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Fort Greene Mural to be Featured in Vanity Fair

By Janet Upadhye | September 27, 2012 9:56am

FORT GREENE — California-based artist Barry McGee recently completed a 96-by-67-foot mural on the east wall of the Mark Morris Dance Center in Fort Greene. The mural will be photographed by Jason Schmidt and showcased in the December issue of Vanity Fair magazine.

“Brooklyn is the Creative Capital of New York City, and what better showcase than Mark Morris Dance Center for this mural” Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said in a press release. “The Mark Morris Dance Center’s wall is perfectly situated for terrific visibility in the great, progressive and culturally rich neighborhood of Fort Greene."

Mcgee's mural is painted in mainly primary colors and is made up of small squares on a grid. Each square holds a colorful pattern or set of letters. A few hold drawings of cartoon-like faces or spray cans. The mural is geometric, clean, and colorful.

McGee titled his mural, which took 10 days to paint, "Untitled 2012."

Vanity Fair commissioned the San Francisco street artist as part of their 'Art in the Streets' program.

Last year, Vanity Fair commissioned Shepard Fairey, Retna (a.k.a. Marquis Lewis), and Kenny Scharf to create public murals on the West Hollywood Public Library in Los Angeles as a part of the same project. The artists were free to create whatever they wanted.

McGee began as a street artist in San Francisco in the early 80's. His work would pop up in the tunnels and streets of the Bay Area, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, before his work was noticed by the gallery world.

Today, UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive has a retrospective of his work.

And though his art hangs on gallery walls, his street roots are still prevalent in his murals. He is known for "isolating characters or icons as stand-alone street images in black and silver, and for bucking the graffiti tradition of using them as accessories to draw attention to the painted name," according to a press release.

"I like the idea that you can paint something outdoors and anyone can see it. It's open to anyone and people have to deal with it," he told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2002. "There's a dynamic on the street that's definitely more interesting."