The Brooklyn Museum Announces the First Major North American Exhibition of Works by French Street Artist JR
Brooklyn Falls for France this autumn as photographer and Street Artist JR comes to the Brooklyn Museum as part of a cultural season organized by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and FACE Foundation. In a cultural exchange of sorts, BSA is also going to be in Bayonne, France October as part of Points de Vue.
The Chronicles of New York City, a massive new work from JR promises to be one of his most iconic projects as the Brooklyn Museum debuts the first major North American exhibition of works by the French artist. The new mural will cover 20,000 square feet of the Museum’s Great Hall, featuring more than 1,000 people photographed and interviewed in New York last summer.
Many Street Art fans will be familiar with a number of the artist’s iconic Street Art/photography works that feature every day and specially chosen people from the neighborhood in which they are plastered; from his early photographic projects in Paris like Expo 2 Rue (2001-4) featuring graffiti artists, Portrait of a Generation (2004-6) featuring young people from Les Bosquetsin the Parisian suburbs, to Women Are Heroes (2008-9, Inside Out (2011-ongoing The Wrinkles of the City (2008-15, and newer projects like and The Gun Chronicles: A Story of America (2018). Many New Yorkers will also remember Portrait of a Generation. Face 2 Face (2007) – which featured images of Israelis and Palestinians pasted on both sides of the separation wall
Curated by Sharon Matt Atkins, Director of Exhibitions and Strategic Initiatives, and Drew Sawyer, a curator of photography, the show is unprecedented in representing the scale and reach of the artist and promises to be a highlight in a city known for grand gestures. Today we feature a number of images taken by photographer Jaime Rojo of JR’s work on the street over the years.
JR: Chronicles will be on view at The Brooklyn Museum from October 4, 2019, through May 3, 2020.
For some humorous summer reading ; the white-gloved New York Times took their semi-annual trip on the subway – just to stay in touch with the commoners – and was scandalized by the tawdry state of advertising in the subways, with suggestive phallic shapes and ladies posing in underwear and what not. NYT was not however scandalized by the chronically destitute conditions of subway infrastructure like the enormous pieces of peeling ceiling poised to drop on people at the Chambers station for example. Or the rats. Or the lack of garbage cans, police officers, newsstands, air conditioning or the the $2.75 fare that has outpaced inflation – meaning that the equivalent of a 1987 fare would be about $2.03 if it had stayed with inflation, for example. That’s hardship on New York’s poor families – but New York Times is not talking about that.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring Almost Over Keep Smiling, Appleton Pictures, Banksy, City Kitty, Dr. SCO, Early Riser, FAUST, Gianni Lee, Heck Tad, Lambros, M*Code, Neon Savage, Shepard Fairey, and The Postman Art.
Shepard Fairey’s portrait of actor and activist Rosario Dawson on the water tank of a Manhattan building called “Power & Equality. The image celebrates this Lower East Side original who has been a champion activist for girls and women and who stays true to her roots.
We have been documenting this artist’s work for years now. His message is about diabetes/diabetic awareness and its causes, our addiction with sugar and the food industry relentless habit of adding sugary ingredients on almost all prepared foods…that and the innordinate sugar amounts on soft drinks of course. So it was a big surprise to have caught the artist in action while putting work on his usual spot on the magnet wall in Chelsea.
In the Street Art continuum that presents itself to the passerby on city streets, the early practice of hand-drawn tags on stolen postal stickers eventually morphed into mass-produced slick runs of personal branding and large scale one-off hand rendered/cut paper pieces wheat-pasted with a brush. This story, ever-evolving, is more inclusive than some may think of when you talk generically about “slaps” on a door or on the base of a streetlamp in the city’s visual dialogue. For the book Stickers Vol 2, author DB Burkeman takes a wider survey of the practice, however, and in his second compendium, he goes where BSA has always followed the creative spirit; wherever it leads.
In practice, there are few strictly “sticker artists”. More often there are artists and taggers who also use stickers as part of their public practice which may include painting, aerosol tagging, freehand marker tagging, printing, wheat pasting, sculpture. By adapting the techniques and language of advertising, propaganda, and branding, artists have seized the opportunity to have a voice in the public sphere that is more often only reserved for commercial interests.
