Land artist, street artist, and scientist Andreco has given the Earth a gift of trees to celebrate Earth Day.
Together with citizens, environmentalists and researchers, he’s created a work of Land Art here in Rome, and he calls the project Aula Verde.
“The work is alive, and over the years it will take shape and as it grows it will return innumerable benefits to the territory,” Andreco says, “currently it is studied by the researchers who are involved in the project, both for the purification of the water and the redevelopment of the surrounding greenery.”
A more positive approach to community involvement in actively helping the air, soil, and water is hard to imagine, but Andreco never ceases to amaze with demonstrations like these; a parade of people of all ages marching to a field to plant trees together.
The name Aula Verde comes from the shape of the work, he says, “made up of poplar and willow trees, Polulus Alba and Salix Alba, arranged on two large concentric centres with a diameter of forty metres that forms a sort of Green Pantheon which can be accessed freely.”
Aula Verde is part of FLUMEN, a movement of climate actions for rivers and parks in Rome, and a project intersecting art and science conceived by the artist Andreco and organised by the cultural association Climate Art Project. A multifaceted initiative, FLUMEN includes the environmental monitoring of the waters and the ecosystems of the two rivers of Rome, the Tiber and the Aniene, as well as workshops, performances, exhibitions and tree plantings.
BSA has been here with you for this entire decade – an honor and a privilege. Reviewing the many interventions and events we witnessed and shared with our readers, we realize that this grassroots people’s art movement is reflecting our society in fundamental ways and reaching deep as well as wide. Here in roughly chronological order we recount for you a Top 10 for BSA that have impacted our way of seeing art on the streets.
The “Girl In The Blue Bra” – December 2011
Oppressive regimes worldwide have a few
commonalities. One of them is patriarchy. Over the last decade we have seen
many female artists rise powerfully to smash it, harnessing their rage and
power and taking their voice to the street.
There were countless images that encapsulated the ferocity and the tenacity of the protesters during the Arab Spring uprisings in Cairo, Egypt in December of 2011. One image, in particular, captured the attention of the media and the public. The image is commonly referred to as the “Girl In The Blue Bra”. The image depicts a young woman, whose identity remains anonymous, being beaten and dragged by soldiers as she was taking part in the protests in Tahrir Square in Cairo, against Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. Her face is veiled and her jeans are still on but as she was being dragged by the soldiers her abaya came undone exposing her bare torso and revealing her blue bra as a soldier was about to kick her in her abdomen.
While the image exposed the abusive practices and of power of the military in Egypt – it also swiftly sparked ferocious reactions around the globe, particularly with women who subsequently staged their own march in Tahrir Square in Cairo to demand the end of military rule.
Among the artists who carried the Blue Bra theme to the streets was one artist, Bahia Shehab, whom BSA and its readers helped to get a movie made about Street Artists in the Arab Spring, called Nefertiti’s Daughters, directed by Mark Nicolas. Later we were the first to debut a scene from it at the Nuart Festival in Norway (“#Activism on the Street Now”), and years after that Nuart actually hosted professor Shehab. This is a small world, this Street Art community.
The actions of the young woman, the
violent response of the military, and the overwhelming support of the public,
in general, sparked a new wave of feminism in Egypt and inspired artists to
create and display their artworks on the streets in protest.
“Art In The Streets” Opens at LA MOCA – April 2011
Art in the Streets was the first major U.S. museum survey of graffiti and street art, curated by MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch and Associate Curators Roger Gastman and Aaron Rose, an exhibition tracing the development of graffiti and street art from the 1970s to the global movement it had evolved to. BSA was there to capture and share some of what was happening.
“Yes, Banksy is here. The giant ‘Art in the Streets’ show opening this weekend at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles gives a patch of real estate to the international man of mystery who has contributed greatly to the worldwide profile of what is soon to be, maybe already is, a mainstream phenomenon known as street art. A smattering of his pranksterism is an absolute must for any show staking claim to the mantle of comprehensive survey and an excellent way to garner attention. But “Streets” gets its momentum by presenting a multi-torch colorful and explosive people’s history that began way before Banksy was born and likely will continue for a while after.
The show is an audacious multi-platform, colorful endeavor; part history lesson and part theme park bringing about 50 years of graffiti and street art history, it’s influences and influencers, under one roof. Then there is the stuff outside. Engaging and educational, “Art in the Streets” makes sure visitors have the opportunity to learn how certain tributaries lead to this one river of swirling urban goo, mapping connections between cultural movements, communities, and relationships within it. When it does this, the museum system effectively differentiates its value apart from a mere gallery show. “
Banksy’s NYC Residency – “Better Out Than In” – October 2013
An unprecedented city-wide near daily installation of works in New York established a new high-water mark in the flood of Street Art that took many cities in the 2010s. The British Street Artist played to a media capital in such an effective campaign that even the least interested residents became familiar with the elusive prankster.
A Genuine October Surprise for New York Street Art Friends and Foes Alike.
“In a series of communiqués beamed from his website, the global Street Artist Banksy gave graffiti and Street Art followers a near-daily jolt of mystery and mouse clicking that had people looking at every street scene as a possible Banksy by the time it ended. While few can confirm the exact level of involvement the actual artist had in the five boroughs, if any, none will deny that the Banksy brand underwent a major “refresh” this month that again put his name on the lips of those who had begun to forget him and many who had never heard of him.
Thanks to this masterful marketing campaign billed as a month-long ‘residency’ on New York’s streets, many thousands were talking about him daily on the street, on television, radio, social media, in galleries, studios, office cubicles, art parties, and the mayors’ office. By effectively combining the sport of treasure hunting with humor and populism, each new cryptic appearance of something-anything gradually conditioned some grand art doyennes and the plainer mongrels amongst us to drool on command and lift a leg in salute to the curiously still anonymous artist and the team who helped him pull it off.”
