All posts tagged: Blek Le Rat

Scenes from Eugene: Murals of the 20x21EUG Festival in Oregon

Scenes from Eugene: Murals of the 20x21EUG Festival in Oregon

The city of Eugene in Oregon is preparing for the 2021 IAAF World Athletics Championships and like many cities these days it is transforming itself with murals.

With a goal of 20 new murals by ’21 (20x21EUG), the city began in 2016 to invite a slew of international Street Artists, some locally known ones, and a famous graffiti/Street Art photographer to participate in their ongoing visual festival.

WK Interact. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

A lively city that is bustling with the newly blooming marijuana industry and finding an endless array of ways to celebrate it, Eugene has been so welcoming that many artists will report that feeling quite at home painting in this permissively bohemian and chill atmosphere.

With a goal of global diversity a selection artists have included a variety of Street Art names from around the world including Blek le Rat, AIKO, Dan Witz, HUSH, Martha Cooper, WK Interact, Hyuro, Jaz, Alexis Diaz, Telmo Miel, Hua Tunan, Beau Stanton, Matt Small and local talents like Bayne Gardner and Ila Rose. With some luck organizers say they hope this year to also include artists H11235 from Nepal and Shamsia Hassani from Afghanistan.

Today you can see a lot of the painting action thanks to 2018 “20x21EUG” participant and famed photographer Martha Cooper, who had an opportunity to meet the artists this year and catch up on some of the work from previous years. We’re proud to be able to show these new images with BSA readers and we thank Ms. Cooper for sharing them.

WK Interact. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)


We spoke with two important pillars of 20x21EUG, Debbie Williamson-Smith, Director of Communications and Paul Godin, Director of Artist Relations, to get a little background on the festival and to see what makes it unique.

BSA: Can you speak about the genesis of 20x21EUG? Why did you decide to start an Urban Art Festival?
Debbie Williamson-Smith: The concept of a large-scale public art project such came from Isaac Marquez, Cultural Services Director for the City of Eugene, and is rooted in Eugene’s rich history of public art, dating back to the Oregon International Sculpture Symposium in 1974.  Mr. Marquez gathered a committee of arts organizations and community members passionate about the project and street art to bring the concept to fruition.

WK Interact. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Paul Godin: We wanted to invite the very best street artists from around the country and around the globe, to create a living outdoor art gallery in Eugene for the world to see when they came. We have curated a mix of street art legends, rising stars and local heroes, all with very different artistic styles and strong voices. Street art is a global movement, of increasingly high profile, and it was a shared passion that united our committee members.

If you want to take it way back, the origin may well have been a trip to the east end of London ten years ago, on a failed quest in search of a Banksy that led instead to the discovery of the wonders of Brick Lane.

WK Interact. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BSA: How is a project of such quality as this funded?
Debbie Williamson-Smith: Funding for the project comes from the City of Eugene Cultural Services transient room tax revenue, sponsorship with City of Eugene Parking Services and contributions from wall owners and local businesses through donations of goods and services. We have had over 50 businesses support this project since it started and volunteers have donated hundreds of hours of time. It takes a village to make a mural and a full list of partners can be found on our website.

WK Interact. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BSA: Is it difficult to get landlords’ permission to paint on their properties in Eugene?
Paul Godin: Heck no. We have found many landlords very open to the idea of putting street art murals on their walls. Civic pride in our project, and the high quality of the work here has made it very easy to sell more wall owners on involvement.  Now they are coming to us. Our biggest problem in Eugene with walls is that we do not have as many big blank walls as larger cities do. Our kingdom for a blank 12 story wall!

Eugenians are generally thrilled by the transformation that 20x21EUG has wrought. Just last week, a city police officer brought a woman to her favorite piece, a group of elderly women were seen admiring Matt Small’s piece and chatting.

WK Interact. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Debbie Williamson-Smith: It is so electric that we have coined the phrase “mural magic”. This project has ignited the civic pride in our community and has already inspired another mural project, Urban Canvas. This initiative of the City of Eugene’s Cultural Services department matches local walls with local artists and three murals have been added to the cultural landscape since it launched in 2018. People are making mural watching a regular activity, taking children to watch artists in action and bringing visitors to see the murals.

WK Interact. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BSA: What are you personal observations regarding the experience as a whole? What would you do different for next year?
Paul Godin: One thing that became clear about our festival this year is that we have created a family, uniting our committee, our volunteers, our artists in a unique and inspiring way. We have bonded through our shared experience, the long nights, the controlled chaos days, the communal dinners, and the stains of primer on all of our clothes.

