Features

Street Art, Bomb Scares, and Times of Anxiety

Last Friday morning all was going normally on the streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn as the  cool, crisp breeze of a sunny May day made New York as it often is: Glorious. Up and down the sidewalk smartly dressed professionals hurriedly carried coffees and pushed baby carriages as meandering tourists stared quizzically at clean cut NYU students in their search for the fabled hipster scene that their travel guides had told them would be here.

Suddenly police activity seemed to hasten on the streets and police patrol cars were rushing to sidewalks and scattering flustered pedestrians. Within a matter of minutes Bedford Avenue was cordoned off with “CRIME SCENE” yellow tape from North 4th to North 7th streets and officers in various uniforms descended upon the neighborhood with fire trucks wailing and helicopters thundering.

Quickly word spread that there was a bomb scare. Possibly in a tree.

photo © Jaime Rojo

“Scare” is a relative word for New Yorkers, as police gently prodded curious rubberneckers to stand back and swept sleepy cafes clear of reticent morning journal doodlers. An impressive armamentarium of tools and gadgets were pulled from trucks and trunks and assembled in a somewhat semi-circular arrangement near a shady tree that bended gently back and forth with the breeze.

These officers’ firm and calm demeanor gave a sunny day a relaxed atmosphere, but the tension was still thick – a potential bomb was in the midst and protection was top priority. The offending piece in question hung from a thin metal arm duct-taped to the tree’s limb; the container was a simple deli grocery bag with the ubiquitous pledge of fealty to the city, “I Love NY” screen-printed on the front. The little bag swung gently as wires poked out from it’s handled top.

photo © Jaime Rojo

photo © Jaime Rojo

To photographers who document Street Art every day in this city, continuously scanning the urban environment for any manner of creative expression, this object might have caught an eye and been captured with a camera. But frankly, the competition for attention is fierce.

Williamsburg nearly birthed the Street Art scene here in the early 00s when artists called it home and every discipline of fine art transmuted itself into installation. A new sort of direct engagement with the public sphere took root and it continues to grow in cities around the world. No longer simply stencils, wheat-pasted paper or stickers on a news kiosk, in Brooklyn you are now likely to see more three dimensional pieces like a DarkClouds board bolted to a sign post, a steel REVS sculpture welded to a fence, a tiny match-stick Stikman embedded in the pavement, or a pink and purple camouflaged crocheted piece by OLEK covering an entire bicycle.  For years local artist Leviticus has been reassembling discarded furniture, musical instruments and found objects and placing them on these sidewalks on Bedford Avenue to the indifference of the rivers of people walking by.

And let’s not forget so-called “conceptual” work, ever able to confound.

photo © Jaime Rojo

In the case of this piece, this non-bomb in a tree, the materials were very familiar to the public: A vellum plastic box, an “I Love New York” shopping plastic bag, duct tape, some wires. The materials? Non-threatening. Their arrangement and location: potentially threatening.

According to news reports, the artist Takeshi Miyakawa was arrested long after the scare was called off as he was discovered installing a second piece not far up the street. It appears he had planned an illuminated string of bags to pay a tribute of some sort to the city.

photo © Jaime Rojo

According to the New York Times and The Huffington Post, Mr. Miyakawa, 50 years old, was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment, two counts of placing a false bomb or hazardous substance in the first degree, two counts of placing a false bomb or hazardous substance in the second degree, two counts of second-degree reckless endangerment and two counts of second-degree criminal nuisance. He was also placed under psychological evaluation.

Few will rightly question the actions of the bomb squad to prevent a catastrophic event from taking place, and most would openly express thanks for their work that can put them at great risk. But art like this, and any sanctioned public art that goes through a more vetted process, does raise questions about its intersection with the law and ethics. In a time when almost anything is considered as possible art, it also could be considered a possible bomb.

Should an artist be held accountable for every possible interpretation of the work, despite its original intention?  Can other evidence be considered before assigning guilt? Does an artist, particularly those who install work without permission, bear responsibility to consider it’s effect on public safety? During a time in our history that is permeated with vacillating levels of fear and anxiety, should we attempt to agree on some guidelines?

Online images of Miyakawa’s studio and coworkers and their methodical design plans for this installation make you think he’s probably not a criminal, just a kooky artist with a questionable judgement. Welcome to New York; that sort of thing is the norm where academic and creative investigation often pushes into unusual territory we haven’t been in before. It even appears his intentions were to cheer the public – an expression of love for his city.  But one does wonder what affect a renewed surveillance of trees and signposts and street furniture might bring to a Street Art scene that doesn’t look like it has tired of exploring itself.