The Brooklyn Museum’s Exhibitions with Swoon, Faile, BÄST, Haring, Basquiat, ESPO, JR Expand Knowledge, Appreciation
One cultural institution in New York City and indeed in the United States has been notable throughout the decade for its commitment to organizing exhibitions where graffiti, street art, and the artists whom have shaped it are given recognition for their contribution to the arts. The Brooklyn Museum’s leadership, including former director Arnold L. Lehman, current director Anne Pasternak, and Sharon Matt Atkins, Director of Exhibitions and Strategic Initiatives have been channeling resources and focus to the study, promotion, and exhibition of the works of important figures in the contemporary graffiti and Street Art movement. It notable that the museum has in its permanent collection the works of distinguished graffiti and Street Artists dating back to the dawn of the modern scene; something that other important cultural institutions in New York City that are dedicated to the preservation and promotion of modern, contemporary, and American art lack in their collections.
It’s for this reason that we
have selected the Brooklyn Museum as one of the top ten graffiti and street art
movers of the decade. Predated by 2006’s “Graffiti” exhibition the museum has
mounted several important presentations during this decade that have not only
been blockbusters but they have contributed to the cultural enrichment of all
New Yorkers and the expanded discussion of the relevance of these art forms to
established canons. Here are some highlights:
“Keith Haring: 1978-1982, a traveling exhibition first shown in Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna and The Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, introduces a period of his work not often examined, taking you up to the edge of the seemingly sudden international fame he experienced as artist, activist and public figure through the rest of the 1980s.
… At a time when the small-town boy was developing his visual vocabulary as an artist, Haring was also discovering himself as a man in the world and in a city that he found endlessly fascinating and worthy of exploration. Capturing his spirit of hands-on experimentation, the show is almost entirely comprised of works on paper with one collaborative piece on plywood with his contemporary Jean Michel Basquiat, paper collage, video, and documentary photos.”
“Sharon brought me in here and said, ‘What is interesting to you in the building?’ and I really love that because the thing about working on the street is that you are always thinking site-specifically. And so that thinking has to translate into your work in all places. For me, if I make something in a museum I want it to be very site-specific and this is probably one of the most site-specific pieces I’ve ever done,” explains Swoon.
Under the advice and guidance of an engineer, the artist also modified her design process to allow for foundational considerations like truss sections and lift points. “I showed him an initial model and he showed me an engineered system and then I built another model based on the system that he engineered.”
It is probably unusual for a grand museum to be so amenable to the requests of an artist for a site-specific piece that literally inhabits the furthest reaches of space, and Swoon says she recognizes the leeway she received. “You know, they have been really adventurous in letting us create this. We’ve been sort of pushing a lot with the creation of this piece.”
For Matt Atkins, the opportunity to bring an internationally known street artist and neighbor into the museum has been the result of just over two years of planning. ‘It’s been so wonderful working with Swoon to realize her vision for this project. This is the first time we’ve really used the full height of the 72-foot dome, so it’s quite spectacular. I am thrilled to see her boats back in New York and for them to have this new life. The underlying ideas about climate change in the installation also make this project an appropriate tie into the Museum’s focus on activism with our other exhibitions and collections,’ she says.”
“In Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks, now running at The Brooklyn Museum until August 23rd, the genius of his fragmenting logic is revealed as a direct relationship between his private journals and his prolific and personally published aerosol missives on the streets of Manhattan’s Soho and Lower East Side neighborhoods in the late 1970s and 1980s.
These notebooks were for capturing ideas and concepts, preparing them, transmuting them, revising them, pounding them into refrains. In the same way his text (and glyphic) pieces on the street were not necessarily finished products each time; imparted on the run and often in haste, these unpolished missives didn’t require such preciousness.”
“FAILE may be a religious experience this summer at the Brooklyn Museum, but only one of the hallowed installations is called Temple. The seedier, more dimly lit venue will surely have the larger number of congregants by far, bless their sacred hearts.
Celebrating the duality and appropriation of words, slogans, and images have been the bailiwick of the duo since they first began hitting Brooklyn streets at the turn of the century with their stencils and wheat-pastes on illegal spots and neglected spaces. In FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds, their new attention-commanding/refracting exhibit organized by Sharon Matt Atkins at the Brooklyn Museum, these guys pour it on, compelling you into a complex panoply of possible re-imaginings of meaning that reference pop, pulp, myth, art history, 50s sci-fi, 60s advertising, comics, punk zines, consumer culture and their own pure artistic and branded fiction.”
Stephen Powers: Coney Island Is Still Dreamland (To A Seagull) is one of 3 new exhibits inspired by the historic attractions of Brooklyn’s seaside.
“Graffiti artist-turned-sign painter Stephen Powers is dreaming of Coney Island and he is bringing a colorful collection of found and freshly produced signage that evokes a forgotten era to climb the columns of a Brooklyn Museum gallery.
Given the boisterous parade of brands and logos into museums that is happening as part of the institutional funding and programming mix, it’s fun to see the ninth episodic installation of this traveling ICY SIGNS shop here; its simplicity and guile recalling amusing persuasive techniques from the mid-century American advertising lexicon. Simultaneously, for those who have been lucky enough to sicken themselves on cotton candy and The Wonder Wheel, the new show imparts a rather reassuring and seedy nostalgia for Coney Island, complete with an inexplicable hankering for a thick beef hot dog.”
“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.
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. “
Blu and Street Art – Banksy & Co.