AIKO. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Debbie Williamson-Smith: This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. As an arts advocate, I am so inspired by the changes art is making in my community and this is one of the reasons why public art and street art are so important. It gives immediate access to art for the public. We are also in a time of political upheaval and for some people, including myself, this has been a difficult time for our country. To welcome people to my part of the world is my form of resistance. We can unite each other through art and as anyone who has studied art history knows, the arts have gotten us through some dark times.

AIKO. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

If I could do anything differently, it would be to make certain all the artists travel here at the same time. When we had Dan Witz here last summer, he talked about what he called artist equity, meaning that festivals for him provide an opportunity to work with artists that he has not worked together before and that always influences his decision to attend. One of my highlights from last summer was watching him and Blek le Rat work on separate installations on the same building.

I was almost as giddy as Dan was. Almost.

Martha Cooper standing with windows full of her images at the Rising Moon makers store. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon.

Bayne Gardner. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Bayne Gardner. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Bayne Gardner. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Matt Small. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Alexis Diaz. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Alexis Diaz. WIP. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Blek Le Rat. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Blek Le Rat. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Blek Le Rat. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Dan Witz. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Dan Witz. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Hyuro. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Ila Rose. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Telmo & Miel. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Telmo & Miel. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Stefan Ways was in Eugene assisting Aiko with her mural this year. He wasn’t in the official line-up of artists but didn’t stop him from getting up. (photo © Martha Cooper)

And of course there are tracks and trains in Eugene, Oregon ready to painted…(photo © Martha Cooper)

There are bargains everywhere in Eugene, Oregon… (photo © Martha Cooper)

As well as consciously aware and decent residents. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)


For more information about 20x21EUG in Eugene, Oregon, please CLICK HERE.


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Magda Danysz Brings “Art From The Streets” to Singapore Art Science Museum

Magda Danysz Brings “Art From The Streets” to Singapore Art Science Museum

“Art From the Streets”, an exhibition at the Art Science Museum in Singapore opened this weekend to coordinate with Singapore Art Week that runs from tomorrow until the end of the month with fairs, festivals and art exhibitions. Commercial art dealer and writer Magda Danysz curated the show with names she represents and whom you will be familiar with – Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Faile, and Futura, for example.

Two versions of the catalogue, one by Felipe Pantone, the other by Futura, are available on the Magda Danysz website .

But she also brings an eclectic mix of others on her roster and possibly lent from some private collections. Collectively they span many of the high profile, the saleable and known over the past 5 decades from various disciplines and philosophical practices; In the case of Jacques Villeglé, whose practice of lacerating posters in the 1960s predates Failes’ by 4 decades, a lineage can be drawn. Other connections are not as easy.

Ultimately the collection gives a sense of the vast number of personalities and techniques that have characterized the street practice in Europe and North America primarily without focusing on any one specialty too greatly. Here are the revered names along with mid-career folks and current darlings who are sure to leave a mark. There is also a small inclusion of more regional favorites like Eko Nugroho from Indonesia, and Singapore’s Speak Cryptic, who each were on hand this weekend with many of the artists for the opening.

Giving tours with microphone in hand during the opening days, the energetic Ms. Danysz educates new fans and potential buyers about an organic artists scene that grew from the streets and is now more frequently being offered for sale in places such as her three gallery locations in London, Paris, and Shanghai. Today it is slowly appearing more often in museums as well.

“Conscious that promotion of the emerging scene is necessary, Magda Danysz took part in many fairs,” says a press release, “such as for example Art Brussels, Arte Fiera in Bologna, Artissima in Torino, Fiac in Paris or Pulse in New York, and is one of the four galleries at the origin of the Show Off Paris art fair.”

This weekend’s activities included short presentations panel discussions and a screen of Wild Style.

Art from the Streets tickets are $17.00 on the Marina Bay Sands website.


A complete list of artists varies online with artists listed on the museum website including:

Banksy, Tarek Benaoum, Stéphane Bisseuil, Blade, Crash, Speak Cryptic, D*face, Fab 5 Freddy, FAILE, Shepard Fairey (aka Obey), Futura, Invader, JR, L’Atlas, Ludo, M-City, Nasty, Eko Nugroho, Nunca, Felipe Pantone, Quik, Lee Quinones, Blek le Rat, Rero, Remi Rough, André Saraiva, Seen, Seth, Sten Lex, Tanc, Hua Tunan, Yok & Sheryo, YZ, Zevs “and many more“.

