in plain sight. Fucking one system and embracing another. Seeking the limelight
as he hides in the darkness of Berlin’s night. This is paradox. This is Paradox.
A Berlin Kidz alumni who has been catching tags and surfing trains with photographer CPT.OLF for a handful of years, these two have created a simple exhibition to Urban Spree gallery this month. Bringing masks, video, a new photography book, prints, and a hooded figure cuffed an on his stomach, the gallery effect is spare, crisp, ill-boding, and entertaining. One may say that this presentation looks like a graffiti star is born.
parkour with graffiti, he lowers himself south on a rope, spraying vertically cryptic
symbols in primary colors down the side of a building, or steeple of a church, his
aerosol style inspired by writers in places like São Paulo and
Rio de Janeiro. In many ways, this man is now claiming a mantle while in
his physical prime, modeling one of his multiple horror batik masks atop a
speeding yellow U-Bahn – tempting fate, testing limits, testing the viewers’ tolerance.
This is more than urban exploring: This is punching it down and signing its praise simultaneously, the pulsing testosterone deafening, relentless, defiant. This is anti-hero heroicism as performance without a net below – and quite possibly it is the adrenaline rush that claims your life. Looking at these images, following the video, for one thrilling moment, you want to be there as well.
Somber and sorrowful, this distance in between. Distance between people geographically, politically, ideologically. Distance between dreams and reality, between what is possible and what we achieve. Yet, we’ve seen that each of these distances can be bridged.
That allegory is plain and obvious in the new exhibition curated by Sasha
Bogojev at Berlin’s BC gallery called “The Distance Between”.
Perhaps because of their personal backgrounds, or in spite of it, three Street Art talents of today (one of them a duo) address a series of politically charged and ultimately human crises that play out on an international stage today. Because of their own nationalities, one may surmise their points of view quickly, but in arts’ expression we can find greater complexities, gradations, and subtleties.
Iranian brothers Icy & Sot, Israeli Addam Yekutieli (aka Know Hope), and Italian aerosol artist Eron each come to the global migration crisis from distinct perspectives, each willing to explore the human cost of war, dislocation, grief, longing.
Unconventional pairings perhaps, these makers of metaphor and poetry and gesture, yet in their nexus lies a certain possible common understanding. In the minds of some these collaborations could be unthinkable, so their work product is charged with socio-politics by its mere existence. The understated presentation in the gallery setting is suitably serious and somewhat cramped, with room for the cracked smile of irony, and disgust.
“The Distance Between” is currently on view at the BC Gallery located at Libauerstraße 14 10245 Berlin
Dalek (James Marshall) and Buff Monster host
their second collaborative exhibition in as many years at GR Gallery in
Manhattan’s Lower East Side, sandwiched between the high art of the Bowery
Museum and the hungry and homeless people of the Bowery Street. A perfect
snapshot of inequality in modern New York, the neighborhood has not lost its
reputation in the last 10 years as a place for those desperate city folk with
no means – and those city folk who need to collect art for their homes.
Here we find the escapist vocabulary of cartoons in both artist’s collections. Character-driven avatars of the street/mural/canvas painters themselves, the true emotions and predilections of Dalek’s “Space Monkey” and Buff Monster’s “Melty Misfits” are hidden under the sugary gloss of pop and sharply defined graphic styles.
The influences are sometimes overlapping, but each takes their tips from slightly opposing signposts on the commercially cartooned metroscape – scenes of cosmic war and ice cream and cleverly digital labyrinths cavorting in the clouds floating around the many mansions of Murakami and Harajuku.
The 30 pieces, including paintings, works on
paper, site-specific installations, are an afternoon’s respite from the roar of
traffic and construction and grey particulate matter flying in the air outside,
a serene laboratory for experimenting with new creative impulses and fantastic
narratives, brightly lit. It is a combined wit, a shared attraction to a “Surface
Dalek and Buff Monster exhibition Surface Fetish is currently on view at GR Gallery until November 17th. Click HERE for details.
A retrospective at Brooklyn Museum currently showcases the photographic works and public projects envisioned and created by French Street Artist JR. Covering roughly two decades of work, JR: Chronicles dedicates an in-depth examination into his practices and personal philosophies when creating – as evidenced by this collection of his murals, photographs, videos, films, dioramas, and archival materials.
