Viva Revolucion, a dialogue with the urban landscape, presented by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, bills itself as being ‘the first international museum exhibition of street art.’
That it is. And so much more.
The tour around San Diego’s downtown and slightly beyond, crafted together with an accompanying pixel alien map, care of featured artist Invader, is an invigorating look beyond San Diego’s immediacy. It is a tour that leads to chance, pursuit and embrace.
More than just a tour of significant artists creating significant pieces of commissioned art, it is a poignant social and cultural map of the city that snugly navigates one through sites, perhaps unseen. In a time when the battle of what we read upon a city’s walls continues to pervade the daily dialogue of our policy makers and citizens, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego has taken a risk that begs us, the reader of walls, to think more deeply about our engagement with place.
One may argue that the exhibition is typical of the gentrification of street art. Perhaps it is. The chorus of slander in response to the ‘blue bombing’ of Shephard Fairey’s Hillcrest mural perpetuates the idea that these craftsmen and women are selling out.
But street art’s roots sing of grandeur.
If we are seeing the gentrification of street art, in a fashion such as this, then bring it on. It’s a fitting metaphor for the harmony and hope that is implicit in the articulation of these artists.
The location of each artists work is a collaboration of ethics, aesthetics and empathy of place, space and structure. Each piece germinates a deeper understanding of the urban and communicates to the informed and the intrigued alike.
Paired with Invader’s GPS informed alien map, the works are an enabling framework of encounter, the recognition of reality and a road map towards saluting the secrets of a city.
Viva Revolucion provides an induced metaphor of street art’s diction of harmony and thought, leading us to ‘the other’ that sits, cuddled into conversation, within our streets and opening our eyes to another view of how we read the city.