“Street Art, Street Life: From the 1950s to Now” was an exhibition curated by guest curator Lydia Yee at the Bronx Museum in New York from September 14, 2008 to January 25, 2009.
Usually associated with graffiti, the label “street art” actually embodies a wider range of practices brilliantly covered by this exhibition.
From street photography, to documentation of performances and ephemeral actions, videos, and art objects made from found materials, the show included works by Robert Frank, William Klein, Jacques de la Villeglé, Yoko Ono, Vito Acconci, Martha Rosler, Sophie Calle, Nikki S. Lee, Francis Alÿs among others.
I especially appreciated the work of Francis Alÿs, the information on the Fluxus tours in New York and Robin Rhode’s piece.
My greatest discovery was Tehching Hsieh‘s performance work, for its hardship, invisibility strategies, integrity and radicality.
Tehching Hsieh accomplished several one year performances (Cage Piece, Time Clock Piece, Outdoor Piece, Rope Piece and No Art Piece), meticulously cataloguing and recording the entire process.
In the Outdoor Piece, 1981/82, he lived one year in New York without ever entering an enclosed space or a city building, with exception for one night spent in jail. In the Rope Piece, he tied himself to another person with a 2,4 meter rope and stayed in the same room, unallowed to touch each other for a whole year.
“Street Art, Street Life: From the 1950s to Now” joins works which directly address street struggle, the indistinguishibility from art and daily life, the blurring distinctions between art and non-art, artist and audience, at the same time offering a ground for the critique of the institutions of art.