Barry McGee "The Buddy System"

Deitch Projects


Exhibition catalogue (with minor damage on the back cover)

Deitch Projects, 1999

Softcover, 172 pages, 11.5 x 9.5inches

Rare early Barry McGee catalogue from Deitch Projects solo show "The Buddy System"
Book has many blank white pages in the back to serve as a tag book, for graffiti writers to collect and exchange tags.


More on the exhibition:


“The Buddy System” was a floor-to-ceiling painting, drawing, and sculptural installation by Barry McGee that filled the entire gallery. McGee draws on a range of influences, including Mexican murals, tramp art, graffiti art of the 1970s and ’80s, and the work of the San Francisco Beat poets, to create a unique visual language. The work has the strong, immediately recognizable visual signature of the best graffiti art, but it is also enormously poetic and evocative. It communicates the artist’s strong empathy with people who have been left behind by contemporary society.

The work fuses found and invented imagery, tags, and assorted objects. It also has a strong sense of performance. In the words of McGee, his paintings “try to capture the overload of the senses that one might feel walking down the street of any one of our fine American cities.”

Also known by his street name, Twist, McGee has a large following in the street-art community. Since the mid-’80s, he has worked on thestreets of San Francisco, his native city, where his images endure on walls, mailboxes, and other surfaces despite the continuous campaign of public authorities to paint them out. McGee long resisted showing his work in museums and commercial galleries, but he has become more active in the conventional art world.

Published by Deitch Projects

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