Sulfur Studios is consistently exhibiting new and exciting works by a wide range of artists working in a diverse array of mediums. They're constantly expanding their offerings not just in the area of visual art, but also music, performance, and beyond, which is why they remain one of the most interesting and dynamic arts organizations in Savannah.
This weekend is the last chance to catch “Out of Context,” their graffiti- and street art-inspired exhibition co-curated by Adolfo Alvarado, an exceptional artist in his own right who specializes in various street/urban styles. Participating artists include Rebecca Rolfes, Ruth Spellman, Caleb Kennedy, Anne Bessac, Carmela Aliffi, Phoebe Teeters, Zechariah Rosenmeier, Andre Bertolino, Evan Stolers, Jay Hollick and Susan Harmon.
All submitted art responding to various questions related to the idea of how the gallery setting changes the impact of graffiti/street art when it's removed from its urban environment and placed in the context of a white walled space.
“Having street art in a gallery setting places the work in a totally different context (hence the name of the show),” says Emily Earl, one of Sulfur's co-founders and director of public relations and special events. “One of the great things about street art/public art/graffiti is that it's public, free to the people. So it certainly makes you stop and think about the difference the environment has on the work once you display it in this very private, 'elevated' space.”
“We are always looking back over the group shows we have done and trying to fill in the gaps with consideration for different types of media,” says fellow co-founder and co-curator Alexis Javier. “We are all big supporters of street art in general and ended up in a conversation about 'What would happen and how would the work be seen differently if it were placed in a white box gallery setting?'"
Javier points out that the conversation was also spurred by the recent 5Pointz case in Queens, New York, where a jury ruled that a real estate developer violated the Visual Artists Rights Act by destroying the works of 21 graffiti artists, awarding $6.7 million in damages.
Earl says they aren't attempting to definitively answer questions like, “How does the transition from public to private spheres alter the reception of the work's message?” or “Does this in some way legitimize street art, or remove its integrity?” But hopefully the show will lead people to reflect on what role art plays in our life, whether the artist is working in the street or the gallery setting.
“We would love to see more public art in Savannah,” says Earl. “There surely is a way to protect our beautiful historic architecture while also uplifting our local artists and citizens with art that is free and influential on our daily lives.”
This First Friday in Starland will feature a reception for “Out of Context," along with Sulfur's regular open studios, as well as a chance to see the incredible ON::VIEW artist in residency project “Antidotes” by Lisa D. Watson.
IF YOU GO
What: "Out of Context"
When: Through Sept. 8; reception 6-9 p.m. Sept. 7
Where: Sulfur Studios, 2301 Bull St.