Welcome to BSA Images of the Week. Happy Purim! Streets in Brooklyn were wild with Hasidic Jews in funny costumes the last couple of days, accompanied by loud music and seemingly drunk men weaving through the streets.
“The efforts of underpaid artists and arts professionals have always powered NYC, but in an ongoing crisis, NYC is turning its back on them,” Nuyorican Poets Cafe Executive Director Daniel Gallant told the Daily News this week, referencing job losses that have affected 2/3rds of New York’s creative community. We are in crisis. And national leaders have been quibbling over a $1,400 check – which is only the third check for poor and middle-class people in a 1 year period. One month’s rent can be that much.
Meanwhile on the street we have been seeing a boon of new creative displays by artists – with a broad sweep of themes and techniques.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Allie Kelley, Aya Brown, Billy Barnacles, Bobo, Elianel Clinton, Fells, George Ferrandi, George Collagi, Gianni Lee, Icebox, Megan Gabrielle Harris, Merch, Plane, Sara Lynne-Leo, Sasha Lynn, Shoki San, and Swoon.
In collaboration with SaveArtSpace.Org Swoon and Giani Lee curated a series of billboards in NYC and In Los Angeles asking the artists involved to focus on the themes of climate change, racial justice and the places where those concerns intersect. Below we share with you some of the billboards we found in NYC.
When you are in trouble, reach out! You don’t have to do it alone. That is the sentiment you may think of when regarding this new mural by JDL (Judith de Leeuw) in Amsterdam.
The three frame story reads like stills in an animation, with two hand gradually getting closer to one another, loosely wrapped in bandage.
Intended as a temporary placeholder for the new HIV/AIDS monument that will be installed soon at Amsterdam Central Station, JDL says that she’s depicting the relationships between people who are ill and their loved ones.
“Illness often isolates, but also brings people closer together,” says the artist. “This piece is a symbol and a celebration of the love that grows at the edge of the abyss.”
The three separate frames will be placed around the station at the projects’ end.
JDL would like to thank her assistant painter on this project, James Jetlag.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening participants at Festival Asalto 2020: 1. Silence Shapes by Filippo Minelli 2. Apocalypse Now / INO 3. Vesod x Wasp Crew / Urban Art Field
BSA Special Feature: “Silence Shapes” by Filippo Minelli
“Most of my process is about finding the right place and finding the right time to start,” says Italian public space interventionist Filippo Minelli. During URVANITY 2019, the artist created billowing bending funnels of prodigious color that poured into the air, interacted with architecture, and redefined spatial relationships in the public realm. Our worldwide survey of ephemeral art is surpassed in brevity by this category of interactive art installation that quickly changes its dimensions and fills and evaporates.
He refers to it as giving shape to silence.
Silence Shapes by Filippo Minelli
Apocalypse Now / INO
With music by The Flood and smooth-paced shooting from Constantino Flood, Greek muralist INO is captured as he paints his masked figure in Athens at great scale.
Vesod x Wasp Crew / Urban Art Field
A quick look at the works completed by Vesod and Wasp Crew for the urban art festival hosted in the municipality of Cavagnolo for the second intervention of the three-year project. The artists say that it “addresses the issues of Sustainability and Equality, in terms of respect for the climate and the right to live in a healthy environment.”
One of the best parts of this horrible pandemic is that people are really challenging their creativity to organize new ways to relate to each other and do business. We’re proud to be a part of URVANITY as the fair celebrates its 5th Edition – this year, it is a double edition, actually.
Today begins the On-Line edition. The physical edition begins May 27th at COAM in Madrid.
You can now tour galleries from your home’s comfort, from London, Bogota, Caracas, New York, Amsterdam, and a few cities in Spain. Each will feature just one artist URVANITY SOLO SHOWS 2021.
Here’s a sneak peek!
To see the complete list of artists, art works and participating galleries click HERE
Now it appears that a masked monkey is taunting Koons’ tulips again here, only a few meters away from the Champs Elysées.
