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2010-2020 : 10 Impactful Street Art & Graffiti Interventions & Events of the Decade

2010-2020 : 10 Impactful Street Art & Graffiti Interventions & Events of the Decade

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.


1.

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.

A young woman is being dragged and kicked, exposing her bare torso in the act by the military in Tahiri Square. Cairo, Egypt. December 17, 2011. (Stringer/Reuters/Landov)

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.

Stencil work by Bahia Shebab “No to stripping/Long live a peaceful revolution” (image courtesy of the artist)

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.

Stencil work by Bahia Shebab “No to stripping/Long live a peaceful revolution” (image courtesy of the artist)
An unidentified artist in Cairo. (photo from Pinterest)

2.

“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.

Red Hot and Street: “Art in the Streets” Brings Fire to MOCA

From BSA

“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. “

“Art In The Streets” Blade . Os Gemeos. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
“Art In The Streets” Invader’s invasion of Martha Cooper’s installation. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

3.

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.

Banksy’s Final Trick

From BSA

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.”

BANKSY “Better Out Than In” NYC Month Long Residency. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
BANKSY “Better Out Than In” NYC Month Long Residency. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

4.

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 – March 2012

From BSA

Keith Haring 1978-1982 : Early Keith at The Brooklyn Museum

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.”

Keith Haring. Matrix, 1983. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Swoon – April 2014

From BSA

“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands”, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Museum

“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.”

“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks – April 2015

From BSA

Basquiat’s Notebooks Open at The Brooklyn Museum

“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.”

Famous. 1982. Basquiat:The Unknown Notebooks. Brooklyn Museum. April 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Faile & BÄST – July 2015

From BSA

Holy Faile ! “Savage/Sacred Young Minds” at Brooklyn Museum

“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.”

FAILE. Temple. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Stephen ESPO Powers – November 2015

From BSA

Coney Island Dreaming: Following the Signs to Stephen Powers

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.”

Steve Powers “Coney Island Is Still Dreamland (To A Seagull)” Brooklyn Museum. November 2015 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR – October 2019

From BSA

“JR: Chronicles” Revels in His Explorations at Brooklyn Museum

“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. “

JR. 28 Millimètres, Portrait d’une génération, Braquage (Holdup), Ladj Ly, 2004
JR: Chronicles. Brooklyn Museum. Brooklyn, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)

5

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.

From BSA

BLU Allies : A Counter Exhibition to “Banksy & Co.” Launched in Bologna

“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.”

About Ponny (photo © @around730)

A BLU Buffer Talks About the Grey Action in Bologna

From BSA

“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.”

BLU action in Bologna. (photo © Andreco)

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:
  1. You can’t stop a drunk in the middle of the night from pissing on your wall.
  2. You can’t stop a bulldozer from razing your work.
  3. You can’t stop a neighborhood anti-graffiti squad from painting over your work.
  4. 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.”

John Fekner (© John Fekner)

6.

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.

From BSA

“Inundated!” Scenes from the Opening: UN – Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art in Berlin

“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.”

Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Hot Tea’s installation. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

7.

Five Pointz: A Legal Case For Urban Artists Shifts the Focus – February 2018

From BSA

Tell It to The Judge ; Graffiti Artists Win in 5 Pointz Case

“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.”

5Pointz. LIC Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
5Pointz. LIC Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
5Pointz. LIC Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

8.

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.

Dondi White by Martha Cooper. (photo courtesy of NYT / Martha Cooper)

The NYT obituary of Dondi begins like this:

Donald Joseph White, considered a legend before “street art” became popular, turned New York City’s subways into rolling canvases of color, humor and social commentary.”

Dondi White by Martha Cooper. (photo courtesy of NYT / Martha Cooper)


9.

Martha Cooper: A Picture Story Premieres at TriBeCa. A film by Selina Miles. April 2019

From BSA

MARTHA: A Picture Story. Shots from the Premiere and Movie Review

“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. “

Martha Cooper “A Picture Story” TriBeCa Film Festival. April 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Director Selina Miles with Martha Cooper. Martha Cooper “A Picture Story” TriBeCa Film Festival. April 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper “A Picture Story” TriBeCa Film Festival. April 2019. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

10.

Street Art and Activism Takes Larger Share of the Cultural Stage

This 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 sexual preferences.

We 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.

Art 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:

No Borders: Murs Contra el Murs (Walls Against Walls)

Barcelona, February 2019.

From BSA:

“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.”

Enric Sant. No Borders Festival. Barcelona, Spain. February 2019. (photo © Lluís Olive)

Andreco: Reclaiming Air and Water for Delhi, India “Climate 05”

New Delhi, March 2019.

From BSA:

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’.”

Andreco. Climate Art Project. In collaboration with St+ART India Foundation. Delhi, India. March 2019. (photo Akshat Nauriyal)

“Post-Posters” Puncture Public Discourse in Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg, May 2019.

From BSA:

” ‘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. “

John Fekner . Carole Douillard. Post-Posters Project. Strasbourg, France. April 2019. (photo courtesy of Syndicat Potentiel)

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh: When the Lion Roars Back, a small overview

Brooklyn, NY. July 2019.

From BSA:

“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 gallery.

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.”

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jetsonorama Tells “Stories From Ground Zero”

Church Rock, New Mexico. August 2019.

From BSA:

“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”

JC with her younger sister, Gracie (who is a NBCS participant).  (photo © Jetsonorama)

BSA Special Feature: “REWILD” from Escif

Sumatra, Indonesia. September 2019.

From BSA:

“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 possible.

Shout out to the folks behind the project Splash and Burn: a cultural initiative curated by Ernest Zacharevic and coordinated by Charlotte Pyatt run in association with the Sumatran Orangutan Society and the Orangutan Information Centre.

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Top 10 Videos On “BSA Film Friday” From 2019

Top 10 Videos On “BSA Film Friday” From 2019

The videos that we present every week on BSA Film Friday give us as much inspiration as they do our readers, and we are honored to see the progression of artists and directors as they continue to capture, document, and share their skills, techniques, and stories. This year we have seen a continued professional quality, a widened scope, a desire to connect with an audience perhaps in a way that we haven’t seen before. Each of these videos, whether completed in-studio or shot by hand on a phone, touched you- and the numbers of clicks and re-shares tell us the story. Or many of them.



No. 10

INTI / “PRIMAVERA INSURRECTA”, Spring Insurrection

From BSA Film Friday 11.29.19

From vandalizing public sculptures to handmade signs to waving banners, banging oil drums and pots and pans, lighting fires, chanting, and dancing in the streets – these are the insistent voices and perspectives coursing through streets in cities around the world, including these scenes from Chile last month. In one of the tales of people’s victory, these marches and mobilizations of citizens pushing for their rights and fighting state overreach actually worked this month and Chile’s protesters have won a path to a new constitution.

