Street artist John "CRASH" Matos with his work-in-progress at the...

Street artist John "CRASH" Matos with his work-in-progress at the Southampton Arts Center in Southampton. Credit: Randee Daddona

They were once outlaws, rebels, dissidents and outsider artists. Now lauded by museum directors and collectors, graffiti artists are going “Beyond the Streets” at the Southampton Arts Center. The exhibition of some three dozen taggers, muralists and more who made their names — and their art — on the streets is on display in Southampton through July 20.

Look for strong graphics, bold colors, texts, unusual materials (barbed wire, metal doors, miniature train cars, and banners), and, yes, a bit of misbehaving. Street art started decades ago when young, largely untaught artists sought ways to make their mark on the world.

"Lights, Camera, Sorrow" is a 1987 wall-sized painting by graffiti...

"Lights, Camera, Sorrow" is a 1987 wall-sized painting by graffiti artist, CRASH, who will also be painting a site-specific work at the Southampton Arts Center. Credit: CRASH

“I grew up in the Bronx, so I remember graffiti art on the subways,” says SAC director Christina Mossaides Strassfield. She also recalled the gradual transition from the streets to galleries and museums.

Roger Gastman, the guest curator and founder and creative director of “Beyond the Streets” notes, “These artists have gone on to very illustrious careers. Just because their background is in street art doesn't mean that the work they're creating now is street work. It's absolutely different. It's a different energy. It's a different power.” He adds, “This is their fine art.”

Prestigious collections worldwide display the works of The Guerrilla Girls, a feminist art collective known for plastering posters and upsetting art world apple carts. ZEPHYR, Kenny Scharf, Futura2000, and Lady Pink are pioneers of the movement; their creations defined the style and inspired younger artists who now pay homage to their innovations. New Yorker, CRASH, who spray-painted his way into art history is creating a site-specific work for the show. After July 20, it'll be painted over.

“We think the show is going to generate a buzz and let people know about a kind of work that wasn't done out here,” explains Strassfield. The exhibition is free with an opening reception to which all are invited. Gastman adds, “You're going to come away with a new favorite artist.”

“Beyond the Streets”

WHEN | WHERE Through July 20; Friday-Sunday, noon to 5 p.m., Southampton Arts Center, 25 Jobs Lane, Southampton

MORE INFO Free; 631-283-0967,


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