"a BEAUTIFUL LOSER: Barry McGee"

by jaredmoshe
March 11, 2008 3:33 AM
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With the world premiere of BEAUTIFUL LOSERS (www.beautifullosers.com) at SXSW, I'm running a continuous series on the artists in the film. Today is an article from Swindle Managazine about Barry McGee

Other artists blazed the trail that brought graffiti from the urban landscape into galleries. But no street or graffiti artist who came before Barry “Twist” McGee had executed the transition with such finesse. Born in San Francisco in 1966, a city he continues to make his home, Twist began painting graffiti in 1984 at the age of 18. He began showing his work in local galleries, slowly building a following, and, in 1991, he received a Bachelor of Fine Art in painting and printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute. This was quickly followed by grants and fellowships—one notably sent him to Brazil, where he observed clustered framed artworks displayed in churches. McGee incorporated this presentation style into his art shows, which brought a kinetic, urban immediacy to the staid gallery space. As he earned an increasingly prolific presence in the “established” art scene, Twist continued to remain relevant to the street art movement. He was featured in the prestigious Venice Biennal in 2001, and now, his work often sells for hundreds of thousands of dollars. His immense popularity has helped legitimatize the street art genre, paving the way for superstars like Banksy and SWINDLE’s own Shepard Fairey. And still, he hits the streets with his illegal graffiti, where his pieces rarely get painted over by other artists—though city cleaning crews frequently buff over his work. As his work in galleries rises in value, his work on the street is considered an eyesore by the general public. This is an irony that seems to fascinate Twist. As he told PBS’s Art 21, “There could be a rooftop that is just sitting dormant for a while, and someone goes up there and does an amazing piece of graffiti… Main Article
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