Home Interior Design See inside a gargantuan display of Hong Kong graffiti and street art, stacked with works by Basquiat, Kaws, Futura, Lady Pink and more.

See inside a gargantuan display of Hong Kong graffiti and street art, stacked with works by Basquiat, Kaws, Futura, Lady Pink and more.

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When “City like Studio” opens today in Hong Kong, it will mark the arrival of the largest exhibition of graffiti art the city has ever seen. Spread across the K11 Musea shopping complex, more than 100 works trace the breathtaking trajectory of graffiti, springing from New York’s subways and Los Angeles’ freeways to emerge as a global art and market force.

The exhibition is curated by Jeffrey Deitch, the artist, writer and gallerist who is not only the last to introduce graffiti art to Hong Kong, but is most likely the first.

Deitch, who became close to the genre’s leading artists in the mid-1970s when he moved to New York, had accompanied Dondi, Futura and Zephyr to Hong Kong in 1982. The artists painted a parking lot, which eventually became the I Club, marking the Wild Style pioneers’ first-ever visit to Asia.

Fab 5 Freddy, Return of God to Africa (1984). Photo courtesy of the artist.

Conserving “City as studio“I wanted to focus on artistic innovators and include artists whose influence continues to be felt,” Deitch told Artnet News.

Hence the inclusion of downtown New York practitioners such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Rammellzee and Kenny Scharf, Wild Style innovators such as Futura and Lady Pink, and Los Angeles personalities such as Chaz Bojórquez and Mister Cartoon. Today’s street art scene is also represented by works by Kaws, Aiko, JR and Osgemeos.

Deitch himself is delighted to present a number of paintings by Martin Wong, the Chinese-American artist who documented New York street life with poetic realism and an avid collector of graffiti sketchbooks.

Martin Wang, Untitled (Boy’s Bike) (1997-98). Photo: © Estate of Martin Wong, courtesy of William Lim c/o Living Limited, Estate of Martin Wong and P•P•O•W, New York.

Although the exhibition is launched in time to coincide with Art Basel Hong Kong, it also marks the 50th anniversary of hip hop, of which graffiti is a key element. Alongside the works,City like Studio” collected historical photographs of Henry Chalfant and Martha Cooper to situate this art form in the then-burgeoning movement. Its curator also had the opportunity to reflect on the continuing influence of graffiti, and therefore hip hop.

“I begin my catalog essay with the observation that the Wild Style graffiti that was invented by teenagers in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan might be the most influential art movement since Pop art,” Deitch said. “You see street art around the world influenced by these innovations. The three related creative forms: hip hop, wild style graffiti and breakdance defined a remarkable cultural moment and they continue to resonate.

See more works from the exhibition below.

City as studiois on view at K11 Musea, 18 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong until May 14, 2023.

Jean-Michel Basquiat, valentine (1984). Photo: © Lisa Kato, courtesy of Paige Powell.

Kenny Scharf, BLOBZIC (2018). Photo courtesy of the artist.

Chaz Bojorquez, Mr Lucky (2019). Photo courtesy of the artist.

Haroshi, Mosh Pit (2019). Photo: © Genevieve Hanson, courtesy of the artist, Jeffrey Deitch and NANZUKA.

Mrs Rose, TC5 in the ghost yard (2020). Photo courtesy of the artist.

KAWS, UNTITLED (NICOLE MILLER) (1996). Photo: Farzad Owrang, © KAWS, courtesy of the artist.

Rammelzee, SIGMA-BATTL’S A GO (circa 1985). Photo courtesy of Rammellzee Estate.

Gusmano Cesaretti, chaz running (1973). Photo: © Gusmano Cesaretti, courtesy of Gusmano Cesaretti.

Henri Chalfant, crazy pajamas (1980). Photo courtesy of the artist and Eric Firestone Gallery.

Keith Haring / LA II, Untitled (1983). Photo: ©Adam Reich. Artwork LA II © LA II / Keith Haring Artwork © Keith Haring Foundation, courtesy of K11 Collection.

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