Art in the Street: A Hipster Lament

Today we went to the Museum of Contemporary Art to see an exhibit of graffiti and street art. Little did I know it was The Place to Be, with a long line of hipsters waiting to get inside the museum.   My husband and I thought “Fuck this” and decided to leave , just as we saw my adopted son Chris and his girlfriend Ada walking toward us.

It was wonderful to realize that we crypto-hipsters all gravitate to the same places. Ada became a museum member to help us avoid the long line for non-members.   The guy who helped her had 14 piercings in his face.

The exhibit was crawling with people who could each qualify as a piece of graffiti art. The was no air inside, where the temperature hovered near boiling point. Everyone was madly taking pictures of the art and each other. You had to dodge the  iPhone  flashes as you tried to avoid screwing up someone’s photo op.

I complained to my husband in a non-stop whine, but he’s learned to live with this. I objected aloud to a wall of Shepard Fairy crap, noting “Shepard Fairey is a fucking punk!” and thereby quoting my own self. I loved the cars and some black and white photos of Chicano homies. But most of it seemed boring and outdated, like break-dancing only less dimensional. Shuffling along the narrow passages between makeshift rooms, I felt like a character in “Hi, Mom.”

I wondered what would happen if someone broke out a can of spray pain and graffiti’d the graffiti.

Out in the street, an even longer line of hipters stood sweltering. I said to my husband: Haha, look at them. We walked to a Yogurtland, where a pretty girl sitting next to me blabbed about her reality show and insisted to her morbidly obese friend that what she really wanted to do was “make art.”

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24 Responses to Art in the Street: A Hipster Lament

  1. Witch Moma says:

    I’m 57, a painter/graphic designer/art educator. The Art People have never been like the Business/Science people. That’s a given. The trends come & go SO QUICKLY now, (Manga, Street, Film, Installation, Body art, etc.) it’s possible for Museum shows to be dated/tired. Also possible to miss a trend entirely. With students, I try to look beyond the trends & support skill/knowledge development. Just as I’m a product of the 60’s & 70’s, these kids will be a product of their formative years. There is a fashion parallel here! Another form of art, some to be dismissed & some taken seriously. Great ideas come from the young/right/left & gravitate to the middle. It’s all ours to choose. Or become irritated with.

  2. honeypants says:

    Standing in front of a graffitied car suits you; you look gorgeous in that photo. But yeah, I hate large gatherings period. Are hipsters really any worse than preppy frat boy types and their fake blonde, fake tan girls? Or whatever large demographic gathers together?

  3. Daniel in Mexico says:

    You look good in that photo!

  4. kt says:

    I totally saw you at the exhibit yesterday! I was on the second floor and hanging by the railing when I saw you near the cars down below. I didn’t want to appear like a crazy or a creep, rushing down and through the crowds to say “hi.” :/

    Yesterday was my second viewing, as my bf came in to visit from NY and I figured he’d want to see it so we could complain about it together. We thankfully lucked out, because when we got to the line and saw how horrendous it was, we were walking away to leave when two guys randomly walked up to us and gave us their tickets. It was so nice, I think I’m still shocked by that having happened.

    I think it’s weird that people still argue about the relevancy of graffiti when it was already argued about and determined “significant” about 30 years ago. I have a tight knit group of friends who, since about middle school, have crafted their own graffiti art, and who are all amazing artists. Most have gone the art school route, and are now illustrators and other fine artists. But I love that they still go out and do pieces for their own enjoyment and as a means to connect with others on a spontaneous level. Anyway, I hated buying into the hype of the exhibit, but I figured, I couldn’t successfully complain about it until I actually see it.

    One last rant: I once visited a friend’s silk screening class at a community college back in 2003, when Fairey gave a demo and talk. He basically told the class that what he had established for himself, is something very unique, and can’t really be imitated. In short, good luck, but don’t think you’ll rise to the top like me doing this. He was a total turd about the whole thing.

  5. Ann says:

    Lovely photo, Sister!

    As for the exhibit, I would have gone to see it and I wager that I also would have bitched incessantly about its contents and patrons. However, I can appreciate that at least there was a forum for this goodness to be showcased. Some unfortunate souls never get to see such coolness in person.

    Shepard Fairey: UGH. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

  6. Ah-Duh says:

    Now I feel especially cheated knowing you went to Yogurtland!

    As a side note, I did exit through the gift shop and picked up some amazing books which include “Cholo Writing: Latino Gang Graffiti in Los Angeles” and “Letters to Live By Vol #2.”

    I think the best part of the exhibit was ashort I watched about Zevs – a french visual attack artist. Check him out.

  7. tartandtreacly says:

    Being a total dork, I don’t know what any of the following means:

    Shepard Fairey
    “Hi, Mom”

    (Plus, it’s kind of weird experiencing graffiti art in a museum setting, isn’t it? Like eating Frito pie at a gastropub instead of a gas station, I’d imagine.)

  8. Andra says:

    Ha ha. Smiling again in the photo.

  9. Cricket9 says:

    I dunno about Shepard Fairey, but you do look great!