Elsewhere online the roster is said to include 2Koa, Jef Aérosol, Ash, André, A-One, Aplickone, Banksy, Benjamin Duquenne, Tarek Benaoum, Stephane Bisseuil, Blek Le Rat, Boulaone, C215, Crash, Dface, Dondi, Dran, Eror729, Shepard Fairey, Faile, Futura, Keith Haring, Isham, Jayone, Jonone, Jr, Katre, Kaws, L’atlas, Lem, Ludo, Barry Mc Gee, Mikostic, Miss.Tic, Mode 2, Steve More, Nasty, Nord, Yoshi Omori, Os Gemeos, Psyckoze, Quik, Rammellzee, Recidivism, Rero, Remi Rough, Seen, Seth, Skki, Sore, Space Invader, Spazm, Spécio, Swoon, Tanc, Toxick, Vhils, Jacques Villeglé, Nick Walker, West, Yz, Zevs, Zhang Dali, Zlotykamien and Zuba.

 

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BSA Images of the Week 09.17.17 Urban Nation (UN) Special

BSA Images of the Week 09.17.17 Urban Nation (UN) Special

 

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

Welcome to Sunday! This week we have a special edition of BSA Images of the Week; Dedicated to stuff on the street for last nights opening of Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art (UN).

Readers of BSA will know that we are on the curatorial board of the new museum and have worked with 8 other curators along with Director Yasha Young to bring the inaugural show that happened last night to fruition. A block buster with thousands of people coursing through the perspective-bending walkways to see the GRAFT designed interiors, it was gratifying to see the 150 pieces admired by such interest, such avid curiosity.

As part of our mission, we want to foster an ongoing dialogue between the art in the streets and the art inside the museum. As UN’s first programmatic approach to this goal, the Art Mile invites the public to see installations that are made by many of the artists/collaborators which UN has had for projects in the city and around the world during the last few years of building the museum and reaching out to the community.

So with gratitude to you and to all the creatives and their supporters who rock our world, here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring 1UP Crew, 2501, Anthony Lister, Berlin Kidz, Blek Le Rat, David De La Mano, Faith XLVII, Franco “Jaz” Fasoli, Hot Tea, Icy & Sot, Inka Kendzia, Isaac Cordal, James Bullough, Louis Masai, Mademoiselle Maurice, Manthe Ribane, Seth Globepainter, Tankpetrol, Zezao, and Zio Ziegler.

Top image: 8 a.m. the morning after. Space Invader’s new plate unveiled last night to commemorate the opening of Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Berlin Kidz . 1UP Crew. James Bullough . 2501 . Zio Ziegler. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anthony Lister. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Franco JAZ Fasoli. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mademoiselle Maurice . Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Zezao. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Blek Le Rat. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Blek Le Rat. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Blek Le Rat. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

David De La Mano. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tankpetrol. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“AURUAM” Manthe Ribane, Inka Kendzia, and Faith XLVII. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Icy & Sot. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Icy & Sot. Detail. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Louis Masai. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Seth Globepainter. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Isaac Cordal. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Isaac Cordal. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hot Tea. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Le Rat Has Arrived, Police Remove Cars from “Art Mile”, 2 Days to “Unstoppable” in Berlin : BSA Dispatch 3

Le Rat Has Arrived, Police Remove Cars from “Art Mile”, 2 Days to “Unstoppable” in Berlin : BSA Dispatch 3

Blek Le Rat arrived at the Urban Nation office today with his wife Sybille after a long car ride from Paris, ready for a coffee and possibly to take a look at the wall he’ll be painting here to celebrate “UNSTOPPABLE”, the inaugural exhibition of the UN museum this weekend. The wind taunted BustArt as he attempted to lay his irreverent stencil of Mother Mary coddling Pluto Jr. and the sliced cutout cardboard bent and bowed beyond an average person’s patience while his buddy Stephan helped hold it down for spraying.

Isaac Cordal. Detail of a larger outdoor installation for the Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Under the elevated train a legion of police and traffic cops removed 80 or so cars so the team could begin building stages, cages, platforms, lighting, electricity – for a slew of fresh outdoor pieces which will be installed Thursday and Friday for the weekend outside component.