His most recent and one of his most original ideas has been to use the techniques of professional film compositing to impart a permanent, living aura for what may otherwise be static collaged works. With high res digital works working in concert, the life of the subject takes on an additional dimension, juxtaposed as it is with other figures they may or may not have ever interacted with.
Often in these recent projects you have the opportunity to see and/or hear personal recordings of the person through interviews for the piece. The centerpiece and partial namesake of this show is the new large-scale mural of more than one thousand New Yorkers whom he chose to feature, accompanied by audio recordings of each person’s story as told to him and his team.
Many of these concepts and philosophical observations, including sociopolitical commentary on a number of hot-button issues of the day, may feel familiar to fans and Street Artists around the world – particularly over the last decade and a half. Here you can see that with the number of resources and teams that he can amass, JR is able to create the ideas with a sense of largesse and garner greater audiences, putting many of his works before many more.
Epic is a word often used to describe the projects, and when you see the JR: Chronicles exhibition you can understand why.
We spoke with the curators of the exhibition Sharon Matt Atkins and Drew
Sawyer about their experience with this exhibition and how JR is defining new
areas of photography with his use of it in public space.
Brooklyn Street Art:JR created a new digital collage for this exhibition featuring a thousand or so people individually interviewed and photographed. Can you tell us about what criterion he used for selecting his subjects? Sharon Matt Atkins: JR’s main focus was on capturing the rich diversity of New York City. As such, he photographed people in all five boroughs of the city, including many neighborhoods that were new to him. While he did invite some guests to participate, most of the people were passersby, or business owners and workers of local stores.
Brooklyn Street Art:It may be that there has been a return to
black and white photography in
the last decade – so much so that one may not register the significance
that JR employs it for expression almost exclusively. How do you think
the limited palette aids his work in telling his narratives? Drew Sawyer: In
many ways, JR’s use of black and white photographs is in direct
opposition to contemporary photojournalism and the digital circulation
is images. His close-up portraits may recall the work of earlier
documentarians, such as Gordon Parks and Dorothea Lange in the United
States, but JR’s decision to print them on inexpensive paper and paste
them nearby counters they ways in which images often circulate in the
global media far away from the places where his collaborators live. Also,
the monochromatic images certainly stand out against the colorful built
environments in which JR typically installs them.
Brooklyn Street Art:As you deeply analyzed his career and its
various phases, what would you
say is one of the through-lines that you see in his practice as it
evolved? Sharon Matt Atkins:
Our show is centered on his projects that have been created in
collaboration with communities. From his earliest photographs
documenting his graffiti writer friends to Inside Out with more
than 400,000 participants in 141 countries to his most recent mural The
Chronicles of New York City, JR has sought to give visibility to those
often underrepresented or misrepresented.
Brooklyn Street Art: How has JR used his work in a new way that may prove to be inspiring to photographers and fans of photography? Drew Sawyer: For JR, photography is just one part of his collaborative process. His work is really about bringing people together, lifting the voices of others who rarely have control over their own representation, countering narratives in the global media, and shifting the discourse around specific issues and events. He started his practice before there were social media apps like Instagram, which now provide platforms for many people to do the same in a digital form. Since then, JR has explored how new technologies can help him tell and share more stories. I hope his process inspires other artists to use photography in similar and new ways.
“Since 2017 JR has been creating participatory murals inspired by the work of the Mexican painter Diego Rivera in the first half of the twentieth century. In the summer of 2018, JR and his team spent a month roaming all five boroughs of New York City, parking their 53- foot-long trailer truck in numerous locations and taking photographs of passersby who wished to participate. Each was photographed in front of a green screen, and then the images were collaged into a New York City setting featuring architectural landmarks. More than a thousand people were photographed for the resulting mural, The Chronicles of New York City. The participants chose how they personally wanted to be represented and were asked to share their stories, which are now available on a free mobile app.”
– text courtesy Brooklyn Museum
“In January 2009 JR carried out another iteration of Women Are Heroes in Kibera, Kenya, one of the largest slums in Africa. Following close dialogue with the community, JR covered rooftops with water-resistant vinyl printed with photographs of the eyes and faces of local women. The images both transformed the landscape and provided protection from the rain.
