A fresh face at Urban Nation, the abstract muralist URKU has just completed the façade across the train tracks from the museum on Bulowstrasse.
Originally from Quito, Ecuador, Urku says he began his true immersion into graffiti and street art when he lived in Sydney, Australia and he hooked up with the Higher Ground crew. His first attempts were painting in abandoned places, he tells us, but the big scale walls really caught his attention.
Living in Berlin since 2015, Urku brought his girlfriend, Gamze Yalçın who is also an artist in Berlin, along for this installation on the busy thoroughfare full of noise and distractions. He says his style has evolved more into abstraction today and he likes to think his art as a visual diary – one where he re-interprets his daily visual experiences into abstract compositions.
How did he feel elevated
alongside the famous yellow trains of Berlin watching the burners fly by? “Perhaps
it would have been very nice to have appreciated the scene while painting the
wall with the trains running behind me,” he says, “but the fact is I had to
paint all the time and to complete the project. But I was in awe that this was actually
happening and seeing the trains with graffiti passing by was very cool.”
Our special thanks to BSA contributor Nika Kramer for these images and to UN.
That’s the message from Berlin based street artist Johannes Mundinger in his latest mural of melting slabs and abstraction and murky text. He tells us that he is thinking about the disparity of responses his government has toward immigrants when flying them in to harvest asparagus versus saving them from living in refugee camps in Lesbos.
“While borders are closed due to the lock down the German government invited around 40.000 foreign workers to fly in and harvest German asparagus,” he says. “This decision was taken within days.”
Meanwhile, he tells, “it took almost two months to discuss inviting 50 children from the refugee camp Moria on the Greek Island.”
He says his new 700 x 1200 cm acrylic mural at Urban Spree made him open up artistically, made him feel free after so long in quarantine. That city is trying to open up, as it were, to greater social and economic opportunity’s and to move beyond Covid. Only time will tell us all, and places like this are leading the way. This is good, we agree.
Mundinger just wants to make sure that we leave no one
The Egyptians did it. The Greeks
did it. The Romans did it. Your favorite dive bar has it. The punk club CBGBs was
famous for it, so is Urban Spree in Berlin. It’s worldwide, ancient and
contemporary. Crude, rude, vulgar, vapid, poetic, gestural, artistic,
We’re talking of course of the
practice of writing graffiti in the bathroom. Few know that the museum Urban
Nation actively encourages the furtive aesthetic expressions of visitors. Here
is a survey of the ephemeral graffiti actions caught in progress.
Cats are not particularly hard-hitting as a topic, but you must admit they are ubiquitous right now. So why wouldn’t they be prowling around the streets as well? God knows there are enough rats. You would think they would make a calendar of these. Wait, they have.
People came together at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to remember the victims of a racist attack in Hanau this week, vowing to stem the tide of right-wing movements in Germany and elsewhere. The more you see the remnants of the ugly past rearing their heads, the more determined we will all have to be to unify and celebrate our differences and similarities with equal enthusiasm.
promising sign of unity and community for us was the opening for the showcase
of works donated by artists to benefit Daniel Weissbach aka DTAGNO aka COST88
in Berlin on Friday night. The musical/art-making performances were enervating
and stirring – and there were so many people that the crowd on the sidewalk
outnumbered the crowd in the gallery area. Please support – The online auction
starts tonight and is refreshed with a new collection of art pieces donated by
the old skool and new in a hybrid of genres. Please check out www.getwelldaniel.de
We also saw this incredibly well designed and curated show called WALLS at Urban Spree – with powerhouse names in graffiti, street art, contemporary art, and even a couple of pieces of antiquity, all examining the implications and ramifications of figurative and literal walls. The essays in the small catalogue further explore. More on this show later here but please go see it if you can.
big find this week was this amazing collaboration of pieces on a wall with OS
Gemeos and various other dignitaries atop an art supply store in a rapidly
gentrifying neighborhood. Hope you enjoy the show here from our Director of
Photography, Jaime Rojo.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring 1Up Crew, Berlinsky, Black Land, Daze, ISE.THR, Kevle, Marina Zumi, Mira, Mode2, Os Gemeos, Shine, TFB, The Birds, VLK, WENU, and Zabou.
Dave the Chimp is not really a chimp. And he’s not really Berlinian.