Street Artists’ practices of self-promotion are
indistinguishable from those of commercial or political interests – and why
not? The public space has always been used as a battleground for ideas, a
marketplace for attention, a proving ground of identity and power, a theater
for capturing imagination, a Socraterial classroom for presenting and probing
ideas and the examination of our assumptions about them.
In a fiercely democratic way, with a very low admission
price, all motivations are presented here, and all of them are flawed, and all
of them are perfect.
Burkeman’s sophisticated examinations of sticking practices are equally wide in his survey – his own full immersion into art, music, performance, consumer psychology, pop culture, and advertising giving him a comprehension and appreciation of its seeming seamlessness.
Burkeman’s introductory essay addresses topics ranging from billboard busting, culture jamming, market forces and Warhols’ bananas – admitting that his baseline appreciation has not waned even as his own study lead him ever deeper and deeper into an ocean he still hasn’t fully fathomed since launching his first sticker volume, Stickers: Stuck-Up Piece of Crap: From Punk Rock to Contemporary Art.
“Even after ten years of having this adhesive monkey on my back, I’m surprised that I can still get a kick out of the conversation that happens on the street when someone puts up a sticker,” he says. “It’s like a radiating signal to have others put their own stickers up next to it, as if to say, ‘hey, what’s up?’ The result is a cluster of paper and vinyl personalities.”
Keeping it contemporary, he also calls in experts from this idiosyncratic world of expressions to further your appreciation for the sticking practice as a reflection of society and a catalyst for it – from the Street Artist Invader to the blue-chip curator/innovator Jeffrey Deitch to fans/visionaries like Stretch Armstrong, C.R. Stecyk III, Dante Ross, and The Super Sucklord.
Using his first book as calling card, many doors have opened to Burkeman, enabling access to collections and rarities, deep dives into the crates, selections of unknowns that you would otherwise not have access to – let alone the opportunity to appreciate. You also get a selection of stickers for your own collection by serious names, including Bast, Lister, Shepard Fairey, Skullphone, Futura, Ron English, and Neckface.
“Cheap, immediate, and unapologetically in your face, the sticker remains the go-to, lo-fi expression for many a band, brand, and fan,” says Don Letts, a founding member of Big Audio Dynamite, among other things. Clearly, the images and messages sent and received using this method have been a boon to those looking to have a voice, and the sticker practice will continue apace. Undoubtedly, DB Burkeman has it covered.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. Bordalo II “A Life of Waste” A short film by Trevor Whelan & Rua Meegan 2. One Day With Lady K in Paris 3. The London Police Dogumentary, by Wayne Horse
BSA Special Feature: Bordalo II “A Life of Waste”
Bordalo II “A Life of Waste” A short film by Trevor Whelan & Rua Meegan
Spending a lot of time and effort clawing your way to the top of the pile, braying
loudly about your achievements and kicking the people behind you back down the
hill? Look where you are standing. It’s a mountain of garbage. And you don’t really
care for the others up here.
Bordallo II has been examining our culture of waste. And making sculpture from it. “The artwork is really a reflection of what we are,” he says. “I always had my conscience.”
One Day With Lady K in Paris
Two decades into the game on her own and with Parisian graffiti crews 156 and CKW, Lady K tours the streets in a beret and a silk scarf with can of dark magenta aerosol in her purse, tagging concrete, marble, and ceramic tile on the streets as she goes. The interview shows one reason for her staying power – she’s an omnivore of style and technique, unwilling to limit herself to color or chrome, roller or extinguisher, vandal or Street Artist. Such distinctions are of little interest to her as she openly challenges your comfort zone, and presumably those of the police as well.
“I got this vision from God that said, ‘Go out and help the dogs of the world,’ ”says Chaz with a misty gaze at the camera. Clearly, dog songs have really brought their practice up a level, vastly expanding their artistic practice in three-part harmony, causing their core Street Art fans to howl with delight.
