Beyond The Streets ★★★★★ Saatchi Gallery | Feb 17 - May 9, 2023


From the streets to the gallery! This exhibition brings together an astonishing variety of art and artifacts that seeks to capture the spirit of underground culture. There is a nod to the history of graffiti art, including the famous WWII image "Kilroy Was Here," but the emphasis is on the post 1960s, examining the development of the punk rock and hip-hop scenes. The exhibition is comprised of thirteen galleries spread over three floors. It begins with an installation that recreates a record store, featuring the vinyl that inspired the punk generation. In other rooms, it chronicles the development of the shops and clubs that nurtured that world in London. However, it also goes on to highlight the emergence of the same anti-authority, underground spirit in the USA, France and other parts of Europe. Indeed, if there is an issue with this show, it might be that it tries to cover too much and sometimes loses focus. Nevertheless, there is some wonderfully edgy and insightful work displayed. This is street art that captures both the rebellious and whimsical side of a questioning youth culture which is still alive and well. There are so many standout artists. We loved the work of Fred Brathwaite (Fab 5 Freddy), Chris Ellis (DAZE) and Stephen Powers (ESPO), but it almost seems wrong to single out any particular creators. Having said that, here's a final shout out and piece of advice. Don't miss the work of the Danish artist, HuskMitNavn, and give yourself lots time to savour this exhibition. With Beyond The Streets, curator, Roger Gastman, and the Saatchi have mounted a terrific show that is a dazzling display of talent and a counter-culture celebration.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Image: Kenny Scharf, Closet #42 Bestest Ever. Photo by Charles White of JW Pictures, 2022.

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