Curated by Christian Omodeo, Luca Cinacabilla, and Sean Corcoran. March 2016
BLU buffing his own works in Bologna took the news cycle, his legion of compatriots armed with rollers and bucket paint. But it was the show that he was reacting to that brought thousands to the museum space to discuss the rightful place of Street Art, graffiti, and the relevance of preserving it for posterity.
“The contested Banksy and Co. exhibition contains, among many other works, walls removed from a privately owned abandoned building in Bologna that were painted by BLU. Displaying the walls and his artwork without his consent so angered the painter that he rallied artists and activists to help him snuff out all his remaining murals and paintings in this Northern Italian city last week. (See A BLU Buffer Talks About the Grey Action in Bologna)
The heavily attended Friday night opening of Street Art – Banksy & Co. at Palazzo Pepoli – Museo della Storia di Bologna was curated by Luca Ciancabilla, Christian Omodeo, and Sean Corcoran and features roughly 250 historical and contemporary works spanning about fifty years and highlighting a number of movements within the so-called Urban Art genre. On balance it appears that 90 percent of the works are studio works, paintings, sculpture, videos, original sketches, and ephermera and were probably collected in a more conventional way and the tagged posters, stickers, metal doors, and wall fragments are viewed in the context of the whole scene.”
“Reality TV is usually completely devoid of reality. That isn’t the exact comparison Andreco said on his Facebook page but we thought it was a fitting analogy. Street Art in a museum or gallery can sometimes feel like taxidermy.
Andreco actually said ‘Deciding which wall to paint or not to paint has always been one of our free choices. This operation, to uncork the walls and move them elsewhere, oversteps this freedom.’ Fair enough.
Of course, that is not the primary reason why activists and Street Artists joined in to help BLU paint over the many murals that he completed on Bologna city walls over the last two decades or so. In an English titled press release on the Italian website Wumingfoundation the artist lays out a multi-layered justification for destroying his own murals, many of which have become beloved landmarks around the city and which have helped make him an art star in some circles.”
American conceptual, activist and street artist John Fekner, whose art and his art partner Don Leicht were represented in the exhibition Street Art: Bansky & Co weighs in the controversy by saying:
The bottom line is: what’s done in public-doesn’t remain in public. There’s no protection for artists who trespass. It’s the chance one takes outdoors.
If you create illegal art murals, street rules are always in effect:
You can’t stop a drunk in the middle of the night from pissing on your wall.
You can’t stop a bulldozer from razing your work.
You can’t stop a neighborhood anti-graffiti squad from painting over your work.
You can’t stop a well-dressed thief in a suit, or their hired slug with a chisel from removing your wall work and hauling it off to their laird, garage, museum or art market.
“Under any circumstances, don’t immediately and irrationally react. If your original aspirations were to be an artist- then just do what you were meant to do: be an artist. Don’t double shift and be a night watchman patrolling the streets to try and thwart thieves of your work. Unique temporary outdoor creations engender a public conversation that includes everyone: art lovers and art haters, lowbrow and highbrow, and everyone who interacts with your public work.”
Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art Opens in Berlin – September 2017
We had the unique perspective of being two of the foundational curators who made this exhibition happen and made the doors fly open to thousands of visitors, so it only made sense that we covered the opening that brought much promise to the institutional recognition of Street Art, graffiti, and its move into Urban Contemporary.
“This week is Art Week in Berlin, and you just stole Art Week,” said a handsome and intensely opinionated German to us as we leaned on the arm rail of the M.C. Escher-inspired walkway before a Carlos Mare139 sculpture and above the capacity crowd on Saturday night at the Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art (UN).
Not sure if that was the exact goal, but we get his larger point; the UN has just made a massive entry into a number of societally and culturally influential minds when it comes to the relevancy of Street Art and graffiti to visual culture and art history. This movement into so-called Contemporary began as early as the 1970s and has overcome and weathered cultural and market ebbs and flows – persisted, if you will – yet somehow institutions have been wary of this work and these artists and unable to fully embrace their importance, you decide why.”
Five Pointz: A Legal Case For Urban Artists Shifts the Focus – February 2018
“In a ruling that many graffiti and Street Artists interpret as a validation of their artwork and which may spawn further legal claims by artists in the future, Brooklyn Judge Frederic Block, a United States Federal Judge for the Eastern District of New York, awarded $6.7 million in damages to a group of 21 artists in the high profile case of the former graffiti holy place in Queens called 5 Pointz.
Under the leadership of artist and organizer Jonathan “Meres One” Cohen, also a plaintiff, the award is in response to a suit that cried foul on the overnight destruction of multiple artworks on building walls without consultation or notification of the artists.
Citing provisions of the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act that grants artists certain “moral” rights, the artists claimed that their artworks on the 5 Pointz compound that was owned by real estate developer Jerry Wykoff were protected and should be afforded certain rights and considerations.
Arts and intellectual property lawyers and judges will now be examining the implications of the ruling and citing it as an example in arguments about art created on walls legally and possibly those created illegally as well. In a city that prides itself as being a birthplace of graffiti and Street Art, many artists and wall owners must ask themselves if there will need to be an additional layer of the agreement before an aerosol can is held aloft.”
The New York Times Publishes DONDI’S Obituary – February 2019
In an unprecedented posthumous publication of an obituary, this year The Times acknowledged something that it had so far failed to do; the contribution of graffiti writers to the cultural and art canons deserves serious recognition. By publishing the iconic image of DONDI taken by Martha Cooper that burned “Subway Art” into the mind’s eye of many generations of graffiti writers, the “paper of record” caught up with one the the scene’s leaders and heroes.
