From September 16 to October 2, Library of Arts and Le Grand Jeu present “Crossboarding”, highlighting Italy’s infatuation with Graffiti Writing and Street Art from the ‘60s through the present day.
The result of a colossal research project by curator Christian Omodeo, co-founder of Le Grand Jeu, “Crossboarding: An Italian Paper History of Graffiti Writing and Street Art” is a journey through an Italy passionate for urban art. From exhibition catalogues to magazines, photo books, and academic papers, the works profiled in the exhibition echo the country’s deep interest in Graffiti Writing, urban writing, Street Art, and “muralism”, starting with Sardinia’s colourful walls.
Collecting an ensemble of works published in Italy or by Italians on the subject, the exhibition catalogue is a veritable bible of urban art, presenting 120 publications selected by Christian Omodeo. Each notice is accompanied by photos, a description of the book’s contents, and a bibliographic notation. An exhaustive biblography completes the catalogue, bearing witness to the appearance and expansion of movements, their development towards legitimacy, and their role in the debate around urban art forms.
Like its catalogue, the exhibition also celebrates the dynamism of a local scene relatively unknown in France.
Why Italy? Simply because the country has proven to be a pioneer, often at the very avant-garde of the urban art movements. The exhibition and its catalogue chronicle Italian Graffiti Writing and Street Art’s touchstone moments, each bearing an effect that has been felt beyond the country’s borders. The two first books on American graffiti were written by two Italians in the early ‘70s, one in Los Angeles and one in New York; Italian curator and art critic Francesca Alinovi, at the end of the decade, championed the first institutional exhibiton in Europe dedicated to Graffiti Writing, a movement followed by galleries and publishers, who early on began publishing works on major American figures in the genre (Phase II, Chaz Bojorquez, Barry McGee, Aaron Rose...).
Francesca Alinovi was also one of the first to recognize the capacity of urban artistic practices to engage in “crossboarding”, moving beyond the frontiers. Standing at the border of art, these forms pushed the limits and dealt with the constant questioning of their legitimacy. Graffiti Writing and Street Art also played with geographic frontiers, and with the arrival of the Internet created a space for debates between artists on a global scale.
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