McGee attended the San Francisco Art Institute, but he emerged as an artist outside traditional white-cube spaces. Instead: Over 20 years ago a precocious tagger named Twist started leaving graffiti all over San Francisco. He took his visual language not so much from art history, but from other graffiti artists, comic books, traditional hobo markings and more, and used it all to take aim at the ownership of public space and the mostly corporate advertising that was increasingly filling that space in booming 1990s San Francisco.
Now after finishing with ‘Twist,’ McGee has emerged as an important figure in street-driven art. The BAM survey of McGee’s career was curated by director Lawrence Rinder and assistant curator Dena Beard.
Among the topics McGee and I discuss are:
- How a street-driven artist changes when he’s in his 40s and is raising a daughter;
- Why it is important for McGee to make sculptures that represent the act of tagging itself;
- How he got himself into a little bit of trouble with some freelance tagging at BAM; and
- His plans for the ads that the Berkeley Art Museum has placed on Bay Area MUNI buses.
On the second segment. Jim Campbell joins me to talk about Exploded Views (at right), the huge light installation he’s made for SFMOMA’s atrium lobby. (That JPEG is hard to ‘read,’ so check out this SFMOMA video and this Hosfelt Gallery slideshow-and-video instead.) The piece takes off from Campbell’s 2010 installation in New York’s Madison Square Park, Campbell’s first foray into representing a two dimensional moving image in three dimensions. This fall Campbell will receive SFMOMA’s 2012 Bay Area Treasure Award. Previous honorees include Mark di Suvero, Wayne Thiebaud and William T. Wiley.
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The Modern Art Notes Podcast is an independent production of Modern Art Notes Media. The program is edited by Wilson Butterworth. The MAN Podcast is released under this Creative Commons license. For images of the works discussed on this week’s show, click through to the jump.
Installation views of “Barry McGee,” on view at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive from August 24 through December 9, 2012. Photo: Sibila Savage, ex. the final picture, which is by Styrous.