As you watch and wait to see
the festering uprisings of workers and the growing crowds of poor and hungry in
the US, we take you back to Friday, which was Labor Day in Europe. It was also
the release date for this curious and interesting project by the artist and people’s
advocate, the New Yorker John Fekner.
This unique collection of objects and images and textures called MEMORY is a publication linked by projects that are strung together in a constellation across five decades, a few continents, and pivotal moments that reflect the themes in this New York artists’ activism on the street and through various public interventions. A true innovator, trouble maker, and activator of moribund spaces, its Fekner’s cryptic pronouncements that can read as final judgements and humorous summaries.
“This publication gathers 6
objects edited by projects : a parcel memory from the artist’s archives,” says
the description of this limited edition. “It is the result of exchanges between
the artists John Fekner and Brad Downey, the artistic director of the Bien
Urbain festival David Demougeot and the graphic designers Laura Bouchez and
It all seems so current, of
this moment: with references to broken promises, saving schools, worker’s
movements, the remains of industry, government abandonment, citizen
participation, engaging memory, beseeching the power of poetry. It’s all of one
cloth, and all a wistful piece of our collective memory – now brought to life
With a theme of “Recover the Streets” the Bien Urbain festival is not so much a Street Art festival as an experiment with public space and our interaction with it. It has been interesting to see how the current romance with Street Art is absorbed by a variety of constituencies during the last decade – whether as tools of change, gentrification, commodification, commercialization, education, or simply celebration, artists are being challenged to see their work differently as well. Here in Besancon, France, we find a very inclusive experience where students and citizens and planners are all invited to participate, discuss, and evaluate the impact of the artists work on the built environment. It’s culture as a wholistic practice.
OX has been repurposing billboards and commercial space to bring it back to its more basic elements. With relatively simple changes directed at the viewer, his reconfiguring gives a new sense of context and purpose to these places, now acting as geometry and sculpture instead of simply a vehicle for commercial messages. The result also makes you reconsider the environment it is placed in.