Takeshi Miyakawa “I Love New York” This is how the installation was left after it was dismantled by the police. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Below are some examples of work on the street that are more than your run-of-the-can aerosol art.

In later winter this year artist Jean Seestadt created a series of installations in bus shelters and subway cars entitled “If You See Somethin;”. Her idea was to highlight the issue of objects that we encounter on our daily routine and as we use the public transportation system. Jean Seestadt. “If You See Somethin'” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jean Seestadt. “If You See Somethin'” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Click here to read our full interview with Ms. Seestadt and to see more images of her installation.

An unknown artist installed a series of metal and glass “eye” sculptures in Williamsburg in 2007 and 2008. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Here is a pair of BZBD shoes with LED lights in the soles for an installation a couple of weeks ago in Brooklyn. (photo © BZBD)

A shack installation in Brooklyn by an unknown artist. Or maybe it was a fort? (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Street Artist XAM creates and places bird feeders and dwellings all over the city. Some are fitted with solar panels and an LED light. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Read our interview with XAM here.

RAE commonly uses discarded household items and vintage appliances to create his sculptures before bolting them to streets signs. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

OLEK has become well known for crocheting entire coverings for bicycles, strollers, sculpture, and even the Wall Street Bull. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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In The Belly Of The River Thames

Occasional BSA contributor Garry Hunter writes today about a mural in London that may appear a bit more conventional than your average Street Art piece but carries a thoroughly modern message about our devastating effect on the environment.  And electric eels!

Electric Soup in England’s Capital City
by Garry Hunter

When George Cruikshank illustrated the imagined contents of the heavily polluted River Thames in his satirical cartoon Monster Soup, he included mutant river denizens in a microscopic examination of a 19th Century London lady’s cup of tea.

New Zealand artist Bruce Mahalski has just completed a new mural on Orchard Place that references not only Cruikshank’s work, but the legacy of electromagnetic pioneer Michael Faraday, whose laboratories were located at nearby Trinity Buoy Wharf. The looping River Lea that here merges with the Thames once had a thriving fishing village, which combined with Faraday’s research, gives rise to the mural’s focus on electric animals.

Bruce Mahalski (Photo © Garry Hunter)

An Eco-activist, Mahalski incorporates an existing buddleia bush growing out of a window of the former shop that hosts his Electric Soup creation. He draws on his wide experience working with the Island Bay Marine Education Centre in Wellington, introducing more exotic submarinal characters, many of which are endangered species. He was shocked by an electric ray while working on a research boat when a metal shovel he was using to examine sealife conducted a charge right through him.

Bruce Mahalski (Photo © Garry Hunter)

Clearly visible from passenger windows of airplanes landing at City Airport, the painting is part of a series of permanent works made by visiting artists based out of Boiler House (1954) in the centre of Trinity Buoy Wharf, a haven of independent thought away from the corporate developments that now line this part of East London.

Trinity Buoy Wharf is at 64 Orchard Place, London E14 0JW with the mural on the corner of the approaching road to the gatehouse.

The artist Bruce Mahalski by Garry Hunter. (Photo © Garry Hunter)

Bruce Mahalski (Photo © Garry Hunter)

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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Interesni Kazki at Living Walls Atlanta

For our third installment in our series for Living Walls Atlanta: The City Speaks 2012 we are proud to present the Ukranian team of AEC and WAONE most commonly known as Interesni Kazki. The guys as usual are praised for their excellent craftsmanship and work ethic and, may we add, discipline. It must be hard to stay out of the bars when your spot is in the night-time entertainment district but then again maybe Interesni Kazki are of the abstemious sort. Whatever the case, their work and talent is garnering more attention daily in the Street Art world and beyond.

Interesni Kazki

Text by Alexandra Parrish
Photos by Dustin Chambers
Video by Dustin Chambers

Our process with artists is, in essence, quite simple – we house and feed the artists, purchase their paint and materials, and ensure mural completion by offering assistants and steady schedules. In reality, this simple process is foiled by secondary factors, namely weather and compelling distractions. However, when Interesni Kazki arrived in Atlanta, everything fell perfectly into place. They came here to paint with an impeccable work ethic.

Interesni Kazki (photo © Dustin Chambers)

AEC and WAONE of Interesni Kazki finished their large mural situated in the bar-heavy neighborhood of East Atlanta Village in only five days. They woke up early, ate a modest meal and set off to their wall. From dawn to dusk they meticulously incorporated every finishing touch to their work.

