February 2020

Bordalo II and Polar Bears in Nancy, France

Bordalo II and Polar Bears in Nancy, France

Bear with us, it’s a new installation by Bordallo II

Bordalo II. Nancy, France. February 2020. (photo courtesy of Mathgoth Gallery)

“This is the first time I’ve made a polar bear,” says Street Artist Bordallo II, “A species that, unfortunately, perfectly illustrates the urgency of the situation.”

That situation of course is that species like the polar bear would be a hell of a lot better off if we weren’t here allowing industry, war, and our own mindless behaviors to kill off their natural habitat.

Bordalo II. Nancy, France. February 2020. (photo courtesy of Mathgoth Gallery)

More fitting perhaps for this new installation is that the Portuguese sculptor has created his new piece on the wall of a school in Nancy, France.  Growing there are the minds that will help us stop, reverse, and restore the natural balance. The kids will undoubtedly love to see this polar bear and little cubs – a natural scene that is made of recycled man-made waste.

The project is spearheaded by the Parisian Mathgoth Gallery, which provided artistic support for the production. It is part of an ongoing program called “ADN” (Art Dans Nancy) and joins a series of murals around town by artists like Jef Aerosol, Kogaone, David Walker, Momo and Vhils.

Bordalo II. Nancy, France. February 2020. (photo courtesy of Mathgoth Gallery)
Bordalo II. Nancy, France. February 2020. (photo courtesy of Mathgoth Gallery)
Bordalo II. Nancy, France. February 2020. (photo courtesy of Mathgoth Gallery)
Bordalo II. Nancy, France. February 2020. (photo courtesy of Mathgoth Gallery)
Bordalo II. Nancy, France. February 2020. (photo courtesy of Mathgoth Gallery)
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BSA Film Friday 02.28.20

BSA Film Friday 02.28.20

Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. Bernie Sand Art on NYC Street
2. Welcome to My Colorful World x Okuda San Miguel
3. “When Does Tribute Become Exploitation?” Kobe Murals and Fifth Wall
4. Michael Bloomberg Buys Media, DNC, Presidency. Enjoy!
5. Sorceror Robot Buttigieg Channels Obama Delightfully

BSA Special Feature: Bernie Sand Art on NYC Street

Sand Art is a barometer of populism on the street, so it seemed significant to find that this piece by Joe Mangrum of the Democratic frontrunner Bernie Sanders appeared in NYC in the spring of 2016. Now that Bernie is again polling the highest again against Trump, this little video keeps popping up in our feed for the 2020 race.

Joe Mangrum Creating sand art of Bernie Sanders in NYC’s Washington Square Park.

Welcome to My Colorful World x Okuda San Miguel

The Spanish Street Artist takes another public victory lap for his accomplishments in this new one from Okuda San Miguel.

“When Does Tribute Become Exploitation?” Kobe Murals and Fifth Wall

“Your grief, your pain, your anguish is completely side-stepped because this is a great opportunity,” says Doug Gillem as he imagines the wife and mother who has just lost two of her dearest family in an accident. These are relevant arguments made well by him in the Street Art observer’s newest video “When Does Tribute Become Exploitation.”


As long as we’re looking at politics this week, here are two stunning video pieces on two of the Democratic contenders. Well, actually only the billionaire is a contender anymore. The programmed robotic one, no chance this time.

Michael Bloomberg Buys Media, DNC, Presidency. Enjoy!

Sorceror Robot Buttigieg Channels Obama Delightfully

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Anthony Lister’s “Rude Words” in Tokyo Streets and Gallery Land Him in The Slammer

Anthony Lister’s “Rude Words” in Tokyo Streets and Gallery Land Him in The Slammer

AL: “Just spent 12 days in prison in Tokyo”

BSA: Fuck! Was the food as good as the art?

AL: Nope. The exhibition went great. The street stuff not so great. The food was terrible and was served cold.

Anthony Lister. Tokyo, Japan. February 2020. (photo © Anthony Lister)

And with that Anthony Lister summarized his experience to us on the streets, in the gallery and, unfortunately in a Tokyo slammer.

