Barry McGee (born 1966) is an artist who takes uncertainty and unpredictability as his guiding principles. Every exhibition is different. His installations have featured everything from robotic graffiti writers to entire shipping containers and automobiles, with drawings, sculptures, paintings and found objects roaming freely across the walls, floors and ceilings of exhibition spaces.
A native of San Francisco, McGee studied painting and printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute, graduating in 1991. But he also made a name for himself as a graffiti artist, tagging the streets of San Francisco as Ray Fong, Twist and Twisto. He became a leading figure in the 1990s movement known as the Mission School, after the city's celebrated Mission District, and his work continues to bear the marks of that moment—the influence of urban, vernacular art forms, the use of nontraditional art materials and a taste for showing work with and among friends.
In this new volume, McGee has assembled hundreds of artworks and objects—his own works and the works of friends and acquaintances. Featuring new paintings, sculptures, photographs and images of site-specific installations, this new volume is an appropriately wide-ranging exploration of the recent work of an artist who defies easy categorization and explanation.
Published by D.A.P./University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. Edited by Lawrence Rinder, Dena Beard. Text by Alex Baker, Natasha Boas, Germano Celant, Jeffrey Deitch.
Published on the occasion of the first major survey of Barry McGee’s work, this monumental volume records more than two decades of incredible fecundity, over the course of which McGee has pioneered a new iconography of sharp street vitality and graphic snap. McGee began as a graffiti artist on the streets of San Francisco, working under such tags as Ray Fong, Twist and Twisto, and his work since then has hugely expanded the terms of both street art and contemporary art. The freshness of McGee’s work stems in part from his virtuoso handling and consolidation of a whole panoply of influences, from hobo art, sign painting and graffiti to comics, Beat literature and much else. His extraordinary skill as a draughtsman is energized by his insistence on pushing at the parameters of art--his work can be shockingly informal in the gallery and surprisingly elegant on the street--and by his keen nose for social malaise. This volume revisits McGee’s most influential installations in art spaces, and considers the evolution of his aesthetic within institutional settings. Previously unseen photographs by Craig Costello document the artist’s work on the streets of San Francisco in the early 90s, highlighting the contributions of his friends and mentors. Also included are images from the artist’s famous slide lecture, compiled and refined over the past 20 years, and an oral history of the Bay Area’s Mission School by McGee’s friends, mentors and collaborators. Featuring 450 images, including many never before published, the book is designed by the artist in collaboration with Conny Purtill.
Barry McGee (born 1966) began exhibiting his work in the 1980s--not in a museum or gallery setting but on the streets of San Francisco. In the early 90s he was closely associated with the Mission School and the San Francisco Bay Area’s graffiti boom. In 2001 his work was included in the Venice Biennale.
Barry McGee's art buzzes with an infectious street vitality that celebrates the rich pageant of city living, while lambasting its ills, overstimulations, frustrations, addictions. His early years as a graffiti artist, tagging on the streets of San Francisco under such monikers as Ray Fong, Twist and Twisto, still nourish his drive to inscribe the blank face of modern life with the personal and the handmade. A part of the early 1990s art and graffiti boom associated with San Francisco's Mission School (others include Clare Rojas, Chris Johanson and Aaron Noble) and with the Beautiful Loser generation, McGee synthesizes a wide range of resources, including the Mexican muralists, anonymous street art and San Francisco Beat poetry, all of which are notably characterized by a sense of public address that McGee never neglects to convey in his own work. His paintings, drawings and installations spill over with graphic energy and political anger, and direct exhortations to his audience to respond to the life around them. This hardcover artist's book takes the form of a visual collage, incorporating photographs, drawings, paintings and documentation of past and present installations. It is the definitive volume on a much-loved artist.
Barry McGee was born in San Francisco in 1968 and studied at the San Francisco Art Institute. He continues to live and work in that city. He has had solo exhibitions at Brandeis University's Rose Art Museum in Waltham, Massachusetts, Deitch Projects in New York and the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo.
Published by The Rose Art Museum. Edited by Lucy Flint-Gohlke. Texts by Raphaela Platow, Joseph D. Ketner, Josh Lazcano.
In 2004, San Francisco street artist Barry McGee created a large-scale installation for The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University. This artist's book is the only record of the project, which was dismantled at the end of the exhibition. McGee's graffiti markings first appeared under the tag name Twist in San Francisco in the 1980s. A formally trained artist, McGee draws on a variety of influences, ranging from Mexican muralist painting, San Francisco Beat poetry and pivotal artistic forefathers such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Philip Guston. Interwoven with his large-scale graphics and comic-strip works are found materials such as empty bottles, discarded syringes, old sheet metal and other fragments from the street, remade into sculptural installations. The artist's sad-eyed characters, painted as large-scale figures on the walls or as miniature versions on his found objects, voice the burden of deep existential uncertainty in a culture organized around economic and ethnic inequality. Limited stock available.
PUBLISHER The Rose Art Museum
BOOK FORMAT Clth, 6.75 x 9.75 in. / 90 pgs / 123 color.
PUBLISHING STATUS Pub Date 2/1/2009 Out of print
DISTRIBUTION D.A.P. Exclusive Catalog: SPRING 2009 p. 93
PRODUCT DETAILS ISBN 9780962054587TRADE List Price: $40.00 CDN $50.00
Published by D.A.P./Iconoclast. Edited by Aaron Rose and Christian Strike. Interview with Agnes B.
The greatest cultural accomplishments in history have never been the result of the brainstorms of marketing men, corporate focus groups or any homogenized methods; they have always happened organically. More often than not, these manifestations have been the result of a few like-minded people coming together to create something new and original for no other purpose than a common love of doing it. In the 1990s, a loose-knit group of American artists and creators, many just out of their teens, began their careers in just such a way. Influenced by the popular underground youth subcultures of the day, such as skateboarding, graffiti, street fashion and independent music, artists like Shepard Fairey, Mark Gonzales, Spike Jonze, Margaret Kilgallen, Mike Mills, Barry McGee, Phil Frost, Chris Johanson, Harmony Korine and Ed Templeton began to create art that reflected the lifestyles they led. Many had no formal training and almost no conception of the inner workings of the art world. They learned their crafts through practice, trial and error, and good old-fashioned innovation. Not since the Beat Generation have we seen a group of creative individuals with such a unified aesthetic sense and varied cultural facets. The world of art has been greatly affected by their accomplishments as have the worlds of fashion, music, literature, film, and, ironically, athletics. Beautiful Losers is a retrospective celebration of this spirit, with hundreds of artworks by over two dozen artists, from precursors like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Larry Clark, to more recent adherents Ryan McGinness, KAWS and Geoff McFetridge. Work in all conceivable mediums is included, plus reproductions of reams of ephemera. The accompanying essays are contributed by a half-dozen writers who have championed these beautiful losers from the start. This paperback reprint includes more pages, more images, an exhibition checklist, installation shots from a variety of exhibitions and an interview with Beautiful Losers advocate Agnes B.
Published by Deitch Projects. Artwork by Barry McGee.
Despite, or perhaps in ironic conjunction with, Rudy Giuliani's efforts to make New York City clean and pristine, graffiti has become a respected staple of the gallery scene. Barry "Twist" McGee's tags and caricatures are no exception, nor were they when displayed at the Venice Biennale this past summer. With more than 15 years of street cred, the California tagger's lively, humorous, and often bulbous depictions of street characters don't so much bring the street into the gallery as bring the gallery out into the street.
Published by Fondazione Prada. 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.