The completed mural epitomizes their signature style, integrating science fiction and religion with obvious Escher influences. The meaning, however, is left for interpretation. AEC noted early on that their work personifies a multitude of meanings. Four days into the process, Monica and I came up with an intoxicated interpretation after a bar crawl – the Shepard (who remarkably looks like Atlanta’s own Evereman) opens Pandora’s box which harvests the “Big Bang,” creating the solar system and human kind. Interesni Kazki’s work truly incites a heap of explanations.

The Ukranian duo plans to return to Atlanta later in the year to complete a much larger mural in the heart of downtown, hopefully to cook the Living Walls team more borscht.

Neuzz, fellow Wynwood Walls artist, and Evereman are next to follow.

Interesni Kazki (photo © Dustin Chambers)

Interesni Kazki (photo © Dustin Chambers)

Interesni Kazki (photo © Dustin Chambers)

Interesni Kazki (photo © Dustin Chambers)

Interesni Kazki (photo © Dustin Chambers)

Interesni Kazki (photo © Dustin Chambers)

Interesni Kazki (photo © Dustin Chambers)

Interesni Kazki (photo © Dustin Chambers)

Interesni Kazki (photo © Dustin Chambers)

Interesni Kazki (photo © Dustin Chambers)

Interesni Kazki (photo © Dustin Chambers)

Interesni Kazki (photo © Dustin Chambers)

Interesni Kazki (photo © Dustin Chambers)

Interesni Kazki (photo © Dustin Chambers)

To learn more about Living Walls Altanta: The City Speaks and to make a donation to help this year’s conference click here. BSA thanks you for supporting this good work.

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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Herakut says “Find Your Own Voice”

German Street Artists and collaborators Hera and Akut have been in San Francisco recently for their solo show “Loving the Exiled” and while there they also had time to get up in the street. With roots in crews in the graffiti scene when they were both in their mid-teens, the two are twice that now and have a strong practice of fine and street art that takes them around the world. With distinctly different styles, the tension and contrast compliment one another in their mainly figurative work, and each considers the other a perfect counterbalance in an ongoing conversation.

Herakut (Photo © Jennifer Goff)

While preparing for their show at the 941 Geary Gallery, photographer Jennifer Goff captured some of the newest street work  for BSA readers. We had the opportunity to interview Herakut and learn about their process, their preferred materials, their prose, and the importance of finding your own voice as an artist.

Our thanks to Herakut for stealing away some time to speak with us and to Jennifer for her photography.

Brooklyn Street Art: Your work is truly collaborative and integrated. In what way does it seem like a conversation between two people?
HERAKUT:
In every way. And there are more voices than just our two. We open up the dialogue when we come across a great thought, quote it and work with it, like we did in SF with the poem “LASH” by the exiled Iranian writer Mehrangiz Rassapour – a woman who has seen a lot of pain. She added some strong thoughts to our conversation and raised questions for us to come clear with.

Herakut (Photo © Jennifer Goff)

Brooklyn Street Art: There are a number of loners – single graff/Street Artists on the street today, as well as those who like to run with a partner or a crew. Which approach helps an artist to develop their own voice?
HERAKUT:
Only when you have found your own voice you have something to contribute to a conversation, right? So, fit is probably best to find your own artistic identity first because then you know what it is that you are lacking. Akut and Hera are like Ying and Yang. That is what makes the work in our duo so effective. We don´t step on each other´s feet, because we have separate territories.

 

Herakut (photo © Jennifer Goff)

Herakut (Photo © Jennifer Goff)

Brooklyn Street Art: If you had very similar styles, do you think it would bore you? Do you think the tension between the more fine art approach of Akut and the raw expression of Hera is what we see in a finished piece?
HERAKUT: Yes, the contrast between our styles highlights each one. And the is another bonus to being so different from each other – there is no competition between the two of us. We don´t try to exceed the other, we try to add on to the other one´s work.

Brooklyn Street Art: It seems like your work has some of the same cadences and lyricism found in the written word. Have you illustrated a classic piece of literature or poetry? Do you want to?
HERAKUT:
It´s like we are sitting in this boat in a stream and we grab and work with whatever happens to be floating close to us. We don´t stretch out too far, it has to find its way to us naturally. Therefore, we don´t even check for it´s qualities in terms of having a classic value. If it sounds good, we´ll work with it, like with this line “COWARDS DIE MANY TIMES BEFORE THEIR DEATHS”. Loved it, and then later found out it was something Shakespeare had written. Supposedly.

