Top 10 Street Art and Graffiti Stories of 2011

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Thu, Dec 22, 2011 at 7:00 AM
click to enlarge JR in L.A. - SHANNON COTTRELL
  • Shannon Cottrell
  • JR in L.A.

Yes, year-end lists. Not even street art is exempt. But hey, 2011 was a banner year for the Los Angeles street art and graffiti communities, as they enjoyed plenty of worldwide attention.

LA Weekly put together the ten L.A.-related street art and graffiti stories that we think were most remarkable in 2011. Please add your own in the comments below.

10. Shepard Fairey assaulted in Copenhagen

Ok, so we didn't promise all the things on the list would be uplifting. Shepard was visiting Denmark on behalf of V1, a notable local Copenhagen gallery that perhaps didn't do their homework in clearing an already controversial place for him to paint. Or maybe they didn't care -- it would get media attention. Particularly disturbing was that a few European "anarchists" though it would be fair to beat up and injure an artist to make their point. Love Fairey or hate him, it's never okay to kick the shit out of an artist because of his work. Know history.

click to enlarge SHANNON COTTRELL
  • Shannon Cottrell

9. Risk and Retna paint a house for Heal the bay

Wow. Property Owner and Graf Artist team up to create the piece of the year. An entire house in Santa Monica painted mostly in secret by Risk and Retna in honor of Heal the Bay's coastal cleanup day. Three months of preparation includes a team of contractors, landscapers, most of the neighborhood and even some cops who chipped in for an astounding reveal that lasted a little more than a week. But, of course, not without hassle. Developer/art fan Adam Corlin puts his money (and his house) where his mouth is to benefit his favorite charity. More please. (See number 3)

  • Gregory Bojorquez, courtesy of MOCA

8. Brooklyn Museum cancels second leg of "Art in the Streets"

It was a sad day for art fans in New York and the Brooklyn Museum. In an email sent to participating artists from the museum's director, Arnold Lehman, the East Coast was officially denied the best-attended exhibit in MOCA's history. Not to mention the fact that it featured a heavy contingent of Big Apple talent like Futura, Lee, Basquiat and Ramellzee, known for inventing a generation of the very art movement it celebrated. Do we think the usually risk-taking Brooklyn Museum was bullied out of doing this show? Sure. Does the economy suck for museums dependent on donations and public funds? Yes. Despite some trumped up tagging in the Little Tokyo neighborhood, L.A.'s world didn't end. Expect New York to host an amazing version of the show in the near future. There is money to be made.

click to enlarge SHANNON COTTRELL
  • Shannon Cottrell

7. JR wins the TED prize, brings "Wrinkles" project to L.A.

Activist/Artist/Frenchman/Photograffuer, JR brings "Wrinkles of the City," a series of his latest, office park-sized photographs to L.A. On the heels of his unprecedented $100,000 TED prize nomination, Los Angeles became the first U.S. city to host one of the street artist's full-scale projects. Perhaps his other location choices have been more poignant (the favelas of Brazil or the war torn villages of Somalia) but wheat pasting sky high elderly faces with furrowed brows as deep as the L.A. river might start a conversation in this mecca of plastic surgery. Most of the photos are still intact, so check out our exclusive Google map to view. You can still get involved in his TED sanctioned concept: insideoutproject.net. Do it yourself!

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