Your basket is currently empty!
Saatchi Gallery is set to host its most comprehensive graffiti and street art exhibition to open in the UK, with over 100 international artists featured in Beyond The Streets London. The show, supported by Adidas Originals, will take over all three floors of London’s iconic Saatchi Gallery, showcasing the powerful impact of graffiti and street art worldwide.
Curated by graffiti historian Roger Gastman, Beyond The Streets London examines the fundamental human need for public self-expression, highlighting artists with roots in graffiti and street art whose work has evolved into highly disciplined studio practices alongside important cultural figures inspired by this art scene. The exhibition features new works, large-scale installations, original ephemera, and extraordinary fashion, providing an exceptional opportunity to explore the history and evolution of graffiti and street art.
The exhibition will be divided into chapters, each exploring exceptional moments in the history of this artistic movement. For example, visitors will explore the socio-political turmoil of the late 70s and 80s, where the decline of cities met creative resistance in the first chapter, ‘Music & Art Converge’. Youth culture responded by painting graffiti on walls and public transport, creating art that reflected and reimagined the times in an explosion of expression on the streets.
The chapter features works including FUTURA2000’s legendary 30 ft. painting, made on stage with The Clash, displayed along with the unparalleled contributions from Malcolm McLaren, MODE2, and American photojournalist Martha Cooper. Visitors will also be encouraged to browse and enjoy music at Trash Records, an interactive installation within a fully recreated record shop.
Saatchi Gallery will showcase a wall of Jenny Holzer’s truisms, Henry Chalfant’s photography of NYC train writers in action, and AIKO’s timeless stencilling of delicate silhouettes and Gordon Matta-Clark’s extraordinary archive of graffiti photography in rooms exploring the birth of graffiti-like never seen before. In addition, the ‘Dream Galleries’ chapter focuses on a selection of American and European originators, photo documentarians, and cultural icons who helped contextualize and spread graffiti culture worldwide.
In the ‘Legends’ chapter, visitors can experience iconic works from legendary NYC artist Eric HAZE, a torchbearer for generations to come; a new large-scale painting by abstract expressionist artist José Parlá; advertisement posters by KAWS, a prominent creative force; and unique ephemera by Keith Haring, one of the most famous street artists of the 1980s. The exhibition will also feature works commissioned specifically for this exhibition by graffiti trailblazers Shepard Fairey, LA-based activist, and FAILE, a Brooklyn-based artistic duo taking over the streets of NYC since the late 90s.
In the ‘Larger Than Life’ chapter, visitors can experience a site-specific large-scale installation by LA-based icon Kenny Scharf, presenting the largest to date Cosmic Cavern, an immersive and interactive installation of Day-Glo paintings, ephemera, and reused materials found in the streets of LA. This chapter will also feature the signature puppet characters made from recycled materials by Paul Insect, one of London’s original street art pioneers.
The ‘Timeline’ chapter takes a deep dive into street culture history through archival photography, ephemera, and fashion to contextualize the cross-pollination of influences across music, style, and film. This chapter will also include a giant wall vinyl by the infamous feminist collective Guerrilla Girls – a deliberate nod to the fact that most street and graffiti artists, and indeed most well-known artists in contemporary art overall, are men.
The exhibition’s closing chapters consist of ‘Social Commentary: Graffiti as a message’, ‘Art with Conscience’ containing works by hip-hop pioneer Fab 5 Freddy, and; ‘Consideration Into Innovation’ showcasing Lisbon-based artist VHILS, who innovatively utilizes repurposed materials to reimagine city walls. In the final chapter, ‘The Next Phase,’ visitors will engage with new op-art works by Valencia-based artist Felipe Pantone, whose high-contrast, geometric patterns continue to challenge perspective, resulting in a distinctive aesthetic of the digital age.
Beyond The Streets London promises to be a visually striking and thought-provoking exhibition that explores the role of graffiti and street art in shaping the cultural landscape. From the defiant train writers to powerful large-scale muralists, the exhibition showcases the evolution of this art form and its impact on society.
With each chapter highlighting a different aspect of graffiti and street art, visitors will be immersed in this fascinating movement’s history, culture, and creativity. The exhibition is a must-see for anyone interested in the intersection of art, music, fashion, and social commentary.
Beyond The Streets London opens at Saatchi Gallery in February. Take advantage of this opportunity to explore the most comprehensive graffiti and street art exhibition to open in the UK. Admission Saatchi Gallery Members Go Free. Tickets from £10. Tickets are available to book now.
Main image: Fight Back. 1972. Photo courtesy of the estate of Roger Perry