“First things first – Full disclosure; we are featured in the movie and we are close friends with both the subject of the doc and the director and we first suggested to the director that she was the perfect candidate to make a film about Martha Cooper. Now that we have that out of the way here are a number of shots from the premiere and our review of the movie:
Martha: A Picture Story had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this Thursday to an enthusiastic crowd that included big graffiti, Street Art, international press and film industry names, to see the highly anticipated documentary about the venerable photographer Martha Cooper by the Sydney director Selina Miles.
The electricity was in the air as Director Miles and producer Daniel Joyce along with the just-arrived Australian members of the “Martha” crew looked for their seats in the Village East Cinema. After a brief introduction by Miles, who told the audience that the film had been a great pleasure to make, the curtain went up to reveal the mother of the superstar art twins Os Gemeos on the big screen. She is sitting at her kitchen table in São Paulo remarking how her boys used to draw on everything, including fruit, and how Cooper and Chalfant’s 1984 book “Subway Art” changed their lives forever. With their story as a backbone for the film, the theme of personal transformation is repeated in a hundred large and small ways for the next hour and twenty minutes. “
Street Art and Activism Takes Larger Share of the Cultural Stage
decade that is coming to an end has seen its share of natural disasters, human
rights violations, atrocities of large scale against humanity, corruption at
the highest levels, the reversal of hard-fought policies to protect the planet
and keep our air and water clean. We have witnessed with despair the
renaissance of hatred based on people’s nationalities, their skin color, their
religion, their choice of attire, their level of material affluence and their
have seen progress as well. Women around the world have been freer to speak
their mind against oppression and abuse of power thanks to social movements
that have flourished around the world in big cities and small towns. Our LGBT
brothers and sisters have scored numerous legal battles in their favor thanks
to enlightened lawmakers and judges who have searched deep inside their
intellect to find the right answer to make sure everybody is treated equally.
Likewise, our peers whom we need to advance our cause have taken seriously the
responsibility at the ballot box to make the correct choice with policies that
will bring relief to those who have less than we do.
and artists have often reflected back to us the world we live in, it is for
this reason that we have chosen Street Art and Activism as an important action
in this decade. We have always championed the work of artists who imbued their
art with a strong sense of social urgency. It is with their art that they talk
to us in the hopes to change one mind, one action, one concept, one attitude
towards the goal creating a common good. There are many of them currently
active on the streets. This wouldn’t be the appropriate space to list all of
them but we would like to give you some highlights:
“This past Sunday, February 17 at La Plaza de las Tres Chimeneas (Three Smokestacks Square) in Barcelona an international group of artists participated in the first ‘No Borders Festival.’
NO BORDERS is a grassroots organization that was created to raise awareness about the refugees, to demand their acceptance, and to raise funds through debates, art, and documentaries.
They say they want to raise the uncomfortable questions – which will undoubtedly lead to uncomfortable answers as well. To paraphrase the text on their website:
‘Do we settle for a society that violates its moral and legal obligations to refugees? A refugee is a person who flees – Flees because he is on the losing side. Because he thinks, feels or prays differently than those who point him with their weapons.’
As usual, artists are bringing these matters to the street for the vox populi to debate.”
An Art, Science and Climate Action project by Andreco
“And the statement isn’t hyperbole, according to AIR-Ink, the company that made his ink, which is “the first ink made entirely out of air pollution,” they explain on their website.
The unique art-making material is part of the Italian Street Artist / Activist’s most recent installment of his Climate Art Project, which he orchestrated on the streets here in New Delhi for the St+Art Festival this year. Part of a global, multi-city installation and demonstration, ‘Climate 05 – Reclaiming Air and Water’.”
” ‘Actions Speak Louder Than Ass Ads,’ says a new stencil-style printed poster by New York’s epic, if sometimes cryptic, street commentator of four decades, John Fekner. Anyway, who will argue with that?
“Post-posters is a cooperative proposition about
public billposting,” says French conceptual street anarchist
Matthew Tremblin about his new project with hit-and-run situationist street
posterer Antonio Gallego. Together they reclaim space
with individually produced posters and they invite artists from around the
world to do the same.
Over a two month period the creative place-makers are facilitating an international crew of artists to post posters on the occasion of the double exhibition by Banlieue-Banlieue group* (°1982, Poissy) taking place in Strasbourg, at both AEDAEN and the Syndicat Potentiel. “
“By putting these images of people of color, women, LGBTQ+ folks on the street with their blunt-force sentiments addressed to would-be harassers, she not only stands with them, but Tatyana has also used her work and vision to give them the courage to stand proud, assert their voice and to take public space.
After all, it belongs to the public.
“Women are not outside for your entertainment”, a startling
truth for some guys that pointedly highlights abusive behavior toward women on
the streets of Brooklyn and many cities around the world. Brooklyn Street
Artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh has been targeting daily oppressive experiences of
marginalized people with her campaigns of art on the streets – and in the
Addressing themes of social justice, racism, LGBTQ+ rights, and sexist street harassment, her beautifully drawn campaigns on wheat-pasted posters and painted murals across the globe have brought attention to issues sorely in need of addressing during hostile rhetoric from some men in the highest offices.”
“This spill and these events did not happen in San Diego or Palm Beach. The story doesn’t affect wealthy white families and cannot be used to sell shampoo or real estate. That’s probably why we don’t see it in the press and never on the talking-head news. Street Artist Jetsonorama is not only a photographer who has been wheat-pasting his stunning images of people and nature on desert buildings for over a decade, he is also a doctor on the Navajo reservation, a human-rights activist, and an erudite scholar of American history as it pertains to the poisoning of this land and these people. Today we’re pleased to bring you this long-form examination from Jetsonorama’s perspective on a complicated and tragic US story of environmental poisoning and blight that affects generations of native peoples, miners, military personnel, and everyday people – and has no end in sight.
