San Diego

Images of the Week 07.10.11

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Our weekly interview the streets, this week including Clown Soldier, Connie, Enomeks, Enzo e Nio, Eve Ensler, Klaus Nomi, Lover, Obey, Over Under, PYR, The Dude Company, and Victor of the Sea

brooklyn-street-art-obey-shepard-fairey-clown-soldier-jaime-rojo-07-11-webShepard Fairey shares a wall with Brooklyn’s Clown Soldier (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Enzo e Nio on the half shell or “Mary Mother of Jesus Packs Heat” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Enzo e Nio (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Enomeks “Stenciled Rat = Big Deal” in San Diego, CA (photo © Enomeks)

“There were a few things that went into creating this photo and I will try to sum up my meanings and reasoning behind it.

I first off wanted to capture the sort of sideshow spectacle that goes along with a rat being stenciled on a building. Blek Le Rat probably would have been a lot more famous had the full boom of internet media been around during his stencil height.

Most people these days know of a stenciled rat as being a Banksy thing, that too could be blamed on the media in general.  I too am a fan of Banksy’s work, back before you had to either stand in a line to get a print or pray you win the lottery that goes into acquiring one these days.  The reason for all the people taking pictures is the hype that surrounds his pieces, most of these “photographers” would not even look twice at other graffiti that could accompany the wall, that could very well be a known graffiti legend.  I tend to look at some of the photographers taking shots to say they have actually seen a piece in person and the other half are going to upload photos to create a new set of coffee mugs and mouse pads to be sold on Ebay.  The “Guess Who?” on the wall was a comment on various headlines and such you constantly see.  For every 10 articles of “OMG new Banksy on wall in such and such”, turns out only about 1 is real.  Almost anything stenciled on a wall these days will have some amateur journalist drumming up web hits by just putting Banksy’s name in a title.  That is my personal opinion and reason for the piece.” ~ Enomeks

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Someone looking a little like Klaus Nomi hand painted portrait on old metal door by an Unknown artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Connie (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Was this little wheat paste put up to mark the International “Whore” Day with words by Eve Ensler? (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Not a fighter?  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Overunder (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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PYR (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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An Unknown artist’s mix media sculpture plus a pair of discarded boots = Street Still Life. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The Dude Company (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Groovy psychadelic shades (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Victor of the Sea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Victor of the Sea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Untitled (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Interview With Pedro Alonzo, Street Art and Gen Net go to the Museum

Interview With Pedro Alonzo, Street Art and Gen Net go to the Museum

As art institutions gear themselves continually to remain (or become) relevant to Gen Net patrons, all manner of incarnations will likely continue to parade before you. Yes, Picasso still draws a crowd but in the last decade, as Boomers began retiring and their media-drenched progeny grew more distracted by one million apps of eye candy, even blue chip and gray ladies of the art world started hosting DJ’s, indie bands, and endless jazz cocktails to get the booties in the house and the eyeballs off the little blue screens, if only for a second.

The size and span of the opening night crowd at Viva La Revolucion at MOCASD was a clear indicator of a much wider interest in Street Art as contemporary art than has been seen in US. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

The size of the opening night crowd as well as it’s relative youth at Viva La Revolución at MCASD was a clear indicator of a much wider interest in Street Art as contemporary art than has been seen before in the US. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

One way to make sure you are grabbing the attention of Millenials is to embrace that which they have already identified as culturally important and begin to make sense of it as it evolves.  Pedro Alonzo, guest curator of Viva La Revolución at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (running until January 2) understands that a wide embrace of an evolving movement is important right now until the field winnows itself. More importantly, he recognizes that “high-minded” culturally no longer requires the confines of a museum and, along with associate curator Lucía Sanromán, he leaves the door ajar to acknowledge the continuum between street and museum in this largest exhibition of the modern global Street Art movement yet in the US.

Curator Pedro Alonzo show's Jeffrey Dietch the indoor exhibition of the newly opened show. (© Geoff Hargadon)

Curator Pedro Alonzo shows Jeffrey Deitch the indoor exhibition of the newly opened show. (© Geoff Hargadon)

The truth is that buck-wild artists have been making the streets a gallery in earnest for a little while now, preferring to take the more direct route to admirers and detractors alike. Billed as “a Dialogue With the Urban Landscape”, Viva goes beyond the initial infatuation with graffiti and so-called “Urban” art that institutional interests expressed in 1980s and 1990s. For some reason that new-found love eventually turned tepid and measured in the embrace.  Maybe that’s why nervous nellies in academia shuddered when the New York impresario, art dealer and gallerist Jeffrey Deitch, a champion of selected Street Artists among other vocations, was named director of Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art this year. Indeed a revolution of some sort is afoot.