Who is going to be on display as part of the Art Mile? Try Pixel Pancho, Franco JAZ Fasoli, Bordalo II, Mimi S., HowNosm, Zezao, Isaac Cordal, Olek, Seth Globepainter, Blek Le Rat, Hottea, Dot Dot Dot, Borondo, Herakut, Deih XLF, Faith 47, David De La Mano, Nespoon, Tank Patrol, Lister, Cranio, Sandra Chevrier, Aaron Woes M, Yok & Sheryo, Haroshi, Don John, Ben Frost, Various & Gould, Icy & Sot, Mademoiselle Maurice, the Juxtapoz newsstand, Mark Bode, Shepard Fairey, 1 Up, James Bullough, and 2501. It’s a real cross section of styles, influences, and voice that will be engaging guests this weekend.

Hot Tea at work on his site specific installation for the Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Berlin police actually use a truss and truck that picks up the offending car, puts it on a flatbed. Then, believe or not, they look for an empty parking spot in the neighborhood an place the car into the new place – also signs are posted to let you know where your car was re-located to.

In New York City if you are unfortunate enough to park your car in the wrong place it is simply towed away to a massive car yard somewhere, banging into things occasionally on the way and flying through potholes – and then held for a King’s ransom. Then you have to simply guess if it was towed or stolen.  No word on what the London Police do in regards to cars parked illegally.

Hot Tea at work on his site specific installation for the Art Mile. Florian couldn’t wait to take a peek. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Hot Tea)

Up on a lift for painting today also were Mademoiselle Maurice, David De La Mano, and James Bullough, and the company plastering the corner façade of the museum with pink letters. When the winds got to strong everybody was forced to bring the lifts down for an hour. Intrepid and lucky photographers like Jaime Rojo and Nika Kramer still managed to go up in the buckets to get some good shots in.

Hot Tea is spraying a big installation space with a rainbow of colors – on the walls and floors completely. People who are peeking through the plastic sheeting that protects the windows are wondering what this world of color is going to be.

Hot Tea at work on his site specific installation for the Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Meanwhile the onslaught of arrivals continues, including hopefully we’ll see Martha Cooper and Carlo McCormick. Martha of course will be here to celebrate the beginning of the Martha Cooper Library within the museum and Carlo will be here to see the didactics and texts he wrote for the exhibition and catalogue –as well as speaking at the Unlock Book Fair. This publishing fair for graffiti, street art and related practices is a must see for those who relish the independent thinking minds who publish on paper in this scene. Other great speakers featured will be Pedro Soares, Jens Besser, Susan Phillips, Thomas Chambers, and Javier Abarca.

Okay that’s your update for today. See you on the streets tomorrow.

Ron English. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Graffiti Writer CARE at work for the Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Graffiti Writer CARE. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Graffiti Writer CARE. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bustart fights with the wind. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bustart. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tankpetrol at work. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mademoiselle Maurice detail and process shot of her installation for Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mademoiselle Maurice detail and process shot of her installation for Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

David De La Mano at work. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

David De La Mano at work. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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Interview: Inside the “The Thousands” and Swoon’s lock box with Michael “RJ” Rushmore

Interview: Inside the “The Thousands” and Swoon’s lock box with Michael “RJ” Rushmore

After spending most of 2009 in preparation, Michael “RJ” Rushmore is one week from the opening of “The Thousands”, a retrospective survey covering artists of the last few decades that led to what we’re calling “Street Art” today.

Nick Walker for The Thousands (courtesy Michael "RJ" Rushmore)

Nick Walker for The Thousands (courtesy Michael “RJ” Rushmore)

As editor and author of the popular blog Vandalog, RJ has been taking readers on a tour of the Street Art scene from his unique perspective.  Encouraged by his father, an avid and prodigious collector of street art, the recent high school graduate has labored for much of the last 5 months to pull together this show – reaching out to artists, collectors, authors, publishers, you name it.

When RJ first told us about his idea for a “pop-up” show in London, we thought it would be a small affair with perhaps one or three of the larger names and examples of work in an inflatable shop on cobblestone streets. But like so many young people energized by the excitement garnered in an exploding new movement, RJ has worked feverishly to grow this show into what he hopes will set a standard.

Swoon Box Contents

More inside looks at this Swoon Box below (courtesy Michael “RJ” Rushmore)

A tribute to his dedication and sincere regard for the work and the artists, “The Thousands” will feature many of the antecedent contributors (or pioneers) to the scene (Jenny Holzer, Blek le Rat, Futura 2000) as well as the better known artists that have come to symbolize the current explosion that began in the first half of this decade (Swoon, Banksy, Shepard Fairey) and many others of equal interest.

