Against the Grain: Skate Culture and the Camera at 15 Bateman St., Soho, in London, July 7 to 22, 2018, is a traveling exhibition that celebrates the phenomena of skateboarding, with the photographers and filmmakers who documented the movement. Despite the subculture’s influence and resonance in almost every aspect of popular culture, this emblem of freedom and rebellion has been largely ignored as an artistic form.
Brought together for the first time, this historical review highlights behind the scene glimpses and cultural shifts associated with skateboarding throughout the past 50 years. Pioneering figures skating Southern California pools and schoolyard banks of the 1970’s are portrayed, as well as devious manipulations of urban architecture shaping new chapters of skateboarding’s evolution.
The exhibition includes never been seen photography from the archive of Oscar-winning director Spike Jonze, and Glen E. Friedman – the man who has been coined by Russell Simmons as defining the imagery of hip hop.
Internationally celebrated photographer Mike O’Meally will feature recent photography of London’s Palace Skate Team, and Transworld Skateboard Magazine editor and former adidas skate team manager Skin Phillips will exhibit photography from Mark Gonzales’ provocative performance at the Stadtisches Museum, Koln, Germany.
The photographers featured are known for circulating imagery from within an active community, and have taken countless risks in uncontrollable, and at times reckless or controversial environments. Often dismissed for solely capturing the decisive moment or ‘peak action trick’, this wide ranging genre of photography has expanded to many documentary and artistic styles and continues to exist through its own decree. The exhibition focuses on content falling outside the commonly held frame, and offers a number of lenses through which to view its many histories.
Archival material from SkateBoarder, Thrasher, Transworld, R.a.D (Read and Destroy), Sidewalk, 411 Video Magazine and other publications features media that was essential to circulating information about skateboarding and contributed to the international force it is today.
Launching this July in London, the exhibition will tour to North America during 2019, as well as Tokyo in 2020 for the Olympics, when skateboarding will be in the included for the first time. The tour will focus on the skate community and specific history where each exhibition is held, placing it in a broader context of an international scene.