Exhibit photo by Gregory Bojorquez, courtesy MOCA

Sometimes what’s missing is just as interesting as what is present. In an art exhibit packed with colorful works, a sudden swath of white wall becomes a minimalist statement.

For me that’s the case with an ambitious exhibit at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA this weekend which tries to translate street art to gallery art. Curated by Jeffrey Deitch, Art in the Streets features some of graffiti’s most well-known artists including Fab 5 Freddy (New York), Lee Quiñones (New York), Futura (New York), Margaret Kilgallen (San Francisco), Swoon (New York), Shepard Fairey (Los Angeles), Os Gemeos (São Paulo), and JR (Paris).

I was looking forward to the show because Italian street artist Blu was set to participate, but Blu was buffed out of the exhibit. Blu began his Deitch-commissioned mural on one of Geffen’s outside walls, but don’t try looking for it. The Italian artist’s street mural was a bit too “street” for Deitch and was whitewashed, then painted over by other artists before the exhibit’s member-only opening last night.

I’m still going because I want to see the rest of the features which range from work by Keith Haring and Michel Basquiat to projects by REVOK and Mr. Cartoon, but it would have been great for there to be a little Italian Blu. Without a little “inappropriateness” how street can art be?

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