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Naked Decision: Hot Tea & Bad Dreams at UN Opening in Berlin

Posted on September 20, 2017

A common thread ties together two buildings and two art pieces by Street Artist HOT TEA for the grand opening of the Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art in Berlin (UN); Bad Dreams. And he has decided to face them.

Hot Tea. “Bad Dreams pt.2” Store Front Installation. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. September 16th 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

One of the few artists in the inaugural program who was asked to create an indoor piece for the main museum as well as to do an installation outside it, the Minneapolis based artist used the opportunity to face old wounds with the hope of transforming them to healing.

Perhaps the only illegal yarn-tagger on the street, HOTTEA has made a space for himself where none existed: using non-destructive materials to write his name in a rotated 3-D geometric hand on city fences. Now an accomplished yarn artist who has done his signature installations for corporate brands, museums, and even recently the Mall of America, the artist wanted to address bigger personal issues in these two settings, presenting himself naked to the world in both.

 

Hot Tea. Process Shot. Store Front Installation. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. September 16th 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

HOT TEA’s collage in the museum features a flat 2-D character painting, a reclined self portrait viewed from above with a series of small needles crossing it, threaded to spell the title of the piece “Bad Dreams”.

Hot Tea. “Bad Dreams” Detail. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. September 16th 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Across the Bülowstraße from the museum is a street level space viewable for passersby from multiple windows; a rainbow color-washed corner foyer hung with hundreds of white yarns in a grid hanging from ceiling to floor. One small space near the back of the ephemerous white cube is cut open, just large enough for the artist to stand sans vêtements, facing toward the glass double door, his illuminated image slowly moving as you walk the sidewalk past the installation on night-time streets.

Hot Tea. Process Shot. Store Front Installation. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. September 16th 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The optimistically colored installation is a surreal vision from the street for a few reasons. One is the stillness of the fleshy figure that is now activated like a Kraftwerk robot, slowly turning as you walk from window to window surveying it.

Another aspect is the seemingly shimmering box, this floating white cube that contains him, allowing you to view from many angles. The third bit of surrealism is the two boisterous and nearly hysterical sex workers who have just sauntered by the window and stop to gawk at a naked man inside a piece of art. Neither you nor they speak each other’s language, so the only connection you have is this puzzling view from the street.

Hot Tea. Process Shot. Store Front Installation. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. September 16th 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In both art pieces the artist as subject is void of expression, staring blankly forward and unmoving as if paralyzed, unable to act or react. The vulnerability implied is physical of course, but it is also emotional. HOT TEA considers this a very public practice that can excise private pain. This weekend in Berlin we witnessed observers closely studying each piece, perhaps attempting to decode the meanings, perhaps relating to an underlying sense of humanity within the abstraction.

“Both experiences were very traumatic and I feel these two pieces have helped me find peace,” HOT TEA tells us of the new works. BSA talked to him about the works and his approach to them.

Hot Tea. Process Shot. Store Front Installation. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. September 16th 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: The new pieces you created for both inside and outside the museum are related to one another and related to your personal experiences as an artist and a man. Can you talk about the pop-up installation?
HOT TEA: The two pieces are about two different events that happened in my life – which have made an impact on me for so many years. My canvas painting within the museum talks about a physical scar, where the installation talks about a mental scar.

Hot Tea. “Bad Dreams pt.2” Store Front Installation. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. September 16th 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: You have been refining your use of materials through many installations in ever-larger commercial, corporate and museum venues. How have you challenged yourself with yarn and color?
HOT TEA: I think an even bigger challenge than yarn and color is the actual space itself. Yarn and color come very natural to me – but sometimes when I am invited to a space it’s not one I would naturally choose.

These spaces are often hard to work in – because many times I find myself uninspired. What inspires me and gives the work life is often the process of creating the installation. The experience of the people I work with or certain events that have taken place during the time of the installation. Often times my installs are depictions of different moments in my life.

BSA: Standing naked and illuminated and partially obscured before a street audience who can peer at you from different angles on the street must have been an interesting experience. What was going through your mind? What visual associations with other artworks were you imagining?
HOT TEA: I was thinking about the experience that inspired the performance and how much I have grown emotionally since then. I also thought about my family, friends and those close to me who are no longer here.