During the demonstrations Chilean Street Artist INTI was at work outside in Santiago as well, adding to the public discourse, with his new work entitled “Dignity!” It was a spring insurrection, now culminating in an autumn victory


No. 09

Icy & Sot: Giving Plants. Film By Doug Gillen/FWTV

From: Icy & Sot: Giving Plants and New Life to Refugees in Greece

Street Art brothers Icy and Sot once again lead by example with their latest act of artivism at a refugee camp in Greece.

People chased from their homes by wars in places like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are now part of a larger conversation in Europe as countries struggle to accept the massive numbers of refugees in the last decade. On the Greek island of Lesbos, the overcrowding of a camp named Moria has produced Olive Grove, a temporary place full of tents, but little nature.

While they have traveled around many international cities in the last five years creating site-specific interventions that contemplate issues of immigration, environmental degradation, and endangered species, the artists felt that the gravity of this place merited something more than just an art installation.

Working with a group called Movement on the Ground and with Doug Gillen of Fifth Wall TV in tow, the two helped build raised gardens and planted vegetables, in addition to handing out many potted plants. Today we have images of persons in the camp from Icy & Sot along with the new video, one of Doug’s best.


No. 08

Guido van Helten in Faulkton, South Dakota by Brian Siskind

From BSA Film Friday 09.20.19

A massive piece by the observant eye of Guido van Helten, who knows how to capture a spirit, a gesture, a knowing expression. Here on a grain elevator in Faulkton, South Dakota, his piece becomes a clarion, captured here by Brian Siskind.


No. 07

Bordalo II “A Life of Waste”

From BSA Film Friday 08.09.19

Bordalo II “A Life of Waste” A short film by Trevor Whelan & Rua Meegan

Spending a lot of time and effort clawing your way to the top of the pile, braying loudly about your achievements and kicking the people behind you back down the hill? Look where you are standing. It’s a mountain of garbage. And you don’t really care for the others up here.

Bordallo II has been examining our culture of waste. And making sculpture from it. “The artwork is really a reflection of what we are,” he says. “I always had my conscience.”


No. 06

“Perpetual Flow” by Jorge Gerada in Morocco

From BSA Film Friday 01.04.19

Land artist Jorge Gerada mounts a large project in Ouarzazate, Morocco that extends over 37,500 meters in this commissioned job for a coffee brand calendar. Using rakes, stones, dark gravel, and vegetable oil, a scene of two hands under running water is created.


No. 05

Calligrafreaks Project – A New Era of Writing

From BSA Film Friday 08.16.19

In a collaborative gallery space or at a barbecue on Devil’s Mountain, Berlin’s calligraffiti writers and artists are showing off the attitude and exactitude of the city as well as the evolution of this art form.

Hosted by Theosone at the “Scriptorium Berlin” and curated by Makearte, a  small selection of scientists artists are convened at the Letters Temple where artists create an exhibition with lucid and ornate letter skillz. Later on Devil’s Mountain (Tefelsberg) they paint together for the first time.

Artists include Theosone, Stohead, Warios, Naok Write, Jan Koke Parisurteil, Scon, Alpha Skao, Belloskoni, YAT, Drury Brennan, CRBZ, Schriftzug, Reano Feros, Paindesign, Alot, Bello, Cay Miles, Naok Write, Scon, Schriftzug, Parisurteil, CRBZ, Reano Feros, YAT.

The sound and editing are sharply done by Abstract Monollog with a certain finesse as well.


No. 04

Paradox and CPT. OLF and Daredevilry in Berlin

From BSA Film Friday 11.01.19

In the videos featuring daredevilry, parkour and graffiti the Lengua Drona has been adding words to our visual vocabulary that were once reserved for extreme sporting, National Geographic docs, Crocodile Dundee and James Bond.

Now the pixação writer and urban climber, Paradox releases unprecedented adventure footage and editing from photographer CPT. Olf, and its sending shockwaves.

Somehow this is a new way to synthesize wall-climbing and train surfing; positioning it as a visual and audio symphony that almost makes you forget that these are graffiti vandals “fucking the system”, pushing their limits – and yours.

As you thrill to these evolving genre-combining aspects of Oleg Cricket, 1Up Crew, Berlin Kidz, and Ang Lee, it’s important to realize that these are real risks that people take that could result in serious injury, death, and rivers of grief if a miscalculation happens. So, yeah, we’re not endorsing the irresponsible risks or a mounting “arms race” of stunts, but we are endorsing the athleticism, imagination, and sheer slickness of this FPV drone mastery, which appears to have taken this stuff up another level.

Hold tight.


No. 03

Gross Domestic Product – Banksy

From BSA Film Friday 10.04.19

The doublespeak of Banksy very effectively demanded a whirlwind of media attention in the art/Street Art world once again this week. The anti-capitalist launched a full street-side exhibition while his personal/anonymous brand benefitted by the new record auction price of 9.9 million pounds with fees for one of his works depicting a “Devolved Parliament” full of apes – precisely during the height of inpending Brexit hysteria

No. 02

Ella & Pitr “Heavy Sleepers”

From BSA Film Friday 01.11.19

A culmination of five years of murals visible from planes, French duo Ella & Pitr nudge you awake on a sleepy Friday to say “Thank you  for being part of this story!” You didn’t even realize that you were a part of it, did you? In a way, you can see your own reflection somewhere here.

Their sleeping giants have appeared in cities around the world, often too big even for the massive rooftops they are crammed uncomfortably atop. With a true knack for childhood wonder and illustration, perhaps because they have a couple of them at home for inspiration, Ella & Pitr bring the petite rebel spirit to these characters; imperfect specimens with stylistic idiosyncrasies and sometimes ornery personalities.

In the end, they were all “heavy sleepers” resting temporarily, as is often the case with (sub)urban interventions variously referred to as Street Art, public art, land art, pavement art…  Make sure you stay for the end of this video that comprised most of the giants.


No. 01

Graffiti Jam in San Francisquito, Queretaro with Martha Cooper

From: A NYC Subway Train In Queretaro, Mexico

When local graff writers in Queretaro, Mexico heard that New York’s famous photographer Martha Cooper was going to be in their town for a new exhibition they decided to welcome her in the best way they knew how: A graffiti jam on a train.

With the help of the organizers at Nueve Arte Urbano, the local kings and queens scored a long wall on a busy major avenue that they could paint subway cars on and convert to an NYC train. They hoped Martha would feel at home seeing this and it looked like she definitely did.