 

Herakut with Rusk (Photo © Jennifer Goff)

Herakut with Rusk (Photo © Jennifer Goff)

Brooklyn Street Art: Sometimes your pieces contain text – are those pieces of poems? A bit of inspiration?
HERAKUT: 
When we really quote, we always try to reference to the writer. Other then that we use our own words. They are the titles of each piece, but more so – it´s the words that add the twist to the painting. It is another layer of communication and we don´t want to miss out on that one, since communication is the whole reason for us to create art.

Brooklyn Street Art: Most favorite surface : wood, concrete, canvas, bricks, rusty metal.
HERAKUT:
Brick is not a good one, because it causes too much disturbance on the realism bits. It´s too busy to begin with. Like wood. And wood is often so beautiful that it doesn´t need anything to it. Just like rust. Rust is actually a performance art created by water and air. Pretty good combo. For us concrete is probably the best one. There is something very frustrating about it. So many horrible walls and boundaries have been built of concrete. It´s not a friendly medium. It needs to be attacked, we think.

Herakut with Rusk (Photo © Jennifer Goff)

Herakut with Rusk (Photo © Jennifer Goff)

Herakut with Rusk (Photo © Jennifer Goff)

“Loving the Exiled” is currently on view at the 941 Geary Gallery in San Francisco. Click here for more details regarding this exhibition. With our sincere thank yous to Jennifer for sharing her photos with us.

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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LA + Auckland Honor Askew One, Graffiti and Street Artist

It’s not often that a major city gives a spotlight to a graffiti / Street Artist and issues a formal proclamation about it, but that is exactly what happened Saturday in Los Angeles. AskewOne, a native of one of LA’s sister cities, Auckland, New Zealand , was honored by the City as his new mural “Under the Influence” was unveiled as part of the LA Freewalls Project.

“It’s much more likely in this city that a graffiti artist will be arrested than be recognized for positive contributions to the community”, as LA Taco reports, but really when you consider the major inroads that the LA Freewalls Project has made into the dialogue around the value of Street Art in LA’s local politics, it can’t be entirely surprising. It probably helps that the image itself incorporates the American flag into the composition– sort of disarms that whole negative rant that some politicos use when lumping Street Artists together with other social scourges like drug addiction, domestic terrorism, and the Ice Capades, doesn’t it?

Askew One for LA Freewalls Project (photo © Todd Mazer)

“AskewOne is one of the world’s preeminent public artists, and one of the most accomplished contemporary graffiti writers,” says Daniel LaHoda, who spearheads LA Freewalls and who also hosted the inauguration of the new LALA gallery Saturday night with many of today’s best known Street Artist’s work on the walls. According to an official press release, the now famous LA mural moratorium will soon be lifted and “Kamilla Blanche, Senior Deputy for Arts and Culture, and the Director for Sister Cities, is excited about the possibilities to expand Los Angeles’ place as the national epicenter of public art.”

BSA is very pleased to be able to share with you these images of the new piece as shot by photographer Todd Mazer.

Askew One for LA Freewalls Project (photo © Todd Mazer)

Askew One for LA Freewalls Project (photo © Todd Mazer)

Askew One for LA Freewalls Project (photo © Todd Mazer)

Askew One for LA Freewalls Project (photo © Todd Mazer)

Askew One for LA Freewalls Project (photo © Todd Mazer)

To learn more about Los Angeles Sister Cities Program click here.

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Isaac Cordal In Barcelona : His Miniature People in the Gallery

A grand opening for Street Art sculptor Isaac Cordel in Barcelona last week brought people in to personally inspect the miniature concrete actors he creates. RAS Gallery housed the latest collection of works presented by SUBEN and curated by Maximiliano Ruiz.

A varied group of folks gathered to the call of Street Art and free beer including some of the finest canine noses in the art world as at least 5 dogs attended accompanied by their humans.

Isaac Cordal (photo © Maximiliano Ruiz)

Adapting to the gallery format was a little challenging for Cordal since his small cement sculptures seemed more at home in the streets and the small incidental street locations he places them in are the perfect context to document them in. Nevertheless, the irony and depth of the message transcends the context and, in fact, can create it.

The social and cultural critique evident are as heavy sometimes as the little people, including a couple wearing gas masks to their wedding and the vision of a suicidal sculpture who chose to leap into the gallery void, leaving its pedestal empty.

Isaac Cordal (photo © Maximiliano Ruiz)

Isaac Cordal (photo © Maximiliano Ruiz)

Isaac Cordal (photo © Maximiliano Ruiz)

Isaac Cordal (photo © Maximiliano Ruiz)

Isaac Cordal (photo © Maximiliano Ruiz)

Isaac Cordal (photo © Maximiliano Ruiz)

Isaac Cordal (photo © Maximiliano Ruiz)

Isaac Cordal’s Solo Show is currently on view at the RAS Gallery in Barcelona. For further information regarding this show click here.

