Is street art going legit? It seems so, thanks to “Coney Island Walls,” a huge display of murals created by the biggest names in the genre from the past 40 years. The show is the brainchild of Coney Island redeveloper Joseph Sitt, who’s generated his fair share of controversy throughout the past five years by presiding over a gentrifying Boardwalk that’s seen the departure of such funky, iconic Coney Island venues as "Shoot the Freak," Ruby's Bar and Grill and the Gyro Corner. His “Coney Island Walls” co-curator—dealer and longtime street-art impressario Jeffrey Deitch—is no slouch when it comes to stirring up shit either: During Deitch’s stormy tenure as director of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the artists who sat on the museum’s board (some of the most famous in California) walked out after he fired a popular curator.
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Even so, the lineup of street-art talent—Lady Pink, Kenny Scharf, Lady Aiko and Shepard Fairey to name just a few—is beyond impressive, and the walls themselves provide a compendium of the best of what’s happening in street art today. If hot dogs and the beach weren’t reason enough to get you to the boardwalk this summer, these murals offer an added incentive.