Most alarming is the news the current White House administration is endeavoring to mine uranium here again.
‘Private companies hired thousands of Navajo men to work the uranium mines and disregarded recommendations to protect miners and mill workers. In 1950 the U.S. Public Health Service began a human testing experiment on Navajo miners without their informed consent during the federal government’s study of the long-term health effects from radiation poisoning. This study followed the same violation of human rights protocol as the US Public Health Service study on the long-term effects of syphilis on humans by experimenting on non-consenting African American men in what is known as the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment from 1932 – 1972.’ ~ Jetsonorama”
“As part of our core commitment as a non-commercial platform that has helped hundreds of artists over the last decade+, BSA significantly helped Escif to raise money for his Indiegogo fundraiser in Spring 2017 when we promoted his “Breath-Time” horticultural project heavily as he planted trees to reforest Mount Olivella in Southern Italy.
Today BSA debuts REWILD, a new
tree-related project by the Spanish Street Artists – just as the Global Climate
March is spreading to cities around the world, including New York.
The concept of the short film is
simple: can’t we just push the “Rewind” button?
‘The narrative runs in reverse, rewinding the clock on deforestation to undo the damage caused by the unsustainable production of one of the world’s most versatile commodities. Beyond the industrialisation of the land, we end at the beginning, a thriving ecosystem alive with wildlife. The concept mirrors the real world action of the Sumatran Orangutan Society and their partners in reclaiming land on the borders of the Leuser rainforests to rewild them with indigenous trees, expanding the boundaries of one of the most biodiverse places on earth.’
Finally, a stunning custom soundtrack by Indonesian composer Nursalim
Yadi Anugerah captures and carries this into another world, which is
An Art, Science and Climate Action project by Andreco
“ANDRECO painted the air pollution with the air pollution itself,” say organizers in the 20 million strong New Delhi – which was declared the world’s most polluted capital, according to Reuters this month.
And the statement isn’t hyperbole, according to AIR-Ink, the company that made his ink, which is “the first ink made entirely out of air pollution,” they explain on their website.
The unique art-making material is part of the Italian Street Artist / Activist’s most recent installment of his Climate ArtProject, which he orchestrated on the streets here in New Delhi for the St+Art Festival this year. Part of a global, multi-city installation and demonstration, “Climate 05 – Reclaiming Air and Water”.
The mural, people’s march and public talks are a hybrid of activism, art and science, ANDRECO tells us. His goal is for residents in Delhi to focus on the consequences of the climatic changes and the air water pollution in their city.
“In particular the project takes inspiration by the latest studies on the Air quality and the condition of the Yamuna river,” he tells us, “and it aims to underline the best practices for air and water remediation and climate change adaptation and mitigation.”
We have published previous editions of this project and it is always good to
see the images of people participating in the demonstration and march with
flags, a physical commitment to the expressed goals of standing in solidarity
with Mother Earth, her natural systems, and our responsibility to preserve
“The mural at the Lodhi Art District in Lodhi Colony, Delhi represents an
artistic translation of the studies about air and water remediation,” says a
press release from organizers. “The wall painting symbolizes the transition of
toxic smoke and greenhouse gases, coming from unregulated emissions from
industrial pollution, emissions from vehicles and crop burning, into a healthy
environment with clean clouds. The transition is made possible due to the tree
that stands in the middle of the wall.”
St+Art Delhi continues apace with an ever-expanding roster of artists and financial/commercial/municipal partners five years after we first began writing about it, and photographer Martha Cooper brings us today some of the newest installations and shots that she recently discovered while there.
A mural program at heart, many of the artists invited here bring a decorative character to the districts of Shahpurjat, Khirki Village and Hauz Khas Village also have roots in illegal graffiti and Street Art back home, and during their youth.
Over the years that list has included an international and local array of artists invited to paint at Lohdi Colony from all the continents – well maybe not Antarctica. Names have included ECB, Lady Aiko, local students Avinash and Kamesh, Suiko of Japan, Reko Rennie from Australia, Lek & Sowat from France, Kureshi from India, Inkbrushnme from India, Dutch artist Niels Shoe Meulman, Swiss duo Never Crew, Tofu from Germany, Mattia from Italy, Artez from Serbia, M-City from Poland, Ano from Taiwan…
Notable here is the architectural framing convention for most of these murals- the distinctive facades of Lodhi Colony architecture that features a central archway and four windows divided by it on a semi-ornate face forward. Some of the arches begin on the ground while others have been bricked into windows. Each provides a view inside the entry or courtyard, while others are bursting out with limbs and trees that protrude through them to the street.
Originally designed by the British-born architect William Henry Medd in the late 1930s and early 1940s as part of a program to house certain populations, this unifying pattern sets the quiet neighborhood apart from others in the city.
As Chief Architect to the Government of India during that period, Mr. Medd
oversaw much of the design of the relatively new city as well as buildings like
the Cathedral Church of the Redemption and Sacred Heart Cathedral, both of which
reflect his affinity for the high arches that distinguish the period.
“It’s interesting to see how the very different artists have incorporated the arch into their murals,” says photographer Cooper. “The uniform size and shape of the walls unify the disparate collection and the arches give the whole area an exotic touch.”
As is her practice many of these images also skillfully incorporate the foot traffic and community who live here and who are beginning to associate these figurative, abstract and folk-inspired murals into their daily lives. Asking people to pose in front of the new paintings gives them context, somehow also bringing them alive in certain cases. At other times, her timing and eagle eye capture the passerby who unknowingly creates a serendipitous counterpoint to the new work.