To learn more about Isaac Cordal’s street installations read our coverage on The Huffington Post here.

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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EVOL “Repeat Offender” in Manhattan

Berlin-based Street Artist Evol is now having his first solo gallery show in the US at New York’s Jonathan LeVine in Chelsea and it is an uncommon opportunity to see his ingenious mind up close.  As many artists working on the street know, it is possible to imagine a world in the mottled scarred façade of a surface, and here Evol shows what he can do with cardboard and metal.

Evol “Repeat Offender” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A product designer by training, Evols’ detailed lines and careful attention to the finer points of the most unromantic architecture of the metropolis somehow makes you smile, even as it attests to his command of the multi-layered stencil technique. Repeat Offender miniaturizes the large-scale impersonal utilitarian repetitiveness of institutional design and brings the buildings into your careful consideration of their exterior and the possible nature of their interior.  At that moment, he’s got you – having successfully transformed a surface into a world.

Evol “Repeat Offender” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Evol “Repeat Offender” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Evol “Repeat Offender” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Evol “Repeat Offender” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Evol “Repeat Offender” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Evol “Repeat Offender” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Evol “Repeat Offender” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Evol “Repeat Offender” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Evol “Repeat Offender” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Evol “Repeat Offender” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Evol “Repeat Offender” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Evol “Repeat Offender” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Evol “Repeat Offender” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Curious to know how Evol makes his stencil art? Find out the answer in the vid below from Evol:

 

 

Evol “Repeat Offender” is currently on view at the Jonathan Levine Gallery. Click here for more information regarding this show.

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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Jeice2’s Lone Wolf in the Alley

After businesses are closed and respectable families are inside their homes gathered around their electronic devices, you are skulking through the streets in search of adventure. Wait, what was that? You turn back for a second to look through an opening you just passed. At the end of the cobblestone path the glowing eyes of a lone wolf await you in here in Sevilla. He looks kind of cuddly, but he may bite.

Street Artist Jeice2 hits us up with another piece from his project “Savage Planet” – this one is called “Rayo”.

Jeice 2 ”Rayo, The Wolf” Sevilla, Spain. (photo © Cristina Cerezo)

Jeice 2 ”Rayo, The Wolf” Sevilla, Spain. (photo © Cristina Cerezo)

Jeice 2 ”Rayo, The Wolf” Sevilla, Spain. (photo © Cristina Cerezo)

Jeice 2 ”Rayo, The Wolf” Sevilla, Spain. (photo © Cristina Cerezo)

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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Kraftwerk At MoMA

Stylized Leaders of the Computerized Electronic Revolution at MoMA

First as D.I.Y. experimenters and visionaries, then leaders in a nearly empty field, then as inspiring catalysts for man-machine marriage, Kraftwerk paved the way for millions of musicians, programmers, DJs, rappers, and fans to integrate a mechanized electronic precision into the modern musical oeuvre.  At a time when the youth movement was peacing out and getting high with arena rock and disco, Kraftwerk was turning itself into robots and its vinyl platters were getting play in New York house parties as an ideal futuristic soundtrack to integrate with lyrics, riffs and samples.  With New Wave, House, and Techno music all spawned with those same programmed beats, voices, and influences, now in the 2010s we acknowledge that a wide spectrum of musical categories, recordings, and performances contain a significant part of Kraftwerk’s digital DNA.

 

Kraftwerk. Museum of Modern Art, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A teenager in the early 80s listening to Man Machine and Computer World would have thought that Kraftwerk were geekily impressing each other with their sweeping vision of a future daily existence where people and robots interact via  smart electronic devices and programs. Not only did each year afterward bring us many steps further into their outlandish computerized vision, it may be that they partially ushered it in with their undulating funky precision and robotic wit. And so it is in New York now that “Kraftwerk Week” is blowing away a roomful of people who are holding up their personal glowing rectangles toward the stage at the Museum of Modern Art. Over the course of 8 consecutive nights they appear as slightly human robots to perform one of their albums in it’s entirety, followed by a very satisfying collection of favorites.

The retrospective Kraftwerk 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 brings a vision of the current band members poised before their master controls while 3-D visuals crisply fly into your face with elements of aerospace, rail travel, and the pumping machinations of human propelled progress.  Swelling pulsating vistas are punctuated by text and funnily low-tech robotic movements – all infused with a sense of classical European styling. As pure and total fans we were extremely lucky to have attended one of the performances and we felt like witnesses to an historic event that testified to the influence of 4 decades of experimentation but also displayed a delightfully stellar quality of skill and performance.