As if throwing a show of this scope was not enough RJ also created a book to accompany the show, published by Drago, one of the few small presses that have seriously and knowledgeably  documented the growth of the graffiti-to-street art scene.  With dedication, focus, and maturity, RJ navigates the back alleys and side-streets to bring this show in the heart of London to fruition.

Skewville from "The Thousands" (courtesy Drago press)

Skewville from “The Thousands” (courtesy Drago press)

Brooklyn Street Art: What sparked your interest in curating this show of Street Art? How did the whole process start?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: I think it was an idea that I’d had brewing in the back of my mind for a while, but I wasn’t taking it seriously until last January when I met with another street art blogger who proposed a similar idea about a having a street art retrospective. Eventually, we went our separate ways and I continued to develop the exhibition further. This is the show that a major museum should put on, but so far nobody has, and I hope that The Thousands helps to change that.

Brooklyn Street Art: “The Thousands” – is this a reference to the rise in this new wave of street art since 2000?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: While probably 95% of the show is work from the last ten years, that isn’t where I got the name. It’s probably a more succinct explanation though.

The show’s title comes from a short story by Daniel Alarcón called “The Thousands”. The story is about this community that is built by society’s outcasts and dreamers and they build their city out of the discarded and disused materials of the city they used to live in. So that reminded me of street art and the street art community.

 

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Veng from Robots Will Kill featured in “The Thousands” from his piece at the Mark Batty Urban Arts Fest in Brooklyn last month (courtesy Drago)

Brooklyn Street Art: Are most of the pieces in the show privately owned?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: Yes. More than 2/3rds of the artwork comes from private collections. I wanted this to be as much like a museum show as possible, almost a pop-up museum, and the way to do that is fill the show with amazing pieces from private collections.

The process of finding work has at some times been a challenge because I don’t know every street art collector in England, but it’s also been a unique opportunity to view some truly spectacular collections.

 

Chris Stain (photo Jaime Rojo)

Chris Stain will be represented in “The Thousands” (photo Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: What piece surprised the hell out of you?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: I’m saving pictures of this particular piece until after opening night, because I want people to come into the gallery not knowing exactly what to expect, but Roa’s piece is very cool and different. When Roa was in London recently, we spoke about his piece for The Thousands. He told me to wait and to trust him, that it was something special, so I did. Then he sent me the jpegs and I was definitely surprised. All I will say for now is that the piece is on venetian blinds.

 

Brooklyn street artists Faile will be in "The Thousands" (courtesy Drago)

Brooklyn street artists Faile will be in “The Thousands” (courtesy Drago)

Brooklyn Street Art: The show also has a handsome book to accompany it. What was the experience of putting it together?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: Everybody at Drago, my publisher, has been extremely supportive of the show and the book. I would even say that Paulo, Drago’s founder and head guy, was the first person to actually believe that The Thousands was going to happen and not be a complete train wreck. So working with them has been good fun. But the process of putting together a book in such a short amount of time was very stressful and even led to a few days of working 12 hours straight on the layout and design.

The best part about the reading book was also my favorite thing about putting it together. The book is split into sections, and most sections cover one artist. Since everything was already organized by artist, I was able to get a number of other artists and art world personalities to write about their friends and favorite artists. For example, Know Hope has written about Chris Stain and Elbow-toe has written a piece on Veng.

 

Swoon Box

A hand-made box by Brooklyn street artist Swoon that will be in “The Thousands” (courtesy Michael “RJ” Rushmore)

Brooklyn Street Art: The Swoon Box for “The Thousands”; Did she construct the box herself or was it a found box that she then later decorated?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: I’ve never asked Swoon, but I would guess that she constructed the chest. It looks like the wood is salvaged from a bunch of different sources, and the hinges are so mismatched that the lid can’t sit parallel to the walls of the box.

 

Swoon lock box (top detail)

Swoon lock box (top detail)

Brooklyn Street Art: It could be a time capsule, or a lock box of mementos and inspiring objects. What do you think?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: Right now, I think of it more like a lock box, but 15, 20, 30 years from now… the meaning will probably change with time as street art and Swoon become more or less important. Maybe one day Swoon will be written about in art history books and the box will be seen in an entirely different light. But at its core, and for my family, it will always see it box as a lock box.

There is this old deerskin chest in my house that my family calls The Treasure Box. It’s been in my dad’s family for generations and dates back to some time in the 1800’s. It’s full of old letters and locks of hair and things like that going all back though more than 100 years of Rushmore family history. My family and I see The Swoon Box as very similar to our Treasure Box, so we will always see The Swoon Box as full of mementos and not just a piece of art history.

