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Brooklyn Street Art

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Beneath The Streets, New York’s Century Old Underground in Photos and Aerosol

Posted on September 15, 2014

New York’s train system carries an estimated five million per day, is a little over a hundred years old, and for most is limited to the ride. Urban explorers, graffiti writers, artists, photographers and homeless people have often found it to be a destination they are drawn into for myriad additional reasons. You will most likely pass through the tunnels of course while encapsulated in a train car perhaps multiple times in a day, but few will ever venture off the end of the platform or through a hole in a fence to explore the hidden world beneath the streets of New York.

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“Beneath The Streets” Matthew Litwack and JURNE. Gingko Press, 2014. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

And that is good, says Matthew Litwick, who along with JURNE released Beneath the Streets (Gingko Press) this summer, because along with the thrill of exploring the forbidden tunnels and abandoned stations beneath the feet of millions, a certain deadly threat of the third rail exists as well. During a recent presentation of images and stories from the new hardcover Litwick stressed a number of times the instant electrocution that can result from accidentally touching it, a point underscored by the death this July of graffiti writer Jason Wulf, a titan of the New York scene.

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“Beneath The Streets” Matthew Litwack and JURNE. Gingko Press, 2014. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

So with that in mind, your fascination will be either sated or encouraged by the eerily vast and sometimes wondrously lit tunnels in some of these photos as well as the more everyday snapshots culled from many collections that illustrate the book. Punctuated throughout with descriptions that lean toward the educational, you also find personal experiences and viewpoints from well known graffiti writers and explorers about their time underground that helps put scenes in context.

Included among the piles of rotting trash, debris, crash walls, bumpers, taggers, throwies, and REVS diary pages is at least one completely legal installation, the Masstransiscsope by artist Bill Brand in collaboration with Creative Time, a 228 panel display from 1980 visible from passing trains that creates the illusion of an animation.

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“Beneath The Streets” Matthew Litwack and JURNE. Gingko Press, 2014. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Steering carefully away from depicting the abandoned stations and hidden spots as simply a bombers wet dream, the authors notably give a solid appreciation to understanding the trains and the system itself, including scholarly passages and photographs about the history of the planning, building, and maintaining of the tunnels and tracks, as well as the conditions that workers endured during its creation.

“Until now, graffiti writers, subway enthusiasts, and transit workers have been some of the only people to take notice of these environments,” say Litwick and Jurne in their forward. “This book intends to provide an up-close and introspective look at a world that a handful … have been able to experience and observe outside of the confines of a speeding train.”

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“Beneath The Streets” Matthew Litwack and JURNE. Gingko Press, 2014. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“Beneath The Streets” Matthew Litwack and JURNE. Gingko Press, 2014. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“Beneath The Streets” Matthew Litwack and JURNE. Gingko Press, 2014. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“Beneath The Streets” Matthew Litwack and JURNE. Gingko Press, 2014. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

See examples of the photos in the book by following their INSTAGRAM @beneaththestreetsnyc

 

 

BSA Images Of The Week: 09.14.14

Posted on September 14, 2014

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The street appears in the living room when you visit some artists homes or those of hard core collectors. “Brooklyn is in da house!” suddenly takes on additional meaning. So imagine rolling through a heavily graffitied section of Bushwick this week to find someone’s living room is on display on the street. It’s like a set for a TV show, or a theater stage; The couch, the coffee table, a lamp, paneling, even a hard wood floor comprised of, well, not really hard wood.  A hunter’s lodge maybe? A cabin in the Adirondacks? Without a back story, this looked like a stage had been built but you couldn’t be sure what for. Just as our intrepid photographer raised his camera to his eye, the woody indoor scene became exactly that – a stage.

“As I was taking the above photo a fast and furious dude came like a flash out of nowhere on his bike, stopped abruptly, and threw his bike on the floor,” says Jaime. “I didn’t know what to expect and watched him fish a spray can from a plastic shopping bag and step up on the sofa and write his tag upon the living room wall. The actor muttered something I couldn’t hear as he sprayed over another’s tag and then stepped down, leaving just as quickly as he has appeared. It was as if the fourth wall really did exist and he didn’t see me, the audience. I did want to ask him about the tag and about his very fashionable French chignon.  But really, I wasn’t even visible.”

