For the 1996 SECA Art Award exhibition at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Barry McGee, the artist most closely associated with the genesis of the Mission School, painted a 60-foot-long mural and displayed hundreds of framed drawings and photographs. The site-specific piece is shown here reassembled for SFMOMA's 75th anniversary exhibition in 2009. Featuring a diaristic accumulation of drawings, photographs, and found images housed in thrift shop frames, it addresses the barrage of stimuli city dwellers encounter on a daily basis.


  • Title: Untitled
  • Creator: Barry McGee
  • Date Created: 2009
  • Location Created: San Francisco, United States
  • Type: installation
  • Rights: © Barry McGee
  • External Link: SFMOMA
  • Medium: Mixed media
  • Place Part Of: United States
  • More Info: More About This Artwork - SFMOMA, More About This Artist - SFMOMA, Read: Reframing Conservation
  • Credit Line: Fractional gift of the artist and Ratio 3, San Francisco
  • About the Artist: Barry McGee's drawings, paintings, and mixed-media installations address the struggles of contemporary urban life. McGee was introduced to graffiti when he was 18 years old, and under the tag Twist he became known for his stylized images of hobos, liquor bottles, and screws painted on walls and subway cars. In 1991, McGee received a degree in painting and printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute and began to merge the worlds of street and fine art in his work. He is considered a prominent member of the Mission School, a group of artists that emerged from San Francisco's Mission District in the late 1990s and whose handmade aesthetic and DIY attitude contrasted with the dot-com gentrification of the area during that time. McGee has participated in international biennials, including Venice and the Whitney, but he continues to maintain his dialogue with the larger, more diverse audience of his street art. He sees his graffiti and gallery work as separate practices despite their stylistic and thematic links; while his wall paintings in galleries are officially endorsed and approved and painted over a period of time, his graffiti work is illicit and necessarily painted as quickly as possible.

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