Attributed to the Bristol-born street intervention artist Unikz, who has goaded and criticized people and institutions using his work in the past, the artist installed a monkey wearing a red mask offering the springtime flowers as well, minus the three that he is clumsily trampling underfoot.
Local photographer and businessman Olivier Krafft says the monkey and the method are in alignment with the previous works in public space by the mocking artist – where Unikz “installed giant rats in Paris during the contemporary art fair in 2018 on the Champs Elysées and placed masked rats lifting “Ratcoin” in front of the Palais Broignard.”
As is often the case with interventionist sculpture, this one has been standing for several days in public space without authorities’ comment. According to Krafft, who happened upon the installation, the artist told him that park authorities didn’t realize that he was doing some monkey business, and they left him alone to do his work. “It’s funny because the gardeners of the Ville de Paris thought he was a Jeff Koons assistant and the monkey was a part of the bouquet of tulips!”
How can we answer the needs of today without compromising the world our future generations will inherit?
South African fine artist and muralist Sonny has been a champion of the beautiful wild beasts that populate its native land and beyond throughout his career. Lions, elephants, tigers, jaguars, leopards, whales, bears, eagles, and the occasional human. He brings all these creatures to life on walls worldwide with precise and impressive realism, executed to the finest detail. The artist makes it his mission to raise awareness of the plight that many of these animals are confronting to survive in increasingly inhospitable habitats. Humans have been encroaching on their natural territories at an alarming rate – forcing wildlife to subsist in smaller areas at a huge risk to their ability to thrive and survive.
For the Baz-Art International Public Art Festival in Cape Town, Sonny painted a Cape Leopard in response to the festival theme of “100 Sustainable.”
Says Sonny, “For me, this Cape leopard is a symbol of hope, as people are waking up to new ways of approaching conservation that are less about fencing off wildlife in nature reserves, and more about adapting our world to allow animals and humans to safely and peacefully co-exist. We humans are not above nature, we are part of it.”
This year the festival poses a question: How can we answer today’s needs without compromising the world our future generations will inherit?
Click HERE to learn more about Baz-Art / International Public Art Festival
“We’re back!” Announces URVANITY, the organization that has celebrated a distinctly street-influenced flavor of New Contemporary art in Madrid for 5 years. In anticipation of their upcoming fair at the end of May, they’re tantalizing you virtually starting this week with a special program called URVANITY SOLO SHOWS. Featuring 20+ galleries from February 25th to March 28th, attendees will be strolling through the solo shows of artists like D*Face, Eugenio Recuenco, Rafa Macarrón, Marría Pratts, James Rielly, and 108.
We were in Madrid at URVANITY a couple of years ago to host the BSA Talks Program. The energy and mix of talents and visitors created an exciting formula for conversations and education. The impact of graffiti writing and street artists continues to influence the contemporary art field, especially in Europe. We’re also excited this year to learn more about the launch of Urvanity LAB, “a creative laboratory and online shop platform” that will be offering limited edition products by artists like Add Fuel, Boa Mistura, Cristina Daura, GR170, Yubia, and Rorro Berjano.
As we lead into summer and more people get their vaccines, and public spaces begin to open, URVANITY will welcome visitors again to the Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Madrid (COAM) May 27-30. We’re looking forward to seeing this smartly curated fair bloom and grow again this year.
We share with you a selection of the participating artists and galleries for this year’s edition of Urvanity Art and a selection of the first crop of artists selected to participate in the first edition of Urvanity LAB.
Welcome to BSA Images of the Week. It’s been snowing and snowing and snowing this month in New York – providing perfect framing for graffiti and street art.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Adrian Wilson, Beer, Claudia Ravaschiere, Dasu, Dos Wallnuts, Eron, Goog, Guild234, Hellbent, Magda Love, Michael Moss, No Sleep, Note, Par, Seo, Serve, Swoon, The Postman Art, and Treeze.
From graffiti writing on the street to art products to massive sculptures in public spaces, the career evolution of Brooklyn’s KAWS embodies graffiti-street-art-urban-art’s commercial moves into the mainstream in an unrivaled way. Now the Brooklyn Museum hosts KAWS: WHAT PARTY, where you may not be able to determine the fine line between exhibition and store display.