Like all good comedians, he’s channeling exasperation into something more
A loveable and able debater, his carrot colored human bean is often discovered strolling through the streets and alleys of Berlin. A natural, easy and happy jaunt, his character is quick with an affable lecture, mini tirade, or bright insight. Of course, its open to your interpretation
Contrarian enough to not want to be called a Street Artist, the
UK born Mr. Chimp takes his initial inspirations from his 1980s-90s skateboard
culture immersion and he’s parlayed his illustrative style into work with
fanzines, comics, brands, and art curation. An omnivore for the experiences of life, he’d love you to
unplug from your electronic devices and plug into to your city, and relish the
world around you.
This week in Berlin we keep seeing Dave’s human beans
popping in the neighborhood of Kreuzberg, so we collected a few to share them
The moment you think you understand the street is the moment you begin to lose touch. Behavior on social media is also about as reliable as your Uncle Oscar after he’s had a few too many frosted rum balls and rosy red holiday cocktails. First, he’s twirling Aunt Marge to the Beatles on the living room rug, next thing he’s headbanging with your cousin Teddy to Bon Jovi on the back porch – and later you regrettably see him getting his freak on with a Missy Elliott classic as he waits his turn at the pool table in the basement.
So we rely on the numbers to tell us what is popular with our readers, and not surprisingly, you like everything! Little tiny stickers, massive murals, 3-D sculptural elements, even Lizzo running for president. These are the top ten pieces that got retweeted, shared on Instagram, commented about on Facebook and read about on the site. It’s not scientific, and it’s skewed through the lens of BSA’s POV, but these hottest pieces are still an indicator of the sentiments and tastes of fans on social; sophisticated, insightful, critical, dark mooded, conscious and funny AF. You’re just our type!
November was “Native American Heritage Month” in the US and has been since 1990 and ironically the growing right-wing extremism of the intervening decades appears to have further erased our collective knowledge of native peoples – so it’s the perfect time to find this new campaign of local natives on the streets of New York by Street Artist LMNOPI.
9. Abe Lincoln Jr. & Maia Lorian. A Presidential Parody
The public takeover of ‘street furniture’ and advertising kiosks continues as artists demand back the mindspace and public space that is sold or given to corporate advertisers or propagandizers. This duo brings complementary skills to the old phone booths with their own brand of political satire.
8. Okuda & Bordalo II Collaboration in Madrid.
This Frankenstein duet on the streets of Madrid caught our eye this spring and you liked it too. By Spain’s Okuda and Portugal’s Bordalo II. Madrid, March 2019.
7. Oak Oak in Bayonne, France.
A small stencil in Bayonne, France from Oak Oak resonates in its cheerful satire of pompous crass man-boys with bombs.
6 Lula Goce for NRNY Artsy Murals /Street Art For Mankind
The Swan and the falcon depicted on the mural are actual residents of New Rochelle. They came and liked what they saw and decided to stay and raise their families there. A fitting real story as New Rochelle is a town where immigrants are welcomed and are an important part of the community.
5. I Heart Graffiti “Lizzo for President”
A campaign for singer/songwriter/ rapper Lizzo capitalized on the stars meteoric rise in 2019 to the top of many charts. Considering the number of Democratic challengers on the debate stages this summer and fall, it seemed plausible that she was actually running. If she promised Americans to help the poor and working-class yet assured her corporate donors to screw them once in office, she could get elected too.
4. Judith Supine’s Luxury Cowboy/girl Ad Take Over
The brilliant collage surrealist Judith Supine was back with a new lasso this year, skillfully misleading audiences on the street with his free associations equating luxury fashion brands and 20th-century cancer product advertising. It’s a match made in Hell!. Welcome!
3 Nafir at Urban Spree in Berlin
Iranian Street Arist Nafir left this Instagram alienation indictment hanging in a hidden spot at Berlin’s Urban Spree playground this year, and for some reason, it struck a chord with many.
Do you want to talk about it? We’re not joking about suicide.
2. “Outings Project” for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin
It began as a way of bringing fine art pieces from inside the museum to the Street, and “The Outings Project” has brought hundreds of artworks out into the daylight this way for a decade or so, thanks to French artist Julien de Casabianca. These particular dark angels have been cast out of heaven and are just about to hit the ground across the street from Urban Nation Museum, Berlin.
