Posted on December 13, 2016
Museums, Festivals, and Activism – three of the themes that garnered the most traffic on our published stories on BSA and The Huffington Post this year.
From a scholarly Street Art related exhibition in St. Petersburg to the opening of the Mima Museum in Belgium to the Anti-Banksy exhibition with the Blu controversy in Bologna and the “Magic City” exhibition in Dresden, BSA readers were astutely studying the slow but steady move of Street Art from the street to the museum and the academic canons.
But you also liked the huge multi-player outside exhibitions as well – with stories from Sicily and Northern Spain to Northern Mexico, BSA readers were interested this year in seeing how eclectic locally-organized Street Art festivals and projects are done, and who is doing them.
Finally activism played a big role in what you were re-Tweeting and “liking” and sending to your friends – From Icy & Sot installing anti-radiation work in the Native American desert and then talking about oceans polluted with plastic, to a United Nations food program with kids and artists in El Salvador, to highlighting Indigenous peoples rights with Jetsonorama, to a US cross-country tour to save endangered species by one artist and a Greenpeace show in Barcelona addressing the same issue with 35 artists, it looks like BSA readers are engaged and concerned about socio-politico-environmental issues left and right.
On a side note, we were honored that our El Salvador article was picked up and published in spanish on the UN World Food program website – HERE.
Of course it was good to see that you liked the feature on the notorious graffiti crew 1UP and seeing Nychos slay New York as well. Tasty!
These are the TOP 15 articles on BSA for 2016 from the more than 365 postings we did this year – meaning they all beat at least 350 articles to get here. Congratulations to us all.
SpY. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)
Rafael Schacter Takes a More Nuanced Approach to the Migration Crisis
Commerce and technology have been eroding traditional constructs of the borders and boundaries, especially in the age of the Internet, satellites, transnational banking and trade agreements that create governing bodies that openly dismiss national sovereignty, integrity, identity, aspirations. Borders and boundaries are contested, guarded, or disregarded at will; open to international capital, porous to immigration, hardened by armies.
Daily they are in the headlines: Trump’s plans to build a wall along the US-Mexican border, Syrian war refugees immigrating across European borders, Israel and Palestine’s ongoing land and settlement disputes, even maritime territorial claims of China and the Phillipines in the South China Sea that were ruled upon yesterday – all reveal clues to our historically complicated relationships and geo-political perspectives.
Art to the rescue! continue reading here
Icy & Sot. Endangered Species Mural Project. Los Angeles, CA. January 2016 (photo © Jess X. Chen)
“The brothers spent two solid days hand cutting the multi-layer stencil here on Melrose Avenue. How many pieces? “19 pieces,” says Icy. “Its not that big but it has a lot of details” The composite image features an enormous whale emerging from the sea in full view of a coastline packed with industrial forms which presumably are dumping contaminants directly into the waters.
As ever, the brothers crash into each others sentences while talking to us. “Whatever happens in the ocean… it comes back to us,” says Sot. “Whether is trash or plastics or oil..”
Icy jumps in, “The fish eat them and then we eat the animals and we have the plastics inside of us.”
“Yeah, It’s a cycle. We are all making a lot of trash – we are affecting the world. Then it all comes back to us,” says Sot… Continue reading here
Maya Hayuk. MIMA Museum. Brussels, Belgium. April 2016. (photo © The Pickles – MIMA Museum)
What is it about Brooklyn Street Art that is so appealing that one would curate the opening exhibition of a museum with it?
Four pillars of the New York Street Art scene are welcoming the first guests of the new Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art (MIMA), which opened days ago in Brussels. Attacking the cherished institutions that relegate grassroots people’s art movements into the margins, MIMA intends to elevate them all and let them play together. Graphic design, illustration, comic design, tattoo design, graffiti, street art, plastic arts, wheat pasting, sculpture, text, advertising, pop, story-telling, aerosol, brushwork, and naturally, dripping paint.