The press release says, “Adapting the rules of cultural production and consumption in the twenty-first century, his practice both critiques and participates in consumer culture,” so you are forgiven if you want to put some of these ‘Companion’ items in your cart and head for the register. Also look forward to seeing graffiti drawings and notebooks, paintings, collectibles, furniture, and those bus-stop posters that he high-jacked advertising spots with.
Also, “Teaming up with Acute Art, a digital art platform directed by acclaimed Swedish curator Daniel Birnbaum, KAWS presents new augmented reality works, allowing visitors to interact virtually with his sculptures using their smartphones to create their own experience.”
KAWS: WHAT PARTY February 26–September 5, 2021 Curated by Eugenie Tsai
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening participants at Festival Asalto 2020: 1. Nychos “1111” 2. Meet Vhils / Leaders in Action Society 3. Jauria / Pack David De La Mano with Nicolás Almada Luraghi and Enzo Rosso
BSA Special Feature: Nychos Begins Again at “1111”
Life has its mysterious and unexpected ways of grabbing our attention. Austrian street artist, fine artist, and epic muralist Nychos may have been too busy to see the cycles he was in until, finally, a devastating physical and emotional series of events brought him to a baseline truth.
In some ways, his search was perhaps being played out before our eyes for those who experienced his art over the last decade: A relentless dissecting and peering into the contents and physical inner workings of the animal world and humans extended to metaphor as well – slicing apart and examining icons, monsters, dinosaurs, and pop culture detritus too. His works could often be accompanied by a certain clinical gore, a brightly illustrated and fascinating horror, a stylish rage, a riveting trauma, a gorgeously gut-wrenching drama.
Today, he tells us part of his journey that involves destruction and pain, of rage, release, clarity, and finally a healing. Brave, as ever, he shares it with us. Like all of us, these painful lessons will shape the path he forges into the future. We are thankful. And we wish him the best.
Meet Vhils / Leaders in Action Society
A broader autobiography is given here by Portuguese street artist Vhils of growing up in a suburban part of Lisbon surrounded by the leftist politics of his supportive family and community in the 1990s at a time of great discord and difficult changes in society. “Graffiti is a game within a group of people who understand the language,” he says in one of the most succinct descriptions ever.
Jauria / Pack David De La Mano with Nicolás Almada Luraghi and Enzo Rosso
Neglected buildings often access and summon elements of your imagination. You may conjure scenarios of how people lived in, worked in, interacted in the rooms and hallways, and windows. Sometimes hearing music like this in an abandoned place gives the impression that it is literally pulling spirits of the past forward, filling the air with the music of the life, the life of the music. Harpist Nicolás Almada Luraghi and violinist Enzo Rosso here finely weave the silk and the lace that surely graced this space. Street artist David de la Mano not only adorns but brings walls to life with his flat figured illustration style and storytelling.
Freedom of expression is foundational in a democracy. Without it, it is not difficult for a culture to descend into authoritarianism, fascism, and dictatorship. By many standards, Spain’s democracy is still young, with a Parliamentary Monarchy since 1978. So it is curious and alarming to hear that this EU country has been silencing free speech in the last few years.
In 2018, we reported here on an initiative undertaken by more than two dozen artists from Spain called #nocallarem, a visual and musical protest inside a former prison to speak out against the Spanish Supreme Court ruling against the rights of an artist, a rapper, Pablo Hasel. In lyrics about the then-King Juan Carlos De Borbon deemed offensive, the young musician violated recently passed laws forbidding such speech.
Now, on the occasion of Mr. Hasel preparing to report to the authorities to begin serving his prison sentence, an outdoor art exhibition this month at Parque de las Tres Chimeneas (Three Chimneys Park) in Barcelona, a collection of artists gathered to paint works addressing what they see as an unjust attack on the freedom of a citizen and artist to express opinions in lyrics and writings. As you might expect at a graffiti/mural jam it was a celebratory Saturday of painting, music, dogs, kids, and the occasional soccer (fútbol) scrimmage.
