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Tag This: LA Street Artists Explode Getty Black Book for SCRATCH, the New Art Experience Opening June 8 at ESMoA in El Segundo 

Graffiti and tattoo artists leave mark on art lab for first public
display of the Getty Graffiti Black Book

April 24, 2014 (El Segundo, California) – Imagine the result if crews of LA top street artists were introduced to a collection of rare books from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. See for yourself at SCRATCH, the new art experience at ESMoA in El Segundo, California, inspired by a unique encounter between 21st-century graffiti and tattoo artists and rare books and manuscripts from the Getty Research Institute (GRI). Curated by GRI Rare Books Curator David Brafman with the assistance of Lisa Cambier, SCRATCH is scheduled to run June 8th to September 21, 2014, with an opening reception at 2 PM on June 8th.
Six co-curators from LA’s street art community have transformed the main exhibition space of ESMoA into a cathedral of urban art for the public launch of LA Liber Amicorum – “Los Angeles Book of Friends” – a Getty Graffiti Black Book of works on paper contributed by more than 150 of LA’s leading graffiti and tattoo artists. Creative friends including Axis, Cre8, Defer, Eyeone, Fishe and Miner arrayed the walls and part of the floor of the new art laboratory with graffiti imagery that frame cases holding jewels of calligraphy, engraving and emblematic symbolism from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, as well as 16th-century painted friendship-books that inspired the project.
Works on display from GRI’s Special Collections at SCRATCH include Liber Amicorum, an “Album of Friends” compiled from 1587 to 1612 by Johann Joachim Prack, a diplomatic attaché from the Holy Roman Empire to the Ottoman Court; Lettera Apologetic dell’Esercitato Accademico della Crusca (Naples, 1751) an amusing defense of an ancient Incan communication system from the private press of the Prince of Sansevero; a 15th-century compendium of Islamic prayers and poems by Moroccan scholar and mystic Muhammad Ibn Sulayman Al-Jazuli once considered essential reading for pilgrims from Hajj to Mecca; and Albrecht Dürer’s landmark Underweysung der Messung (1525) presenting the principles of perspective developed during the Italian Renaissance that are still employed by street artists today. There is also a case for LA Liber Amicorum resting with its clamshell box, which features lettering by the artist Prime.
Visitors to SCRATCH can peruse the cases or ‘e-flip’ through the works via mounted iPads available for use onsite at ESMoA. The technology enables visitors to share the contemporary artists’ creative experience and respond to the impact of viewing the rare books while continually co-curating the space by choosing which page-openings will be in dialogue with the graffiti art around them.
Graffito is old Italian slang for “a little mark,” and graphein in Ancient Greek meant “scratch, draw, paint” long before it meant “to write.” Graffiti artists craft letterforms, draft perspective, and merge line, color and form with the same techniques employed by Renaissance masters like Albrecht Dürer, whose book on perspective was just one of the many rare books artists viewed at the GRI in the process of creating the LA Liber Amicorum.  
Street artists have long used black books to create a visual memory of drafts and to serve as a vehicle for the exchange of ideas. The extraordinary competition that occasionally arises among such artists can also lead to respect as rivals are invited to “hit” each other’s black books with original works. The artists represented in LA Liber Amicorum capture the spirit of this transformation among rival ‘writing-crews’. 
ESMoA is open and free to the public from Friday through Sunday from 10:00 am till 5:00 pm. The art laboratory reserves Monday through Thursday for educational and special events by advance appointment only.  ESMoA is located in El Segundo, California about two miles south of LAX Airport at 
208 Main Street. 

View the entire Getty Black Book here, and read Brafman’s blog on the book project here.
For press coverage on the book project see KCET ARTBOUND and LACMA ON FIRE
For more information on SCRATCH and ESMoA, please contact Andrea Schnoor Communications at aschnoor@andreaschnoor.com or 310.878.4812
Image: Eyeone


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Andrea Schnoor Communications
122 West 27th Street, 10 Floor | New York, NY 10001
310.878.4812 | andreaschnoor.com

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