‘Beyond The Streets’ Brings The Best Street Artists in the World Downtown

There’s a long, rich history to what was once an art form with little respect. Now, street art is arguably one of the most popular forms on the planet. The best-ever collection of the art form is on display in Downtown Los Angeles until July 6th.
Beyond The Streets Los Angeles
The Entrance of Beyond the Streets DTLA, Art by Retna. Photo: Andre Karimloo

The growth of street art has been long coming.

Originating from what seemed like crude sprawlings of paint onto city surfaces, to taking its place among the respected art forms of the world. Street art transcends the walls, billboards, and trains where it first appeared. It’s safe to say that graffiti and street art combined are the most important movement in modern art. Beyond The Streets Los Angeles 

Beyond The Streets Los Angeles
From Ron Finley’s Gangsta Gardener. Photo: Andre Karimloo

Of that movement, Beyond the Streets is best collection of this brand of art the world has ever seen.

Spanning a vast 40,000 square-foot warehouse on the outskirts of Chinatown, the nine-week exhibit is curated by graffiti historian and urban anthropologist Roger Gastman.

Beyond The Streets Los Angeles
Takashi Murakami. Photo: Andre Karimloo

A comprehensive selection of paintings, sculptures, photography and installations carry visitors through the ebb and flow of street art over the past decades.

Beyond The Streets Los Angeles
Sculpture by Slick. Photo: Andre Karimloo

Over 100 international artists were selected to be a part of the show, with some big time names included, like: Shepard Fairey (Obey,) Invader, Banksy, Takashi Murakami, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Keith Haring.

Beyond The Streets Los Angeles
Piece by Invader. Photo: Andre Karimloo

It’s hard to categorize pieces in the collection into genres of art, leading to the umbrella term of street art. But that itself is one of the best things about the exhibit; letting people enjoy the art for what it is, rather than what it’s said to be.

Beyond The Streets Los Angeles
Art by C.R. Stecyk III. Photo: Andre Karimloo

While the collection spans the whole history of the form – perfect for any hardcore street art fan to absorb and enjoy – the exhibit is still easily digestible for more passive spectators.

Beyond The Streets Los Angeles
Neon by Patrick Martinez. Photo: Andre Karimloo

There are plenty of “insta-worthy” picture opportunities, while some of the more thought provoking pieces can be understood by most passers-by.

Some in the art community see the social media-friendly art installations as diluting the form, Gastman thinks it can help expand it.

Art by Timothy Curtis. Photo: Andre Karimloo

“People want to take photos and interact with things. It’s fun. So of course, during our exhibit, we’ll have that,” he said in an interview with L.A. Times. “But we also want to educate and entertain. Part of [the exhibition] will be ephemera, part will be historical, and part will be more of a photo opportunity mixed in with the paintings, sculpture and other art.”

While many will take the quick route to the photo-friendly pieces, the truth is that Beyond the Streets is a serious exhibit, showcasing a serious art form. That cannot be taken away from it.

Beyond The Streets Los Angeles
The Venice Skate Pavilion. Photo: Andre Karimloo

The exhibit is a testament to the off-the-grid art scene that operates outside of the parameters of the traditional museums. While some street artists have eventually broken through to the other side – so to speak – there is still a need for them to be grounded in what bred the art they make and made; the streets.

Beyond the Street runs until July 6, 2018 and is located at 1667 N Main St. in Chinatown. Tickets can be purchased here.