The train that ran along the Kibera line was also covered with photographs of the eyes of women who lived directly below, and images of the lower halves of their faces were pasted on the slope beneath the tracks so that as the train passed, their faces were completed for a few seconds. The idea was to celebrate, or at the very least to acknowledge their presence. Of his projects, JR has said, ‘I search with my art to install the work in improbable places, to create with the communities projects that promote questioning. . . and to offer alternative images to those of the global media.’ ”
– text courtesy Brooklyn Museum
“On October 8, 2017, for the last day of the Kikito installation at the U.S.-Mexico border, JR organized a gigantic picnic on both sides of the wall. Kikito, his family, and dozens of guests came from the United States and Mexico to share a meal. People at both sides of the border gathered around the eyes of Mayra, a ‘Dreamer,’ eating the same food, sharing the same water, and enjoying the same live music (with half the band’s musicians playing on either side). “
– text courtesy Brooklyn Museum
JR: Chronicles is curated by Sharon Matt Atkins, Director of Exhibitions and Strategic Initiatives, and Drew Sawyer, Phillip Leonian and Edith Rosenbaum Leonian Curator, Photography, Brooklyn Museum. This exhibition is now open to the public. Click HERE for dates, times and directions.
Image Description A (see earlier in article) “As the first photograph in what would become JR’s Portrait of a Generation, this image launched his career. The series was initiated when Ladj Ly, a filmmaker, and resident of Cité des Bosquets (called “Les Bosquets”), a public housing complex in the Parisian suburb of Montfermeil, invited JR to collaborate on a project in the neighborhood.
JR said of the image: ‘I took this picture when I was eighteen. It was the first time I went to Les Bosquets. If you look carefully in the back, you can see small posters from Expo 2 Rue—and I wrote ‘Expo D Boske.’ The kids asked me if I could take a picture of them. This photo of Ladj Ly filming me was the first one on the roll of film, and I felt something special had happened. This image is very emblematic of my work and of the message of this project with Ladj.’
This photograph was also the first large-scale image that JR and his friends wheat-pasted in the neighborhood prior to the riots there in 2005. It appeared as the backdrop in photographs accompanying newspaper articles and television footage about the uprising, thereby becoming JR’s first published work. “
– text courtesy Brooklyn Museum
Image Description B (see earlier in article) “In 2013 JR learned that the housing towers in Les Bosquets were going to be demolished, so he revisited the Portrait of a Generation project. Using images from the original series, he and a team pasted portraits in the building before it was destroyed. He recalled, ‘We couldn’t get authorization to paste inside. So we got plans from the former inhabitants, and we entered at night, twenty-five of us, and spread out over all the different floors. We pasted eyes in someone’s kitchen, a nose in someone else’s bathroom, and a mouth in a living room. . . . When we came down, the police arrested us, but they couldn’t understand why we had just spent hours in this building that was about to be destroyed. The pastings were so big that they couldn’t see what they were. The next day, when workers started the demolition, the portraits were revealed, little by little, while the cranes were ‘eating’ the building. Only the people who were in the neighborhood that day witnessed the gigantic spectacle unfold.’ “
3-day solo exhibition this weekend opens with SNIK at The Crypt Gallery in
Flowers in decomposition, pathways to discovery, hidden and revealed – SNIK unveils a certain richness with this multi-staged display of beauty and decay. Lightboxes, textures, curving forms, natural and artificial light wending in and out of layers; the artists approach and examine the mystery of life and death with wholistic poetry, finding beauty in each.
For nearly a decade the English duo of Laura Perrett and Nicholas Ellis have chosen the nomenclature of the gallery when creating larger and medium-sized stenciled imagery for the street. Clean lines, photographic values, increasing sophistication in volume and textures, it is a steadfast dedication to learning that plays out before your eyes. For this show they do it all – scenery, costume, lighting, photography, directing, hand-cutting, and painting.
The resulting experience of the show is a seamless continuity in sensual gentility, a collection of figurative works and environments that seem familiar, enveloping you with the more subtle stirrings of nature. Analogous to the ephemeral qualities of art in the street, you can possibly see that there is a way to embrace the changes that they bring, and suggest. SNIK aims to help you to embrace this ephemerality.
