See the Gallery Show! The BSA-UN PM/7 Pop-Up Exhibition

Behind the Scenes for the Brooklyn-Berlin Pop-Up

Last Saturday the 14th the public was invited to an open reception to meet the artists who had flown to Berlin to create new portraits for Urban Nation (UN), curated by BSA.

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Don Rimx checks his original illustration on his phone while creating much larger color version on the wall at the UN Gallery Pop-Up show (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The companion show for “Persons of Interest” at the UN Gallery is a pop-up show by the same Brooklyn artists whose portrait works were in the windows of the future museum but there were two important differences from those installations:

1. The artist had no limitations or guidelines regarding the subject or style of their chosen piece
2. The installation was to be mounted directly on the wall and not for sale.

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Don Rimx (photo © Jaime Rojo)

After asking each artist to research and select their “person of interest” for the main windows and façade of the UN, it only seemed fair that we put no restrictions on the content or inspiration for their other piece for the opening to allow more free expression.

While we like gallery shows that sell art it felt much more natural to see the artists hit the walls directly as they would on the street – from floor to ceiling and side by side, they created a sort of continuum that lead out of the gallery doors out to the walls of this much-decorated city.

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Don Rimx “Ache”, a bendicion in the spirit of his birthplace of Puerto Rico.(photo © Jaime Rojo)

Because these new artworks will have a limited run that ends in their destruction, the experience for the gallery goer of viewing them is an acknowledgement that the roots of this art-making practice embraces its ephemeral quality.

Something about that fact makes the work more immediate, more consequential, knowing that the work you are viewing on the street may not be there tomorrow. Each one of these artists knows this on the street, something another kind of artist may find difficult to accept or incorporate into their thinking.

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Cake (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In the first couple of days everyone was recovering from serious NY-Berlin jet lag, and a handful of the artists were wearing the same clothes they arrived in while  waiting for their luggage that was stuck in Düsseldorf because of a strike by bag handlers. One artist missed his plane, others got a little lost on the metro, and there were two lost phones – but these are small problems once you are confronted with a blank wall next to 11 peers on which to create something amazing.

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Cake (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It is a prospect full of opportunities and maybe a little bit of anxiety, but each artist brought their A-game and knew they were in a supportive environment. They also created it – reaching out to help with a brush or a ladder or can of paint, a word of advice and some problem solving too. Ultimately they were total professionals with skillz to lay down. By adapting and excelling at their work, the collective effect that this eclectic harmony produced clearly energized the crowd that overflowed onto the sidewalks Saturday night.

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Cake (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The result on the gallery walls is an acid rainbow pop of personality, metaphor, text, pattern, socio/political commentary, activism, and a tribute to ancestors. Each artist brought their individual style and approach to gallery walls in much the same way that appears on the street. For a few it was the first time meeting while others were long-time friends and clearly some were fans of each others work.

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NohJColey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

One coincidence that sort of blew us away was that Don Rimx and Specter both told us that their pieces were meant to be a “blessing” to their hosts; Rimx featuring a re-worked traditional image of a Puerto Rican grandmother and overflowing bucket of water – “the source of life” he said, and Specters post-modern repetition of leaves from a plant that he said you would bring someone as a gift. Neither had consulted with the other or us, and yet both mounted these pieces side-by-side.

Any day you get to work with artists is a good day – especially driven dynamic talented ones who are always challenging themselves, digging deeper to pull out something that speaks, that means something. These few precious days in Berlin with these few artists were very good days indeed for us and we hope for them too.

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NohJColey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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NohJColey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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NohJColey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Swoon’s undulating biomorphic and ornate paper cuts were at center stage of the gallery, wrapped around the columns in the middle of the room.(photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Olivia from Swoon’ Studio working on the installation. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Swoon (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Swoon (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Specter took off his shoes to create but remained in his long-johns while waiting for his luggage to arrive a day and a half after him. This plant was understated and yet commanded attention – this guy is one of the most intellectually adventurous in his street practice, easily sliding between mediums and concepts. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Specter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Specter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dain prepped his wall by tagging the surface multiple times in multiple colors and mucking it up with a roller – effectively bringing the street into the gallery so he could paste his new longer form enigmatic collage portrait on it and within the sea of colors and texture. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dain likes to work alone so he took his body parts and pieces into the adjacent store room to assemble and reassemble, spray, color, cut out, selectively damage or damask – a process that allows for experimentation and discovery while the artist relies on some intuitive guidance to get to the final piece. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dain (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dain (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dain and Swoon (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Chris Stain (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Some place in there you’ll find Chris Stain at work on his piece – an artist whose work always reflects the people you see on the street and in your neighborhood. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Chris Stain (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Chris Stain brings a bit of Brooklyn to Berlin (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gaia (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gaia’s gallery piece was directly related to his portrait of Fereshta Ludin that he completed for the “Persons of Interest” window installation. An artist who makes a fulsome study of his subject matter and the historical/social/political/anthropological factors that surround it – Gaia here incorporated the marching mass of right wing anti-Islamic Pegida demonstrators as a backdrop to a disembodied draped head scarf, a symbol of religious expression by Muslim women. Posted on the front, with dropped shadow to pop it forward, is a published interview with Ms. Ludin -who attended the opening reception last Saturday, meeting the artist and us in person for the first time. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gaia, Ms. Farestha Ludin and Steven P. Harrington (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gaia and Esteban Del Valle (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Esteban Del Valle (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Esteban Del Valle (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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El Sol 25 and the German translation of “Here today, gone tomorrow”, his reference to the ephemerality of the graffiti/street art game, and perhaps larger existential considerations. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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El Sol 25 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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El Sol 25 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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For some, these are two essential products to survive while painting in a foreign country (or at home) (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Icy & Sot used this opportunity to create something more abstract than the work that they are known for, which can be quickly understood. According to a few people at the opening, they liked it more than the brother’s typical work for that reason, so it was successful in that respect. Icy explained that it is a crouching figure with a mashup of a destroyed city within it. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Icy & Sot (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Icy & Sot (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nice Keds dude… (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Cake . Swoon . Dain  . Gaia . Chris Stain  CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Swoon . El Sol 25 . Esteban Del Valle . NohJColey . Gaia CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Don Rimx . Specter . Icy & Sot (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Project M/7 “Persons Of Interest” Street level exhibition and the Pop-Up show are currently on view and free to the general public at:

URBAN NATION
Bülowstraße 97
10738 Berlin-Schöneberg, Germany

Opening Hours
Monday-Friday 10.00 -18.00

 http://www.urban-nation.net/

 

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