LA Graffiti Legend REVOK Crosses Over to the White Cube
Can street artist thrive in a commercial gallery?
As the latest street artist to crossover into the white cube, legendary—some would say notorious—Los Angeles graffiti writer REVOK will debut his first ever works on canvas in Los Angeles on October 22.
The works for the show were created by the artist using both his familiar graffiti utensils such as spray cans and markers, as well as graffiti removal tools such as paint rollers and industrial grade airless paint sprayers. It’s an ironic homage to the characteristically transient outdoor art form, as the art in this case has been painted with the intention of displaying it indoors.
The show also includes six works which the artist painted on blank aluminum street signs that REVOK sourced from the same supplier that makes LA’s street signs, which he used to regularly deface illegally.
The exhibition’s title, “SYSTEMS,” references both the physical and mechanical elements of REVOK’s artistic process. Although his work is painted by hand, REVOK relies on the carefully-controlled precision of his painting tools, which include rollers, spray cans, and other mechanical devices.
“SYSTEMS” is plit into four groups of works: “Loop Paintings,” where the artist a custom roller tool to evoke Frank Stella’s geometric abstractions; “Instrument Exercises” where the artist used a custom tool designed by mechanical engineers to use eight spray cans at once; “Anti-Paintings” where REVOK paints the names of deceased friends and then removes paint using the same methods as city workers removing graffiti; and “Self Portraits” where he stretches industrial drop cloths that have been on his studio floor for periods ranging from five months to two years.
REVOK’s “SYSTEMS” is on view at the Detroit-based Library Street Collective’s Los Angeles pop-up space in Mid-City (Castelli Arts Complex, 5428 W. Washington Blvd.), October 22–November 12, 2016.
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