Stay Up!: Los Angeles Street Art

G James Daichendt, Author
G. James Daichendt, photos. by Lord Jim. Cameron (PGW, dist.), $35 (208p) ISBN 978-1-937359-34-8
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This celebration of a movement and body of work “sometimes considered vandalism and sometimes cultural treasures” reflects its practitioners’ exuberance and recklessness; even the book’s raw-edged cardboard covers, plastered with graphically bold images, immediately signal the playful, gritty, provocative attitude of its subject. Multiple pages of photographs of works, collaged and crammed together, predominate, evoking walls layered with paintings, murals, and “wheat pastes”—paper-based artworks. Azusa Pacific University art historian Daichendt (Artist Teacher) draws on his academic knowledge and interviews with arts professionals, photographers, collectors, and, most significantly, the street artists themselves to muse on street art as a statement about the failure of modernism and its blurry borders with advertising, celebrity, and establishment art. Rather than analyzing individual works or artists, Daichendt focuses on the phenomenon itself; its roots in graffiti, skate-and-surf culture, and Los Angeles murals, and its relationship to the traditional art world, although articles critiquing some artists’ works appear in appendixes. Unfamiliar readers may be frustrated by the lack of identifying captions—artist credits are only provided in tiny, crowded print at the back of the book, but arguably this choice is justified by the anonymous, outlaw nature of the work itself. (Dec.)
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