British artist duo SNIK present EPHEMERAL, an exhibition of new works at The Crypt Gallery, London, running from 17- 20 October 2019. The Crypt Gallery, London, 165 Euston Rd, Bloomsbury, London NW1 2B
A look inside the gallery today as we go to Hessen in Germany to see the new group exhibition mounted by the River Tales Street Art festival with the Oberhessisches Museum.
Principally organized by the 3Steps art collective, who are also in the show, it is an eclectic survey of 50 works by 30 international graffiti/Street Artists from important locals like Can2 and Loomit to Australia’s Rone and Fintan Magee and New York’s monochromatic WK Interact and old school train king Blade.
Presented in combination with the festival on the streets, the gallery show gives visitors a protected well-lit environment to look upon the work of artists on canvas as fine artists. As you scan through the space you’ll see the influences are evident from modern, contemporary, abstract, figurative, and digital – as Street Artists are frequently adept at reflecting societal movements, sentiments, and communication styles.
As part of a full-spectrum program at River Tales that runs June through October, the show here is well complimented by new murals on the street, workshops, photo walk tours, screenings, symposia, Djs, breaking, battles, and possibly, beer.
Altes Schloss, Brandplatz 2, 35390 Gießen, State of Hessen, Germany
The exhibition runs from 13th of September till the 20th of October 2019
The museum will be opened Tuesday – Sunday: 10-16 o’clock
“We may have lost the trains, but we’ve gained the whole world.”
That’s a quote on the wall in the new exhibition at the Bronx Museum spotlighting the work of Henry Chalfant. The quote comes from Mare 139, one of the early graffiti writers of 1970s-80s trains in New York, referring to the now-scrubbed subway cars that once functioned as a mobile gallery for the young masters of cans throughout a metropolis that was in the grips of financial and social upheaval. Thanks to the work of artists and documentarians like Mr. Chalfant, the ephemeral works were captured, cared for, preserved, and spread throughout the world in the intervening years, in some ways helping to spawn a global interest and practice among burgeoning artists.
“Henry Chalfant: Art vs. Transit, 1977-1987″ takes one of the original titles that co-author Martha Cooper suggested for the book that they published together “Subway Art” in 1984. That tome, full of both of their images that captured different aspects of the wild and untamed urban scene, eventually gained regard as a ‘holy book’ in certain graffiti circles across the world. Chalfants’ academic and sociological profile with producer Tony Silver of some of the early graffiti artists in the form of the 1984 PBS documentary “Style Wars,” also cemented his reputation as an expert in a rapidly evolving scene that brought untrained artists and original voices to the streets and trains.
The show is the second iteration of an exhibition curated by SUSO33 in Madrid, Spain last year at the Centro de Arte Tomás y Valiente. At opening night September 25th at the Bronx Museum the curator and artist were in attendance for the overflow crowd of artists and fans – many of whose work and faces appear in photos throughout the show. Visitors also got to see the original “Subway Art” book in its initial “dummy” form on display behind glass in its own vitrine.
Spread over multiple rooms filled with original photos, elevated train videos, and an impressive full-scale recreation of subway car facsimiles, the exhibit gives a rich survey of an epoch of an exciting tumultuous visual environment that rocked a city. The thunderous rumbling and screeching of trains adds an audio backdrop, somehow freeing these steel monsters from the past and making them temporarily contemporary. The raucous rebellious spirit of those times organically permutated and redefined itself in intervening decades, but Chalfant’s influence and dedication to preserving this potent moment provides ample evidence of the staying power of graffiti and its impact.
HENRY CHALFANT: ART VS. TRANSIT, 1977 – 1987 is currently on view at The Bronx Museum of the Arts until March 2020. This exhibition is free and open to the public. Click HERE for further details, schedule of events, and hours of operation.
Gastman’s Massive Graffiti and Street Art Show Arrives at Epicenter.
“I’m really excited to bring this show to New York,” says curator, graffiti historian and urban anthropologist Roger Gastman, “because the city plays such a pivotal role in the origin and evolution of the culture. The iconic images of covered subway cars made graffiti famous worldwide.”