It’s a fast-growing major city without a subway, even though it could definitely use a more inclusive and efficient public transportation system since its quick growth has swelled to a million inhabitants. Scores of multi-national corporations left the US and set up shop here since they wrote the NAFTA trade deal and now employ this highly educated population.

Many universities, lower wages, and an easier regulatory environment have brought the big companies here as well as the fact that the city boasts an attractive protected historical area that was declared a World UNESCO zone. Now they have a subway, at least a temporary painted one.

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BSA Top 10 Stories Of 2019 As Picked By You

BSA Top 10 Stories Of 2019 As Picked By You

Greece, Mexico, Poland, Detroit, Brooklyn, Tennesee, Texas, Asbury Park in New Jersey. Your favorite BSA stories were not limited to geography. Aerosol, wheat-paste, yarn, soldered steel, cut stencils, rollers, photography, even plants; Nor were they contained by technique or materials.

Giving live plants away in a refugee camp, queer pride phone booth takeovers, a floriculture bus stop, a windswept installation constantly in motion at a seaside resort. We paid homage to foundational documentarians of graffiti and Street Art culture, watched an early 1980s French stencil originator travel through the US south, and provided a platform for one of New York’s most elusive writers who blasted apart definitions with his texts and sculpture – all while keeping his own profile on the serious DL.

The creative spirit appears wherever we look on the street, and luckily you love to observe and learn and get inspired by other’s work as much as we do.

Based on the traffic to the website, on social media, and in our email box, here are the top 10 stories that you loved the most in 2019 on BSA.


No. 10

The Dusty Rebel: “Resistance is Queer”

The Dusty Rebel. Hope Will Never Be Silent. In collaboration with #KeepFighting (photo © Jaime Rojo)

From BSA:

Who writes your history? Who would gladly suppress it?


By reviving and celebrating those who the mainstream historically underplays, undercuts, neatly overlooks, and otherwise de facto silences, a new takeover campaign on NY streets helps write the history of LGBTQ struggle, and keeps it just as relevant as this moment.

Photographer and journalist The Dusty Rebel now curates the same streets he documents and shares with BSA readers today his determined campaign to revive, preserve, propel forward the significant players and events that have fought in their myriad ways, with the admonishment to keep fighting. With “Resistance is Queer” he uses his images and his respect for LGBTQ history to ensure that the full spectrum of people are recognized for their contributions to this civil rights struggle for equality.

We’re grateful that he has taken the time to explain in detail the people behind the images and their significance to him personally as well as their role in a people’s history.


The Dusty Rebel: “Resistance is Queer” Phone Booth Campaign in NYC. Continue reading HERE


No. 9

Blek Le Rat Tours the US South

Blek Le Rat. Nashville. (photo © Brian Greif)

From BSA:

Tennessee and Texas Sample a Certain Street Savoir Faire

Look out for Le Rat!

He’s getting up in places down south that you wouldn’t normally associate with a French Street Artist, much less the one who started stenciling in a style and manner unusual on Paris walls in ’81 – an antecedent for much of what we later would call ‘Street Art”. 


Blek le Rat Tours The US South continue reading HERE


No. 8

“Evolucion de una Revolucion” Outside in Queretaro, Mexico

Martha Cooper. Evolucion de una Revolucion. In collaboration with Nueve Arte Urbano. March 30th, Queretaro, Mexico. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

From BSA:

“Martha Cooper isn’t only a photographer, she’s a historian as well and you are here with us today to pay homage to her work. Martha is my teacher and she taught me more than graffiti, she’s taught me the way in which we live with art every day. When we see a piece of art on the street we bring it into our daily lives. That’s precisely Martha’s contribution to our lives”

Edgar Sánchez, co-founder of the Nueve Arte Urbano festival.

Under the magical spell of the Jacarandas in full bloom, a spirit of Pax Urbana flowed through Queretaro’s lush public park Alameda Central this weekend as dignitaries from the city, including the honorable Andrea Avendaño, the Minister of Culture of the City of Queretaro, and the Nueve Arte Urbano team hosted the opening of an outdoor exhibition by famed photographer Martha Cooper.

The 101 photographs spanning four decades were enlarged and mounted in weather resistant vinyl throughout the park, representing the full range of Ms. Cooper’s continued focus on art in the streets.


Evolucion De Una Revolucion continue reading HERE


No. 7

Icy & Sot: Giving Plants and New Life to Refugees in Greece

Icy & Sot. Giving Flowers. Lesbos Greece. June 2019. (photo © Icy & Sot)

From BSA:

Street Art brothers Icy and Sot once again lead by example with their latest act of artivism at a refugee camp in Greece.

People chased from their homes by wars in places like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are now part of a larger conversation in Europe as countries struggle to accept the massive numbers of refugees in the last decade. On the Greek island of Lesbos, the overcrowding of a camp named Moria has produced Olive Grove, a temporary place full of tents, but little nature.

With a goal of softening the hardship for people living here, Icy and Sot raised money through a print sale online and with the proceeds purchased fresh flowering plants to give away. “It was wonderful to see that actually put a smile on peoples’ faces for a moment,” they say in a press release.


Icy & Sot: Giving Plants And New Life To Refugees In Grece continue reading HERE


No. 6

“Martha: A Picture Story”. Shots from the Premiere and Movie Review

Selina Miles & Martha Cooper. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)

From BSA:

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.


Martha A Picture Story. Shots From The Premiere And Movie Review continue reading HERE


No. 5

Riding the Rails in the Bronx With “Henry Chalfant: Art vs. Transit, 1977 – 1987”

Henry Chalfant. HENRY CHALFANT: ART VS. TRANSIT, 1977 – 1987. The Bronx Museum of the Arts. The Bronx, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

From BSA:

“We may have lost the trains, but we’ve gained the whole world.”

That’s a quote on the wall in the new exhibition at the Bronx Museum spotlighting the work of Henry Chalfant. The quote comes from Mare 139, one of the early graffiti writers of 1970s-80s trains in New York, referring to the now-scrubbed subway cars that once functioned as a mobile gallery for the young masters of cans throughout a metropolis that was in the grips of financial and social upheaval. Thanks to the work of artists and documentarians like Mr. Chalfant, the ephemeral works were captured, cared for, preserved, and spread throughout the world in the intervening years, in some ways helping to spawn a global interest and practice among burgeoning artists.


Riding The Rails in The Bronx With “Henry Chalfant: Art VS. Transit 1977 -1987 continue reading HERE


No. 4

F*cking REVS: Interview on BSA by Freddy Alva

REVS. Weld Up in DUMBO, 2000. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

From BSA:

“Graffiti ain’t something you do, it’s something you live,” says the text above a wildly lettered REVS piece in a 1996 photo taken in El Paso. If there is a New York graffiti/Street Art icon that you would identify with a credo like this, he’s definitely one. Self-secreted away from the limelight and distrustful of many of the characters that are on the graffiti/Street Art “scene” today, REVS is nearly a New York folk hero, despite appearing to be completely firm in his anti-establishment, anti-commercial views – rooted in punk and hardcore music and those values that helped form his sometimes shape-shifting character since the the 1980s.

