Off the Wall

After millennia of tomb scratchings, decades of gallery shows, and the serial ubiquity of Keith Haring and Banksy, it’s a wonder we’re still debating the art value of graffiti. The best street art marries clarity and sincerity with provocative, often uncompromising, statements -- provoking the very reactions that we expect from art. To reject street art is to reject the avant-garde.

Such is the aesthetic argument for “Between Conversations” by Brooke Grucella, curator of the Joseph Gross and Lionel Rombach Galleries at University of Arizona. The artist pits graffiti styles against pop-art renderings and jangling typography, utilizing layered presentations, juxtapositions, and permutations to explore her favored themes of perception, identity, and the things we think but leave unsaid. Grucella developed her fascination with graffiti’s dense content – and its capacity for combining the outlandish with the intimate – while growing up in Southern California surrounded by Chicano, skater, and punk influences.

Tuesdays-Saturdays. Starts: Jan. 7. Continues through Feb. 5, 2011
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Nicholas Gerbis