He’s talking of course about “Beyond The Streets” the hybrid exhibition that he mounted in LA last year featuring the work of 150 who have proved to be pivotal to the evolution of a fifty year global people’s art movement that includes graffiti, street art, and urban contemporary art. Filling over 100,000 square feet of new space in Brooklyn, this two-floor cross-section survey will feature artworks by many of the same vandals, graffiti writers, Street Artists, and art activists who hit NYC streets, created dialogue with passersby, and were sometimes chased by the authorities. To see them showcased here is to recognize that there is not just one route to take – in fact there are many.
“We have an incredible roster of artists for New York,” Gastman tells us, “and a brand new space in Williamsburg that has a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline as our backdrop.” Notably the lineup includes artists whose work BSA has documented on the streets in this very same neighborhood over the past two decades, including Shepard Fairey, Faile, Swoon, Bast, Invader, Aiko, and others. Ironically the appearance of free-range Street Art in the neighborhood has been seriously diminished since that time.
The exhibition is one more verification that a significant portion of the scene is being widely recognized for its cultural contribution and value in the contemporary art canon – a significantly fluid scene fueled by discontent and a desire to short-circuit the established routes to audience appreciation. Like large survey shows elsewhere, the takeaway is the significant impact street culture and its tangential subcultures continues to have on the culture at large.
Gastman says the New York version of “Beyond The Streets” will take an
additional interest at the role of music and art activism on the street, along
with immersive installations, a tattoo parlor, a special Beastie Boys
installation with artifacts and ephemera, a new 30th Anniversary
Shepard Fairey project “Facing The Giant: 3 Decades of Dissent,” and large
scale works by Gorilla Girls, Futura, Cleon Peterson, and Takashi
More news coming on programming and events, but the important opening date to know right now is June 21st.
“All in all, it will make for a really special show this Summer,” says Gastman.
BEYOND THE STREETS TEAM
Curator: Roger Gastman
Co-Curators: Sacha Jenkins SHR, Evan Pricco, David CHINO Villorente
A-ONE, AIKO, Al Diaz, Alexis Ross, Alicia McCarthy, André Saraiva, Barry McGee, BAST, Beastie Boys, Bert Krak, Bill Barminski, Bill Daniel, BLADE, Broken Fingaz, Buddy Esquire, buZ blurr, Carlos Mare, Carl Weston, Cey Adams, C.R. Stecyk III, Charlie Ahearn, Chaz Bojórquez, Claudia Gold, Cleon Peterson, COCO 144, Conor Harrington, Corita Kent, Craig Costello, CRASH, DABSMYLA, Dan Witz, Dash Snow, DAZE, DEFER, Dennis Hopper, Dondi White, Doze Green, EARSNOT, Estevan Oriol, Fab 5 Freddy, FAILE, Faith XLVII, Felipe Pantone, FREEDOM, FUTURA 2000, Gajin Fujita, Glen E. Friedman, Gordon Matta-Clark, Guerrilla Girls, HAZE, Henry Chalfant, Herb Migdoll, Husk Mit Navn, INVADER, Jane Dickson, Jason REVOK, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jenny Holzer, Jim Prigoff, John Ahearn, John Fekner, John Tsombikos, Joe Conzo, José Parlá, KATS, KC Ortiz, Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, Kilroy Was Here, LADY PINK, LAZAR, LEE Quiñones, Lisa Kahane, MADSAKI, Maripol, Mark Gonzales, Mark Mothersbaugh, Martha Cooper, Matt Weber, Maya Hayuk, Michael Lawrence, MIKE 171, MISS 17, Mister CARTOON, Nina Chanel Abney, NOC 167, Pat Riot, Patrick Martinez, Paul Insect, POSE, PRAY, Rammellzee, Randall Harrington, RETNA, Richard Colman, Richard Hambleton, RIME, RISK, Ron English, Ruby Neri, SABER, Sam Friedman, SANESMITH, Sayre Gomez, Shepard Fairey, SJK 171, SLICK, SNAKE 1, SNIPE1, STAY HIGH 149, Stephen Powers, SWOON, Takashi Murakami, TAKI 183, TATS CRU, TENGAone, Tim Conlon, Timothy Curtis, Todd James, Trash Records, UGA, VHILS, and ZESER
The show is developed in partnership with Adidas and Perrier. Additional support provided by Modernica, Montana Colors, NPR, NTWRK, Twenty Five Kent and WNYC.