Lapiz quotes Karl Marx; “Die
Religion … ist das Opium des Volkes” when he talks about the new ‘Opium
Den’ stencil he has completed on a street in Munich, Germany.
“Religion is the
opium of the people” is a close translation, and here he refers to the recently
burned Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. With it he questions the priorities of
people and what they do with their money.
caught fire and within a few weeks 800 million euros were donated to rebuild
it,” he says. “It was more than a church – it was a symbol for Western Society.
But just imagine what social projects you could have supported with this kind
The symbolism of the “L” repeated many times, the expression in the eyes
peering nervously through them, the appearance
of this piece in Cork – it’s all a coded secret for the typical passerby here
in Ireland. This is not unusual for Street Art or graffiti because much of it
can be so woven into the personal history of the artist that it may require and
extensive conversation with them to understand it- or a look at their diary.
Asbestos is from Dublin but he make this new mural as part of a graffiti
jam organized by Crack. He says it is a critique of his own hand skills when he
is surrounded by Masters of the aerosol can. In fact he feels like he is all
left hands – thus the “L” symbol creating a mask for him to hide behind.
“I like to explore an innocent and naive version of my own character
called ‘Left Hand’ that sees the world in a different way to me,” he tells us. “Here
he’s giving me learner ‘L’ signs because I’m a street artist painting with a
bunch of graff artists. His honesty exposes my own frailties and insecurities
and my fear that I’d mess the mural up in front of artists I respect.”
When we get to know an artist better it is not a surprise to find how much of their personal history and psychology enters into their practice. The Dublin-based Asbestos is quite literal in explorations of self on the street; splitting himself into a ‘live’ version and a ‘dead’ version.
He said he’s been working on “a series of mask portraits that explore my
identity. Each mask portrays two versions of myself, one alive and one dead.
The dead version is a fictional character that represents me, if I’d been
killed in a car bomb,” he reveals. The ‘bomb’ he refers to was a real one, he
sayd. “It went off in Dublin 46 days before I was born, 5 minutes after my
mother walked past it,” he says.
“I’ve always been fascinated about the fact that I may never have existed.”
A basketball court in summertime is a proving ground for skill, a place to kill time with friends, and sometimes a launchpad for dreams of going “professional”. Here in Fermo City in Northern Italy, it’s a place for Street Artist Giulio Vesprini to expand his abstract practice to the field of sport.
“The shapes, colors and unique elements of botany characterize my work,” he says, and you can see that his palette is carefully chosen, and sophisticated. His new work is in concert with the Fermo Urban Museum (FUM) and took an organic route to completion, with the help of a handful of assistance. It’s many steps away from the inner city work you might normally associate with innercity graffiti; the sound and fury transmuted. Primitive, graphic, and crisply illustrative, this freshly painted court provides a new field of art and nature for players he’ll never meet.
He calls it “Struttura G041”.
Giulio Vesprini. Struttura G041. FUM Festival. Fermo, Italy. 2019. (Video Andrea Amurri-New Media Solution )
Graffiti writer, Street Artist, and muralist Steve Powers (aka ESPO) has created cryptic poetry in bold, nostalgia formed fonts on city walls including Brooklyn, Dublin, and his hometown Philadelphia.
In Syracuse, a city in mid-New York State, he has left his inside-joke humor outside on many bridges. We just happened to driving through this weekend and caught a few of his pieces from the last few years that suddenly cross your path – often as you are descending through an underpass.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring BRCEDU, Captain Eyeliner, Damon, Dark Clouds,Fhake, Ghake, Jerk Face, Mad Villian, Mattew Hyte, MurOne, Praxis, R Burns Wilder, Shepard Fairey, Sinned, Stikman, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, Thomas Allen, and Vy.
