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.
April 15, 2013
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. 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.