Bronx Museum of the Arts explores culture, history of Street Life

Computer montage inkjet prints on vinyl, entitled Cloverfield, 2008 by Fatimah Tuggar featured in Street Life Street Art exhibit at the Bronx Museum Courtesy of Camille Wanliss

Bronxites are being presented with a unique look into the culture and history of the streets in an urban environment.

The Bronx Museum of the Arts opened its new exhibit on Sunday, September 14, with a celebratory fair in front of the museum located at 1040 Grand Concourse near 165th Street.

The new exhibit, entitled Street Art Street Life: From the 1950s to Now, features an extensive variety of art genres and artists. A special guest curator from the Barbican Art Gallery in London, Lydia Yee organizes the collection.

“One of my key aims is to situate compelling new art by a diverse group of younger artists in a rich historical context,” explains curator Yee.

The Street Art Street Life exhibit starts accordingly with work from the 1950s and 1960s. These works capture the style known as photojournalism. It also includes artists that use street material for their inspiration and outlet.

Vito Acconci’s Following Piece from 1969 is included in the exhibit as well. These photographs are unique in that he followed and documented a different person until they entered a private area. Other photographers in the exhibit used photography for documenting and to create immortalization for their subjects.

The 1970s and 1980s pieces include works from Martha Rosler’s text/image panels and Tehching Hsieh’s photographs over the course of a year in which he did not enter an enclosed space, except for one night.

As they enter the 1990s visitors can see works by artists such as Jamel Shabazz, who is believed to show an artist’s perception of homelessness and urban decay.

“The exhibition presents many intersecting paths:” Yee stated, “documentary photography, performance, conceptualism, activism, and street culture.”

The fascinating and culturally exhilarating exhibit will be open now through January 25, 2009.

“The vitality of the Bronx flows from its street culture, the connections people make on the corner, front stoop, or public park,” states Holly Block, director of the Bronx Museum of the Arts. “During the period of exhibition, the museum will draw both from these roots and the global conversation to present a series of concerts, talks, and panel discussions.”

For more information on the exhibit or the Bronx Museum of the Arts visit

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