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La MigraLa MigraLa Migra
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Barry McGee

La Migra, 1995
132.0 x 102.0
oil on metal panels
Artist Bio
Return Policy

La Migra is the collaborative work of San Francisco based graffiti artist Barry McGee, also known as TWIST, and Los Angeles based pop artist Sandow Birk. Created in 1995 in the wake of the Immigration Act of 1990, La Migra is an emotionally charged and seminal socio-political work.

Barry McGee was born in 1966 in San Francisco, California, where he graduated from El Camino High School. In 1991, he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute. Throughout the 1980s McGee tagged the streets of San Francisco and neighboring cities as TWIST, and in the 1990s, yearning for a new venue, he began to show in art galleries. McGee's influences include Mexican muralists, tramp art, and graffiti art from the 1970s and 1980s.

Sandow Birk was born in Detroit in 1962, and studied at Otis College of Art and Design. Themes in Birk's works range from inner city violence in contemporary culture to reimagined biblical narratives.

Condition: Very Good. Piece is in Good condition with faint tarnish on the metal panels.


Item #PNT20995

Barry McGee began exhibiting his art in the late 1980s, not in a museum or gallery, but on his home streets of San Francisco. At that time the city was reeling from a lackluster economy and the scourge of the AIDS crisis, and citizens often took to the streets in protest and to raise awareness of societal woes. Mcgee was inspired by this activism and the more politicized forms of protest graffiti and signage perpetrated by politically minded groups, as well as a tight-knit community of fellow taggers and the burgeoning hardcore music scene in San Francisco.McGee developed as a graffiti artist, often under the tag name “Twist.” Deploying a visual vocabulary that borrows elements from graffiti, comics, hobo art, sign painting, and other sources, McGee’s imagery simultaneously celebrates and critiques his diverse Mission District neighborhood. He has long viewed the city as a vital site for art and activism, but his more recent work brings the urban condition into art spaces with installed environments that express the anarchic vitality of inner-city street life.

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