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'Beyond the Streets' art exhibition extends its L.A. run

'Beyond the Streets' art exhibition extends its L.A. run
Kenny Scharf's "Cosmic Cavern" installation in "Beyond the Streets." (Beau Roulette)

Temperatures may be soaring, but one place that’s staying cool: “Beyond the Streets,” the exhibition of more than 100 international graffiti and street artists in a sprawling L.A. warehouse that’s also well air-conditioned.

The exhibition, which has drawn more than 60,000 people since opening May 6, was supposed to close Sunday, but it has been extended through Aug. 26.

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“One of our missions was to educate through entertainment,” said organizer Roger Gastman, who co-curated the Museum of Contemporary Art’s 2011 “Art in the Streets” survey show. “People are coming here, experiencing things, asking questions. Artists are saying they’ve been having interactions with people finding out about their work. People are coming multiple times.”

The show spans about 50 years, from the rise of New York graffiti writers who plastered subway cars and alleyways with their neon, bubbled mark-making, to contemporary street artists such as Britain’s Banksy. “Beyond the Streets” also also includes more mature studio work of these artists.

“It doesn’t dwell on history,” Gastman said. “It respects the past and showcases the past while keeping the work fresh with what these artists are up to today.”

Many of the paintings, sculptures, photography and installation works on view — by artists such as Shepard Fairey, Swoon, Kenny Scharf, Risk and Guerrilla Girls — were created for the show. Others are re-creations.

The artist duo Faile rebuilt their stone installation, “Temple,” which first showed in Lisbon in 2010. New York artist Lee Quiñones remade his handpainted, playable handball court, “The Lion’s Den,” which originated in Brooklyn in 1982. Gastman’s team built a replica of the graffiti-scribbled Venice skating pavilion from the 1980s and ’90s, and visitors are invited to skate — if it isn’t too hot.

Gastman said the audience coming through the exhibition has been more mixed than he had expected.

“Men and women, people in their early 20s and late 40s, families, I’m really pleased,” he said. “It shows that this culture has really arrived. It’s here, it’s not a trend. Plus, it’s just bright and vibrant and fun.”

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