Naturally, these photos were shot on our personal hand-held computers.

Kraftwerk. Museum of Modern Art, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kraftwerk. Museum of Modern Art, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kraftwerk. Museum of Modern Art, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kraftwerk. Museum of Modern Art, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kraftwerk. Museum of Modern Art, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kraftwerk. Museum of Modern Art, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kraftwerk. Museum of Modern Art, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kraftwerk. Museum of Modern Art, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kraftwerk. Museum of Modern Art, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kraftwerk. Museum of Modern Art, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kraftwerk. Museum of Modern Art, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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More Mansion Rooms from “This Side of Paradise”

A week and a half before the exhibition “This Side of Paradise” opened at the Andrew Freedman House, BSA readers got the first glimpse of the completed rooms of the mansion that were taken over by artists like Daze, Crash, How & Nosm, and Adam Parker Smith (“Poorhouse for the Rich” Revitalized By The Arts). The grand unveiling of the completed installations at last weeks opening was attended by throngs of people who simply poured in through the gates of the grand estate, darling, and listened to speeches, enjoyed libations, took photos, and waded through the crowded hallways to poke their heads in the individual mini-suites and their various interpretive installations.

Cheryl Pope (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In case you missed the opening and still need some encouragement to see this free show over the next 7 weeks or so, we bring you views of some more of the rooms that have opened since the first visit. Each artist was well-schooled in the curious history of this place and it’s former residents so what emerges is part tongue-in-cheek reenactment, part fragmented memory, and part lyrical reverie. Thanks to Mid-Bronx Council for hosting us and here’s is what caught our eye to share with you.

Cheryl Pope (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sylvia Plachy (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sofia Maldonado (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sofia Maldonado (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Justen Ladda (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Federico Uribe (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Federico Uribe (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Gian Maria Tostatti (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Gian Maria Tosatti (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Princess Alexander, Kristen McFarland, Jimmy Smith (photo © Jaime Rojo)

To read our article “Poor House for the Rich: Revitalized by the Arts”on the Huffington Post click here

For further details regarding this exhibition click here.

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G40 Art Summit in Richmond: The Art of the Mural

Arts festivals have a proud tradition of bringing creative expression directly to  people on the street. When you talk about graffiti and Street Art you normally focus on the singular Street Artist who deigns their location and manner of display in the urban environment. But sometimes the display is collective and the planning and execution is actually a curatorial exercise with community arts leaders.

The ancient Greeks had the “Great Dionysia” spring art festival in April in Athens with tragedies of Æschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. Queen Victoria famously opened the Great Exhibition in 1851 that might have launched hundreds of cultural fairs world wide since. Chicago has had the 57th Street Art Fair since 1948 that showcases original work and benefits the artists directly.

At any given moment there is a non-profit, public, or private cultural institution planning some sort of foray into the public sphere with the arts – sometimes with the full or tacit agreement of the community and often with it’s ignorance.

Street Artist JAZ getting up in Richmond, Virginia in this still from a video for the G40 summit (below).

And of course Street Art festivals have been running hard around the world in the last decade including Fame in Italy, Nuart in Norway, Cans in London, the stencil festival in Melbourne … the list continues to grow. Recently in the US we’ve been seeing Living Walls pop up in Atlanta and Albany, Open Walls in Baltimore and today we’re looking at the town of Richmond, Virginia, which is currently being installed with new work by Street Artists from around the world for the G40.

(Click image to enlarge map, courtesy Richmond.com)

The G40 Art Summit is marking its third edition and they will offer exposure to new faces in the Street Art scene and others to an audience who may never have heard of any of them, and that’s the point. For this year’s edition their focus is on “The Art of the Mural”. Art Whino, the creators and organizers have invited a handful of international Street Artists to participate.

Besides giving exposure to the artists, Art Whino explains in their press release how they hope to help the city:

“By inviting 12 of the top mural artists from around the globe to unleash their creativity to 20 large scale walls throughout Richmond, this project is sure to put the city on the map as a street art destination”.

As local art writer Christina Newton explains on Richmond.com the importance of programs like this in the public sphere ultimately goes to the average person on the street, “As many opportunities to experience art as there are in a city the size of Richmond, some will unfortunately never venture into a gallery because they think they don’t know enough about art or are shy about venturing into a space they have never been. Public art is important because it can more easily reach a broad audience, not to mention have the ability to move people out of their comfort zone, open our eyes and minds to something new, and beautify our environment.”