Hot Tea. “Bad Dreams pt.2” Store Front Installation. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. September 16th 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: How do you see this installation as an extension of your street practice?
HOT TEA: I don’t see this installation as an extension of my street practice. I see it’s me grieving about traumatic experiences. All my work comes from the same mind and therefore I don’t distinguish my art from commissioned work and un-commissioned work.

BSA: As a former graffiti writer with aerosol you are well aware of your transition to Street Art and now public installations. How would you describe this evolution to another writer?
HOT TEA: It’s the process of growing as a human being and adapting.

Hot Tea. “Bad Dreams pt.2” Store Front Installation. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. September 16th 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: Your axonometric tagging goes across the painting that is in the museum with thread and needles rather than yarn. Is this the first time you have tagged in a museum?
HOT TEA: My name actually doesn’t go across the painting – It reads “Bad Dreams” hence the title of the piece. As for having my work in a museum – I have never been one for labels because I have been called them my entire life. I don’t agree with places or people thinking they are higher or better than someone else because of their accomplishments or monetary value. My work has just as much meaning to me, no matter what the setting may be.

Hot Tea. “Bad Dreams” Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. September 16th 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Considering Hot Tea. “Bad Dreams” Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. September 16th 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hot Tea. “Bad Dreams pt.2” Store Front Installation. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. September 16th 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hot Tea. “Bad Dreams pt.2” Store Front Installation. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. September 16th 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 


HOT TEA was curated by the co-founders of BSA, Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo along with UN Artistic Director Yasha Young and the “UNSTOPPABLE” curatorial team for Urban Nation.


Hot Tea. “Bad Dreams pt.2 “Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. September 16th 2017. Video via BrooklynStreetArt.com

 


This article is also published on The Huffington Post

“A Real Turning Point” : Sculptures on the Art Mile at Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art

Posted on September 19, 2017

“I think it’s a real turning point as far as seeing three dimensional things,” says Street Artist and fine artist Ben Frost while hand painting text on the side of the large facsimiles of pharmaceutical boxes that he’s creating for the UN Art Mile. “I think sculptures and installations have been paving a way forward for Street Art.”

Seth Globepainter. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In fact sculpture and all manner of three dimensional installations as Street Art have been a part of the current century for sure, from the variety of lego and yarn artists to the soldiered steel tags of REVS and eco-bird houses of XAM and small little men made of wood by Stikman – among many others.

The traveling exhibition “Magic City” curated by Carlo McCormick and Ethel Seno that displays the wide range of works by todays’ interventionists now features a section devoted to sculpture including a selection of Street sculpture photography by Jaime Rojo.

Ben Frost. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Certainly when fine artists began joining the graffiti game they brought many additional techniques to the street, most of them applied to the surface of existing walls – stencils, wheat paste, rollers, for example.

Others have procured objects and attached them to the city; either creating new sculpture or replacing or adapting existing sculptures. For the public the experience may feel more intimate and evocative of the museum and gallery experience, encouraging one to regard the work from many perspectives. Naturally one would like to take selfies with them as well.

“Isn’t there a phrase, ‘Alls fair in love and war’? I feel like ‘Alls fear in love and war’,” says artist Ben Frost. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For the opening of UN this weekend, the Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art in Berlin this week, a curated selection of artists working in such dimensions were invited to create substantial pieces – including video installation, mobile, interactive, the purely static. Enjoy the variety of works by Street Artists who are working today.

Dot Dot Dot. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bordalo II. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Franco JAZ Fasoli. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anthony Lister. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anthony Lister. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Aaron Woes. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Herakut. Detail. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ludo. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sheryo . The Yok. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Isaac Cordal. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Isaac Cordal. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Isaac Cordal. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Haroshi. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Icy & Sot. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Icy & Sot. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Cranio. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Cranio. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Born To Die In Berlin. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Don John. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Grotesk . Juxtapoz Newsstand. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Borodo. Moving Image on  glass panels. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Video by BrooklynStreetArt.com

 

 

Various & Gould. Mobile. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Video by BrooklynStreetArt.com

 

“Inundated!” Scenes from the Opening: UN – Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art in Berlin

Posted on September 18, 2017

“This week is Art Week in Berlin, and you just stole Art Week,” said a handsome and intensely opinionated German to us as we leaned on the arm rail of the M.C. Escher-inspired walkway before a Carlos Mare139 sculpture and above the capacity crowd on Saturday night at the Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art (UN).

