Artwork by Barry McGee. Edited by Germano Celant, Miuccia Prada. Text by Patrizio Bertelli.
A graffiti artist and tagger by nature, Barry McGee has in the last few years taken a stealth, guerilla art form, one that is typically the subject of complaint, arrest, and general unappreciation, and transformed it into a well-received medium for display in museum and commercial gallery spaces. His drawings, paintings, and mixed-media installations take their inspiration from contemporary urban culture, incorporating elements such as empty liquor bottles and spray-paint cans, tagged signs, wrenches, and scrap wood or metal into overwhelming, space-transforming interior worlds. Though McGee views graffiti as a vital method of communication, one that keeps him in touch with a larger, more diverse audience than can be reached through the traditional spaces of galleries or museums, he makes fine use of traditional exhibition spaces, using them not only to communicate a subcultural point of view to gallery goers but also to point out ways in which space can be reclaimed. Barry McGee brings together the artist's graffiti work, paintings, installations, and photography, and is published on the occasion of his exhibition at the Fondazione Prada, in Italy. Included is an interview with McGee by Germano Celant, senior curator of contemporary art at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.