A quick shout out to the new collaged gender fuckery Judith Supine uses that openly plays with the man. The Marlboro man that is; the ubiquitous cowboy that appeared in advertisements for thirty-five years, thanks to Philip Morris and Leo Burnett. Enveloped in mythology and archetypes of masculinity, countless men died of cancer emulating this hunky wind-whipped hero of the imaginary west, including at least four of the original actors who portrayed the fictional character, according to the LA Times.
to get sidetracked from Supine’s intensely playful machinations with the knife
and magazine. The Street Artist has successfully redirected his studio and
street practice in recent years, stripping back the fluorescence many of his
2000s-2010’s pieces were known for. Here he is choosing to focus instead on his
unexpected recombinants of limbs, features, and proportions to present
otherworldly figures who are just human enough to disturb your subconscious,
and make you laugh.
playing with the same magnetic images that drew millions to the messages in
glossy magazines of the 60s-90s, Judith winks flirtatiously at you with clever
bait and switching. Pulling apart our instincts and letting them lay next to,
or sit upon, or lick, or pop out of one another, Supine daily plays with
fantasy and fiction, and very possibly fear.
Williamsburg hosts Manlbdro right now, where they say “The Cowboy
series is a continuation of the artist’s pursuit of placing art between the
worlds of abstraction and representation.”
The collages featured on the show are the original images that were used for the posters on his bus shelters ad take over around NYC city streets. We have published the ad take over installations HERE and HERE
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. Facing The Giant: Three Decades of Dissent Part Two – Shepard Fairey 2. Stephanie Boyce: If You Know Me Is To Love Me. 3. Dotmasters: Why Is That Shovel There?
BSA Special Feature: Facing The Giant: Three Decades of Dissent Part Two – Shepard Fairey
The sky is on fire! And it’s not just because of the gorgeous sunset.
Shepard Fairey has been respectfully smacking us in the head for 30 years with his earnestly alarmist art in the streets. Challenging a narrative pushed by the corporate state via smiling blond newsreaders fronting a well funded armature of skullduggery, this perpetual dissenter has found ways to deliver the poison pill with ever-more sophisticated graphic design and plain spoken diatribe.
was trying to encourage people to just be more analytical and to come to their
own conclusions,” he says as he describes his work during the steady hail of
disinformation called “The War on Terror”. Bless his heart.
says he was looking for a more honest manifestation of his work and how he
represented the observations and opinions he had based on his own research.
“I felt like I had the courage to become myself what I had emulated in a lot of my heroes.” Faced with a hostile political environment from the corporatized media machine and the dazed inertia response from a significant portion of his intended audience, it is surely maddening at times. Regardless, as an artist, catalyzer and a citizen, Fairey continues to challenge himself, and us.
Stephanie Boyce: If You Know Me Is To Love Me.
Artist Stephanie Boyce has been drawing all her life and takes you on a tour of
her neighborhood and the Muddguts Gallery that represents her.
difficult to tell my story in a ten minute movie,” she says, but you get a good
idea of the ups and downs that she has faced through her art, their symbolisms,
and of course her own words.
props go out to Director Nicolas Heller for this insightful and well-balanced
Dotmasters: Why Is That Shovel There? Nuart Aberdeen. By MZM Projects
also takes you on a tour in his new video, and even instructs you how his
technique is done. Mostly, it’s a relaxed conversation about his history and
that’s just a silkscreen process with a spraycan,” he said of his initial
realization of how certain pieces on the street were done when seeing
stencillists like Blek Le Rat in the 80s. “And I thought, ‘Wow, that’s a good
way of invading public space’.”
The Turin-based illustrator Guerrilla Spam has interpreted the “Quarantana” as a stylized toy extended from the arm of an elegant, almost Egyptian figure in a tall fez. Alessandria-born Street Artist 108 depicts the traditional doll as a unique abstraction merged within a form, not specifically figurative, rather primitive perhaps.
are interpreting a pagan/Christian traditional ritual next to each other here
in Santa Croce di Magliano.
“ ‘Quarantana‘ is a doll made of fabric and straw, having the appearance of an old woman; the doll, usually hanged to a rope between the balconies or in front of the windows, stands on a potato with seven feathers attached,” say organizers at the Antonio Giordano Street Art festival. “The ritual, fusing Christian and pagan cultures, expresses the importance of living a life of sobriety and peace.”