In town for the occasion of his first-ever solo exhibition in Japan, Listers’ new fascinating works wowed opening night February 7 on a dual bill with Brian Leo at the Megumi Ogita Gallery.

Anthony Lister. Tokyo, Japan. February 2020. (photo © Anthony Lister)

But oh the travails of a wandering art prankster. Prior to his trip to Japan, Mr. Lister was wondering if he would learn some rude words in Japanese while in Tokyo…we are certain that his stint in jail gave him opportunity to expand his Japanese vocabulary into something a bit more colorful.

The swashbuckling Lister shares with BSA readers some of his artistic interventions on the streets of Tokyo…quite possibly the cause of his 12 day hoosegow “residency”.

Anthony Lister. Tokyo, Japan. February 2020. (photo © Anthony Lister)
Boo! Anthony Lister. Tokyo, Japan. February 2020. (photo © Anthony Lister)
Anthony Lister. Tokyo, Japan. February 2020. (photo © Anthony Lister)
Anthony Lister. Tokyo, Japan. February 2020. (photo © Anthony Lister)
Anthony Lister. Tokyo, Japan. February 2020. (photo © Anthony Lister)
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Urvanity Madrid 2020: Outdoor Installations Soft and Hard

Urvanity Madrid 2020: Outdoor Installations Soft and Hard

The body as an object. The body as a sexual object. The body objectified.

Combine these notions with soft sculpture in a public space and you will begin to experience Junja Jankovic’s new work in Madrid as we lead up to Urvanity 2020, the newest campaign of contemporary urban art that focuses on galleries and artists working in the public sphere.

Dunja Jankovic. Wearable Sculptures: Dominant, Submissive, Frisky. Urvanity 2020. Plaza de San Ildefonso, Madrid. (photo © Leticia de la Morena)

The Croatian fine artist studied in Zagreb and New York and lives “on her home island of Lošinj where she runs a screenprint studio and a gallery in an abandoned sardine factory,” she says in her bio. These soft sculptures mimic the digital reality now interacting with city reality – inviting you to be a part of them.

Samuel Salcedo. “The heads”. Urvanity 2020. Plaza Juan Goytisolo, Madrid. (photo © Leticia de la Morena)

Joining her are Samuel Salcedo’s hyperrealistic and emotional heads, seemingly rolling around Plaza Juan Goytisolo in a possibly disturbing way. The Barcelona born sculpture commands the space, then holds your attention with subtle ironies and humor. You’ve seen these faces before, but not like this.

Abel Iglesias “The Cube”. Urvanity 2020. Plaza de Callao, Madrid. (photo © Leticia de la Morena)

A third participant in Urvanity’s public show this year is graffiti writer Abel Iglesias and his scattered abstractions applied to the intense weight of a steel cube. Running between Valencia and Barcelona the young experimenter is unhindered by formalism, offering a trip to 90’s Memphis and inflatable pastel motifs of whimsy and geometry. This perplexing form in dark solitude brings a new gravity to an often floating oeuvre of Iglesias.

Abel Iglesias (photo © Papagnimeca)
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Katz on Parade in Berlin

Katz on Parade in Berlin

Yes, you are right.

Cats are not particularly hard-hitting as a topic, but you must admit they are ubiquitous right now. So why wouldn’t they be prowling around the streets as well? God knows there are enough rats. You would think they would make a calendar of these. Wait, they have.

Liz Art Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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Berlin Ads Are Up in Arms

Berlin Ads Are Up in Arms

Maybe its the sociologist and political scientist in us but it is always of great interest to look at the wheat-pasted advertisements and announcements in city streets in an effort to glean messages that reflect the values, interests, and idealized figurative forms of the culture.

(copyright ©Steven P. Harrington)

In a digital age where the messages you receive are not directly tied to geography (geofencing aside), walking city streets and seeing the messages and archetypes of figures employed to sell those messages is just as interesting and educational as seeing Street Art and graffiti.

