Con Artists - a silent history

10 April 2007

The Groninger Museum will display drawings by the New York graffiti artists Case 2 and Kez 5 in its Print Gallery. The exhibition will run from 12 May to 16 September 2007.

Case 2 and Kez 5 draw their own stories and dreams. Due to their stays in prison, they have become accustomed to using any material they can lay their hands on. The exhibition displays a diversity of material. For instance, Case 2 draws on envelopes and on paper hats that are used in the prison canteen. Case 2 has been working as a graffiti artist since 1970, and belongs to the old guard of the New York scene.

Kez 5 can be regarded as a representative of the younger graffiti artists. Kez 5 is full of admiration for the work of Case 2. The exhibition includes a portrait that Kez 5 made of Case 2.

Case 2 and Kez 5 have been sentenced on a number of occasions, including convictions for making ‘graffiti pieces’ on other people’s property. Street artists join together in so-called ‘crews’, in which status is an important factor. The legitimacy of the artists is determined not only by their technical or expressive qualities, stylistic contributions or great production, but also largely by their reputation. Having a police record also enhances their status.

Con Artists was compiled by Hugo Martinez and Antonio Zaya of the All City organization, New York. Con Artists is a component of the All City Series, a travelling project about the history and culture of graffiti and the controversy it may bring. The All City Series will comprise various exhibitions, publications, public programmes, and educational projects. The Groninger Museum hosts the first exhibition in this series.

Note for the editor
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