Obviously street culture has been mixing these influences together in a never-ending lust for experimentation; punk with hip-hop, skateboarding with tattoo, performance art with graffiti – for the past four decades at least. The folk tradition of cutting and pasting predates all our modern shape-shifting by centuries, but institutional/organizational curating often often has a preference for sorting street culture disciplines into separate piles.
With the inaugural exhibition “City Lights” MOMO, Swoon, Faile, and Maya Hayuk each bring what made their street practice unique, but with an added dimension of maturity and development. Without exception each of these artists have benefitted from the Internet and its ability to find audiences who respond strongly to the work with physical location a secondary consideration. Now as world travelers these four have evolved and refined their practice and MIMA gives them room to expand comfortably…Continue reading here
Vexta.Workshop. Conect-Arte. San Salvador. April 2016. (photo © Yvette Vexta)
“Six street artists took their social engagement a step further in El Salvador last month and taught youth some serious skillz from the street.
Coming from Brazil, Australia, Ecuador, Mexico, New York, and New Jersey, this international crew took the time to share and teach about painting, art, and how community can be built. The program Conect-Arte is a newly launched initiative by the United Nations World Food Programme, which as the name suggests, also is in the city to address a more core need to battle food insecurity. With Conect-Arte the goal is to also meet youth in some communities and help with positive role models an options with an eye on transforming lives through developing art and related creative skills that can provide income and channel energy in ways productive to community.
Together the artists worked on projects with 45 teens and younger kids over the course of the a week-long workshop in San Salvador, teaching street art techniques like stencil, lettering, mural painting, sculpture, even hot air balloon making. The goals are huge, like reducing violence, food insecurity, increasing access to economic opportunity. The tools here are art, the creative spirit, and strengthening relationships.
We bring you some images of the works that were made by the visiting artists and some of their observations and experiences during the Conect-Arte program…Continue reading here
Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
“A couple of weeks ago BSA was in Dresden, Germany to help lay plans for a new Street Art show opening there this fall called “Magic City” and naturally we hit the streets with bicycles three days in a row to see the city’s graffiti, Street Art, and murals whenever time would permit. The first day we had the honor of getting a tour from Jens Besser, an artist, author, lecturer, and producer of mural festivals in the city who sped ahead of us through a labyrinth of streets to show us a number of the impressive murals he and partners have brought to the city in the last decade or so…Continue reading here
Louis Masai: The Art of Beeing USA Tour. Bog Turtle. Endangered. The Bushwick Collective, Brooklyn. NYC. October 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
“Activism and Street Art go hand in hand and some artists are skilled at activating public space for hearts and brains to spark and cogitate. During the last 15 years we’ve documented a number of seriously affecting artworks on the street that use text and/or imagery to address political, social, environmental, and economic issues and opinions by artists as varied as Shepard Fairey, Banksy, John Fekner, Ganzeer, LMNOPI, Myth, Gilf!, Gaia, LNY, Jetsonorama, and any number of one-shot authors. In this election year there are too many Trumps to count, and a few Hillary pieces as well.
Undaunted by commercial interests and able to deliver directly to the passerby, Street Artists know that their visual message isn’t guaranteed acceptance but they take a chance anyway. The ones that reflect the sentiments on the street tend to last longer, aesthetics count, and so does spelling, at least that is our inductive observation.
One London artist who seriously raises awareness about the Earths’ endangered species is Louis Masai, a painter, sculptor, illustrator and Street Artist. Starting this week in New York Masai is beginning a 20 mural tour across the United States to talk about the hard working, honey-making, pretty pollinating bee – and a number of our animals that are in danger of dying off completely…Continue reading here
1UP. Berlin 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
“An amorphous shape-shifting consortium of Berlin-based aerosol hooligans named 1UP is one of those graffiti crews who eventually make the entry into graffiti street lore because of the scope and daring of their travails.