REVLON, REVS, SHIESTA, AVENGE, FUCKING REVS, REVS SOUP, REVS NUKE…


F*cking REVS: Interview on BSA By Freddy Alva continue reading HERE


No. 3

“Nostalgia” Brings Floriculture to the Tram Stop in Łódź, Poland.

Dominika Cebula. “Nostalgia”. Lodzkie Centrum Wydarzen. Lodz, Poland. (photo © Michał Bieżyński)

From BSA:

As we move further from graffiti and mark-making in public art-making, is it a revelation that the desire to be seen, to have your voice heard, is the common denominator again, regardless of the form of expression.

In this case, a tram shelter in Poland preserves the natural world in resin, transparently.

Like a mix master, the artist here samples someone else’s handiwork and remixes it, adding a filter, chopping it up and repeating it.


Nostalgia Brings Floriculture to the Tram Stop in Lodz, Poland continue reading HERE

No. 2

Banksy X Mercedes: Is This a Parody??

From BSA:

Yes, of course.

This artists’ interpretation of a car ad that features Banksy’s work is a parody, a farce. No one would try to take one of Banksy’s Street Art pieces to help sell their luxury cars, claiming that his work is in public domain and therefore fair game for any use.

Similarly, if it was a mural on the street by Brooklyn Street Artist KAWS, whose fine art canvas sold at auction this week for $14.7 million dollars at Sothebys Hong Kong, Mercedes wouldn’t simply grab it and run the art behind their newest off-roader on Instagram to infer that “Urban” edginess.

Or would they?

“And now they have filed a lawsuit against me trying to strip away all of my rights. I feel like I am being bullied and intimidated,” says graffiti/street artist artist Daniel Bombardier (a/k.a DENIAL) in a statement regarding the luxury brand that is instead suing him along with three other artists, apparently for having the temerity to demand to be paid, according to an article by James David Dickson in The Detroit News .

Bombardier’s mural and the artworks of the other artists – James Lewis (a.k.a. Olayami Dabls), Jeff Soto, and Maxx Gramajo appeared in published advertisements for the company’s cars, apparently without permission. The artists hired a lawyer to contact the carmaker to seek redress, according to news reports, social media postings, and emails that fairly flooded us yesterday.


Banksy x Mercedez: Is This a Parody? Continue reading HERE


No. 1

Windswept Public Art at the Beach: Hot Tea’s New Installation in Asbury Park

Hot Tea. Wooden Walls Project. Asbury Park, NJ. May 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

From BSA:

They designed the Ritz, the Vanderbilt, the Ambassador and the Biltmore hotels in Manhattan, along with townhouses for the Astors, the Yacht Club, and apartment buildings on 5th Ave and Park.

They were also architects on the team for Grand Central Terminal, that Beaux-Arts centerpiece of Gotham with its high marble walls, majestic sculptures, and lofty domed ceiling.

Also, Whitney Warren & Charles Wetmore designed the Casino Building here in Asbury Park, New Jersey a celebrated historical magnet for thousands of tourists escaping the heat and seeking buffeting breezes. The soaring glass paned windows may remind you of Grand Central, but also of that illustrated postcard on the cover of the Bruce Springsteen album, and of colorful resort town living.

You’ll also see 5,760 pieces of colored yarn hanging from the beams above, forming a shape-shifting brick of radiating color that appears to levitate. The brand new installation by Street Artist Hot Tea is lifted and pulled and choreographed by the ocean air, dancing to the sounds of waves crashing, emulating the currents of the sea. 17 rows define the physical boundaries, but your imagination can go much further with it in a matter of minutes.


Windswept Public Art at the Beach: Hot Tea’s New Installation at Asbury Park HERE


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BSA Film Friday: 10.04.19

BSA Film Friday: 10.04.19

Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. Gross Domestic Product – Banksy
2. New Stop Animation Project from Caledonia Curry AKA Swoon.
3. Henry Chalfant “Art vs Transit 1977-1987” Bronx Museum of the Arts
4. Street Art Summer Round-Up – 2019 from Fifth Wall TV / Doug Gillen

BSA Special Feature: Gross Domestic Product – Banksy

The doublespeak of Banksy very effectively demanded a whirlwind of media attention in the art/Street Art world once again this week. The anti-capitalist launched a full street-side exhibition while his personal/anonymous brand benefitted by the new record auction price of 9.9 million pounds with fees for one of his works depicting a “Devolved Parliament” full of apes – precisely during the height of inpending Brexit hysteria.

Gross Domestic Product / Banksy Installation. Video Courtesy Ash Versus


New Stop Animation Project from Caledonia Curry AKA Swoon.

Street Artist Swoon (Caledonia Curry) has been pushing her creative limits in a medium she is not known for, and the results are exhilarating.

Facing a backlog of fears and eager to go out of her comfort zones of that include linotype printing and wheat-pasting on the street – and the many projects building community – her last two years of study in stop animation are ready to be seen. Present her narrative practice and character in a surprising new way, Swoon takes chances bravely, and is ready to share her new work.

Her new exhibition with Jeffery Deitch is coming up in New York – but today we offer a sneak peek of what the deep diving Swoon has discovered.

Henry Chalfant “Art vs Transit 1977-1987” Bronx Museum of the Arts

Its here and the reviews have been glowing. One of the originals in documenting and providing platforms to artists and participants of art on the streets and trains, Henry Chalfant is please to present an impressive retrospective through next spring at Bronx Museum of the Arts.

Street Art Summer Round-Up – 2019 from Fifth Wall TV / Doug Gillen

Hop into the Doug soup of insight, mangled pronunciation and zealous fannery for projects and Street/public art concepts he wants you to remember from this summer.

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BSA Images Of The Week: 08.11.19

BSA Images Of The Week: 08.11.19

Street Art is hot and beautiful in New York this week, and we are cheered by the proliferation of styles and style- and some simply brilliant ideas.

West Side Highway was blocked this weekend by lines of people sitting with arms locked to protest the ICE arrests of poor, powerless, immigrants working menial jobs in the US this week and their treatment in jails set up for them.

Of course, the lines are probably still longer to get into the various rooftop pools that have popped up in New York this summer.

Also this weekend the child sex ring king Jeffrey Epstein was reported to have committed suicide in his jail cell. Also, a herd of unicorns just ran through Central Park. Please read the long list of world leaders he was alleged to have as clients. Check back with us in five years and tell us which of those men are in jail.

