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Brooklyn Street Art

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UN Convenes Scenes, Creates Its Own in Berlin. Artists in Action for Project/12 and More

Posted on May 18, 2017

Shepard, Findac, Stikki Peaches… and that’s before we even get into the UN exhibition space or the main museum space – both locations a combustible beehive of painting right now with perhaps twenty artists working at once.

Lowrider for Urban Nation Project M/12 curated by Evan Prico/Juxtapoz. Berlin, May 18 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Somehow this is the frenetic energy that we have grown to expect of a typical Urban Nation event. It is simply not enough energy unless the event you came for is compounded by three or thirteen other Urban Nation events happening simultaneously, due in large part to the omnivorous aesthetic and cultural appetite of director Yasha Young and her big-thinking and resourceful team.

In the three years of Project M exhibitions leading up to the official opening of the UN museum this September, Ms. Young has spread the curatorial wealth, mixed multiple metaphors, ignored stylistic boundaries, stirred myriad emotions and fired up a lot of talk on the street with weeks like these.

Daan Botlek for Urban Nation Project M/12 curated by Evan Prico/Juxtapoz. Berlin, May 18 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Evan Pricco’s description to us of his own curated show here helps to define this moment as well, “It’s sort of a nod to not really having to have boundaries, or a proper definition, but a feeling that something is happening. Its not street art, its not graffiti, but its this new wave that is looking out, looking in, and finding new avenues to share and make work.”

In New Orleans, they would call this savory multi-layered sensory-rich dish something like Jambalaya. In the Gambia it would be an Oyster Stew, in Spain it would be one of Valencian restaurateur Juan Galbis gargantuan paellas. Hungry yet?

Ermsy for Urban Nation Project M/12 curated by Evan Prico/Juxtapoz. Berlin, May 18 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

At this moment there are artists and production folks preparing a new curated show by Pricco, Editor in Chief of Juxtapoz magazine in the UN auxiliary gallery called. He’s calling it “What in the World?”. Simultaneously there are preparations down the block for a huge dinner and night of live performances and temporary art installations inside the actual evolving museum space called “We Broke Night!”

And there are several outdoor installations roving throughout the neighborhood at the same time, with passersby interacting with and engaging the artists in discussions. All levels and disciplines of artists from the Street Art/Graffiti continuum are converging in this neighborhood painting, pasting, stenciling, hanging, installing, — enormous wall pieces (Shepard), smaller collaged wheatpastes (Stikki Peaches), hand-painted murals on a ladder outside walls (Findac), hand painted signage and calligraphy (Serge Lowrider), multi-layered stencil portraits (Snik), optically dizzying tape installations (Tape Over Crew), post-graffiti bucket painted organic geometries (Erosie and Daan Botlek), and yes, much more.

Erosie on the left with Grotesk’s news stand on the right for Urban Nation Project M/12 curated by Evan Prico/Juxtapoz. Berlin, May 18 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Variety and quality like this is unthinkable at best and un-pragmatic at worst in formal exhibition spaces and institutions. But witness the panoply unfolding before your eyes and this hybrid may strike you as a truer contemporaneous representation of this complicated generation than most organizers have the gall to attempt.

Somehow, this all works. Being in the midst of this UN kitchen feels as alive as the scenes it convenes.

FinDAC for Urban Nation in conjunction with PM/12. Berlin, May 18 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Stikki Peaches for Urban Nation in conjunction with PM/12. Berlin, May 18 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Shepard Fairey for Urban Nation in conjunction with PM/12. Berlin, May 18 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Shepard Fairey for Urban Nation’s “We Broke Night” Berlin, May 18 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Snik for Urban Nation’s “We Broke Night” Berlin, May 18 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

James Bullough for Urban Nation’s “We Broke Night” Berlin, May 18 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Fanakapan for Urban Nation’s “We Broke Night” Berlin, May 18 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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