(copyright ©Steven P. Harrington)

During a perusal of these images last week in Berlin we discovered a preponderance of biceps on display, animated and powerful. Actors on this public stage occupy a variety of placeholders in the popular imagination – strongman, dancer, jester – but in the streets of Berlin right now it appears to be all about the expressiveness of the outstretched bare arms.

(copyright ©Steven P. Harrington)
(copyright ©Steven P. Harrington)
(copyright ©Steven P. Harrington)
(copyright ©Steven P. Harrington)
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BSA Images of the Week 02.23.20 – Berlin Special

BSA Images of the Week 02.23.20 – Berlin Special

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Welcome to BSA Images of the Week!

People came together at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to remember the victims of a racist attack in Hanau this week, vowing to stem the tide of right-wing movements in Germany and elsewhere. The more you see the remnants of the ugly past rearing their heads, the more determined we will all have to be to unify and celebrate our differences and similarities with equal enthusiasm.

Another promising sign of unity and community for us was the opening for the showcase of works donated by artists to benefit Daniel Weissbach aka DTAGNO aka COST88 in Berlin on Friday night. The musical/art-making performances were enervating and stirring – and there were so many people that the crowd on the sidewalk outnumbered the crowd in the gallery area. Please support – The online auction starts tonight and is refreshed with a new collection of art pieces donated by the old skool and new in a hybrid of genres. Please check out www.getwelldaniel.de

We also saw this incredibly well designed and curated show called WALLS at Urban Spree – with powerhouse names in graffiti, street art, contemporary art, and even a couple of pieces of antiquity, all examining the implications and ramifications of figurative and literal walls. The essays in the small catalogue further explore. More on this show later here but please go see it if you can.

One big find this week was this amazing collaboration of pieces on a wall with OS Gemeos and various other dignitaries atop an art supply store in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. Hope you enjoy the show here from our Director of Photography, Jaime Rojo.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring 1Up Crew, Berlinsky, Black Land, Daze, ISE.THR, Kevle, Marina Zumi, Mira, Mode2, Os Gemeos, Shine, TFB, The Birds, VLK, WENU, and Zabou.

Os Gemeos, 1UP Crew, ISE.THR, WENU, The Birds The Birds. Detail. Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Os Gemeos, 1UP Crew, ISE.THR, WENU, The Birds The Birds. Detail. Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Os Gemeos, 1UP Crew, ISE.THR, WENU, The Birds The Birds. Detail. Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Os Gemeos, 1UP Crew, ISE.THR, WENU, The Birds The Birds. Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Mira. Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
TFB – VLK. Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Marina Zumi. Urban Spree. Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
BERLINSKY. Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist. Detail. Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist. Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
SHINE. Urban Spree. Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist. Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artists. Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Kevle. Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Zabou. Urban Spree. Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Mode2 collaboration with Daze. Urban Spree. Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Black Land. Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
We were told that there was a fox living in the gardens right outside of our hotel…we never saw her but we found one in the bathrooms at Urban Spree. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
We love this piece but can’t completely read it. Help, please. Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Here’s the spirit in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
A selection of artists that we don’t recognize in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artists. Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artists. Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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5Pointz Case Wins for Graffiti Artists, Smacks Down “Willful” Developer Who Buffed/Dissed Them

5Pointz Case Wins for Graffiti Artists, Smacks Down “Willful” Developer Who Buffed/Dissed Them

In a striking decision that appears to favor the protection of graffiti and Street Artists works in the public space, the 5Pointz case came to a close this week with a ruling that punishes the owner/developer of the compound in Long Island City for acting “willfully” and out of spite toward the artists whose work had transformed his dilapidated property into a world-known holy place for exhibition of the art forms there.

Upholding the 2018 decision by Judge Frederic Block, the plaintiffs include 20 artists and the curator and founder of the 5 Pointz project, Meres One aka Jonathan Cohen. 

5Pointz (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“The legacy of 5 Pointz we hope is that this elevated art form is now valued and recognized in a court of law as art no less no more,” says Meres One in a statement with Marie Cecile Clageul co-founder of 5 Pointz Creates and the creator of Museum of Street Art (MoSA) on the Bowery.

