Wheels over Indian Trails. For
years each time I passed through the Midtown Tunnel, that
bold work of art greeted my entry. Little was I to know that
this simple but prophetic work of art would be one of the
opening salvos in the development of a distinctly urban art
Born on the streets of New York City,
disturbing for its "in your face" approach, this
art of appropriation grew-up in a post-Vietnam War world.
Almost without exception, the appropriators came from inner
city surroundings. Dissatisfied with his or her own anonymity,
graffiti artists became deeply committed to the idea of revolution
through blunt social engagement. Out of this helter-skelter
tagging of urban surfaces, a small group of artists emerged
who would realize the broader potential of this new expressionism.
Developed and curated by John Fekner,
the artist of Wheels over Indian Trails, this exhibition and
accompanying catalogue reveal the innovative and controversial
nature of this art movement. My compliments to John Fekner
who, in working closely with Museum staff, has accomplished
not only a definitive look at this genre, but also an illuminating
publication. Hillwood Art Museum is pleased to be the venue
for this major survey of work by these American urban artists.
Additionally, I would like to extend
my gratitude to Jeewon Shin, whose catalogue design added
considerably to our understanding of this exhibition. I am
grateful to Alan Moore, whose catalogue essay enhances the
publication, and Barbara Applegate who, as Museum Coordinator,
administrated the complexities of this large exhibition.
Barry M. Stern, Museum Director