If you think street art is confined to the hipster irony of Banksy stencils and Shepard Fairey wheatpastes, think again. There has long been a continuum of artists who use the urban environment to address political and social issues right out in the open where anyone can engage with them. Muralists and graffiti-writers put the Mission on the DIY art map in the 1970s with freewheeling interpretations of their respective forms — and all you have to do is take a stroll down Clarion or Balmy alleys to observe that the contemporary movement is still alive and kicking. Now that street art is familiar enough to the general public to get its own episode of The Simpsons, the exhibit “Motion Graphics: In and Beyond the Street” showcases six artists who are known for pushing the genre’s boundaries. Photographs by Eric Staller document his experiments with light on the late-night streets of New York City when he resided there in the late 1970s. Ricardo Richey (aka Apex) has recently transmuted the typography he is famous for as a graffiti artist into sculptures, as in his sinuous lowercase “e” that stacks and twists the letter almost beyond recognition. Meanwhile, Ana Teresa Fernandez continues to tackle gender identity and border politics in her work, slyly disguising a part of the barrier that separates the U.S. from Mexico with a shade of blue paint meant to mimic the sky — this while rocking a little black dress and sky-high heels, no less. We’d like to see Banksy do that.
Tuesdays-Saturdays. Starts: June 13. Continues through Aug. 25, 2012