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Co-curated with Monica Norse 78o, Lollipop Gallery is pleased to present 'East Street/West Street' – a show which compares and contrasts the development of contemporary Street Art in Russia and America. This show is skewed toward the Russian side of things because we feel that contemporary Russian work is under-valued and under-represented in the West. The work of Misha Most, Aske, and Nootk certainly contains traces of the rich cultural heritage of Russia but it is also forward looking and endeavouring to forge a contemporary aesthetic informed by that past. As a representative of the US we felt compelled to include works from Shephard Fairey, not just because he is arguably the leading light in the US Street Art community, but also because his work relies heavily on the visual aesthetic of Russian propaganda posters to create a post-modern and politically engaged contemporary aesthetic. As a counterpoint to a largely figurative show we also included the abstract work of the American duo The Merf (made up of Mint, who is of Russian descent, and Serf). For us, their work is an intense combination of traditional graffiti values and the expressionist painting tradition. In many ways we feel that it is natural for US graffiti to evolve into abstraction – a thesis we shall return to in a future show. When we look across this broad spectrum of visual production, we are struck by the fact that although the artists come from different countries that have often been on opposing sides of political and economic fences, there is a deep humanity in the work which transcends the many cultural differences and points to a better world. This spirit is fundamental to the Street Art movement, which relies so heavily on social media to communicate its message and to forge a global community of like-minded artists.
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