  10. Cricket9 says:

    Oh, OK, I do know – Shepard F. of of the “Obey”, Andre the Giant etc.! MUST be terribly passe by now. I do love Banksy tough – mostly because he has something to say and, it seems, doesn’t take himself too seriously.

  11. Tallulah Eulallie says:

    Daaaaaang, girl. You don’t even need those gold sequinned pants to look hot!

  12. Sister Wolf says:

    Witch Moma – Many good points, thanks!

    honeypants – Wow, I hadn’t thought of that but you’re right. I’m going to think about which groups are most offensive.

    Daniel – Thank you! I’m having trouble with this photo, I feel I look like a fat woman of some obscure ethnicity but I posted it anyway.

    kt – Oh, I wish you could have said hi!!! I would have loved to meet you and plus, I would feel like Bryan Boy or Tavi! Re Fairey: god, what a fucker.

    Ann – One day we will go somewhere and bitch about it together. xo

    Ada- I want to see those books damn you!

  13. Sister Wolf says:

    Tartandtreacly – What’s Frito pie?

    Andra – xoxo

    Cricket9 – No one needs Shepard Fairey, ever. Banksy, I feel ambivalent about.

    Tallulah Eulallie – Oh thank you, I wish that were actually true.

  14. Andra says:

    Now you’re just fishing for compliments.
    You DO NOT look like a fat woman.
    Look at the Wal-Mart people if you want fat people!!!!

  15. Dru says:

    I don’t even know what a Frito pie is. Are they tasty?

    I must admit – I’m a philistine who hadn’t even heard of Shepard Fairey before the AP photograph he ripped off to create that image of Obama. Lots of artists are a bit of a letdown in real life, and he sounds like he must be one too.

  16. kate says:

    banksy or a banksy ambassador came through SF and did a bunch of rat paintings and stuff as promotion for “exit through the gift shop.” i guess that’s cool. sometimes i worry that nothing is cool anymore.

  17. annemarie says:

    I have a distant friend-of-a-friend connection to Fairy (heheh, not even going to correct that typo) and apparently he’s a total rich kid. I didn’t hear that he was a turd, but that’s ok- he’s a rich kid, therefore he sucks.

  18. Cricket9 says:

    “Exit through the gift shop” shows how the art – or maybe “art”? is fabricated. Fairy is an one-trick pony, IMO Banksy is in a different category.

  19. Why not just set the cars alight, like we do in London?!

  20. Jaimi says:

    Ughhhhh I just went to the most godawful exhibit here in Boston at the Institute for Contemporary Art and Shepard Fairey was featured prominently along with some other “street art” bullshit artists. There was also an exhibit called The Record all about contemporary art and vinyl and it was exactly as douchey and lame as it sounds. Seriously, some of these motherfuckers were trying to pass off cut up album covers from thrift stores as art. The only thing I liked was seeing David Byrne’s photo collage for More Songs About Buildings in Food in person — it’s huge and wasn’t digitally manipulated at all. And also this Japanese artist who made these absurd drawings about records which is exactly as serious as the exhibition ought to have been — not very!

  21. liz says:

    “I wondered what would happen if someone broke out a can of spray pain and graffiti’d the graffiti.”–ah ha ha! Imagine their heads exploding! I actually love street art, so I’m jealous of you.

  22. Juri says:

    Earlier this week, some gallery in Copenhagen invited Shepherd Fairey here to be worshiped in person and to paint a mural consisting of the word “peace” and possibly a dove. Tax payers of Copenhagen paid him $50 000 for materials.

    Sadly for him, the mural was to be painted on a wall at an empty lot which used to contain the now demolished “ungdomshuset”, a youth club ran by squatters from 1982 to its demolition in 2007.

    People of ungdomshuset, many of which are not that young any more, are rather religous about the site and have a habbit of harassing anyone attempting to “occupy” “their” land.

    Fairey’s mural survived less than 24 hours before words “no peace” and “yankee hipster go home” were sprayed on it.

    The following day he appeared among his disciples in some club in “the meat district” (ugh) and was punched in the head twice by someone. Then he flew home.

    When I read about it I couldn’t decide whether I should feel guilty or not for being amused with this clash of religions.

  23. drollgirl says:

    i am feeling the hate here. lol.

    when i went and saw the exhibition, i had very low expectations, and i knew the geffen would be ROASTING HOT (and it sure was), but i kind of loved it. the cars were the best things, by far. and i happened to see the douchelord director of moca sweating his ass off in a suit while trotting around a couple of hotshots and that made me REALLY HAPPY.

    note: i used to work for moca long ago (back when it had a director with a brain and FUNDRAISING CAPABILITIES, then later when they hired a fucking MORON named jeremy strick that basically ran the museum INTO THE GROUND). i support many/most of moca’s efforts and exhibitions (and many of the staff that work their asses off to make it happen), just because i love art and am pleased when anyone (even hipster doofuses) take the time to give art a whirl. yes, i am an art nerd.

    that being said, i wouldn’t say this was the best art i had ever seen, but it was fun. and the exhibition brought mucho dinero to a museum that is always on the brink of collapse, so i am pretty pretty happy about that.

    sorry for babbling on and on. you know how i can get. lol

  24. drollgirl says:

    i just thought of 49 more things to write, but i’ll spare ya. 🙂

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