Street artist Mau Mau embraces gallery walls with solo show at West Bank

By Mark Sheerin | 02 May 2012
Colour photo of some sreet art in which a group of foxes chase a dog
A Mau Mau piece called Collective Security© Mau Mau
Exhibition: Mau Mau: Pigs Might Fly, Westbank Gallery, London, May 4 -13 2012.

Street artists make names for themselves according to their own criteria. If anything, they prefer anonymity. So while it’s no surprise to find graffiti overlooked in the Turner Prize, it may impress you to learn that Mau Mau has a strain of cannabis named after him.

Unlike most contemporary artists, he is very happy to knock out bespoke work for pressure groups such as Greenpeace, Shelter and Free Burma. And better still, in terms of reaching an audience, Mau Mau has supplied art to music acts such as Dizzee Rascal and Roots Manuva.

It is simpler to hire a man with a spray can than one with a paintbrush or blue chip art brand. And a solo show in a London should push the comparison further as Mau Mau attempts to repeat the success of recent shows in Tokyo

Street art is commercial - an irony given that Mau Mau, like many of his ilk, does a good line in social critique.

All of which points to the eternal question: how can an artist sell out a gallery show without selling out? For a name from the streets, that is an even tougher conundrum.

  • Open 11am – 7pm Tuesday-Sunday. Admission free.

Visit Mark Sheerin's contemporary art blog and follow him on Twitter.
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