Primarily Berlin based, you’ll find their almost-commercial sounding name on roofs, walls, abandoned factories, and in tunnels in many cities around the globe. Without a clear idea of the exact number in their association nor precise membership these daredevils are most often described as white men in their twenties and early thirties reveling in the athleticism and sport of graffiti, in addition to style. The tag itself appears to be rather “open source” at times, with only insiders able to keep track of the distinct hand styles forming the ubiquitous name on thousands of surfaces…continue reading here
RIM. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
“It’s a cathedral of characters, this abandoned furniture factory forty kilometers outside of Barcelona. Cartoons, illustrations, portraits are everywhere; a curious collection of aerosol spray pieces that highlights the popularity of the animated and exaggerated personalities among graffiti and Street Artists in this region of the world.
The character may be a salty with a haggard stare, or reference a topic with a bit of satire. The scene may be serious, comical, ridiculous or purely sci-fi and horror. You discover the stories and allegories as you walk through the empty manufacturing rooms now flooded with natural light and dust. Expressions and situations here are full of drama that may trigger your empathy, startle your attention, elicit a shiver, or creepily fondle your funny bone…Continue reading here
Interesni Kazki. Detail. (photo © VladyArt)
“They’ve been here since the 1950s, these silos for wheat and corn on the harbor of Catania on the east coast of the island of Sicily at the foot of Mount Etna. 28 meters tall and facing the Ionian Sea, they are now some of the largest canvasses in Italy by a small group of international and local Street Artists.
The “Art Silos” project includes works completed during an eight month installation begun in June 2015 as part of Festival “I-ART” organized by “Emergence”, thanks to Angelo Bacchelli, curated by Giuseppe Stagnitta. The artists taking part in the project were Okuda (Spain), ROSH333 (Spain), Microbo (Italy), BO130 (Italy), VladyArt (Italy), Danilo Bucchi (Italy) and the duo Interesni Kaxki (Ukraine), mostly all from the graffiti/Street Art world. A separately organized but related project on the harbor-facing row of eight silos was completed by one artist alone, the Lisbon-based Vhils…continue reading here
Tadlock (photo © @around730)
“An anti-Banksy & Co. Street Art show opened in Bologna Italy the same night as its controversial bank-backed cousin with brand new works by 50 or so Italian and international Street Artists and open admission to their outdoor ‘museum’.
“It is free and spontaneous, as Street Art should be,” says an organizer and participant named About Ponny as he describes the exuberant and sometimes saucy toned exhibition on the grounds of the sprawling former headquarters of Zincaturificio Bolognese which is destined for future demolition.
“The message we want to convey is that true street art is found where it was born, in the street and not in the paid exhibits,” says Bibbito, who along with two other out-of-town street artists named Jamesboy and Enter/Exit found food and couches during their installations thanks to an association of artists called L’Associazione Serendippo. Together, these artists say, they and other organizers want to send a “strong signal” by creating “one of the largest museums of ephemeral street art ever made”. The new coalition named this project “R.U.S.Co” (Recupero Urbano Spazi Comuni) or (Urban Renewal Common spaces).
The new 16,000 m2 open-air art show may appear as a rather curious development because its method of protest runs completely counter to that of the shows’ most vocal and high-profile critic, BLU, who last week protested the same show by defiantly destroying 20 years of his own public paintings, rather than making new ones…Continue reading here
Icy & Sot. “Nuclear Plant” Navajo Nation. Arizona. June 2017. (photo © Icy & Sot)
“Yellow Cake: A simple sweet dessert confection that gets its signature color from 8 egg yolks and a cup of butter, and is great with either vanilla or chocolate icing.
Being more knowledgeable about the dessert variety of yellow cake than the desert variety of uranium contamination, we turn to Street Artists Jetsonorama and Icy & Sot to educate us about the active uranium mines that are at the North Rim of The Grand Canyon. The three worked jointly in June to create new public works addressing the topic and we have each of them here for you to see.
