As the year draws to a close, and as part of our continuous effort to bring you only the best of 2014, today we are taking another look back at the urban art exhibitions that made our jaws drop in the year behind us. It was an exciting and unprecedented year for street and urban art which saw continued and steady rise in all categories throughout the year. When we consider all the great things that had happened in urban art galleries worldwide in 2014, we can only look forward to the exciting things ahead of us in 2015. So join us as we go through our yearly recap list of ten favorite urban art shows we saw in 2014. It was an extremely tough competition, with many of the greatest urban art names that didn't make it on the list.
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KAWS, one of the best known and most influential American urban artists and toy designers, took Spain by storm in 2014 with his solo shows in Madrid and Malaga. Last February he returned to Madrid's Galeria Javier Lopez after four years, to show his latest works to the old continent urban art collectors and fans. During the show titled Play Your Part the gallery presented KAWS' seven large works, four large tondos and three custom shaped canvases filled with familiar KAWS imagery that jumps of the surface. These new figurative cutout and traditional geometric paintings clearly showed that there is still many miles left in KAWS' most recent pop pastiche visual direction and enduring cartoon subject matter we had a chance to see on display at Galeria Javier Lopez.
Photo by Guillotine.
Small Wheel, Big Wheel was an exciting show by Agostino Iacurci, one of the most promising Italian street artist, widely recognized for his extraordinary massive murals of flat shapes and whimsical narratives. The exhibition held at Rome's Wunderkammern Gallery during February and March. showcased Iacurci's latest works, including drawings, paintings, objects and installations. As a preview to the show, Iacurci created the public piece Zero Infinito on the facade of one of the buildings near the gallery. Small Wheel, Big Wheel was a great chance for Iacurci, who has quickly become one of Italy’s most internationally recognizable muralists, to play with a variety of different mediums. And as it turned out, Iacurci took this chance more than successfully.
Giant with capital G, legendary graffiti artist, Rebel8 fashion designer and tattoo mainstay Mike Giant dropped one of the most exciting shows of in 2014. Titled Modern Hieroglyphics, the show held during July at the renowned Black Book Gallery, leading contemporary art space in Denver, Colorado, drew a huge crowd and media attention. Displayed were Giant's instantly recognizable drawings of distinctive style and narrative, captivating visual blend of hard rock, sex, drugs and bikes, combined with hand-written notes and secret messages that decorate the edges of each piece. For the occasion Mike Giant released two limited edition prints which were offered for sale, priced at $20 and $100 for the watercolored print edition hand-finished by Giant.
It was a great year for ALO, self-taught Italian street artist who moved to London some time ago in order to be in the epicentre of the street art movement, as it marked the big step up in his artistic career. After he became renowned for his captivating works that have appeared in the streets of East London, and after several successful group shows he participated in, last summer renowned Saatchi Gallery from London hosted ALO's first major solo exhibition. During the show titled Hail to the Loser ALO showcased over forty original works, mostly his signature abstract portraits which become so well known to followers of the street art scene in the last couple of years.
It was one of the hottest summers at The Outsiders gallery in London when, during July and August, the gallery hosted Sickboy's inaugural exhibition at the popular Lazarides art spot. The bold, multi-disciplinary show titled Make it Last Forever presented Sickboy's unique body of surreal, large-scale canvases alongside the basement technicolor installation inspired from personal assemblages and years of sacred memorabilia. Sickboy's cosmic exhibition, created specifically for the space of The Outsiders gallery, wonderfully transformed it into a psychedelic wonderland, cementing its place on our list of favorite exhibitions in 2014. The show was a real treat, with promises of even greater things for Sickboy and The Outsiders gallery in the near future.
Last October London saw one of the year's greatest urban art shows when Word To Mother, widely praised local artist and illustrator, returned to StolenSpace with his first solo show at the gallery in three years. The show titled Too Blessed To Be Stressed entitled WTM's newest body of work, consisting of uniqely layered and highly detailed wood panel paintings as well as some of his more minimal figurative pieces on wood and antique paper. During the show Word To Mother presented what might be his most intriguing work to date. Inspired by the negative aspects of postmodern society, Too Blessed To Be Stressed paintings feature loose studies of London architecture, contemplative figures and cartoon references together with artist's hand drawn personal statements.
Ich bin in Berlin was one-of-a-kind massive multidisciplinary street art show hosted by DUBL TRUBL collective and curated by Dscreet, renowned filmmaker, painter and installation artist from London. The show, held at at the famous Berlin based Urban Spree gallery during September and October, encompassed more than eighty acclaimed urban and street artists. The impressive list of participating artists, which came from all over the world to participate in this rare collaborative art project, included names such as Anthony Lister, Cyclops, Kid Acne, Phlegm, TwoOne, Word To Mother, Miss Van and Nychos. The result was an exclusive collection of exceptional collaborative artworks that were released in the DUBL TRUBL-zine and video that documented the entire exhibition from set up to closing.
During October Soze Gallery, the trendsetting art hotspot from West Hollywood, hosted a top notch urban art show which gained huge worldwide attention, easily entering our yearly recap of best urban art exhibitions of 2014. The show titled Savage brought together two street and urban art greats, Marco PHO Grassi, Italian street art legend and one of the country's pioneers of the movement, and Jaybo Monk, Berlin based urban artist extraordinaire and one of the most inspirational contemporary artists. The extraordinary pair spent months developing the philosophy and the artworks displayed during the show, and their combined effort turned it into one of the most successful events of the year which will continue to resonate deep into 2015.
Photos by Bryan Alano and Zuanci Lemus
Giacomo Bufarini, widely known as RUN, is an internationally acclaimed Italian street artist, who lives and works in London, but whose mesmerizing pieces can be found covering the walls from US to China and Senegal. This December renowned London based Howard Griffin Gallery hosted RUN's latest exhibition titled Parabola di G, which strongly stands as a milestone show of his artistic career. The show ran through December 21, and it showed RUN moving away from painting walls and toward becoming a studio artist. Parabola di G was a deeply personal exhibition which took its visitors on an extraordinary voyage of RUN's self-discovery, as it followed its semi-fictional character named G, who slowly fell out of reality and into a dreamland. It most certainly was one of the freshest, and quite possibly, one of the greatest shows we have seen, not only in 2014, but in years.
Photos by Unusual Image London.