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.
In researching this week’s show, I learned that there were ads for the BAM exhibition on many of San Francisco’s MUNI buses. I asked McGee, who has long been vehemently opposed to the intrusion of advertising in public spaces, what he thought of the ads. He chuckled, provided a don’t-miss explanation of his thoughts on the corporatization of public space, and then told me that he’d quietly put out the word that it would be OK with him if the ads were tagged.
As you can see here (in images provided by a helpful tipster — click to expand), they have been… Check out MAN for more pix!
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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