of the Saber mural is another Saber piece, this time on a traditional canvas medium.
On the other side of the wall in front of the Saber mural is 18 12×12 pieces by various artists in the Thinkspace Gallery family. None of these are new as they were exhibited back in February of this year with Pow! Wow! in Hawaii.
This next one is “Imago” by Esao Andrews (@esao). I started following Esao only in the last year or so when I heard his interview in David Choe (@davidchoe, @davidchoe2, @davidchoe3)’s DVDASA podcast. Episode 89 in Saga 1, if you’re interested in listening to it. This was my personal favorite from the show and hopefully a piece of his will find its way into the BDAB collection soon. Esao has a group show, “Gilded Age”, coming up with Aaron Horkey and Joao Ruas in September. BDAB will definitely be in attendance at the upcoming show.
To the right of the Esao mural is a large painting by Matt Small (@matt_small_7575). Matt Small hasn’t been too active recently and it’s good to find him still producing great work.
To the left of the Esao mural, you start to get a glimpse of the collaborative effort between Nychos (@nychos) and Tristan Eaton (@tristaneaton). They have complementary styles, and whoever thought to have these two work together has my “thank you”.
In front of the Nychos/Tristan Eaton installation is Brendan Monroe (@brendantheblob)’s trippy crevice. I didn’t get a good picture of it so we’ll let Thinkspace present it.
View this post on Instagram
'Envelope' from Brendan Monroe ( @brendantheblob ) – walk in and loose all track of where you are at. Magic. Vitality and Verve is made possible via a collaboration between the Long Beach Museum of Art ( @lbmaorg ) with Thinkspace ( @thinkspace_art ) and Pow! Wow! ( @powwowlongbeach ) V&V will remain on view through Sept. 27th. The LBMA is open Thursday through Sunday. Daily admission is $7. Hours of operation and full details at www.lbma.org #vitalityandverve #lbma #longbeachmuseumofart #thinkspacegallery #thinkspacefamily #powwowlongbeach #museums #longbeach #arts #art #history #brendanmonroe
Left of the Nychos/Eaton installation is a grouping of paintings from Esao, Brendan Monroe, and Tristan Eaton.
To the right of the installation is a grouping of paintings from Bumblebeelovesyou (@bumblebeelovesyou), Jeremy Fish (@mrjeremyfish), Eine (@einesigns), Ekundayo (@sorrowbecomesjoy), and Mark Dean Veca (@markdeanveca).
Across from the above group is a painting on canvas from the Mexican artist Curiot (@curiotli).
In the adjacent room from the Nychos/Eaton installation is another set of two huge installation, from Andrew Schoultz (@aschoultz) and James Bullough (@james_bullough). According to the museum’s placard, this Schoultz piece was painted from 2010 to 2015, a whopping 5 years.
Now this guy, this guy is just nuts. What medium do you think James Bullough used to paint this gigantic mural? It’s spray paint.
Across from the mural is an oil painting from James Bullough.
The last installation on the first floor of the museum is from Audrey Kawasaki (@audkawa). Not a very surprising piece from her considering this is a museum show, but nonetheless a strong piece.
In Part Dos of BDAB’s visit to LBMA, we’ll take you to the second floor of the museum to see Aaron Horkey, Nosego, Alex Yanes, Low Bros, Jeff Soto, another impressive Andrew Schoultz, Meggs, and Craolo’s walls.