TEL AVIV—What happens when the grimy surfaces of the street meet the sterile white walls of the museum? The question has had the art world talking since street art first started going mainstream in New York City in the 1970s, but the conversation only more recently arrived in Tel Aviv, the contemporary art hub of the Middle East and a new go-to destination for the street art enthusiast.
“Inside Job: Street Art in Tel Aviv,” an exhibition now on display at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, is putting the spotlight on the city’s epic street art scene at the same time that it's breaking down the barrier between “official” and unofficial spaces for art. “Bringing street art inside somehow contradicts itself. People do not think it is art,” says curator Tal Lanir. With the mission to prove that street artists are indeed “real” artists, Lanir gave eight of the city’s most celebrated street artists blank walls and free reign inside the museum. “Street art is not vandalism. I want people to know whose hands are behind what they see in the streets, and to realize that they are artists,” she says.
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