Beyond the Streets NY Showcases Graffiti and Street Art

Beyond the Streets NY Showcases Graffiti and Street Art

Beyond the Streets, New York’s massive graffiti and street art exhibition, opened its doors to the public yesterday. Hit the summer show before it’s gone.

Beyond the Streets, New York’s massive graffiti and street art exhibition, opened its doors to the public yesterday. Hit the summer show before it’s gone.

Text: Teddy Willson

New York City’s role in the history of graffiti and street art is indisputable. The once unconventional artwork was a pervasive aspect of underground youth culture, then and now. That is what makes the city the perfect place host part two of Beyond the Streets. The massive, 150-artist exhibit, which occupies two floors of the swanky waterfront workspace at Twenty Five Kent in northern Williamsburg, is a collaboration between street art buff and lead curator Roger Gastman and Adidas Skateboarding.

Beyond the Streets, which had its debut in L.A.’s Chinatown neighborhood last summer, was a natural collaboration for the two. “Graffiti and skateboarding share a very parallel history,” said Cullen Poythress, Senior Communications Manager for Adidas Skateboarding. “A lot of the artists featured in the show have collaborated with skateboard brands. A lot of the graphic language and visual graphics that they produce end up on the bottoms of skateboards.”

As for Adidas’ role in the graffiti and skate cultures, Poythress declared the brand’s three-stripe and trifold logo the “unofficial badge of the movement.”

One of Beyond the Street’s larger attractions is its impressive depository of all-things Beastie Boys. The hip-hop group that dominated much of the ’80s and ’90s played a large role in the development and popularity of graffiti—just look at their logo. The Beastie Boys project began when Gastman curated vitrine cases for Adidas Skateboarding that supported the group’s book tour. The 2018 Beatie Boys Book is a 30-year retrospective filled with never-released, archival photos and stories. Beyond the Streets’ Beastie Boys exhibit is a continuation of that project.

Throughout the exhibition’s maze of artwork are eye-catching pieces of street art’s past and present. If you’re not already impressed by the sheer artistry that these nonconformists can achieve with nothing but a few bottles of spray paint, then Beyond the Streets will do a 180 on that perspective. Some artists made original pieces for the exhibit, while others recreated some of their best, most iconic artwork in a format suited for the indoors. This means you’ll see anything from canvas prints and spray-painted walls to decked out, temporary rooms and cargo train models.

If art is meant to conjure up a reaction within, then consider graffiti the crack of all art. No matter the form—geometric patterns, simple graphics, ludicrous caricatures or bubbly glyphs—street art is always witty, always fresh and usually a touch ironic.

Originally members of a civilization of outlaws, rebels and so-called punks, many of these artists have become household names, including the outspoken Shepard Fairey, with whom Gastman founded Swindle magazine, POSE and Takashi Murakami. Each artist’s work is featured in the exhibition, alongside that of another 147 artists.

Beyond the Streets, with its unruly spirit and remarkable array of artwork, is bound to be New York City’s hottest attraction of the summer.

Take a peek at the exhibit below.

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