“It’s a quiet neighborhood compared to the rest of Delhi,”
Martha says, “making it a very pleasant place for an afternoon walking tour.”
Focusing his public art and Street Art work on raising our consciousness about the Earth and drawing the connections between us and our environment has been Andreco’s focus for most of this century. Like the 15,000 strong Union of Concerned Scientists who just released a “letter to humanity”, he’s not sure if we will act fast enough to halt the catastrophe we collectively are creating.
During the past year the Italian Street Artist, scientist, and environmental engineer has been working on the fourth step of his project educating people about the consequences of climate change, rooted in science.
Gondolas! Naturally when you think of Venice the first image conjured is of those long thin boats wending their way through canals so you can see the city of water.
Water. That is what continues to rise, eventually eliminating Venice and cities around the globe.
CLIMATE 04 – Sea Level Rise. That is the name of Andreco’s fourth step installation in the project called Climate Change Consequences. The 100 meter long wall painting on the Canal Grande in Fondamenta Santa Lucia opened the new installation on October 27th along with an iron sculpture. Completing the piece are local plants that Andreco selected “for their important role in the resilience of the Venice lagoon.”
In short, the mural tracks expected sea levels of the future, demonstrating in diagrammed color just how high the water will rise. Done in collaboration with the Institute of Sea Studies of the National Research Center (CNR-ISMAR) and others partners, Andreco says he hopes the mural, which runs through February 1, will bring a greater appreciation and raise consciousness in viewers of the genuine impact.
“On the mural there are all the expected sea level quotes in the future, based on the most important international scientific studies on Sea Level Rise,” he tells us. “Also on the mural are the mathematical and physical variables and equations for calculating the extreme waves and the sea level height.”
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening :
1. “Watching My Name Go By”
2. Nicolas Romero AKA Ever: “Logo II”
3. Gilf! …and counting
BSA Special Feature: “Watching My Name Go By”
Directed by Julia Cave and originally shown on the BBC documentary series OMNIBUS in December of 1976, this was actually the second half of a program that followed a tour through the art gallery scene of Soho.
A hidden gem that surveys the variety of opinions held by citizens, historians, police and front stoop sociologists about the graffiti scene on trains and the streets, the story is measured and inquisitive. It’s without glamour, although there may be guile.
This documentary predates Style Warsby about seven years and you get a surprising understanding about the priorities of the day at a time when New York was financially in a tailspin and socially ready to boil over. You see this resignation in the body language and descriptors about the state of the city, and while there is a stated desire by many to rid the city of graffiti, there are fervent fans of it as art and impassioned allies of the practice as political speech.
Notably, one commenter who is familiar with law enforcement practices says that police were actively encouraged to focus more on violent offenders like muggers and rapists than graffiti writers. The hand style is pretty basic, certainly not wild, and check out the difficulty of painting with those cans; but that doesn’t detract from the ubiquity of the social-art phenomena and the fact that many consider these early writers as pioneers of what became so much more.
Nicolas Romero, the Street Artist variously known as EVER or EVERSIEMPRE brings you a conceptual performance from his recent stay in Cordoba, Argentina for the exhibition “Pioneros de un viaje a ningún lado”.
A would-be heroic/holy/handsome businessman/pop star/savior marches through the street buckling under the weight of his brand.
“ Logo II is a public test”, EVER tells us. “It is a study that I have been conducting on the relationship between the ‘individual’ and the ‘logo’. The logo by definition usually includes some symbol that is associated with almost immediate way what it represents. This means that the individual summarizes his being as a symbol. In this case I wanted to use two logos, one with a political charge and one with a purely economic burden. Both carried in a theoretical context are antagonistic, but in your reality are quite similar.
Based on this, we decided to take this intervention in the most literal way.”
Gilf! …and counting
Street Artist and political activist GILF! recently created an installation called “And Counting” in Cleveland during the Democratic National Convention there. Focusing purely on the surface data of the persons killed during a police encounter this year, she says that the installation will continue to enlarge as it will eventually cover the entire year.
“It presents the facts around each police involved death in America during 2016,” she says. “By presenting only the facts this project gives the viewer an objective and all encompassing opportunity to face our nation’s heartbreaking and ubiquitous problem of death at the hands of police, which will aid in developing solutions.”
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening :
1. STARE: Sans Titre
2. EMISSIONS: ANDRECO
3. ABCDEF Style Writing. Part I
4. ABCDEF Style Writing. Part II
BSA Special Feature: STARE: Sans Titre
Quick cuts and overlays, tracing outlines and abstracts floating in color washes are set to a popping beat by Toast Dawg in this new video by Craeon to set the stage for Stare. In the game for 20 years since starting with Montreal’s NME crew, the writer is also an abstract geometrist as well. Extra points for the hoisting of a title tag with a “SOLD” red dot next to it.
The second site-specific artwork of a series called “Climate” by Bologna based Andreco – the first was his initial installation at the UN COP21 climate change conference in Paris last fall, here the artist/geologist spreads it long and wide to show the impact of pollution on cities and our air quality.
In a statement he released with the project Andreco says he once again is depicting the relationship between man and nature with “an intense criticism about anthropogenic pollution generated by of the use of fossil fuels.”
Created on posters over a multi-block distance for the CHEAP festival in Bologna, Italy, he is telling the story of emissions “This thickening process increase more and more billboard after billboard: from fine dust (PM10) scattered into the air to their precipitation on earth until it gets to the mountain and gradually ends in a completely black poster,” he says.