See him in action in the photo below.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring C215, Dain, Damon, Dope, Dotmasters, Jamie Paul Scanlon (JPS), Marilyn Minter, NRG US Crew, Pøbel, Richard Best, Stefan Ways, Wolfe Work, You Go Girl!, and Østrem.

Top Image >> The living room set in the street. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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A stage set in the street with an impromptu live tagging performance. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Pøbel and Østrem in Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

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Dain (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unknown. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

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Artist Unknown. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

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Wolfe Work (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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C215. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

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You Go Girl (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jamie Paul Scanlon AKA JPS. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

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NRG US Crew (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unknown. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

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Dotmasters. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

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Damon (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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A fox by an artist from Chile. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

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DOPE (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stefan Ways in front of his Warner Mural in Baltimore. Detail. (photo © David Muse)

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Richard Best. Warner Mural in Baltimore (photo © David Muse)

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Untitled. I took this photo from a Marilyn Minter video commissioned by the Brooklyn Museum for the current exhibition “Killer Heels” curated by Lisa Small. Brooklyn, NYC 2104. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!
 
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It’s All the Rage, Street Artists Filing Lawsuits Left and Right

Posted on September 13, 2014

In what could be charitably described as a sign that Street Art has entered a new phase of cultural acceptance and appropriation, some creators of art in the public sphere are attempting to lay legal claim to the profit-making that they didn’t necessarily sign on to. In just the last few months a handful of artists from New York, Los Angeles, and Buenos Aires have discovered their murals have been used in fashion, music, and cinema to great effect, but sadly, they say, without their knowledge or permission.

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Of course this sort of inspiration/appropriation has been going on for years – if you want to meet models on the sidewalk just move to Bushwick, Brooklyn and you’ll probably accidentally end up in a fashion spread yourself. Here is where countless fashion shoots, video shoots, movie scenes all happen continuously and money is exchanging hands to make it happen – just not for the artists. Usually they are essentially unpaid, uncredited backdrop artists for the edgy “street” fantasies of stylists.

The courts ultimately will have to decide the relevance of these recent claims but the topic does raise fascinating questions about public space, intellectual property, copyright, and the reasonable expectations of the artists once their work is set free into the streets.  In these cases the artists had permission and encouragement to create their works and perhaps thousands of images of the works are in existence since the work is made public. The concern here is raised once those images are privatized or pass into the purely commercial world of selling product.

More interesting will be to see if these lawsuits will extend in the future to include the unsanctioned, un-permissioned, acts of vandalism that appear on private property as well. Will artists seek protection from a legal system they actively transgressed? Can the pieces of art placed illegally be re-claimed by the artist when the work is found printed on a lycra bodysuit or embossed on a wallet? If so, how will the artist claim ownership?

Here are just three recent examples of lawsuits reportedly being filed by artists laying claim to the benefits of their work.

Maya Hayuk

Street Artist and fine artist Maya Hiyuk is reportedly suing pop star Sara Bareilles, Sony, and Coach for using her Houston Street wall in New York as a back drop to sell their products.

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Hayuk on the left, the wall used in a campaign on the right (Screenshot from New York Post, Page Six)

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A detail from the Houston street wall by Maya Hayuk (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Revok, Reyes and Steel

MSK crew members Revok, Reyes and Steel have filed a claim saying that designer Roberto Cavalli was a little more than just inspired by their collaborative mural in San Francisco when designing a line for his “Graffiti Girls” collection sold through the website. A quick Google search shows that the line extends to clothing, accessories, sneakers, even a phone case and is sold at stores like Nordstom, Neiman Marcus, and online giant Amazon.

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Worse, says the claim, “Sometimes, Cavalli added what appears to be a signature, creating the false impression that Roberto Cavalli himself was the artist.”

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An view of the original wall by Revok, Reyes and Steel (image © MSK) and a screenshot of one of the dresses for sale at Cavalli’s website.

See more about this at Mass Appeal.

Jaz, Ever, and Other (aka Troy Lovegates)

Street Artists and muralists Jaz, Ever, and Other are suing for copyright infringement because the newest Terry Gilliam (Twelve Monkeys, Brazil) film The Zero Theorem allegedly featured a mural that looks startlingly similar to one they painted together in Buenos Aires about four years ago.

You can actually still see a number of stills from it it on The Zero Theorem Facebook page right now if you like.

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See a pdf of the lawsuit here.

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From Other’s Flickr page, the original mural in progress (image © Other)

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!
 
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