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Step by step, street art has given rise to a new artistic form that allows people to view and think about the world from a perspective beyond barriers of language, culture, religion and origin. Its strength lies in opening our eyes as observers without limiting itself with rules and regulations. Using simple symbols and motifs, this art form underscores political and social-critical themes.
This MUCA exhibition presents original artworks by the most legendary figures of this scene, in an impressive new spatial installation. Centred on one of the largest Banksy collections in Europe, key pieces from past official Banksy exhibitions will be on show, including the monumental oil painting “Are You Using That Chair?” – a subversive allegory of Edward Hopper’s famous “Nighthawks”. This large-format piece has been exhibited only once before, in Banksy’s 2005 show “Crude Oils”in London.
Hambleton was one of the first street artists on the American continent; New York City was his creative home as early as the 70s. He frequented the legendary Club 57 with, among others, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. Hambleton saw himself as a conceptual artist who wished for his art, not himself, to remain in the foreground. Hambleton’s relentless morbidity manifested itself early on. In his artistic beginnings, he drew chalk outlines of fake murder victims on pavements, shocking the public with staged crime scenes.
His most famous artworks, however, popped up in New York‘s yards and alleyways in the 80s. There, he painted distorted human shadows in black paint, aiming to frighten viewers. These interventions were soon dubbed the wok of the mysterious “Shadowman”. The art scene regards this period as the beginning of his career. At the time, Hambleton’s paintings were sold at higher prices than those of Basquiat.
His oeuvre was rediscovered about ten years ago, when he was able to revive his success. Richard Hambleton died aged 65 at the peak of his renaissance. This exhibition is dedicated to his rediscovery and his famous Shadowman motifs.