ART HAMMER Exhibition

This exhibition is entitled ART HAMMER, after the Berthold Brecht quote: "Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it." It's a collection of street art photographs by Ricardo Barros.

"Graffiti writers are indeed reshaping our society. Yet they are doing it largely anonymously, usually secretively, and from an outsider's perspective. Their work can be controversial. They are capable of inflaming a passionate, negative response, and also of kindling a positive community spirit. Like them or not, their numbers are growing. I am not a graffiti writer, and it is not my purpose to promote graffiti. I am interested in contemporary culture. I am also interested in learning from people who may think differently than I do.

I followed a group of writers up and down the Mid-Atlantic States for over six years to learn more about the individuals who write, their culture, and their secrets. Most often I was not permitted to photograph the writers faces, but that's OK because I wasn't trying to make portraits. Nor was my project some form of reportage. My outings may have been, at times, dramatic, but I was more interested in experiencing the adventure rather than in exposing it. My overarching goal was to make photographs that revealed the nature of writing culture from the inside looking out.

My photographs seek to balance beauty against information. The beauty can reside either in the subject, (that is, in the writers and their works,) or in the way the subject was seen (the photograph.) The information is contextual. In my photographs you will see experienced writers formally schooling novices, "bombers" at night on the train tracks, and a community celebration embracing the writers' works. You might say that this is an exhibition of artwork about artwork.

I suspect that you may learn something too, just like I did."

Ricardo Barros

an exhibition at Gallery 219
219 East Hanover Street, Trenton, NJ 08608 

Show dates: December 13 - January 10, 2014
Gallery hours: Flexible, confirm appointments at[masked] 

Opening Reception December 13, free and open to the public
4:30 - 5:00 Guided tour of "Gandhi in the Alley," "Gandhi's Garden," "Windows of Soul," and conversation with the artists.
5:00 - 6:00 Quiet preview of exhibition
6:00 - 9:00 Music starts, exhibition reception
9:00 ... The party continues

This event is free and open to the public.

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