This week I finally had the chance to see Beautiful Losers at the ICA. I have wanted to see this documentary for quite some time now and was not disappointed.
The film explores the careers and work of a collective group of artists including: Thomas Campbell, Cheryl Dunn, Shepard Fairey, Harmony Korine, Geoff McFetridge, Barry McGee, Margaret Kilgallen, Mike Mills, Steven “Espo” Powers, Aaron Rose, Ed Templeton and Deanna Templeton.
They began working together in New York during the 1990’s in a rundown shop front – putting on parties in the guise of exhibits. Strongly influence by the D.I.Y aesthetics proliferated by skateboarding, graffiti, punk and hip hop culture, the film becomes a catalyst for demonstrating the way in which barriers between subcultural and popular culture are collapsed.
Through a series of interviews with the artists discuss their work, the importance of DIY culture, and the growth off street art in popular artistic culture. These artists who grew up tagging walls, were suddenly being hailed in the art world, allowing them to ascend from low to high culture. Leading to the legitimacy of street art.
The group all saw their art rise to commercial success, as many of them moved on to create advertisements for popular products, designing products themselves, working in film and being commissioned to paint artwork in well known locations.
It is a fascinating account of the shift of street art from a subcultural movement in the 90’s, into every day popular culture.
If you have a chance make sure to check out this film.