Calligraffiti 1984-2013: Jeffrey Deitch Returns to NYC

August 20, 2013 | Marina Galperina

Jeffrey Deitch is coming back to New York and he’s doing a graffiti show, sort of. It looks interesting.

His highly hyped street art exhibit that one time was dampened by a questionable incident *cough BLU cough* and his overall stint as the director of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art lead to questions regarding his departure, but the reboot of the 1984 “Calligraffiti” exhibit looks worthwhile.

With more than 50 artists from Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner, Niels Meulman and Jean-Michel Basquiat to Keith Haring and LA II, the updated show juxtaposes “Abstract Expressionists, seminal graffiti artists, and contemporary street artists whose work features calligraphy-like markings” and also features several pieces from Middle Eastern artists, the catalogue siting graffiti becoming more important since the Arab Spring, Instagram and YouTube that, according to curator Dietch, “have given street art a new resonance.”

Just as the graffiti movement emerged from the economic and social turmoil of the 1970s in New York, it is now no surprise that some of the most groundbreaking street art is burgeoning all across the Middle East…

Calligraphy as an art form is part of a Middle Eastern collective memory and as it continues to evolve, we are now witnessing a kinetic dialogue between these movements that will no doubt leave their mark on history.

Particulary interesting is the inclusion of Shirin Neshat and Nir Hood’s text-based work, but we’re really, really hoping for something more in-depth and dynamic than the unifying aesthetics of it all.

Like this Leila Pazooki. This Is Not Green in neon green. It’s the new This Is Not a Pipe. More like that.

Deitch is working on several other curatorial projects that are yet unannounced. “Calligraffiti 1984-2013,” Sep 5 – Oct 5, Leila Heller Gallery, Chelsea