For some humorous summer reading ; the white-gloved New York Times took their semi-annual trip on the subway – just to stay in touch with the commoners – and was scandalized by the tawdry state of advertising in the subways, with suggestive phallic shapes and ladies posing in underwear and what not. NYT was not however scandalized by the chronically destitute conditions of subway infrastructure like the enormous pieces of peeling ceiling poised to drop on people at the Chambers station for example. Or the rats. Or the lack of garbage cans, police officers, newsstands, air conditioning or the the $2.75 fare that has outpaced inflation – meaning that the equivalent of a 1987 fare would be about $2.03 if it had stayed with inflation, for example.  That’s hardship on New York’s poor families – but New York Times is not talking about that.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring Almost Over Keep Smiling, Appleton Pictures, Banksy, City Kitty, Dr. SCO, Early Riser, FAUST, Gianni Lee, Heck Tad, Lambros, M*Code, Neon Savage, Shepard Fairey, and The Postman Art.

Top banner is a photo of a framed Banksy note in a high-end frame shop in Soho. Actually a Banksy? Who knows. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Shepard Fairey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Shepard Fairey’s portrait of actor and activist Rosario Dawson on the water tank of a Manhattan building called “Power & Equality. The image celebrates this Lower East Side original who has been a champion activist for girls and women and who stays true to her roots.

Shepard Fairey (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Gianni Lee (photo © Jaime Rojo)
There has been a back and forth on this wall with Gianni Lee’s work and the graffiti artist’s work. We have been documenting the “dialogue” on BSA HERE, and HERE. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Postman Art (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Sac Six (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Sac Six (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Stay Ugly (photo © Jaime Rojo)
You Go Girl! (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Faust (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Almost Over Keep Smiling (the side-bust Donald Duck is by Heck Tad) (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Almost Over Keep Smiling (the side-bust Donald Duck is by Heck Tad) (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Early Riser (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
City Kitty . M*Code . Dr. SC0 . Neon Savage (photo © Jaime Rojo)
City Kitty . Lambros (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Appleton Pictures (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We have been documenting this artist’s work for years now. His message is about diabetes/diabetic awareness and its causes, our addiction with sugar and the food industry relentless habit of adding sugary ingredients on almost all prepared foods…that and the innordinate sugar amounts on soft drinks of course. So it was a big surprise to have caught the artist in action while putting work on his usual spot on the magnet wall in Chelsea.

Appleton Pictures (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Appleton Pictures (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Appleton Pictures (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Appleton Pictures (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Appleton Pictures (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Appleton Pictures (photo © Jaime Rojo)
We know this is Appleton Pictures mascot and MUSE but we don’t know this handsome dog’s name. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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BSA Film Friday:06.07.19

BSA Film Friday:06.07.19

Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. Non-Trivial – Jesse Hazelip
2. Banksy Overlooked in Venice
3. DEGON 12+1 Project / Contorno Urbano Foundation. Barcelona
4. Christian Rex van Minnen ponders aloud about the creative process and how words can’t really explain a painting.
5. Gonzalo Borondo MERCI. Teaser #2

BSA Special Feature: Non-Trivial – Jesse Hazelip

“People think ‘Oh, prison is for people that are bad.’ That’s not the case. It’s a racist system. We need to raise the awareness on that.,” says graffiti writer, street artist and fine artist Jesse Hazelip in this new video.

In addition to speaking about his technique of engraving animal skulls, he speaks about the US justice system of incarceration that he compares to a “mass epidemic that is affecting marginalized people, mainly people of color who are black and brown.”

Preach!

Banksy Overlooked in Venice

The Street Artist Banksy posted this video to cry crocodile tears on his Instagram during the Venice Biennale. “Despite being the largest and most prestigious art event in the world, for some reason I’ve never been invited.” Is the large seafaring vessel spread over multiple canvasses a self portrait, perhaps? It’s simply massive.

Extra points for the Doris Day score. Que sera sera.

DEGON 12+1 Project / Contorno Urbano Foundation. Barcelona

Bringing his mural to life by greenscreening it, Degon cleverly drops in the AR app that you’ll need to download for full enjoyment. Read more on “App Activated Kinetic Tagging by Degon in Barcelona.”

Christian Rex van Minnen ponders aloud about the creative process and how words can’t really explain a painting.

It begins with the heaviest of sighs.

“There’s never really a blank canvass moment in my process. There is a constant cycle of paintings that are at very stages of completion”

“ I guess I see these as just one long continuous painting”

And so we end our excepts from the dramatic reading.

Thumbs up to visual effects editor Mike Gaynor.

Gonzalo Borondo MERCI. Teaser #2

Spanish Street Artist and installation artist Borondo is taking over a church, bringing the cathedral qualities of the dark forest with him. His teasers for this project (culminating as “Merci” on June 21) are as illuminating as they are elusive.

The church has been closed for 30 years,” we wrote this week. “If you wait long enough the natural world will overtake this temple, covering it with moss, wrapping it with ivy, filling it with trees. “

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Christian Omodeo on “The Man Who Stole Banksy” & Its Streaming Release

Christian Omodeo on “The Man Who Stole Banksy” & Its Streaming Release

In 2007 the anonymous graffiti artist Banksy painted a series of political works around Palestine.

Later there was a mad scramble by people to cut them down and to sell them to the highest bidder on a secretive and clandestine art market. One mural in particular that depicts an Israeli soldier asking a donkey for its papers created a furious response from many. It also sparked its removal – and eventual offer for sale.

The Man Who Stole Banksy. (photo © Marco Proserpio)

An unexpected and riveting tale told through the perspective of a local taxi driver named Walid, the offending wall becomes the main character; shuffled through chaotic Bethlehem streets, ferried across the sea, featured at auction, brandished for collectors. The prejudices, perspectives, and startling insights on display never stop revealing themselves. Needless to say war, pacifism, greed, celebrity, fanboy-ism and occupation all make very awkward partners – providing an endless study in contrasts.

The Man Who Stole Banksy. (still from the movie)

“One year after we saw it debut at Tribeca, The Man who Stole Banksy is enjoying a far wider distribution beginning this month through Amazon Prime in US and Canada. On the occasion of its mass release, we spoke to Christian Omodeo, a professor and curator in the field of urban art. More importantly here, Omodeo was a screenwriter on the film with Filippo Perfido and the director Marco Proserpio. We asked him to reflect on the origins of the film and how as a documentary it continued to grow and mature during its long journey to the big screen, and now the small one. “

The Man Who Stole Banksy. (still from the movie)

BSA: Can you describe your role in the film, and how you watched it grow and mature?

