art matters

Graffiti artist Lady Pink visits UI

Posted by Claire Lekwa and Meghan Centers on 21 April 2010 Comments

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Pink Piece Lady Pink, Pink Piece, 1980

"People fear graffiti because they don't understand it. They think it's evil, scary, and that crime will soon follow," Sandra Fabara, a graffiti artist widely known by her alias, "Lady Pink," told the UIMA. "Graffiti is just a form of expression and a mild form of rebellion," she said.

This week, this legendary New York graffiti artist who pioneered the graffiti movement through the 1980s and 1990s and became one of the first women to gain international recognition from the art establishment for her graffiti work visits the University of Iowa. She gives a lecture tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the IMU Black Box Theater, in conjunction with the digital display of her work on view there in the Two Turntables and a Microphone exhibition. Over her three-day visit, she is also conducting a workshop with UI art students to paint an 8 by 20-foot mural in homage to Jackson Pollock's Mural in the UIMA's collection. Once completed, the students' mural will be hung within the Two Turntables exhibition in the Black Box Theater through the remainder of the show, until June 27.

We snapped some photos of the mural's progress this morning:

Starting in 1979 as one of the only female graffiti writers on the streets, Lady Pink admits it was a dangerous undertaking. Tattooing the city underground, she said getting arrested was the least of her worries: "Underground, you can't call mommy or the cops."

Though she no longer practices graffiti, Lady Pink used the form to rebel against the intellectualism and abstraction presented by the general art establishment. "It's boring, it's dull, it's above most people's heads; they don't understand it and they don't like it," she argued. "It's being imposed on them just as offensively as graffiti is imposed on them down the street."

Lady Pink's work has now been included in exhibitions and collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Brooklyn Museum. Come to the lecture tonight to hear more, straight from the graffiti queen herself.

-Claire Lekwa, UIMA Marketing and Media Assistant, and Meghan Centers, UIMA Marketing and Media Intern