“Pushing the Global Narrative”: Beyond The Streets Opens in London

Tonight is the VIP opening at the unveiling of Roger Gastman’s Beyond The Streets London edition, a combination gallery show, fine art exhibition, and superstore targeting the youngish hip fans and collectors of urban art. With historical roots and knowledge of culture at its base, BTS brings a largely American-centric roadshow previously configured for Los Angeles and New York into friendly European territory.

Most illustrative, perhaps, are the chapters that punctuate the multitude of stories installed throughout the entire Saatchi Gallery, known for its exhibitions of contemporary art and emerging artists since its founding in 1985 by the British art collector and advertising executive Charles Saatchi. The cross-culture nature of graffiti and street art and all of its worldwide tributaries during the last six decades is presaged perhaps by the intersectional spirit of such Saatchi shows as “Post Pop: East Meets West” in 2014.

Roger tells us that it was very important for him to bring this traveling feast here because of the interconnections shared in the shared evolution of popular culture and political movements between Britain and US cities during the last half-century in art, fashion, music, and the street.

“The story of graffiti and street art can’t be told without highlighting the significant role London, and the UK in general, has played in revolutionizing these cultures and continuing to spread the word of their existence,” Gastman says. “Pushing the global narrative has always been important to us, so we’re honored to continue telling these stories at a respected institution like Saatchi Gallery, whose prestige and impact are unmatched in the UK.” 

The 70,000 square foot (6,500 sm) space is divided into chapters with names like “Dream Galleries,” “Blockbusters,” “Legends,” ”Larger Than Life,” and “Social Commentary,” the plastic arts, photography, ephemera, fashion, and site-specific installations will represent the multitude of ways western culture erupted and redirected itself with the aid of graffiti, hip hop, punk, and myriad expressions of DIY culture. By paying homage to these primarily youth-based monumental moments and the cultural narratives that reformed and rebelled, Beyond The Streets puts these 150 artists into representational roles for the hundreds of thousands of “rule-breakers and mark-makers” who collectively have pushed the culture forward.

Kenny Scharf creates a new Cosmic Cave at Beyond The Streets London. (photo courtesy of BTS)

Tickets are available now for booking through saatchigallery.com/tickets