"I still think the social function of art is that kind of negative aesthetic. Otherwise there’s no social function for it."
From "Art in the Twenty-First Century" Season 1 (2001)
"I like things that are handmade," says Margaret Kilgallen, referring to the hand-painted signs of San Francisco's Mission District that influenced her work. "In that they did it themselves—that's what I find beautiful." The segment follows Kilgallen as she bikes around the Mission, paints in her studio, visits the San Francisco train yards with artist and husband Barry McGee, and creates a new painting installation at the UCLA/Armand Hammer Museum. While hand-painting wall sized letters on a ladder, Kilgallen describes her process: "I do spend a lot of time trying to perfect my line work...when you get close up, you can always see the line waver. And I think that's where the beauty is."
Barry McGee, who has a passion for graffiti art, says, "I like that process of a thing discarded, then picked up, and intercepted." In this segment, McGee discloses an urban inspiration for his art. The segment follows McGee and Kilgallen to the local train yards where the artists point out their favorite markings and leave some of their own, contributing to a graphic conversation that spans train cars across the nation. McGee is also filmed atop a water tower painting one of his signature figures. Traveling to the UCLA/Armand Hammer Museum, the segment follows McGee as he installs a new room-sized work, a two-story mural, as well as a storefront painting looking out on the streets of Los Angeles.