Beyond Graffitti, a Look at an Evolutionary Process

March 31, 2015 4:13 PM

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This past weekend the Architecture + Design Museum launched an exhibition, Beyond Graffiti II, across the street from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Some of the artists in the exhibition included Axis, Atlas, Chaz Bojorquez, Aise Born, Phantom, Krush, Dreye, Defer, Kofie, Fishe, Eder, and a few others. I heard a few people mention how interesting it was to have an architecture museum host a concept related to art that originated in the decadent streets, however, the relationship between architecture and graffiti, and between architecture and muralism in Los Angeles, dates back to the Great Depression. In 1932, the Chouinard Art Institute hired the famous Mexican muralist, and dedicated communist painter, David Alfaro Siqueiros, to teach a class on fresco technique, which would result in the creation of a mural done with the help of enrolled students. After several days of pondering where the mural would be executed, Siqueiros decided on an outdoor mural since space constraints caused limitations. Moreover, he also saw himself in one of the most progressive and resourceful cities in the world, on the cusp of technological advances and experimentation, thus his radical views would transfer to radical techniques. When he decided on an outdoor mural he proclaimed, "Traditional fresco technique is dead!" considering it had been done that way for about one thousand years. And so... the outdoor mural was born, here in Los Angeles, with the title, Street Meeting. The renowned architect of the building, Richard Neutra, was consulted by Siqueiros, in regards to drying surfaces, paint brush, and concrete finish, subsequently; the spray gun was introduced to produce the best result, precursor to spray paint.

Shortly thereafter, Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler, and other renowned architects of the era were contracted to develop master plans and as consultants to create the first housing projects in Los Angeles, as a way to create outdoor villages, mostly for Mexicans and Mexican Americans who according...

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