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    Posted May 20, 2012 by
    Los Angeles, CA 90036, California
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Photo essays: Your stories in pictures

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    LAB ART'S FIRST ANNIVERSARY: Taking it From the Street!


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     PaulaGibson says she has been photographing street art since her college days and appreciates the art form. 'I wish there were more free walls,' she says. She says it was difficult to narrow down which pieces of art she enjoyed the most from the Lab art gallery, but she says Lydia Emily's political work ranging from President Obama to the Dali Lama struck her. 'I appreciate her willingness to speak truth to power through art,' she says. 'The piece I am thinking of shows the Dali Lama with a ball and chain on his ankle - the ball says "made in China." The piece speaks to the current fate of the Tibetan people and their struggle for political and cultural freedom from China.'
    - Jareen, CNN iReport producer

    More often than not, when you think of graffiti you think of juvenile delinquents or property defacing criminals. Notwithstanding that fact, the situation has been changing over the years and now graffiti art has now gone from the streets to the gallery. Los Angeles is home to one of the world's premier street art galleries known as Lab Art. Owned and curated by brother and sister team, Iskander Lemseffer and Rachel Joelson, the Lab Art Gallery Los Angeles celebrated its first anniversary. The anniversary show, “The Usual Suspects” is a showcase of 17 Street Artists including Desire Obtain Cherish, DD$, CYRCLE, Fragile, Gregory Siff, Alec Monopoly, Mar, Louis XXX, and Lydia Emily.


    Iskander advises: "What we have done here is to give Street Art the place it deserves in Art History. By showcasing Street Art in a gallery it gains the attention it deserves and gives it a place in contemporary art." And what a place it is! Pieces can run upwards of thousands of dollars. Yet many of these artists are socially conscience. For example, Lydia Emily is part of a collective, The Karma Underground [http://thekarmaunderground.com], a group dedicated to supporting the people of Tibet and their goal of remaining a unique and unified culture by assisting with logistics and raising money.

    The Usual Suspects' exhibit displays art including paintings, mixed media, and installations, that range from tongue-in-cheek to satirical in tone. Iconic images from pop culture and American history become art subject matter. Nothing is safe from commentary, as the art works poke fun at everything from symbols of materialism like Louis Vuitton and Starbucks to, well, the infamous LA Hipsters.


    Lab Art Gallery
    217 S. La Brea Ave.
    Los Angeles, CA 90036


    Photography by Paula Lauren Gibson/AfroPix

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