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OSRS Presents…Marks on Society

December 6, 2019 – February 8, 2020

Opening Reception:  Friday, December 6, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

The Carnegie Center for Art and History is proud to work with Often Seen Rarely Spoken art & design collective to present Marks on Society, an exhibition bringing graffiti art in from the streets and directly onto the museum’s wall.

Graffiti has been around as long as humans have been marking walls. Examples of illicit scribbles and drawings can be found throughout ancient civilizations.

This exhibition aims to focus on the more recent history of graffiti, beginning with the boom of work created in the United States from the 1970s to present day. The title is derived from the New York city anti-graffiti campaign posters (“Make your mark in society, not on society”) promoted by former mayor Ed Koch. Since that 1982 campaign to fight the scourge of the city, graffiti has since risen in stature, finding a much wider audience of admirers. Proof of this new status is readily seen with any number of multi-national corporations co-opting graffiti in their marketing campaigns and product designs to sell anything from French fries to t-shirts. But for the street artists working in their natural environment, graffiti is still a hotly debated topic.

Bringing graffiti into the museum provides an opportunity to celebrate the talents of artists working the genre. It is also offers a chance for people who identify as art lovers, but aren’t typical fans of graffiti, to appreciate the work on display in a more familiar environment.

Marks on Society will also educate the public about many aspects of the art form. Gallery text and programs will share the history of graffiti, terms and lessons on different styles (i.e. the difference between a tag, a throwie, a bomb, a piece, etc.), materials (markers, spray paint, wheat paste, stencils, stickers, etc.), the culture (art, music, dance), and intentions or aspirations of artists (personal expression, political statements, territory marking, etc.).


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