“The issue of uranium contamination and nuclear waste is timely as there is an active uranium mine at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon presently and a proposal to start mining at the South Rim,” explains Jetsonorama (Chip Thomas), who is a local artist, a practicing doctor, and a social activist advocating for the people who live on the reservation and the natural environment in general…Continue reading here
Nychos. “Dissection of Sigmund Freud”. Vienna Therapy. Manhattan, NY. June 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
“Scientists, psychologists, surgeons…in the end we’re all driven by a similar curiosity.”
This month has been a whirlwind in New York for Austrian Street Artist /fine artist /illustrator named Nychos and he’s made quite the iconic impression. Anchored by a show that opened last weekend of canvasses and illustrations at Jonathan Levine Gallery in Chelsea named “IKON” and assisted by a co-branded sculptural event with the Vienna Tourist Board, the surreal dissectionist didn’t rest there.
In the weeks leading up to and after these events he also managed to hit a number of walls in Coney Island, Bushwick, and Jersey City…oh and he knocked out a box truck as well.
In addition to pulling out an astounding sculpture of Sigmund Freud looming over a couch that drew a crowd to the foot of the (also iconic) Flatiron Building at 23rd and 6th, the afterparty and reception featured Dominic Freud, the great grandson of the founder of psychoanalysis, who surmised that if he were alive today he would definitely have wanted to put Nychos on his couch…Continue reading here
La Castillo. Save The Arctic. Barcelona, Spain. April 2016. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
“Yesterday our posting was about artists in London creating works about endangered species and today we go to Barcelona where 35 artists joined with Greenpeace and a local group named RebobinArt on April 9th to create works centered on environmental issues, especially the quickly disappearing polar ice cap.
Only three days later scientists announced that the Greenland “Melt” has happened one month earlier than usual this year, smashing records and causing scientists to reexamine their measuring instruments to make sure they were working correctly.
The art-platform model of RebobinArt is interesting because they are a community organization that manages spaces and issues permits for painting for competitions, festivals, exhibitions, educational programs, and cause-based events like this one.
Under the guidance of Director Marc Garcia, RobobinArt promotes and facilitates a different sort of public painting that is not strictly commercial and yet it is clearly not the freewheeling graffiti/street art based stuff that made Barcelona such a magnet for artists in the early-mid 2000s…Continue reading here
Chip Thomas. The original photograph of JC Morningstar holding her dog on a swing. Indigenous People’s Day at Fort Lewis College. Durango, CO. (photo © Chip Thomas)
“Street Artist and activist Jetsonorama (Chip Thomas) saw his work pull together a number of people in Durango, Colorado on October 10th as the city and the college celebrated their first ever “Indigenous People’s Day”. His photograph of an indigenous youth named JC Morningstar swinging and kissing her dog was chosen by a group of students from Fort Lewis College, where 24% of the population is indigenous.
The unveiling ceremony for the mural began with a traditional pow wow prayer by a drum circle and Chip says “the highlight of the day for me was having JC, her dog and her family travel 4 hours to Durango to attend the unveiling before going to the Tribe Called Red show that evening.”…Continue reading here
Paola Delfin. Chihuahua, Mexico. Centropolis Art Festival 2014. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
“Chihuahua is like one big ranch,” says a local reporter who guides you around this desert city known for beef, cheese, sotol, cowboy boots… and a growing middle class – thanks to the hundred plus multinational maquiladoras operating here with a focus on aerospace, medical equipment, and automobile manufacturing.
The “ranch” metaphor is meant to be welcoming, but it also lets you know that this city of nearly a million can still feel like a small town. This is the capital of Mexico’s largest state, which goes by the same name. And yes, the diminutive and scrappy dog originated here – as did Pancho Villa, and you can visit his homestead if you like.
It’s not the typical city where you might expect to find Street Art, yet only a few blocks from the government palace downtown that holds two stories of wall paintings by Mexican muralist Aarón Piña Mora, you will find new paintings in the dusty side streets that indicate a more international flavor is present…Continue reading here
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