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

Not sure if that was the exact goal, but we get his larger point; the UN has just made a massive entry into a number of societally and culturally influential minds when it comes to the relevancy of Street Art and graffiti to visual culture and art history. This movement into so-called Contemporary began as early as the 1970s and has overcome and weathered cultural and market ebbs and flows – persisted, if you will – yet somehow institutions have been wary of this work and these artists and unable to fully embrace their importance, you decide why.

Artistic Director Yasha Young delivering her opening speech. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, September 16, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

While stakeholders in street culture, the art world, the gallery system, auction houses, and a burgeoning body of academia will continue to litigate the right of a Street Art/graffiti/Contemporary Art museum to exist or the correct form it should take, it is no longer a distant theoretical event. For those who have averred in the negative over the past few years about the potentiality of Urban Nation, the museum is now fact.

As were the crowds.

Long lines to get in on Saturday. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, September 16, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The crowds were there, the Mayor was there, a few hundred graffiti /street /contemporary artists inside and outside the house were there, the directors and curators were there (except Andrew Hosner, who was taken ill), the Flying Steps and three rappellers scaling down the façade to unveil a new Invader plate were there, the architects were there, Martha Cooper and her new library were there, 1UP was there, the overwhelming enthusiasm to be a part of this milestone where fifty years of Street culture adds a museum in its name by its own insistence – they were there too.

Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, September 16, 2017. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

With alchemists at the fore who are bold and determined to invite non-Art World people into the discussion about how a museum should be formed, the route here has been a challenge – as it frequently is for those who make the road by walking. We’re waxing a little poetically in the haze of a cloud of jet lag and too little sleep so allow us to say what John Ahearn told us in an email and a number of folks said to our faces all during this previous week, “This is a first.”  What follows is up to all of us.

With such a diverse number of tributaries flowing into this river of creativity and global street culture one must accede the point that this is not an encyclopedic collection representing all of graffiti, Street Art, Urban Art history. Short of staging the exhibition in the former Tempelhof Airport any all inclusive narrative would simply not fit. Instead we opted for a group show of some of the strongest players and influential talents and minds across the last few decades. This inaugural show is meant to bust the doors open and show off the new space, hopefully inspiring more minds to come in and help steer the ship forward.

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)

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 © Steven P. Harrington)

Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, September 16, 2017. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, September 16, 2017. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

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)

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)

Group photo of the Flying Steps right after their performance. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, September 16, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

BSA Images of the Week 09.17.17 Urban Nation (UN) Special

Posted on September 17, 2017

 

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

Welcome to Sunday! This week we have a special edition of BSA Images of the Week; Dedicated to stuff on the street for last nights opening of Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art (UN).

Readers of BSA will know that we are on the curatorial board of the new museum and have worked with 8 other curators along with Director Yasha Young to bring the inaugural show that happened last night to fruition. A block buster with thousands of people coursing through the perspective-bending walkways to see the GRAFT designed interiors, it was gratifying to see the 150 pieces admired by such interest, such avid curiosity.

As part of our mission, we want to foster an ongoing dialogue between the art in the streets and the art inside the museum. As UN’s first programmatic approach to this goal, the Art Mile invites the public to see installations that are made by many of the artists/collaborators which UN has had for projects in the city and around the world during the last few years of building the museum and reaching out to the community.

So with gratitude to you and to all the creatives and their supporters who rock our world, here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring 1UP Crew, 2501, Anthony Lister, Berlin Kidz, Blek Le Rat, David De La Mano, Faith XLVII, Franco “Jaz” Fasoli, Hot Tea, Icy & Sot, Inka Kendzia, Isaac Cordal, James Bullough, Louis Masai, Mademoiselle Maurice, Manthe Ribane, Seth Globepainter, Tankpetrol, Zezao, and Zio Ziegler.

Top image: 8 a.m. the morning after. Space Invader’s new plate unveiled last night to commemorate the opening of Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Berlin Kidz . 1UP Crew. James Bullough . 2501 . Zio Ziegler. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anthony Lister. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Franco JAZ Fasoli. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mademoiselle Maurice . Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Zezao. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Blek Le Rat. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Blek Le Rat. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Blek Le Rat. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

David De La Mano. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tankpetrol. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“AURUAM” Manthe Ribane, Inka Kendzia, and Faith XLVII. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Icy & Sot. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Icy & Sot. Detail. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Louis Masai. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Seth Globepainter. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Isaac Cordal. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Isaac Cordal. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hot Tea. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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