Gainesville’s first ever urban art exhibition of living internationally recognized street artists occurred in Thomas Center on Friday, June 9th. The exhibition was considered a success. Plenty of people visited, among them local graffiti writers and muralists.
The Uncontainable exhibition is an unprecedented and groundbreaking collaborative effort to introduce some of the best and most renowned urban artists to Gainesville. There’s no doubt that it is pivotal in the reshaping of this city. – Guido Montenegro, a local artist.
The roots of urban art can be traced to late 20th century graffiti – the stealth ‘writing’ and tagging on buildings and train cars documented in Philadelphia and New York. The early stage of the movement represented a kind of adolescent anarchy and was considered as blight and prosecuted as vandalism. Illegal graffiti nonetheless had its admirers – and a hierarchy of accomplishment elevated some of the “writers” as early heroes of the movement.
The exhibit features a collection of work of twenty-six globally recognized urban artists, some of which has never been exhibited previously and is up for display through September 9, 2017.
| AHOL SNIFFS GLUE | AXEL VOID | BETZ | CHRIS STAIN | DOZE GREEN | EL MAC | ELBOW TOE | ETAM CRU | EVOCA1 | FAILE | HOW & NOSM | INVADER | JUAN TRAVIESO | LOGAN HICKS | MARS-1 | MICHAEL REEDER | OS GEMEOS | RETNA | REVOK | RISK | SAINER | SHEPARD FAIREY | STINKFISH | SWAMPY | SWOON | THE LONDON POLICE | VICTOR REYES |
UNCONTAINABLE is curated by Anne E. Gilroy, Curator of the Thomas Center Galleries, and Craig O’Neil, founder of the National Institute for Urban Art (NIUA). Craig O’Neil has answered us some questions:
How did you come up with this idea?
The idea for the show came up in passing. As collectors, we have always wanted to share our collection with the public. The city had an opening and we figured we would try to put a show together. As we pushed back the opening, that put the upper Mezzanine into play, so we worked hard to secure work to ensure we could fill both spaces.
How did you pick the artists?
Anne Gilroy, our curator came down to view our collection and largely had the curatorial control. We were able to add in a few pieces here and there based on our own vision, but Anne did most of the work and really did a spectacular job digging into the culture and understanding what was significant.
What were the goals and expectations?
From a high-up view, our goal was to share the work we love with the general public. We have a passion for urban art, and we want people to experience that emotion, find things they love and explore the movement. More specifically, we wanted the older cultural community in Gainesville to grasp urban art, understand the context of the 352walls program, and begin to look at things like tags, and burners with a more critical eye, not just a vandalism driven one. secondly, we wanted to engage the younger community in Gainesville, which has long had a creative energy but often didn’t interact with the more mature cultural institutions like The Hippodrome and the Thomas Center. So by all accounts, I think the exhibit was a success.