Christian Omodeo: I first met Marco Proserpio in 2012 and we were working on this project until 2017. Marco was just back from Palestine, where by chance he met Walid, the main character of the movie. Walid told him that he had cut a Banksy painting with the intention of selling it on Ebay. Marco decided to do a movie about this crazy story.

He also wanted to describe the political situation in Palestine without portraying this community as victims as most of the media do. At the same time he did not know how to exactly deal with street art. Since that time we have worked together on the story. I carried ideas and stories that were related to Banksy’s involvement in Palestine and to the commodification of street art, while Marco was filming and looking at this story from his own point of view.

We traveled a lot and interviewed many people over a period of 5 years. In the end, we had enough footage to release 3 movies! While working on it our point-of-view on this story has totally changed. Looking at street art from a Palestinian point of view, while the Western art market was definitely consecrating it, gives you a totally different perspective on things.

The Man Who Stole Banksy

This is something that has also been fundamental for me as a curator, pushing me to a more radical attitude towards the commodification of street art. Between 2012 and 2017, while new self-proclaimed “museums” of street art were popping out everywhere, I started to think about what a museum of street art should be and if it makes sense to put street art into a museum. I was seeing many nice collections of well-hung canvases, but this way of building up a street art narrative seemed to me to be very reductive, in parallel of what we were doing within the movie.

This is how my role on this project has changed from being only an author, I became an actor in the role of the curator of the Bologna’s exhibition which became known worldwide due to the reaction of the artist Blu – who defaced his walls in the city in response. People have mainly focused on Blu’s reaction against the foundation that financed the show, without looking at what was happening inside the museum – as well as seeing the new street art narrative we were putting together.

The movie shows this story at the end, but such a topic is so powerful than it would be for the movie or another interview!

The Man Who Stole Banksy. (still from the movie)

BSA: The movie first appeared on the art film festival circuit a year ago. Now it is going to reach a far greater audience than that narrow selection of people. It more accurately mirrors the audience that street art is made for, no?

Christian Omodeo: Of course! We are happy to see the movie reaching a larger audience. This is what this movie was supposed to do since the beginning. We did not do it simply for a bunch of lazy ‘film buffs’ and festival “arty farties” as Filippo, who wrote the film with us, calls them. Unfortunately the movie industry has its own rules and once a producer and distributors come on board, you lose control of your work. Let’s hope that other platforms like Prime will distribute it in the future.

BSA: The story appears rather simple on the surface but then opens up to layers of complexity with themes of challenging power, revolution, commercialism, colonialism…  How has your perception of the film changed since you first made it?

Christian Omodeo: It has not changed at all. It’s normal to me – it took me less time and effort to discuss a Ph.D. at the Paris-Sorbonne University than to work on this movie. This is why, at the end of the process, we felt quite sure of our conclusions.

The Man Who Stole Banksy. (photo © Marco Proserpio)

What has totally changed however, it’s my personal and professional way of dealing with street art. Before my involvement with the movie, I was mostly dealing with its theoretical aspects. Today I am more focused on bringing these ideas into the real world, in taking real actions. These are things that I believe are always important to discuss. I’ve seen this clearly during some Q&A at some festivals – but we cannot just talk if we want to develop ways to work with a narrative around street art that doesn’t whitewash it. I’m working on a few projects right now. I hope to have some news soon to share.

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BSA “Images Of The Year” For 2018 Video

BSA “Images Of The Year” For 2018 Video

Here it is! Photographer Jaime Rojo of BSA selects a handful of his favorite images from his travels through 9 countries and around New York this year to present our 2018 BSA Images of the Year.

Seeing the vast expressions of aesthetics and anti-aesthetic behavior has been a unique experience for us. We’re thankful to all of the artists and co-conspirators for their boundless ideas and energy, perspectives and personas.

Once you accept that much of the world is in a semi-permanent chaos you can embrace it, find order in the disorder, love inside the anger, a rhythm to every street.

And yes, beauty. Hope you enjoy BSA Images of the Year 2018.


Here’s a list of the artists featured in the video. Help us out if we missed someone, or if we misspelled someones nom de plume.

1Up Crew, Abe Lincoln Jr., Adam Fujita, Adele Renault, Adrian Wilson, Alex Sena, Arkane, Banksy, Ben Eine, BKFoxx, Bond Truluv, Bordalo II, Bravin Lee, C215, Cane Morto, Charles Williams, Cranio, Crash, Dee Dee, D*Face, Disordered, Egle Zvirblyte, Ernest Zacharevic, Erre, Faith LXVII, Faust, Geronimo, Gloss Black, Guillermo S. Quintana, Ichibantei, InDecline, Indie 184, Invader, Isaac Cordal, Jayson Naylor JR, Kaos, KNS, Lena McCarthy, Caleb Neelon, LET, Anthony Lister, Naomi Rag, Okuda, Os Gemeos, Owen Dippie, Pejac, Pixel Pancho, Pork, Raf Urban, Resistance is Female, Sainer, Senor Schnu, Skewville, Slinkachu, Solus, Squid Licker, Stinkfish, Strayones, Subway Doodle, The Rus Crew, Tristan Eaton, Vegan Flava, Vhils, Viktor Freso, Vinie, Waone, Winston Tseng, Zola

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BSA’s 15 Most Popular Murals of 2018: A “Social” Survey

BSA’s 15 Most Popular Murals of 2018: A “Social” Survey

There’s street cred, and then there’s social media credit. These are 15 of the latter, compiled by BSA by our own rigorous methodology.

Bears lead the pack! A monkey is here as well. Skulls and Biggie Smalls make it in again. Text wisdom also wins along with representations of the natural world like Pejac’s tree and Naomi Rag’s flower. And a rep for Game of Thrones and the horrors of Hitchcock as well – you knew popular culture would represent.

These are the top murals from 2018 via tabulations of our website, Instagram, Twitter, and two Facebook pages. In a thoroughly unscientific survey that calculates “likes” and “clicks” and “re-Tweets” and “impressions”, and every year we cannot predict which one’s are going to be popular, but sometimes you can guess. We don’t publish a lot of murals of cats, but if we did, they would probably win. Just guessing.

This year we’re drawn to the two written word pieces, likely because they are erudite and witty to some extent – and because it is good to see how smart BSA readers are. Brilliant, we say!

Welcome to your favorite murals of the year:


15 – Banksy.

A tribute. A plea. A denunciation. A well used example of the artist’s platform to bring awareness of the plight of artists who dare to set themselves free with their art. Depicted here is Ms. Zehra Doğan, an editor and journalist from Turkey. She is presently serving time in jail for painting Turkish flags on a painting showing destroyed buildings and posting the painting on Social Media. Marking the time with tick

Banksy. Free Zehra Doğan. NYC. Houston/Bowery Wall. March 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

14 – Sonny Sundancer.