Art collective Date Farmers followed the newly typical route to the gallery and museum by collectively showing and hosting their own shows until someone recognized the work. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Mexican-American artists Date Farmers combine pop, folk, and political in this charged raw screed. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Admittedly museums must be followers as well as leaders (Guggenheim/YouTube anyone?) and the grassroots nature of this new surge of Street Artists circumvents the structures and curatorial practices of the established gallery and museum world. It also cuts across race, class and socioeconomic lines and maybe that’s part of the slow uptake. But like so many aspects of our current era, the foundations are melting before our eyes.  When you consider the democratizing force of internet/social networking communications and the fact that many of these artists come with a built-in fanbase as a result, it is a no-brainer that major and minor institutions are taking a fresh look at the new Street Art scene.

French Street Artist JR and his assistan Youssef doing a bit of Skyping before the show (© Geoff Hargadon)

French Street Artist JR and his assistant Youssef doing a bit of Skyping before the show (© Geoff Hargadon)

That said, Viva La Revolución is a bold undertaking that presents some of the biggest names on the scene right now and a variety of them. Under Mr. Alonzo’s guidance and audacity, it also thoroughly involves the street in the exhibition, making the city of San Diego quite literally part of the show. To pull this off and keep the respect of the artists intact is an accomplishment itself. By all accounts, he has. Having curated shows successfully including iconic street artists like Faile and last year’s Supply and Demand show by Shepard Fairey at ICA in Boston, Alonzo has easily established a rapport with a scene that is rapidly evolving.

Brooklyn Street Art: How has the response since the show opened?
Pedro Alonzo:
The response has been great. The museum has had tons of calls about the exhibit and many visitors. The age of the average visitor also appears to have dropped. We are getting a younger crowd.

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Spencer Elden, (with Shepard Fairey’s crew and famous for a nude photo in your CD collection) and Ben Logan, a volunteer who flew out from Boston to help set up the show. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

BSA: You have a number of installations all around the city.  Was it easier to work with private owners rather than the city to secure building walls?
Pedro Alonzo:
Although there have been people who work for the city who have been very supportive and instrumental in securing walls, all of the walls we used are privately owned. It was way too complicated and bureaucratic to secure city or state owned walls.

Brazillian twins Os Gemeos in front of two of their pieces (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Brazillian Street Artists Os Gemeos in front of two of their pieces (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

BSA: Can you talk about the name “Viva la Revolución” and it’s significance to you historically?
Pedro Alonzo: The title of the exhibition is significant on many levels, from the fact that this year marks the 100th anniversary of Mexico’s revolution to the street in Tijuana, “Avenida Revolucion” where many under age southern Californians, like myself back in high school, spent the weekends drinking and dancing. The title also refers to street art’s defiant posture towards the arts establishment in being an art that is populist, intended to be understood by most people, not just the art world elites, as well as being a form of expression that references popular and/or urban culture. This show is about an artistic revolution, art that appeals to a wider audience.

Dzine (© Geoff Hargadon)

Calma on the ladder doing last minute touch ups. (© Geoff Hargadon)

BSA: Experts, particularly the jaded ones, have been forecasting the death of Street Art periodically for years, yet we feel like New York has an ongoing explosion of it. Do you feel like street art is experiencing a revolution?
Pedro Alonzo:
There are those who have stated that painting is dead and they were wrong. From my perspective, street art is finally being looked at by the art world. If anything the hoards of people who want to see street art are a clear indication of the vibrancy of the genre.Shepard Fairey entertaining the guests at the opening (© Geoff Hargadon)

Shepard Fairey entertaining the guests at the opening (© Geoff Hargadon)

BSA: Can you talk about the street artist you have from Mexico?  Is there a Street Art movement south of the border?
Pedro Alonzo:
There is definitely street art in Mexico. Stenciling and graffiti are visible in many cities. The most vibrant examples I have seen are in Oaxaca, where the art often responds to social and political issues.

Mexican tattoo and street artist Dr. Lakra is a blur (© Geoff Hargadon)

Mexican tattoo and street artist Dr. Lakra is a blur (© Geoff Hargadon)

BSA: What has been the most surprising part of this experience for you?
Pedro Alonzo: More than surprised, I am amazed at how quickly these artists work and adapt to the environment. Both inside the museum and on the street, the artists created amazing works for the exhibition in a very short period of time. Some of them even had time to go to the beach. We had a lot of fun. I am very proud and grateful to all of the artists for their hard work and stunning achievements. The city is responding accordingly.

In fact, the biggest surprise about the show was the response from many San Diegans of sincere gratitude at having this type of exhibition in their city. Some loved the fact that they did not have to drive to LA or fly to NYC to see it. Others felt that their interest in art was finally being acknowledged. It is a wonderful experience to have this kind of feedback in my home town.

Pedro Alonzo and Lucía Sanromán at the opening (© Geoff Hargadon)

Lucía Sanromán and Pedro Alonzo at the opening of Viva (© Geoff Hargadon)

Learn more about the exhibition HERE.