“The other legacy is how this art form is now respected and it has been humbling to see in recent years how real estate entities want to collaborate with artists and understand the need for preservation…

“On a personal level, this is a validation that as difficult as these past 7 years have been, standing up was the right thing to do and justice prevailed.” 

5Pointz (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Many see the new ruling by a federal judge in the Second Circuit as a vindication of the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA), which grants specific rights to artists to control the use of their work, even if it is on someone else’s property. In the case of 5Pointz, it was not the act of destroying the art that eventually cost the wealthy developer a large fine of nearly seven million dollars, it was the manner in which it was done in defiance of the court proceedings and against the proscribed actions called for in the VARA.

Central to the events that were examined was the sloppy whitewashing of the compound under cover of night while legal proceedings to prevent the demolition of the property were underway – a poker game move that has ultimately cost the developer Wolkoff far more than the cheap paint his workers used for buffing.

Cautious observers say that the ruling is narrowly focused on the behaviors of this actor, rather than a carte blanche endorsement of illegal graffiti that protects it from being destroyed by property owners. “If he did not destroy 5Pointz until he received his permits and demolished it 10 months later, the Court would not have found that he had acted willfully,” said Judge Block in his original ruling.

5Pointz (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As ever with an art form that muddies the waters of law and opinion, Street Art and graffiti’s countervailing winds are blowing a new direction in the city as a resurgence of illegal whole-car graffiti again is being seen by NYC train riders. With increased rhetorical anger from the MTA and newly beefed-up anti-graffiti resources targeting the illegal stuff, those winds are souring a cultural détente that has existed in the everyday person’s assessment of the relative value and contributions these artists make to our cityscapes.

Additionally, the courts are being challenged to dismiss the rights of artists in court cases by corporations and brands which appear to be overreaching when appropriating art found in the public sphere to sell their wares.

Jesse Cory, co-owner and director with Roula David of Detroit based Inner State Gallery and the annual  Murals on the Market festival, has worked with hundreds of artists in these related genres for two decades or so. With Mercedes’ muscular defense of its right to use whatever art they find on the street as fair game to sell a product, many in Detroit say they have seen the shift of interest by private business toward Street Art and murals go from curious to passionate to predatory.

“This ruling to uphold the settlement and compensation to 5 Pointz artists affirm that judges consider (VARA) Visual Artists Rights Act statue as law and that the artists do control the right to their mark even if it’s on a property that they do not own,” says Cory.

“While this case of Mercedes Benz preemptively suing artists to make a claim that the artist does not have any rights in the usage of their art in corporate advertising is much different from the 5 Pointz legal dispute the fact that judges are ruling in the artists favor is a positive sign.”

Meanwhile, Fiat Chrysler and the city of Detroit are partnering on a project being described as “one of the largest municipal art installations in Detroit’s history.”

For the moment, many artists and fans are celebrating a ruling that will undoubtedly be cited in future cases – a ruling that gives added credibility and cultural currency to the valuable contributions that graffiti, Street Art and many other forms of Urban Art have made to our cities and our culture.


More on this story:

ArtNet:

A Stunning Legal Decision Just Upheld a $6.75 Million Victory for the Street Artists Whose Works Were Destroyed at the 5Pointz Graffiti Mecca

New York Times:

Graffiti Artists Awarded $6.7 Million for Destroyed 5Pointz Murals

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BSA Film Friday: 02.21.20

BSA Film Friday: 02.21.20

Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. 5 Minutes with: Plotbot Ken via I Love Graffiti.de
2. Nadia Vadori-Gauthier: One Minute of Dance
3. Ron English: The Road To Heaven (Tribute to Daniel Johnston)

BSA Special Feature: 5 Minutes with: Plotbot Ken via I Love Graffiti.de

Plotbot Ken first caught our eye in the remnants of a factory full of environmental and personal hazards. His is an apocalyptic view of humanity and our shortsighted predilection for creating destruction and for poisoning the earth. But somehow he has made something positive from our dire idiocy. You don’t have to speak German to enjoy this video, or to understand the symbolism of his recurring gas mask motif, or his genius for placement.

