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Recap: (Re)Print Street Art Exhibit at Hendershot Gallery
Megan Youngblood returns to the pages of Boogie to review the latest show at the Hendershot Gallery. Have a gander!
There is a misconception floating around in pop-culture that I wholeheartedly blame on hipsters. The misconception is as follows: all that is popular, critically-acclaimed, or trendy is horrible in quality.
The irony is that being hip is a trend. This whole individuality/trendy dichotomy is epitomized by a certain store which mass produces clothes to look like thrift store finds, sells them to the hip, liberal and trendy “individualists” and then donate a portion of profits to the Rick Santorum campaign.
Street art and the aesthetics associated with it are trendy, and will be the art trend associated with “the noughties” the same way graffiti is to the 80s or Surrealism to the 20s. However this is not to discredit it. Street art is a reflection of the political climate, and, aesthetically, the bold lines, graphic shapes, and vibrant palette make for interesting work.
Hendershot Gallery’s newest show (Re)Print presents a collection of prints created by street artists. The oblong characters of Labrona, the graphic shapes of the helicopters dropping hearts in Gilf’s “To Tehran with Love” (also on the facade of the Little Cupcake Bakeshop), and the electric-colored collage by Judith Supine quickly remind viewers of some of the art world’s current big names: Barry McGee, Banksy, and Shepard Fairey.
As with most street art, the pieces in (Re)Print exude the underlying angst, nostalgia and uneasiness of our era. Large-scale portraits of a man in a robber mask with glitter-filled hearts as a background create a contrast between this intimidating-looking subject matter and the simple, doodle-like hearts. The helicopters flying over a city-scape and dropping hearts also creates this same tension.
The gallery walls were “Occupied” as well, with positive and negative shapes used to illustrate scenes from this year’s Occupy protests. Even in the pieces which do not directly depicting a scene from Oakland or Zuccotti Park possess that sense of restlessness captivated by the movement.
Artist “OTHER” presented a wall filled with small-scale hand-carved linoleum prints on 100% cotton paper. Many of these prints used the train as a subject matter. Although this is not directly tied to Occupy, it does show the restlessness that has come to define American youth (the same restlessness that catapulted the Occupy movement into being this fall). The idea of always desiring a new adventure, a very Jack Kerouac desire to explore, and an insatiable itch for new experiences is an American sentiment that stretches from the days of the Wild West or Huckleberry Finn right up to the present. “Occupiers” are not the first restless youth of America, just the current one.
The gallery will be shifting work throughout the summer, bringing in new pieces as they are created. This is an accurate reflection of street art: ephemeral and evolving.
Because of the aforementioned hypocritical hipster manifesto, I feel the need to defend the art at this show. Although it is trendy, and it is current, saying this is not meant to imply that it is stale or uninteresting. In fact, the work succeeds conceptually and technically, and will be visually stimulating to viewers with varying levels of art interest.
Also, the prices are reasonable. Buyers can purchase pieces for less than a mass-produced dress from Urban Outfitters (some of the pieces are priced under $90). And, to add to the appeal, there won’t be 150 other people buying the exact same thing. How about that for originality.
-All photos by Megan Youngblood