But as soon as the mural paintings were up, the trouble began as well, according to artists and free-speech activists on the scene. “Less than twenty-four hours after doing their artistic actions, an NCNeta brigade escorted by a Barcelona Urban Guard van censored one of the works, covering it fully with paint,” says journalist and activist Audrey García in a Facebook posting.
The mural by artist Roc Blackblock featured the former king surrounded by words the rapper had used to describe him, including thief. Aside from being insulting to a public figure and calling out the rapper’s case, it is difficult for locals to understand why it was buffed.
García and others contend that the brazen act was evidence of an increasing level of silencing that targets some members of society for their speech but not others. “The city administration carried out a new act of censorship about our works, making our protest and denouncement of freedom of expression even more evident and necessary, adding a new case to the already too long, outrageous and constant violation of our rights and freedoms as creators and consequently of all society,” she says.
Eventually, the city apologized and offered solutions for restoring the piece, but the movement to free Mr. Hasel and protect free expression continues. About 15 artists participated in the painting jam, including Roc Blackblock, Antón Seoane, El Rughi, Magia Trece, Doctor Toy, El Edu, Galleta María, Kader, Maga, Owen, Reskate, Chamo San, Sigrid Amores, Tres Voltes Rebel, Arte Porvo y Elna Or, among others.
Since then, more demonstrations have taken place in the streets of Barcelona, Valencia, Lérida, and Hasel’s hometown of Segrià to protest his imprisonment. According to the BBC, “More than 200 artists, including film director Pedro Almodóvar and Hollywood star Javier Bardem, have signed a petition against Hasel’s jail term, while Amnesty International described his arrest as terrible news for freedom of expression in Spain.”
Our special thanks to photographer Fer Alcalá for sharing his fine work with BSA readers here.
External critics may never be as brutal as your internal one – but graffiti and street art sometimes reveals a specifically vicious world of criticism that greets artists and writers. Imagine making friends with those critics and validating their position, and then moving on unscathed or even healed.
“Overall, the project is meant to inspire those who may take criticism to heart,” says street artist HOTTEA, and he means it as a form of sweet liberation, not a bitter one.
Despite the frigid temperatures and the fact that he is working in Minnesota, HOTTEA has created 6 new installations that may warm your heart this winter, if not your fingers and toes. Using the same digitally inspired grid that is informed by a lifetime of looking at screens, this 90s kid places fluorescent magnetic blocks side by side and hits them with light, so his pieces beam like a glow-stick billboard.
The words he’s spelling are part of his campaign. “The reason I chose the words I did ( DUMB, NUDE, EASY, TYPE, YAWN, HEAL) was to create a commentary between the critic and the artist,” he says.
“I chose DUMB, EASY, and YAWN as words used by critics to describe my work. I chose NUDE, TYPE, and HEAL to describe what influences my art and the concepts I work with within my installations.”
Call the series “Facing Your Critics,” if you will: using the very platform and methods you make art with to confront the issues that come up while creating it as a form of meta-therapy.
Even the materials are under scrutiny. Having moved from aerosol to yarn about a decade ago, HOTTEA withstood plenty of derisive peer reviews that openly questioned his credibility and even his right to work on the street. Here he chooses another material, magnets – and in some cases – magnetic paint to prep the surface. Not only is a typical tagger going to trash him for not being authentically “street” enough, but formal institutional scholars may also dismiss him for not being a true artist.
“Just like yarn,” he says. “magnets are looked upon as a material that is related to lowbrow art – or even less – not a material at all for the means of creating art.”
As a final possible dismissal source for this street artist, he chooses one location decidedly not urban; an abandoned farmhouse. “I painted the entire wall with magnetic paint,” he says, “…then stenciled an ornate floral stencil on it with fluorescent orange spray paint to make it look like wallpaper.”
If any of these works trigger you, you may be one of the critics he’s reaching out to. The video he created (below) for the project features a sped-up chipmunk voice used to emulate those critics in the back of his head. It’s a brilliant personification that is humorous and annoying simultaneously. He answers each one patiently, almost plaintively, while the project’s visual aspects unfold across the screen.