Sonny Sundancer finishes his final mural for his #totheboneproject , a grizzly titled “Standing Tall” looking out over Greenwich Village.

“Standing Tall” was done in conjunction with The L.I.S.A Project NYC. May 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

13 – Axe Colours.

Axe Colours goes GOT and the question going into 2019 in many people’s minds is: Will she or won’t she?

The Mother of Dragons on the streets of Barcelona as interpreted by Axe Colours. This photo was taken on November 2017 but shared on Instagram on February of 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

12 – Owen Dippie.

New Zealand artist Owen Dippie is known for pairing pop characters in his realistic large scale work. Here’s an odd couple of film director Hitchcock and Brooklyn rapper Biggie Smalls.

Pigeons, Ravens, Cigars, Mystery and Music on the streets of Brooklyn. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

11 – Kobra.

Brazilian artist Kobra gave himself a residency in NYC this year with the goal of painting as many murals as time and available walls would permit him. He succeeded by painting 18 walls throughout NYC – mostly the top level easy to identify icons found on t-shirts, posters and postcards for decades here. One of his portraits of Amy Winehouse proved to be hugely popular.

Kobra. Amy Winehouse. Manhattan, October 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

1o – Disordered.

Anxiety rings true when the giveaways to business interests for nearly four decades under both dominant parties have gradually placed folks like these in this neighborhood constantly in fear of missing the rent, the grocery bill, the car payment, the cost of providing for their kids. Disordered is right.

#DISORDERED. Done in Welling Court, Queens for Welling Court 2018. July 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

9 – Kaos.

The KAOS Factory, colloquially named because the German graffiti artist by the same name has slowly taken it over with his work during the last few years, by default converting the former steam factory into his de facto “residency”.

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. October 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

8 – Naomi Rag.

Not specifically a Street Artist, Naomi Rag crochets her favorite things and puts them up mainly on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. This simple rose on a school yard fence steadily garnered attention throughout the year – and reminded us of this song from the 1960s.

“There is a rose in Spanish Harlem
A red rose up in Spanish Harlem
It is a special one, it’s never seen the sun
It only comes out when the moon is on the run
And all the stars are gleaming
It’s growing in the street right up through the concrete
But soft and sweet and dreaming…”

Jerry Leiber & Phil Spector

Naomi Rag. Red Rose in Spanish Harlem. March 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

7 – GlossBlack.

New York is a constant source of inspiration for countless artists of all disciplines who have made a home and hopefully a career in this dynamic city of endless serendipity and challenge. GlossBlack hit the mark with this tough and tumble tribute to the city.

GlossBlack in collaboration with Klughaus in Manhattan. March 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

6 – Bordalo II.

Bordalo II has evolved a spectacular practice of creating street works from our refuse that shock and thrill many a passersby with his ingenuity and evocative image making – while raising our collective consciousness about our responsibility to the earth.

Bordalo II. Lisbon, Portugal. June 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

4 – BKFoxx.

With a commercial eye toward the natural world and larger societal issues BKFoxx chooses subjects for their emotional impact and their ability to translates easily for an image-savvy audience whose endless hours of personal screen entertainment has produced an expectation for a big budget Hollywood and consumer culture slickness with high-production values.

BKFoxx in collaboration with JMZ Walls. Bushwick, Brooklyn. April 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

3 – Terry Urban.

Inspiration to create flows from many rivers and tributaries. Many times that inspiration comes from a fellow artist as is the case here. Art is for everyone, and the street is more than ever a perfect place to see it.

Terry Urban channeling Basquiat in Manhattan. January 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

3 – Egle Zvirblyte.

Egle’s feminism is abundantly clear on her work. A mixture of pop and riddles and unabashedly self assured.

Egle Zvirblyte. A project curated by BSA with the production assistance and wall access from Joe Franquinha / Crest Hardware and paint donated by Montana Cans. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

2 – Pejac.

The Spaniard Pejac came for a few weeks to New York this spring and left this piece in Bushwick. The wall is a brick façade typical of many Brooklyn neighborhoods, but this one appears to have grown a tree this week. Perhaps he chose to paint this tree because the promise of spring had inspired him, or because this neighborhood remains industrial and could benefit from some more of nature’s influence. For us it’s all about context so it is good to see that a tree grows in Brooklyn.

Pejac. The Bushwick Collective. Brooklyn, NYC. March 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

1 – Adrian Wilson

Just in under the wire and straight to number 1, this cleverly turned phrase and hooded ideogram is an ironic amalgam of Banksy and Warhol that hit the nerve of readers who are becoming acutely aware of us all slipping into a surveillance society. Also, it’s funny.

We only published this mural in December but the number of hits and comments across social media indicated that it resonates strongly across a wide demographic. Photographer, videographer, former gallery owner and infrequent Street Artist Adrian Wilson clearly is not shooting for anonymity.

Top image: Adrian Wilson plays with words to reflect our pop culture trolling both Warhol and Banksy. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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BSA Film Friday: 10.19.18

BSA Film Friday: 10.19.18

bsa-film-friday-JAN-2015

Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. Shredding the Girl and Balloon – The Director’s Cut
2. JKS Crew in Italy & France
3. Vigilante Vigilante: The Battle For Expression / Trailer
4. The Hut – A Partial X / Felipe Pantone

bsa-film-friday-special-feature

BSA Special Feature: Shredding the Girl and Balloon – The Director’s Cut

By the way, this is not the first Street Artist to shred art in public with a home-made apparatus. Check out BSA Film Friday in April of 2014 for a stunning example of slicing public advertisements with Bandes de Pub.

We start our weekly selection with the followup release that takes hold of the narrative of the moments leading up to this month’s Banksy auction and self-destruction at Sotheby’s.

In it you hear the auctioneer chit-chatting beforehand saying things like “It’s a fun auction, you know. Everyone’s got a chance.” And by ‘everyone’ he means…everyone here in this room and on the 30 phones who are also bidding.

In other revelations this week, the Financial Times is reporting that the original artwork contained a “dedication reading ‘Thanks Jo’, which art market experts said could be a reference to Banksy’s long-time publicist, Jo Brooks.” Not so fast there Mr. Brillianteen. Perhaps Banksy is just a Jimi Hendrix fan (Hey Joe) or it was a gift to rapper Fat Joe (I’m Not a Player I Just Crush Alot) (RIP). Joe the Lion? Smokin’ Joe?

JKS Crew in Italy & France

Okay class, who wants to tell us what they did on their summer vacation?

