That is where the beauty is. Margaret Kilgallen at the Aspen Art Museum

img_9912There is a simple truth in Margaret’s work, something that makes it feel very familiar and comforting. The new show at the Aspen Art Museum just furthers that feeling.

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After seeing the new show at the Aspen Art Museum I’ve thought a lot about her work and there is something that feels very personal to me. Sure, there is the hand lettered type, often pulled from the same grimy neighborhoods of the Bay area I used to wander. And sure, some of it is the emotional pull of being vaguely familiar with her story, but there is actually something else that feels more connective.

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When I was starting to think critically about graffiti, urban space, freight trains and typography I was unknowingly part of a larger cultural milieu that shared the same values and had similar intentions about making things. I was a tiny piece of cosmic dust in a universe of people. Some of these makers, like Margaret, were leading the charge, observing the world around them and synthesizing it into something celebratory. It wasn’t about “getting up,” or being “out for fame.”

It was about seeing something beautiful in the ordinary. It was about viewing the everyday as something worthy and valuable of celebration. It was a celebration of the artists who give shape and form to the visual language of the seemingly mundane. That was a revolutionary idea to me at the time and it is something that has stuck with me, at least in part because Margaret’s work put me on that path.

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