MOCA’s ‘Art in the Streets’ gets its documentary close-up


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A new documentary movie about the Museum of Contemporary Art’s exhibition ‘Art in the Streets’ is coming to a website -- and maybe television screens -- near you. ‘Outside In’ is a 30-minute behind-the-scenes look at the making of MOCA’s street-art show and features interviews with many of the key artists, including Shepard Fairey, Swoon, Neckface, Geoff McFetridge, Revok and Invader.

‘Outside In,’ directed by Alex Stapleton, screened for the first time Tuesday evening at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. The film is a glowing portrayal (some might say commercial) of the making of ‘Art in the Streets’ but it wasn’t produced by MOCA, strictly speaking. The movie was an initiative by The Levi’s Film Workshop, a temporary project housed at the museum’s Geffen Contemporary space that offers filmmaking resources and equipment to the public.


The director said she and her crew spent about three weeks at MOCA’s Geffen Contemporary filming the artists at work prior to the April opening. The film touches on some of the legal problems that many street and graffiti artists face. (‘We’ve all got criminal records,’ says one artist in the movie. ‘Now we’re being celebrated.’)

Both Invader and Revok were arrested by police around the opening of ‘Art in the Streets.’ Invader, sometimes referred to as Space Invader, was released and has returned to his native France. Revok was sentenced last month to 180 days in jail after a judge found that he had violated the terms of his probation in a previous vandalism conviction.

Noticeably absent from the documentary is any discussion of Blu, the artist whose outdoor mural in downtown L.A. was removed by MOCA. (The director said Blu declined to comment for the movie.) The documentary also avoids addressing charges that the exhibition has brought unwanted graffiti and vandalism to the surrounding neighborhood.

Jeffrey Deitch, the director of MOCA, said in an interview after the screening that he plans to put the documentary on the museum’s website and on YouTube. He said that ‘Art in the Streets’ will evolve when it opens next year at the Brooklyn Museum. ‘The core of the show is the same but it will be revamped,’ Deitch said. For example, he plans to include work by two Russian street artists in the show, to reflect the thriving Russian immigrant community in Brooklyn. He also said there is interest in the show from art institutions in Europe and Latin America.


MOCA’s ‘Art in the Streets’ exhibition brings unwanted neighborhood effect: graffiti vandalism

Art review: ‘Art in the Streets’ at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

Italian street artist Blu calls MOCA’s removal of his mural censorship

-- David Ng

Photo (top): The French artist known as Invader, in a scene from the documentary ‘Outside In.’ Credit: The Levi’s Film Workshop / Turner PR

Photo (bottom): ‘International Ice Cream Truck’ by Mister Cartoon. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times