Ironically the entrance of large, mural-sized graffiti into the gallery has been accomplished not by graffiti writers, but by photographers. Organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, the 2007-8 traveling exhibition “Gordon Matta-Clark: You Are the Measure,” included Matta-Clark’s 1973 Graffiti Photoglyphs, photographic images, accented with paint, of the now legendary graffiti-covered New York City subway trains (seen above). In September, Chicago’s Kavi Gupta Gallery opened the 2009-10 art season with a solo exhibition of photographs by Melanie Schiff. Recently relocated from Chicago to Los Angeles, Schiff presented photographs that featured LA graffiti writers’ work along forlorn storm drains and culverts. Though graffiti is one of many elements in Schiff’s work, it is clear the photographer understands graffiti’s visual potential.
Melanie Schiff. Hellroom, 2009. Digital c-print. 20” x 16”. Edition of 1/ 5 with 1 AP. Image courtesy of Kavi Gupta Gallery.