Graffiti at the National Portrait Gallery

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Art galleries have been showing the work of graffiti artists for quite some time now. Right now, large graffiti pieces are also on display in the "hallowed halls" of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. The pieces, by Tim Conlon and Dave Hupp, are part of an intriguing new exhibition titled Recognize! Hip Hop and Contemporary Portraiture. Along with graffiti, it features the work of a poet, photographer, filmmaker, and portrait artist. Seen here, "AREK" "CON" (Montana spray paint on Sintra panel, 182.9 cm x 609.6 cm). From Smithsonian:

Since museum officials were hesitant about artists spraying paint directly onto the gallery walls, the works were instead executed off-site by two local artists, Tim "Con" Conlon, 33, of Washington, D.C. and Dave "Arek" Hupp, 34, from Baltimore, who have both been spray-painting (or "tagging") trains and bridges since they were teenagers. They boast quite the portfolio of street graffiti, or what (co-curator Frank H. Goodyear III) euphemistically calls their "noncommissioned works." Hupp estimates that in his peak he tagged about 400 freight trains a year, and Conlon's signature pieces, many of which feature TV's "Simpsons" characters, can be seen around the country. In fact, their street art has gone commercial, with companies such as Coca-Cola and Delta Airlines recruiting them for advertising campaigns to target the youth demographic. Even Maisto International, a die-cast toy company, had the two artists tag model trains last year. "People who think it is just vandalism are amazed when they see what we can do with spray paint," Hupp says.

Link to Smithsonian article,
Link to Regognize! site

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