Nadia Vadori-Gauthier: Une Minute De Danse Par Jour (One Minute of Dance Per Day)

In reaction to terrorist acts, dancer Nadia Vadori-Gauthier began a program to dance for one minute a day.

I dance as one manifests, like a small but daily one, to work for a living poetry, to act by the sensitive against the violence of certain aspects of the world. It felt like a series of small acts that might possibly prove to reconnect the disconnections in her own society. She sites the wisdom of a Chinese proverb to talk about her repeating acts of expression in the public sphere over many years: “Dripping water ends up going through stone.”

This compilation of her works can help us see that the aggregate of many small acts can indeed be phenomenal.

Ron English: The Road To Heaven (Tribute to Daniel Johnston)

Putting his thoughts and emotions in visual vocabulary, artist Ron English gives this personal offering as a moving tribute to the great singer/ songwriter Daniel Johnston, who passed away last autumn.

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Berlin Dispatch: Spotted Berlin Kidz

Berlin Dispatch: Spotted Berlin Kidz

If you know the Berlin Kidz you think about adrenaline every time you see their bi-color Pichação verticals on the side of a building – or smokestack. As foreigners, the official language is daunting enough, but this twisted Cyrillic scrawled while rappelling downward with can in hand.

Berlin Kidz. Berlin. February 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Oh sure, it’s not as thrilling as parkour perhaps, and certainly, the speed can’t match train surfing, which the masked crew is known to do, but these cryptic missives are spooky in their otherness, their mystery.  Yesterday just hanging out in one of our favorite BN neighborhoods we seemed to see Berlin Kidz everywhere we went.

Berlin Kidz. Berlin. February 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Is that a ghost, or a human replica? The figure was blowing around and banging into the bricks. Yikes!
Berlin Kidz. Berlin. February 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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Berlin Dispatch: Herakut “Monkey See…”

Berlin Dispatch: Herakut “Monkey See…”

Wandering around Berlin Monday, well getting lost actually, we were surprised to cross paths with a certain simian from the painting duo Herakut in the Alt-Stralau, Friedrichshain area.

Herakut. “Monkey see, Monkey do.” A piece made in 2013 for The Gigant Storybook Project. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Set back from a walking/biking path and atop a grassy roof in a fenced compound that looks like it is undergoing some gentrification construction, this illustration was part of their “Giant Story Book” project in 2013. We were happy to see it in such good condition, and seemingly well in context with its surroundings – safely protected behind a band of graphic tags at its base.

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Berlin Dispatch: Dave The Chimp and His Human Beans

Berlin Dispatch: Dave The Chimp and His Human Beans

Dave the Chimp is not really a chimp. And he’s not really Berlinian. Like all good comedians, he’s channeling exasperation into something more palatable: Humor. 

Dave The Chimp. Berlin, February 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A loveable and able debater, his carrot colored human bean is often discovered strolling through the streets and alleys of Berlin. A natural, easy and happy jaunt, his character is quick with an affable lecture, mini tirade, or bright insight. Of course, its open to your interpretation

Dave The Chimp. Berlin, February 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Contrarian enough to not want to be called a Street Artist, the UK born Mr. Chimp takes his initial inspirations from his 1980s-90s skateboard culture immersion and he’s parlayed his illustrative style into work with fanzines, comics, brands, and art curation.  An omnivore for the experiences of life, he’d love you to unplug from your electronic devices and plug into to your city, and relish the world around you.

This week in Berlin we keep seeing Dave’s human beans popping in the neighborhood of Kreuzberg, so we collected a few to share them with you.

Dave The Chimp. (The Pemex tag is probably a side-bust, not a collab. Could be the Mexican graff writer of Mexican petroleum brand, hard to say) Berlin, February 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dave The Chimp may be endorsing the Kurdish-Syriac People’s Protection Units – Or somebody could have connected his bean with the YPG star symbol, which appears on many wall around the city. Berlin, February 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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