1. Sara Lynne-Leo struck a chord with her pain commentary on the streets of NYC
A relative newcomer to the streets in New York, Sara Lynne-Leo keeps her small scale pieces well-placed, if your eyes are open. A comedian and social observer, her character’s pains and insecurities are played out in magnified emotional tableaus that quickly capture the severity and make light of it at the same time. This one must have really captured the zeitgeist of a troubled time across modern societies, where one pretends a wound is made bearable with an optimistic sunny perspective, even if the situation may be life-threatening.
in plain sight. Fucking one system and embracing another. Seeking the limelight
as he hides in the darkness of Berlin’s night. This is paradox. This is Paradox.
A Berlin Kidz alumni who has been catching tags and surfing trains with photographer CPT.OLF for a handful of years, these two have created a simple exhibition to Urban Spree gallery this month. Bringing masks, video, a new photography book, prints, and a hooded figure cuffed an on his stomach, the gallery effect is spare, crisp, ill-boding, and entertaining. One may say that this presentation looks like a graffiti star is born.
parkour with graffiti, he lowers himself south on a rope, spraying vertically cryptic
symbols in primary colors down the side of a building, or steeple of a church, his
aerosol style inspired by writers in places like São Paulo and
Rio de Janeiro. In many ways, this man is now claiming a mantle while in
his physical prime, modeling one of his multiple horror batik masks atop a
speeding yellow U-Bahn – tempting fate, testing limits, testing the viewers’ tolerance.
This is more than urban exploring: This is punching it down and signing its praise simultaneously, the pulsing testosterone deafening, relentless, defiant. This is anti-hero heroicism as performance without a net below – and quite possibly it is the adrenaline rush that claims your life. Looking at these images, following the video, for one thrilling moment, you want to be there as well.
Somber and sorrowful, this distance in between. Distance between people geographically, politically, ideologically. Distance between dreams and reality, between what is possible and what we achieve. Yet, we’ve seen that each of these distances can be bridged.
That allegory is plain and obvious in the new exhibition curated by Sasha
Bogojev at Berlin’s BC gallery called “The Distance Between”.
Perhaps because of their personal backgrounds, or in spite of it, three Street Art talents of today (one of them a duo) address a series of politically charged and ultimately human crises that play out on an international stage today. Because of their own nationalities, one may surmise their points of view quickly, but in arts’ expression we can find greater complexities, gradations, and subtleties.
Iranian brothers Icy & Sot, Israeli Addam Yekutieli (aka Know Hope), and Italian aerosol artist Eron each come to the global migration crisis from distinct perspectives, each willing to explore the human cost of war, dislocation, grief, longing.
Unconventional pairings perhaps, these makers of metaphor and poetry and gesture, yet in their nexus lies a certain possible common understanding. In the minds of some these collaborations could be unthinkable, so their work product is charged with socio-politics by its mere existence. The understated presentation in the gallery setting is suitably serious and somewhat cramped, with room for the cracked smile of irony, and disgust.
“The Distance Between” is currently on view at the BC Gallery located at Libauerstraße 14 10245 Berlin
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week from Berlin, and this time featuring Stohead, Christian Bohmer, CTO, David De La Mano, Equipe Fatale, Emmanuel Jarus, Francisco Bosoletti, Fatal, Feser, Herakut, HRVB, Weird Crew, Marina Zumi, Marycula, Mimi the Clown, Nafir, Peus, Señor Schnu, sp.38 and Stefan Ways.
Atlantis didn’t arise, as the prophetic clairvoyant Edgar Cayce said it would, but Poseidia certainly did only six months ago here on a Berlin street thanks to Irish Street Artist and fine artist finDAC.
By appropriation and inspiration, her manner and fashion may think she comes forth from the Pacific, this masked muse named Low Flying Angel, but in fact she’s closer to the Atlantic here on the River Bülowstraße. In any case the artist continues his expertise and evolution in rendering the richness of fabrication, volume and subtle textures on his street figures that you may wonder if this is canvas.
The organic nature of art in the streets characterizes the experience in many parts of the city of Berlin – the true roots of D.I.Y. still very much in full effect.
The 1700 square meter artistic space named Urban Spree typifies the unrelenting energy that Berliners invest in the scene, thanks to this compound dedicated to urban culture and subcultures. The multichannel event space in the Friedrichshain district features artist residencies, DIY workshops, exhibitions, concerts, and beer. It’s also slaughtered from top to bottom with aerosol, bucket paint, wheat-pastes, and stickers.
This is a shot of adrenaline that you’ll experience from one large wall at Urban Spree that is completely covered with the cacophony of the moment, an “organic wall” or “magnet wall” boasting hundreds of voices and views all at once; soon to be covered, and recovered with the visual Vox Populi.