Artists included in the G40 this year are:

Jacopo Ceccarelli aka 2501, Italy, Angry Woebots – California, Aryz – Spain, El Mac – California,  Gaia – New York, , Jaz – Argentina, Jesse Smith – Virginia, La Pandilla – Puerto Rico, Lelo – Brazil, London Police – UK, Pixel Pancho – Italy, Roa – Belgian and Scribe – Kansas City.

Here some examples of work on the street by some of the artist captured by Jaime Rojo.

El Mac (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Gaia (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jaz (photo @ Jaime Rojo)

La Pandilla (photo @ Jaime Rojo)

The London Police (photo @ Jaime Rojo)

Pixel Pancho (photo @ Jaime Rojo)

ROA (photo @ Jaime Rojo)

For further information regarding the G40 Summit click here.

For further information regarding Art Whino Gallery click here.

 

 

 

 

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Chris Jordan : A Bold Light Artist Hits Iconic Icelandic Church

Rafmögnuð Náttúra: The Hallgrimskirkja Church in Reykjavik, Iceland

It’s not that light artist Chris Jordan didn’t find the sweeping supersonic jet-shaped façade of the church inspiring. He just wanted to make it visible again to the people in town.

Hallgrímskirkja, the Lutheran church in the center of Reykjavík, with it’s soaring steeple and outstretched wings it has been an architectural icon since it’s completion in 1986 and anyone first laying eyes on the largest Icelandic church is usually impressed by it’s command and design.  And yet, somehow even pivotal architecture can disappear before our eyes due to familiarity and it may take a visionary talent like Jordan to bring it back to our attention with animation, mapping, color, and pattern.

Marcos Zotes and Chris Jordan “Rafmögnuð Náttúra” (photo © Enki)

From his home in New Yorks’ Chinatown, Jordan, who teaches interactive design at Baruch College and New York University, talks about his work in the same way that Street Art is often credited in the urban environment: art as activation.  “Activating is about changing people’s perceptions of overlooked or invisible spaces. A building can become an archetype, invisible, like for a New Yorker, for example, the Statue of Liberty. You look at it, and it disappears into the thousands of times you’ve already seen it. So for me, this light project was so exciting because here’s this massive landmark church that this whole town can’t see anymore.. made completely fresh and new. To see that reflected back at me through the faces of viewers was exhilarating.”

Marcos Zotes and Chris Jordan “Rafmögnuð Náttúra” (photo © Enki)

That observation perhaps was the pinnacle of his Icelandic experience in February when he camped out in front of the church over four days in the back of a box truck with his collaborator Marcos Zotes, a handful of computers, three projectors, and a low budget. Together they created a series of site-specific video performances that brought to life Zotes’ idea for a project called Rafmögnuð Náttúra.

The two had met while Jordan was performing his 24 hour timelapse of Hurricane Irene inside an engineered cloud at New York’s Bring to Light Festival last October. Zotes asked if Jordan would like to collaborate on a project to illuminate the 150 foot wide façade of a church in for the Winter Lights Festival in Iceland.  Since Jordan has over the last decade created installations appearing at MoMA, The New Museum, The Whitney, The Museum of Natural History, The Chelsea Museum, in Times Square, and many unusual places in between, he had a good idea what cool stuff he would like to do. With the free help of other artists, software designers, and even NASA, Jordan brought a mind-blowing façade to the church that Zotes had only imagined.

Marcos Zotes and Chris Jordan “Rafmögnuð Náttúra” (photo © Enki)

“We collaborated on how we could, with a very limited budget, create something spectacular for the festival,” explains Jordan.  “We knew that the majority of the budget would be going for projectors so we called our friends up to help us with creating animation sequences that could be mapped to the facade, in triple-HD resolution.”

“We developed a workflow and a template for each animator to follow; then compiled the animations together into a final 15-minute composition. In addition, I contacted friends at NASA for solar imaging data, and created animations using graphic and solar elements. The dream was to have northern lights over the building with the accompanying solar data displayed. Although the solar and earth weather didn’t collaborate, the animations of the sun in a dark cold city on this Norse façade were very appropriate and powerful.”

Marcos Zotes and Chris Jordan “Rafmögnuð Náttúra” (photo © Enki)

Jordan’s work over the years has included explorations into memory, and elements of photography, film, interactivity, and projections. We talked with Jordan about traveling to Iceland, transparent ideas, the importance of community, and what a light artist has to go through to reactivate an icon.

