Pop meets street art. For the first time, international artists and designers from the street art scene will come together at the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf. More than 2000 works of photography and graphic design, as well as graffiti, sculptures and designer toys, will be presented in spectacular displays to create a colourful Gesamtkunstwerk of pop culture.
Including works by BanksyJavier Calleja
Street art originally stemmed from protest cultures, civil disobedience and countercultural movements of the 1960s and 1970s. In the United States, young graffiti artists first sprayed their names or simple tags on houses and underground trains. This later evolved into increasingly sophisticated images that covered entire building walls. The entire city became a gallery. These pioneers took great risks and remained largely anonymous because of their illegal actions. Many of the artists chosen for this exhibition come from skateboard and graffiti scenes. They grew up with characters like Bart Simpson and Luke Skywalker – which is why this exhibition is also a chance to reconnect with 80s and 90s pop culture icons.
Since then, street art has become so popular that millions are paid at art auctions for works by artists like Banksy or JR. Shepard Fairey, who designed the notorious “Hope” campaign poster for former US President Barack Obama, has also found worldwide fame. Some street artists are now represented internationally by major galleries; they have also enjoyed commercial success with designer toys, as is the case of pop artist KAWS. These fantasy figures merge the New York street culture of hip-hop, breakdancing and graffiti with the manga culture from Japan, creating a unique new market and visual cosmos.
All the works exhibited belong to the collection of Düsseldorf entrepreneur Selim Varol, who has been collecting for over 30 years and, with more than 10,000 works, has probably amassed one of the most extensive collections of urban art and designer toys in Europe. This exhibition is curated by Alain Bieber, artistic director of the NRW-Forum, and Judith Winterhager, Co-curator NRW-Forum.
Becoming part of the art: As part of our exhibition Wonderwalls. Art & Toys, the French artist JR brought the INSIDE OUT project to us!
His photo truck was parked in front of the NRW-Forum for three days. Anyone interested could have their portrait taken there. The photographs are pasted around the NRW-Forum.