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Geoff Hargadon on the Scene (and behind it) for la Revolución

Unprecedented Access to an Unprecedented Street Art Show

The Street Art photographer gives us a personal look with some of his favorite shots in a photo essay on “Viva La Revolucion”

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Shepard Fairey in action on Kettner Street not far from the museum (© Geoff Hargadon)

It’s very exciting to be a part of a growing and ever-evolving art movement comprised of so many diverse artists and talents.  Among them of course are the photographers who enable us to see what is happening without leaving our computers. Sometimes they are simply documenting pieces so you have the opportunity to see what the street artist created.  Other times a photographer will open other doors of understanding, write a bit of poetry with the moment.

We are so impressed with Geoff Hargadon and his deft positioning of the frame and his storytelling ability.  During the installation of the city-wide street art show “Viva la Revolución” that is running right now in San Diego, Hargadon was given unprecedented access to the artists as they immersed themselves in their work. We asked Geoff to tell us a story with his images of that exceptional experience.

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Two team members of French large-scale Street Artist JR helping with his installation on 5th-Ave (© Geoff Hargadon)

Geoff explains:

” ‘Viva la Revolución,’ curated by my good friend, Pedro Alonzo, opened last week at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Pedro and I got to know each other well during Shepard Fairey’s museum show in Boston at the Institute of Contemporary Art, which he also curated, and through that show he became acquainted with the photography I had done on Shepard’s work in Boston and Miami. When I heard he was putting this show together, with 20 of the best artists in the world, I urged him to document the outdoor work well, and offered to spend 10 days following the artists around.

My proposal was to be everywhere at once, and to get as close to them as possible without getting in the way. Without exception, the artists were gracious and welcoming. The result was 45GB of photographs, from which the museum will select a bunch for inclusion in the show’s catalog, media coverage, and potentially some commemorative prints. Here I have selected, with some difficulty, a handful that attempt to capture the diversity of the work, the varied processes the artists used, the wide range of locations in San Diego, and the spirit of street art itself.”

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Brazilian brothers Os Gemeos piece on a parking garage (© Geoff Hargadon)

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French tile wizard Invader did a number of well placed pieces in the city (© Geoff Hargadon)

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The preparation of a piece by Stephan Doitschinoff, also known as Calma (© Geoff Hargadon)
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The finished Calma piece (© Geoff Hargadon) Brooklyn-Street-Art-copyright-Geoff-Hargadon-Os-Gemeos-creating-one-of-their-museum-pieces-D3S_7988

Os Gemeos in the studio space (© Geoff Hargadon)
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Brooklyn  Street Artist Swoon’s piece being installed with help by her team. (© Geoff Hargadon) Brooklyn-Street-Art-copyright-Geoff-Hargadon-JR-installation-at-the-museum-DSC_8313
A JR installation in progress with the help of an intern at the museum.”It’s the left wall of a mini theatre in which he shows
one of his recent video works – a brilliant and moving piece.”(© Geoff Hargadon)
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Mexican tattoo artist Dr. Lakra installed a mural in a lot next to this low rider, which continued to beckon him during his work.  (© Geoff Hargadon)

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San Diego’s Streets Alive as “Viva la Revolución” Opens at MCASD

Opening night at MCASD's first Street Art Exhibition - a crushing crowd in two lines which formed an hour before the doors opened. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)
Opening night at MCASD’s first Street Art exhibition this weekend – a crushing crowd in two lines which formed an hour before the doors opened. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

“Never Trust Your Own Eyes. Believe What You Are Told,” says the ironic slogan in the freshly wheat-pasted graphic piece by street artist Shepard Fairey on the side of a clothing store in San Diego, the town that chased him out for doing street art. One may believe Fairey’s politics to be Orwellian reference. Just as easily it could be applied to the academics, historians and would-be art critics struggling daily to describe with any authority what street art is and how it should be regarded. Luckily, we have been able to trust our eyes to make this analysis so far.

Read more (and leave your comments) on The Huffington Post

Invader and friends in San Diego (image © Geoff Hargadon)
Invader and friends in San Diego (image © Geoff Hargadon)

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Invader Uses GPS to Map Attack of San Diego

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Actually it’s just a street art tour, complete with map

French Street Artist Monsieur Invader, a favorite of New Yorkers and Jonathan LeVine Gallery, has created a 21 stop Invader Tour in the streets of San Diego for visitors to the new show “Viva la Revolucion: A Dialogue with the Urban Landscape” opening at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCASD).

The show features 21 artists from 8 countries including Akay (Sweden), Banksy (U.K.), Blu (Italy), Mark Bradford (U.S.), William Cordova (U.S.), Date Farmers (U.S.), Stephan Doitschinoff [CALMA] (Brazil), Dr. Lakra (Mexico), Dzine (U.S.), David Ellis (U.S.), FAILE (U.S.), Shepard Fairey (U.S.), Invader (France), JR (France), Barry McGee (U.S.), Ryan McGinness (U.S.), Moris (Mexico), Os Gemeos (Brazil), Swoon (U.S.), and Vhils (Portugal).

Invader in New York (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Invader in New York (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Heavenly Invasion Space Invader
Heavenly Invasion, Space Invader (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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