REVOLUTION OF ART
A new exhibition opening in Byron Bay on July 24 showcases the urban art phenomenon in a global context. Opening on July 24, on the eve of the Byron’s Splendour in the Grass Festival, Revolution of Art will bring together works from more than 60 invited Australian and international artists for a three-week exposition.
The select group of artists includes the well known, such as Kelsey Brookes (USA) and pop artist Denis Ropar (Adelaide), alongside young and emerging artists from Asia, Australasia, Europe and the US.
It’s the second year that Retrospect Galleries has held an urban art show.
Last year’s exhibition, Where Mighty Giants Dwell, caused a bit of a stir in Byron Bay, because, as Gallery Director, Bree Delian explains, it's not the sort of art that people are used to seeing in what is essentially a big country town.”
“For a start, it’s largely created in the city,” she said. “And it also brings ‘illicit’ street art such as graffiti and stencilling into the Gallery environment”.
“But this isn’t a new art movement,” she continued. “It’s just something that is new to the area.”
Delian recognises that the show is not likely to be everyone's cup of tea, but she says that Retrospect Galleries has a strong following of people that are really interested in this type of art, as a comment on broader societal issues and the voice of a new generation.
Over the past decade, urban art has become somewhat of a phenomenon. Works by leading graffiti artists such as England’s Banksy have become highly collectable, resulting in interest from Galleries the world over.
For example Banksy (whose actual identity remains a mystery due to pending incarceration), is top of the list of artists represented by Andipa Gallery in London’s Knightsbridge, in the company of Hirst, Bacon, Picasso, Chagall, Lichtenstein and Warhol. He has also recently been honoured with a major solo exhibition at Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery, called Banksy v Bristol Museum, which, he told bbc.co.uk, "Is the first show I've ever done where taxpayers' money is being used to hang my pictures up rather than scrape them off."
Delian says that Retrospect’s new exhibition will be bigger and better than last year, with more diverse work, to represent the range of styles that are developing under the urban art banner, including street art, pop art and more fine art forms such as collage, drawings, etching, mixed media, painting, photography, printmaking and watercolours, clothing, jewellery, zines and books.
“Some of the artists, such as Dennis Ropar, Johnny Romeo and Doug Bartlett have art degrees,” she says. “Others have no fine art background but are doing quite well as artists.”
“For example, Regan Tanamui, AKA Ha Ha who recently exhibited at GOMA,” she continued. “He’s a self-taught artist who started off spray painting stencils on the street. Eight years and 10 solo exhibitions later, his work is in the collection of the National Gallery of Australia.”
“All of the artists in the show have something to say about contemporary urban culture and that’s really interesting, especially when you can look at it in a broad international context,” she concluded.
Revolution of Art opens 6 - 9pm Friday July 24, with DJ Slinky, and a live aerosol demo with Sydney street artist, Bennett. It’s on for three weeks, till August 13. The show includes works by international artists Kelsey Brookes (USA), Ginza Lab (Japan), Glass Love (France), Oh Death (UK), Vilchez (Spain) Superboturbo (Netherlands), Rourke Van Dal (UK), Fawn Gehweiler (USA), Fake (UK) and Australian artists Denis Ropar, Doug Bartlett, Johnny Romeo, Regan HA HA Tanamui, Beastman, Justin Williams, Kareem Rizk, Kevin Tran, Brett Chan, Numskull, Miss Link, Bennett, Jeremyville, Timba, Rone, Henson, Troy Archer, Mia Taninaka, Snatchez, Dolores Cupcake, Snick, Darren Bryant, James McMillan, Christian Morrow, plus more.