Some of New York’s leading graffiti artists are headed to Europe to display their work at one of the world’s most prestigious exhibitions of contemporary art. Graffiti pioneers Blade, Daze, Quik, and Sharp will head to Venice, Italy for the latest Venice Biennale, which occurs, of course, every two years.

The exhibition of these American masters’ work is sponsored by New York’s American Folk Art Museum. The Museum, along with Benetton, will exhibit the work of four more artists from outside the Big Apple who are also working in the outsider/folk art genre. The eight artists will each create new pieces on-site at the Fondaco dei Tedeschi.

The exhibition is an important step in the further legitimization of graffiti as an important and valuable art form and not the illegal eyesore that some more conservative people still see it as. For more information visit the websites of the American Folk Art Museum and the Venice Biennial.

(April 11)

UPDATE: A spokesperson for the European Art Festival contacted HipHopDX, informing us that Benetton, who had planned to cooperate with the American Folk Art Museum on an exhibition of African American self-taught artists and graffiti muralists in Venice during the Biennale, announced that they will postpone the project. The site-specific exhibition was planned for the Fondaco dei Tedeschi, a property owned by the Benetton family, adjacent to the Rialto Bridge.

“This is a very large historic building and has been unoccupied for many years,” said a Benetton spokesperson. “Due to its condition, we were unable to obtain the necessary permits, certifications, and finish the modifications necessary to insure the safety of the crowds expected for this exhibition. The project has been postponed to the reopening of the Fondaco after its renovation by Rem Koolhaus.”