ABCDEF Style Writing. Part I
And now a two-part series on one man’s pursuit of stylewriting his tag in multiple ways. Edutainment.
Reality TV is usually completely devoid of reality. That isn’t the exact comparison Andreco said on his Facebook page but we thought it was a fitting analogy. Street Art in a museum or gallery can sometimes feel like taxidermy.
Andreco actually said “Deciding which wall to paint or not paint has always been one of our free choice. This operation, to uncork the walls and move them elsewhere, oversteps this freedom.” Fair enough.
Of course that is not the primary reason why activists and Street Artists joined in to help BLU paint over the many murals that he completed on Bologna city walls over the last two decades or so. In an English titled press release on the Italian website Wumingfoundation the artist lays out a multi-layered justification for destroying his own murals, many of which have become beloved landmarks around the city and which have helped make him an art star in some circles.
The galvanizing event is a 250 piece museum show opening in a few days that is entitled “Street Art: Banksy & Co” at Palazzo Pepoli – Museo della Storia di Bologna in which Blu says his work is slated to be displayed without his authorization as taken directly from the streets. This practice of high-profile (read: high potential market price) works being removed and showing up at auction, gallery, or museum or elsewhere for sale has embroiled debates in the last decade about artists rights, property owners rights, intellectual property, societal/cultural impact.
BLU, for those who do not know, is a prominent and respected name in Street Art and mural art whose work and thousands of photos of it on websites and blogs has made him globally known. His stop-action videos of his installations were ground breaking and are the stuff of legend. Thanks to all of his hard work and international exposure his fine art work commands a very nice price and many look to see what he does next.
Since Banksy’s walls started to be taken in whole and resold, the conversations about the phenomena has shaken the street art and contemporary art world. Closely discussed are the philosophical true intentions of artists and the rightful expectations of “the scene” as interpreted by myriad artists, fans, curators, academics, and random passersby; Does the artist hold all rights to the use of the physical and aesthetic work in perpetuity, even when done illegally or in violation of ordinances without consent of a property owner or community?
Further, if it is determined to be an act of vandalism does the artists forfeit their right to determine its ultimate use, or do they retain any say in the matter? If the wall owner had no contract with the artist, verbal or written, are they entitled to do with it as they wish? Can it be sold or destroyed by someone else or only the artist? Can a piece of art that is signed, hashtagged, or URL’d be considered advertising and not regarded purely for artistic merit? Can a city, neighborhood or culture lay claim to an artwork that has withstood the passage of time in public space where people become familiar with it and actually fall in love with it? Is it a cultural icon owned by many, part of a greater heritage? Should any act of restoration be taken, or does that violate the purity of its intent? And which holy book of street art scriptures contains the guidelines and rules that will be universally accepted?
The statement attributed to BLU also says he is angry that a wealthy banking concern which has fought against free speech historically is sponsoring the show, that it appears the show is capitalizing on a form of expression that does not rightfully belong in a museum environment, that promoters are leveraging his name and reputation to legitimate their show, and that the city has demonized artists in the past for doing the very same activity that is now being lauded – revealing a fundamental hypocrisy.
BLU has destroyed his own work in protest as recently as December of 2014 when he decried the gentrification of certain neighborhoods of Berlin. He wanted to deny real estate interests the opportunity to use his work to sell buildings or apartments. It’s an irony faced by many an artist in the street today – knowing that the changing of a neighborhood may be at least partially traceable to the desireability of the area thanks to attractive murals.
On his own website, Blu published this statement:
“a bologna non c’è più blu
e non ci sarà più finchè i magnati magneranno
per ringraziamenti o lamentele sapete a chi rivolgervi”, says the artist.
Our ability to translate is not great, but generally he is saying something like, “Today in Bologna there is not any more BLU and there won’t be any. For thanks or complaints go to the Magneranno magnates.”
One very large portion of the exhibit for example previously was shown at the Museum of the City of New York under the guidance of the same curator, Sean Corcoran, who brings this New York art to Italy. With historic 1970s and 80s trainwriter names like Lee Quinones, Futura, Daze, Lady Pink, and photographers Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant on the roster, it is from the collection of artist Martin Wong who was a personal friend to almost all of these artists and a collector himself.
The collection is owned by the museum (Mr. Wong died of AIDS related illness in 1999) and, having seen the full show from which this emanated from, and knowing personally many of the artists represented here, we know that there is little, if any, art taken from the streets. We also feel assured that most, if not all, of the artists on display from the Martin Wong Collection were proud that this work was preserved and displayed in a museum, since so much from those decades simply doesn’t exist anymore. These are paintings, studio work, photographs, sketch books, and drawings of fine artists who also had practices on the streets (or trains); true pieces of NY history.
However we do not know about the other two collections and cannot make any reliable observations about them.
Editors Note: A previous version of this posting included quotes from a person with whom we had an email discussion. Because of possible miscommunication we did not realize that the person did not wish to be quoted. Those references have been removed and the current posting reflects this.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening :
1. Faith47, No Standing Anytime
2. Graveyard For The Forgotten: Sonny
3. Andreco: Climate 01 in Paris
4. LODZ Murals in 2015
BSA Special Feature: Faith47, No Standing Anytime
A gorgeously ambient tribute to New York through the eyes of a visitor who takes some alternate routes through the city along with the more obvious ones to capture vignettes of mundanity and of wonder. Rowan Pybus shoots this city poetry as a series of visual stanzas stacked unevenly, accompanied by the occasional Faith47 mural (she has accumulated a few in NYC now) as well as the wistful sound recordings of lemurs by Alexia Webster that melt into the gentle audio cacophony of the street as designed by Jonathan Arnold. The combined passages allow you to slow down and contemplate the whirring city and a handful of its moments as sweet parenthesis in this run-on sentence called New York. Okay, that’s enough, move along now, no standing.
