12 street artists, one exhibition and a blank gallery

In November 2015, the second of Tate Collective London’s digital takeover projects took place at Tate Modern, where Drips And Runs were invited to create a live graffiti response to The EY Exhibition: The World Goes Pop exhibition. Rupinder from Tate Collective London reflects on the project:

For the second of our Tate Collective digital takeovers, where we were tasked with commissioning and producing digital content to engage new, young audiences with exhibitions at Tate, we challenged a group of street artists from the Drips And Runs collective to create a response to the of The World Goes Pop exhibition at Tate Modern. The response took the form of a collaborative mural created in the McAulay Gallery at Tate Modern over a three hour time limit and live streamed to our audience via the Tate website.

In planning the event, we spent an evening with the Drips And Runs crew and curator of The World Goes Pop, Flavia Frigeri, in the exhibition space to get an understanding of the themes and works in the exhibition. We established that though the link between pop art and street art may seem ambiguous at first, surprisingly, the two have a lot in common. As an art movement, pop art is grounded in making overt political statements, as well as often commenting on consumer culture. This concept is made explicit by all of the works included in the exhibition. Bernard Rancillac’s At Last, a Silhouette Slimmed to the Waist (Enfin Silhouettes Affinées Jusqu’à La Taille) 1966, for instance, directly comments on the horrors of war. Street art, graffiti in particular, also has its roots firmly grounded in the political act. This is demonstrated well when we consider ASCO art collective’s notorious Spray Paint LACMA, 1972. ASCO members tagged their names on a wall at LACMA in protest to the museums’ exclusion of Chicano artists from its curatorial agenda at the time. Though their graffiti tags were swiftly removed, photographic documentation of the act remain and attest to how the act of tagging itself allowed the collective to highlight their visibility – even if momentarily – and to occupy a space that as Chicano artists they were excluded from. Fast-forward to present day and street art is still employed by a number of artists as a way to exercise political feeling and opinion globally. Designs are often intricate though created rapidly. We wanted to channel this idea with this event, and allow the artists creative freedom within the gallery vicinity.

What do you get when you mix 12 street artists, one exhibition and a blank gallery at Tate Modern?

The mural was on display at Tate Modern the day after the live stream event, with over 150 people visiting to see it in real life. Some had turned in to see it created the evening before, and others were just passing by. In keeping with the street art tradition of ephemerality, the mural was painted over the day after, so if you missed it, check out the video from the night above.

Rupinder Garcha, Tate Collective London