This enormous mural on the side of the Mark Morris Dance Center near the Brooklyn Academy of Music showcases Barry McGee’s eye for vibrant colors and patterns. McGee, who was commissioned to create this mural by BAM, Vanity Fair and Cadillac, often depicts the tools of the trade, like spray paint cans, tagged signs, and more. Although he has a BFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, he began his career as a graffiti artist in San Francisco in the late ’80s, where he focused on making politically engaged street art.
McGee’s work has been exhibited in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the UCLA Hammer Museum, the Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Berkley Art Museum, and others.
Lawrence Rinder, director of the Berkley Museum of Art called him “the most internationally influential artist who lives in the Bay Area.” His work provokes critics to question the role of graffiti and street art in museums, especially when his installations go for as much as $300,000. Although we don’t know how much McGee was paid for this mural, at least it’s a public work on the streets, where anyone walking by can enjoy it.