Not For Sale: Graffiti Culture in Oklahoma, a group art show, will feature 10 artists who have been an integral part of the Oklahoma graffiti scene. Artists will paint their pieces directly on the walls of the gallery, transforming Oklahoma Contemporary into an amazing display of styles. These artists are part of a culture that promotes creative expression to individuals who have not always had access to the art world.
The artwork in this exhibition finds its roots in the graffiti movement that emerged in the early 1970s in Philadelphia. Graffiti art is mostly based on text, in particular, the writing of an assumed name that serves to promote the artist. Graffiti has flourished worldwide in large part because it operates outside of the art world’s elite institutions — it therefore is an art form open to anyone. The exhibition title, Not For Sale, makes reference to the fact that graffiti is primarily made for fame and not for money and can be seen by everyone, not just those with access to museums and galleries.
While there is no doubt that graffiti’s often illegal placement on subways, trains and walls has added to its appeal as a form of rebellion, the artists in Not for Sale have used their skills in many legitimate fields, from mural commissions to graphic design to fine art that sells in galleries. Guest curators Chris SKER and Angel Little have secured the talents of skilled and experienced graffiti artists with an Oklahoma connection. All of the artists are Oklahoma-born, with the majority currently living and working in the state.
Featured artists include: Chris SKER, JASPYR, CODAK Smith, SADAT, David HEK, SEAPO, GERM, ENTAKE, MANIK and RHAK.
Oklahoma Contemporary has planned a series of programs for youth and adults that look at graffiti’s place as one of the “four elements of hip hop” — including emceeing, breakdancing and DJing. Workshops and performances will allow everyone to celebrate November as Hip Hop Month in Oklahoma City, as designated by Mayor Mick Cornett in 2016.