poster for Barry McGee Exhibition

This event has ended.

Barry McGee's name became known throughout the art world after his exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1998 and the 2001 Venice Biennale. Rumors of a graffiti artist named TWIST who had great drawing skills spread at once, from graffiti artists in the U.S. to curators around the world, but one cannot simply think of him as the “reincarnation of Keith Harring.”

Barry's works are complex, embodying confronting identities. For example, he has Asian genes and a mother of Chinese descent who was born and raised in San Francisco. His works are modernist in that he constantly imports new circumstances into them, but they are also nostalgic and express adoration for the 80s. His works exhibit the fragile delicacy of art and the gruff daringness of street culture at the same time. Viewing his works, the tension is overwhelming such that we might fall off the edge if we are not cautious. However, if we switch off our regulatory instincts, the tension turns into emotional excitement and eventually a sense of freedom.

(“TWIST” is Barry McGee's tag name for his graffiti.)

Opening Talk
June 2nd (Sat), 18:00-20:00
Speaker: Barry McGee
Admission Fee: ¥1500 (prior booking necessary. Watari-um members are invited.)

Opening Night:
June 3rd (Sun), 20:00-23:00
Vocal: Peggy Honeywell
VJ: Enlightenment
BGM: Tei Towa & Friends
Admission Fee: ¥3800 (prior booking necessary. 20% off for Watari-um members)

Application for Barry McGee related events
•Early booking is recommended as number of seats are limited.
•Contact: Watari-um, The Watari Museum of Contemporary Art
Tel: 813-3402-3001 Fax: 813-3405-7714 E-mail:
Bank transfer account: Mitsui Sumitomo Bank, Aoyama branch, ordinary savings account 1033281, account holder's name: Watari Museum of Contemporary Art



From 2007-06-02 To 2007-09-30
Open July 16th, September 17th, September 24th.


Barry McGee



Ashley Rawlings tablog review

Barry McGee's graffiti opposite the Watari-um

The San Francisco-based graffiti artist Barry McGee is having a solo exhibition at the Watari Museum of Contemporary Art in Harajuku. Across the road, he has revamped the streetscape, covering an empty shop with his trademark icons and graphics.

Meighan Ellis tablog review

Barry McGee: Maintaining his Street Cred with Ease

It’s hard not to feel somewhat doubtful and slightly cautious when viewing a show of a graffiti-turned-celebrated-museum-artist.

Ashley Rawlings tablog review



hardwar: (2007-06-24 at 03:06)

Cool !!

donald_japantimes: (2007-07-17 at 14:07)

Graffiti artist comes in from the cold
By Ashley Rawlings
Special to The Japan Times

Naturally, the idea of the outdoor, anti-establishment medium of graffiti being shown in the austere white cubes of an art museum (particularly one that charges an admission fee) seems like a glaring contradiction. It is also ironic that McGee's work continues to increase in market value while his "Twist" works would only have had a devaluing effect on the residential and commercial surfaces he besmirched ...

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