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Top Mob: A History of NOLA Graffiti [Photo Review]

There was a certain feeling of accomplishment in the air during the Top Mob closing party, held at the EIFFEL Society on November 6th. The event celebrated the closing of the Top Mob exhibit at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art. The exhibit, which ran from June 16th to November 6th, provided patrons with a comprehensive history of graffiti in the city of New Orleans by one of the scene’s most prolific groups. It is quite the grand departure to take an art form typically only seen in the streets and create a large, fine art quality, exhibit with it. It is a juxtaposition that brings a feeling of integration and appreciation for the graffiti art form.

Top Mob has been growing and creating art in New Orleans for over thirty years, with humble beginnings that date back to 1984.  The emergence of Top Mob and other groups like it sparked a long wrestling match between street artists and those who would rather see the graffiti painted over.  It took a number of dedicated individuals to elevate the art to the level it has reached here in New Orleans, and the TM krewe is nothing if not dedicated to their art.

The closing party featured performances by the Blind Texas Marlins, as well as other local musicians. Many of the Top Mob members were present at the closing party, selling smaller pieces of art, as well as the official Top Mob Black Book, which features sketches from original Top Mob members dating as far back as 1984 to present.

The ambiance and the unique art installations at the EIFFEL Society lent themselves beautifully to the overall mood of the event. The artists were very open to questions regarding their art, their process and the exhibit itself.  Gabriel aleXander, also known as MEEK, co-curated the exhibit at the Ogden and was present at the event, interacting with fans of Top Mob’s art.

“There are a lot of new writers in the city and the scene is in a good place. The newer artists are exploring the abandoned buildings that have popped up and the art brings a lot of people from out of town. There is more of a relationship between the photographers and the artists now,”

– MEEK said of the current state of the graffiti scene in New Orleans.

All in all, the closing party was a huge success, allowing these artists to come together and continue to share their vision and their art with those who love it.

Check out our shots from the event:

 

Photos / Written By: Linzi Falk

 

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