This week’s Modern Art Notes Podcast features Barry McGee, whose mid-career survey is on view at the Berkeley Art Museum through December 9.
Several years ago McGee began to make gallery installations that extended out from museum walls and into the surrounding space. McGee calls them “boils” and is quite fond of the way that imply accumulation, bulk and a kind of build-up of transgression. We talked about his “boils” on this week’s show, including this installation McGee created for the 2008 Carnegie International and this piece that SFMOMA acquired in 2009.
McGee emerged over 20 years ago as a precocious tagger named ‘Twist’ who left graffiti throughout the Bay Area. He took his visual language not so much from art history, but from other graffiti artists, comic books, traditional hobo markings and more, and used it all to take aim at the ownership of public space and the mostly corporate advertising that was increasingly filling that space in booming 1990s San Francisco.
Now after finishing with ‘Twist,’ McGee has emerged as an important figure in street-driven art. The BAM survey of McGee’s career was curated by director Lawrence Rinder and assistant curator Dena Beard. The show is open through December 9.
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Image: Barry McGee, Untitled, 2009. Collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.