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Brooklyn Street Art

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The “Unstoppable” Works Inside : Looking to the Future at Urban Nation

Posted on September 21, 2017

A view inside at the inaugural exhibition of “UNSTOPPABLE” at Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art, opened September 16, 2017 in Berlin.


We never doubted that this museum would open. We only hoped it would look this exceptional.

First level. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, September 16, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The elevated bridge walkway that wends up and down and through and above the spaces creates so many dynamic opportunities to see and re-see art. Painted all white for this inauguration, this is the first museum of its kind dedicated to Urban Contemporary Art, and with this show the house in Berlin Schöneberg has blasted the doors open with 150 of today’s Street Artists, graffiti artists, urban artists in a spirit of celebration and recognition for their contributions to an ever changing scene.

The labels we use today to describe the artists and the art rarely fit them very well and are frequently contested, derided, embraced. With thoughtful and informed planning, programming and curatorial decisions this place will showcase the work of progenitors, superstars, and unsung heroes over time.

First level. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, September 16, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A scene born in rebellion and transgression on the streets of cities around the world for a half century now morphs into studio practice and more traditionally formal visual art forms. Often courting collectors passions, gallery shows, auctions, commercializing influences, and academics’ study, we know that the roots of this movement are much more than an object to behold in a frame under good lighting. But the scene and its roots and many branches contain these things as well.

No one said this would be easy for our studied, enthusiastic, knee-deep-in-it, world traveling curatorial team and Director Yasha Young to find a perfect balance with this collection, so ultimately we just trusted each other. Our consensus of course reflects us, the next show will reflect its curators. We agreed to present relevant artists and directions catalyzed in this moment with a respect for what came before; a cross section that we know leaves many out but contains works that speak for themselves about the multitude of rivers that flow through urban streets in 2017 out here, in here.

First level. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, September 16, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With 150 artists inside, 40 outside, and hundreds curated into shows and walls and festivals across continents over the last four years leading up to this, this is one look at Urban Nation. A worldwide scene that took flight and merged with every form of art-making in public space, a scene where the majority of the artists are still alive and which continues to re-shape, to re-define itself.

Pedantic, cryptic, confusing or revelatory. The most you can hope for are moments that distill it like these, helping to make sense of a movement in motion. We’re grateful that Carlo McCormick agreed to do the contextualizing work of didactics in the exhibition and that Christian Omodeo is agreeing to help organize the Martha Cooper library with an eye toward archiving and scholarship.

As but two of the founding curators, we’re excited to foster the fullness of programming that teaches about the roots and the philosophies as well as the techniques of this generous Street Art/graffiti history, that invites communities to take ownership of their museum and to look forward. Along with the artist residencies offered in studios above the museum’s formal exhibition space we hope there will be room for scholars to study the materials here and to write, hold panels, publish works. Here’s to the future of Urban Nation, a place we can all learn from.

First level. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, September 16, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

First level. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, September 16, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

First level. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, September 16, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martha Cooper Library. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, September 16, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martha Cooper Library. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, September 16, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martha Cooper Library. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, September 16, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, September 16, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, September 16, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Second level. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, September 16, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Second level. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, September 16, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Second level. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, September 16, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Second level. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, September 16, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Second level. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, September 16, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Second level. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, September 16, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Second level. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, September 16, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Second level. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, September 16, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Here’s a home made video showcasing the show in its entirety, via BrooklynStreetArt.com


A note of thanks:
This project took roughly five years in the making from its initial concept to opening night. We wish to express our heartfelt gratitude to Yasha Young the museum’s Artistic Director for her passion, for her unique commitment to the arts of the streets and for inviting us to be a part of this journey with her. Thank you to our fellow curators Marina Bortoluzzi, Marcello Pimentel, Johnathan Levine, Roland Henry, Andrew Hosner, Roland Henry, Charlotte Dutoit, Rom Levy, and D*Face a.k.a. Dean Stockton, for their insights, guidance, hard work and camaraderie.

To the Urban Nation team, those who are still a part of the team and those who have left, for their extraordinary patience, grace and endless hours working hard to help us make this dream a reality. To the production team at YES AND…productions who with their optimism and positive outlook labored tirelessly to make certain we had what we needed always. To Schrenk & Schrenk who organized all the auxiliary events and made sure we enjoyed the festivities, to Spring Brand Ideas for their assistance in the whole process, to Thomas Willemeit and Denis Hegic of GRAFT architects for such vision to showcase works and invite the visitor, and to project initiators Markus Terboven (Gewobag) and Hendrik Jellema (Berliner Leben Foundation) who have been there with us from the beginning.

To Martha Cooper for always being there and for inspiring us. Finally to all of the artists in all the venues for their talent, guts, and commitment to dig deep, take chances and to produce the best work possible for this multi-headed monster called UN.

With gratitude from Jaime and Steve.

 

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