Looks like JKS Crew were on spraycation this summer in Italy and France. The jazz bassy groove that accompanies the scenes in this video make us pine for those dreamy days of July and August already, and its only mid-October.

Vigilante Vigilante: The Battle For Expression / Trailer

Who owns public space? The oligarchs, yes, but after them?

You do!

Who should paint it?

When graffiti writers and Street Artists take it over with acts of transgressive painting one may expect that the next step is probably the buff, unless you living are in an aesthetic lawlessness like Berlin, or Athens, or 2000s Detroit.  It is infrequent that one may countenance the self-appointed citizen buffer, but they exist in many a neighborhood. A combination of ornery rebel and a justice-minded citizen; This is the vehement, street cleaning vigilante.

If you were writing a bespectacled urban guidebook about characters found on city streets you may advise, “Think twice before crossing this curiously civic interbreed, broken windows can be sharp.”

 

The Hut – A Partial X / Felipe Pantone

A Liberian surfer camp that just happens to capture the artworks of some of the biggest names in Street Art? Organizers say that its to reduce the stigma that surrounds the country that was hurt so badly by ebola a few years ago. Perhaps that what has drawn artists like Faile, Conor Harrington, 1010, Martin Whatson, Marke Jenkins, Herakut, Ted Pim, Sandra Chevrier, Ben Eine, and Seth Globepainter here to create new works here.  Today we see works by Felipe Pantone, JR, and Slinkachu.

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Banksy Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Currently Playing In Moscow

Banksy Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Currently Playing In Moscow

They could have called it “Smoke & Mirrors”. Now you see him, now you don’t.

Instead the name of the new exhibition about the British Street Artist Banksy here in Moscow is posed by the organizers as a question – “Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You!”

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Absent of a substantial collection of original pieces of art, the exhibition relies heavily on print editions (some of the editions higher numbers), blown up oversized photographs and a multi screened multi-media video montage in a darkened spooky area that may impart a sense of Street Art’s original transgressive nature to visitors. There don’t appear to be any masterpieces, but its hard to say.

In order to fill the enormous entire second floor of the venue, Central House Of Artists located in Gorky Park in Central Moscow, the organizers printed large photos taken of the actual original works placed on the streets of England, The USA and Palestine. There isn’t a problem with the photographic material, and many of them are of good quality but the show isn’t advertised as an exhibition of street art photography.

The naming of the show and its description implies that this is a solo exhibition of Banksy, actually, and not only is a large percentage of space taken for documentation of the work, the Instagram account attributed to the anonymous artist has recently announced that Banksy has no involvement in it whatsoever. In reality these are finer distinctions that the majority of visitors will care little about.

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Spare yourself the incredulity; this is a marketing exercise and entertainment show meant to draw a general audience to view the works of Banksy, his greater ideas, his wit, and his politics. In the process the show acquaints them with the general practice of Street Art, and very possibly strengthens the value of his works on the market and in private collections. Truthfully, we are no more assured of Banksy’s or his teams’ involvement / disinvolvement in this show than we are of his hands performing the spraying of stencils on walls or animating stuffed animals in the back of a truck. In this way anonymity has a slew of benefits, and the veracity of any public statements attributed to him must necessarily also be viewed with at least a little suspicion.

If successful, and by unofficial count “Genius or Vandal?” has drawn between a third to a half million visitors, it will probably be packaged as a mobile exhibition and go on the road like the one by his former Manager Steve Lazarides “The Art of Banksy”, which is currently in Toronto, after being shown in Melbourne, Amsterdam, Tel Aviv and Auckland. If this indeed has drawn half a million visitors, that would mean roughly 1 in 26 of Moscow’s 13.2 million inhabitants have seen the show.

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

And this is as much a show (or more) as it is an exhibition. To augment the slim collection of original works the organizers created a video montage that is splashy and attractive; a sort of a retrospective in 20 minutes that is lengthened because every slide or animation with text has to be shown twice, in English and in Russian. The designers of the exhibition create a series of environments or installations meant to be evocative of the margins of metropolis – cargo pallets, metal drums, street cones and a recreation of what we imagine is the artists’ studio as featured in the movie “Exit Through The Gift Shop”. It’s an edgy theme park feeling for everyday folks as well, meant to imbue the show with an aura of authenticity and street cred.

Along the way visitors can also learn about his political opinions and forays into Israel/Palestine/Bethlehem, his sorrowful Dismaland theme park, his general upending of pleasant conventions and his deeper commitment to social justice. Cheesy as it might be, this show isn’t a bad introduction to Banksy the person and Banksy the brand, and if he has no involvement with this it can be argued that it is still beneficial in some ways.

Yes there’s a gift shop as well, naturally, as you exit the show.

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Banksy. Genius Or Vandal? It’s Up To You! Central House of Artists. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For more information please visit http://banksyexhibition.com/


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BSA Film Friday: 08.24.18

BSA Film Friday: 08.24.18

bsa-film-friday-JAN-2015

Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. Scenes from the Banksy Exhibition in Moscow
2. Obey Giant – Shepard Fairey

bsa-film-friday-special-feature

BSA Special Feature: Scenes from the Banksy Exhibition in Moscow

“But the fact that a personal exhibition of a living artist is being held, and he has nothing to do with this – that’s strange.” – Olga Proskurnina and Elizaveta Podkolzina write in a recent article for “The Village”.

“Hm, not sure I’m the best person to complain about people putting up pictures without getting permission,” says a text bubble attributed to the anonymous Street Artist on his Instagram account.

It’s a highly unusual exhibition of the British Street Artist Banksy’s work in Moscow, one that the artist himself says he has nothing to do with. Yes there are original works of his and many highlights of his public career are covered, but the unofficial traffic number of 300,000 attendees since it opened in June are largely going to remember the impressively animated multi-media montages that splash across the multiple screens for the exhibition of 2000 square meters.

Approved or not, this is about Street Art, a practice in public space that frequently is transgressive and flaunts the conventions that we once accepted as a given. It’s difficult to anticipate or measure the repercussions of any given creation once it is up, a fact that Street Artists everywhere know and appreciate.

Below is a version of the video montage that greets visitors to the exhibition. The montage has been edited for brevity and includes only selected scenes from the massive projection inside the Central House of Artists as the works of Banksy once again create a stir, this time in Moscow.

Obey Giant – Shepard Fairey

And Speaking of global masters on the Street Art scene, here’s a full movie documentary on Shepard Fairey and his work to bring us up to speed. The American Fairey will be in the cosmopolitan Russian capital September 19th to debut his new exhibition at the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, called “Force Majeure”. Organized with RUArts Foundation, curated by MMOMA and Wunderkammern Gallery the exhibition will be with the collaboration of the 3rd Artmosphere Biennale, which opens August 30th.

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