Brooklyn Street Art: Can you talk about the trip to Iceland?
Chris Jordan: We went to Iceland with just one day before the opening. The Icelandic people were incredibly accommodating, and set up three massive projectors inside a box truck, with a massive piece of glass mounted on it. The box truck became our projector-heated cabin in the center of Reykjavik for four days. Location is everything! It was a great setup. The projectors were aligned and from there I mapped the content using the software MadMapper by Garage Cube. Garage Cube are also friends of mine and they  helped me troubleshoot the tech issues the day before. The opening event had the band For a Minor Reflection accompany us, right after the mayor of Reykjavik introduced the festival to the audience.

But the day before this we went through myriad technical issues. Many times I thought this was going to either look horrible, or crash altogether. There was no budget for a backup computer, or to test the entire setup beforehand. Luckily, Iceland has an early sunset, so we gleaned a couple crucial extra hours to configure everything. The mapping was completed literally seconds before the mayor spoke. It all went off smoothly and the people that braved the intense horizontal-downpour cheered.

Marcos Zotes and Chris Jordan “Rafmögnuð Náttúra” (photo © Enki)

Brooklyn Street Art: You managed to transform a landmark into a completely different light using your creativity.  Doesn’t that feel pretty powerful?
Chris Jordan: Yes. It was pretty fantastic we were able to do this on such a small budget. It absolutely required a community to make happen. When our main computer failed, the Icelandic underground came to the rescue. One person there offered graphics cards he’d had in a drawer. Another brought us snacks from a nearby cafe. That community effort is really what made this project powerful for me.

Marcos Zotes and Chris Jordan “Rafmögnuð Náttúra” (photo © Enki)

Brooklyn Street Art: You were given no budget whatsoever, aside from a plane ticket and 3 projectors. How do you plan for a live performance with the inevitable technical issues?
Chris Jordan: Years and years of failure. I read an Edison quote the other day, “If you want to succeed, double your failure rate”.  I’m also a huge proponent of transparency, modularity, and scale. These tenets allow me to see unique solutions to problems, and find compelling solutions. Light art is still maturing as a public medium, as last November’s Occupy Wall Street “Bat-signal” projections attest. It’s a wide-open field for creative expression.

Marcos Zotes and Chris Jordan “Rafmögnuð Náttúra” (photo © Enki)

Brooklyn Street Art: Without revealing your trade secrets, is it true you plan to introduce more community interaction into your future work?
Chris Jordan: Always. There’s an axiom I live by: “There is no art without politics”. You either choose to engage it, or you choose political apathy. This ties in with ideas around real-time performance and feedback. I hate the word “rendering”, as it equates to “pouring concrete” on ideas that demand continuing dialog. “Trade secrets” imply hoarding of knowledge. I only want to work with transparent ideas and accessible technologies that ‘spotlight’ the individual’s role in society through creativity. I try to live an open-source life.

Brooklyn Street Art: What role does community play in this project and in your philosophy?
Chris Jordan: I love interacting with communities and to give them the control to create dialogue. This fascinates me, and informs my work constantly. My next long-term outdoor installation is on Governor’s Island, where I’ll be engaging the broadest spectrum of people on the planet (New York) in playing and building, using buckets and stop motion photography. For me it’s all about the community. Without it, we are making monoliths to our egos.

Marcos Zotes and Chris Jordan “Rafmögnuð Náttúra” (photo © Enki)

Marcos Zotes and Chris Jordan “Rafmögnuð Náttúra” (photo © Enki)

Marcos Zotes and Chris Jordan “Rafmögnuð Náttúra” (photo © Enki)

Marcos Zotes and Chris Jordan on the back of their box truck. (photo © Enki)

Marcos Zotes and Chris Jordan “Rafmögnuð Náttúra” – Chris at work on his live creations. (photo © Enki)

Marcos Zotes and Chris Jordan “Rafmögnuð Náttúra”. Mission control trailer. (photo © Enki)

Marcos Zotes and Chris Jordan “Rafmögnuð Náttúra” (photo © Enki)

Marcos Zotes and Chris Jordan “Rafmögnuð Náttúra” (photo © Enki)

Marcos Zotes and Chris Jordan “Rafmögnuð Náttúra” (photo © Enki)

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With very special thanks to Enki for sharing this incredible photographic story.

Rafmögnuð Náttúra, a concept by Marcos Zotes created by Marcos Zotes and Chris Jordan

We would also like to recognize the other creators and contributors to the project:
Animators Thessia Machado, Noa Younse, Andrea Dart and Steven Tsai
Performer Coco Karol
Videographers Azmi Mert Erdem and Raghul Sridharan
Photographer Enki
and the music group For a Minor Reflection

 

 

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