Graveyard For The Forgotten: Sonny
Sonny may be feeling likewise disjointed or haunted in the detritus of this hulking flying machine, but rather strikes a pose as hoodlum instead. As he blankets the fuselage in black you wonder how he will resolve the matter.
Andreco: Climate 01 in Paris
A brief look at the new mural by Andreco in Paris, which he says is meant to be a commentary on the consequences of Climate Change and the alteration of the Earth’s natural cycles.
Location: Richomme School, Goutte d’or, 18e, Paris
LODZ Murals in 2015
A combination of stop-action and drone fly-bys gives this latest collection of murals from LODZ a modern treatment.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening :
1. “Rise and Fall” for Clorofilla with Andreco
2. Hitnes. The Image Hunter / Voodoo Duck
3. Hitnes. Sketches From The South
BSA Special Feature: “Rise and Fall” for Clorofilla with Andreco
“Nature as Art” is the organizing principle that Andreco creates around, and the Clorofilla Project in Belluno in Veneto, Italy happily invited him to participate this July with other artists to create art specific to the location. “Rise and Fall reflects the shape and construction of the most commonly seen rock in the area called dolomite. A geologist, author, and artist, Andreco participated in this event organized by another Street Artist Ericailcane, asked artists to weave a personal dialogue with the art that responds directly to the lives of the people here and the environment they live in.
Pillole di Clorofilla 2015
Hitnes. The Image Hunter / Voodoo Duck
At the Pine Island Audubon Sanctuary in Corolla, NC, The Image Hunter discovers the importance of duck decoys in Currituck County.
Hitnes. The Image Hunter / Sketches From The South
A look at how the nature Hitnes has discovered in Maryland, North Carolina, and South Carolina have influenced his sketches and eventual murals at each stop.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening :
1. Roma Street Art Tribes as Captured by Dioniso Punk
BSA Special Feature: Roma Street Art Tribes as Captured by Dioniso Punk
Gwen Stacy Parts I and II
Disorderly, discordant, and richly chaotic, these two videos are centered around the Italian street art paintings and artists whom you will recognize from our earlier postings on community/gallery organized urban art programming – but within the context of historical art publicly displayed, peoples movements, patronage, fascism, the classics.
Dioniso Punk allows everyone to talk – neighbors, artists, organizers, curators, public philosophers, elected officials, psychologists, sociologists, entrepreneurs, posers, professors, historians, students, an opera singer, the petite bourgeoisie, international visitors and hapless puzzled opinionated locals.
Discussions at panels cut into impassioned discussions by senior women in the courtyard or didactic examinations in the street – some for illustration, others for whimsy, none to be ignored. More of a fact finding mission than cogent analysis, you may find it difficult to follow the narrative and so it is better to let go and allow yourself be battered by the insights and observations delivered with the jumpy cuts and uncompleted thoughts and discussions, preferring instead to sink into the tribe of the humans, here selectively displayed for your pleasure and hopefully, edification.
(turn on the CC (closed captioning) if you do not speak Italian)
Featuring interviews with Solo, Gaia, Diamond 0707, Maupal, Best Ever, Bol23, Jerico, Guerrilla Spam Sen One, Sabrina, Dan, Stefano Antonelli (999 Contemporary,) Marta Ugolini (Galleria Ca’ D’Oro), Agathe Jaubourg (Pasolini Pigneto), Alìn Costache (YUT!), Edoardo Martino (Villaggio Globale), and Eleonora Zaccagnino (Acid Drop).
Special Guests: Mp5, Alice Pasquini, Mr. Thoms, Jessica Stewart, Sandro Fiorentini (La Bottega del Marmoraro).
Murals by Blu, Roa, Borondo, Etam Cru, Space Invaders, C215, Hogre, Herbert Baglione, Sten & Lex, JB Rock, Ernest, Pignon-Ernest, Etnik, Axel, Avoid, Sbagliato, Jim Avignon, Fin DAC, Jef Aerosol, Seth, Zed1, Ericailcane, Clemens Behr, Caratoes, Momo, Derek, Bruno, Kid Acne, Mto, Alexey Luka, Tellas, Moby Dick, Philippe Baudelocque, Mr. Klevra, Lucamaleonte, Diavù Kocore, Agostino Iacurci, Danilo Bucchi, Jaz, Desx, Reka, Lek & Sowat, Hopnn, Matteo, Basilé Alberonero, Ex Voto, Andreco, Moneyless, Nicola, Verlato, Ludo, L’Atlas, Escif, and Pepsy Zerocalcare.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Andreco, Barlo, Ben Eine, Biella, BR, Brolga, Crisp, Denton Burrows, Eva Mueller, Gaia, Kaws, Oji, Old Broads, Lungebox, Praxis, Pyramid Oracle, and UFO907.
Barlo made this mural on the island in Lamma, Hong Kong. It is meant to recall a simpler way of living that is now eclipsed by rapid modernization. “It talks about a traditional practice (using long sticks to propel your fishing boat) that the main city of Hong Kong seems to have lost. It is in these small islands and villages where you can still find elements of this lifestyle, ” says Barlo.
Andreco is back on BSA with this “Living Mural” a project he has had in his mind since 2010, he says. when “I was doing my PhD in environmental engineering on the environmental behavior of green technologies, green roofs and green walls in particular. At that time I decided to combine the Artistic with the Scientific research when doing a mural with an integrated vertical garden. The wall painting is ephemeral and it will change over the time with the plant growth,” Andreco tells us.