 

Inside the Swoon lock box. (courtesy Michael "RJ" Reynolds)

Inside the Swoon lock box. (courtesy Michael “RJ” Rushmore)

Brooklyn Street Art: What’s your favorite object in the box and can you describe it for us?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: I usually like to get a behind the scenes view of things, so my favorite pieces in the box are the sketches for pieces that eventually became familiar Swoon images. In particular, I think the drawing for Zahra is a favorite. The sketch is beautiful, the end result is one of my all time favorite images by Swoon and I happened to meet Zahra earlier this year as well as her child.

 

Swoon's "Zahara" (courtesy of Black Rat Press)

Swoon’s “Zahara” (courtesy of Black Rat Press)

The Zahra sketch is pretty abstract, you can tell that there is a woman, but it’s really rough and seems to be more about the colors than any details about Zahra’s features. Without the image of a rising sun that is in both the sketch and the end result, you wouldn’t even connect the two pieces.

Swoon Box Contents

Swoon box has an original sketch for “Bethlehem Boys” (courtesy Michael “RJ” Rushmore)

Swoon's Bethlehem Boys as seen on the streets of Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Swoon’s “Bethlehem Boys” as seen on the streets of Bushwick, Brooklyn. (photo Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: If you have a show in ten years called “The Teens”, what do you think we might see in it?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: What really interests me right now and what I’ve been noticing lately is the continuing fusion of graffiti and street art. In most cities that have graffiti and street art, somebody is trying to merge the two cultures. In London some of those artists are Part2ism, Sickboy, the Burning Candy crew, Kid Acne, ATG crew, Elate and Word To Mother. Maybe that’s just my particular interest, but I’ve heard Pure Evil say that he is seeing something similar.

So if my taste is anything to go by, a decade from now I would like to see a show with classically trained painters showing off their lettering style and hard-core train bombing kings painting with a brush and telling everybody why Lee Quinones is their hero, except we won’t even notice the supposed role reversal I’ve just described.

And of course, since I’ll be nearing 30 years old, I’d want to include some artwork by actual teenagers to help support the next generation of street art/graffiti/whatever we’ll be calling this in ten years time.

Swoon box's contents

What are you looking at? (Swoon courtesy Michael “RJ” Rushmore)

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“The Thousands” features artists Adam Neate,  Aiko,  Anthony Lister,  Armsrock, Banksy, Barry McGee, Bast, Blek le Rat, Burning Candy, Chris Stain, David Ellis, Elbow-toe, Faile, Futura 2000, Gaia, Herakut, Jenny Holzer, José Parlá, Judith Supine, Kaws, Know Hope, Nick Walker, Os Gêmeos, Roa, Sam3, Shepard Fairey, Skewville, Swoon, WK Interact

November 18 "The Thousands" opens

November 18 “The Thousands” opens

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“Whole in the Wall” interview with the Co-Curators

“Whole in the Wall” interview with the Co-Curators

“WHOLE IN THE WALL: THE LARGEST AMERICAN & EUROPEAN STREET ART EXHIBITION IN NEW YORK – ARTISTS FROM THE 70’S TO NOW”

That’s a grand claim, and the Helenbeck sisters are going to try to back it up in June. The curators of this show are planning to pair New York writers from the 70’s and 80’s with European street art stars of the 00’s and present them in Louis XIV drawing rooms furnished with genuine articles from the period.

The show’s  numbers are grand too; 150+ pieces, 25,000 square feet of exhibition space, 40 years of art.  Promising to shake collectors and historians awake to the relevance of graff and street art in the continuum of fine art, it remains largely unknown what impact this show can have on the street. At the very least, it’s a bold courageous approach to further the ongoing conversation about Street Art’s relevance to the art world.

In the midst of installation, the co-curators of the show, Brigitte & Chantal Helenbeck, give us some insight about their approach and what they hope people will get from the “Whole in the Wall”;

Brooklyn Street Art: Why does this show juxtapose theses genuine antiquities, originally created for the upper classes, with an art form more frequently associated with the working class?

Brigette & Chantal: We think that Street Art has become a real part of the contemporary art scene.  By juxtaposing these Street Art pieces with antiquities we would like to underline the entrance of contemporary street art in the history of art.

Brooklyn Street Art: Can you pick one particular pairing of an artwork and an interiors setting in this show that made you laugh with glee?

Brigette & Chantal: We never really laughed, but were often amazed and surprised to notice how two genuine and high quality works of art create a balance and a force between them, no matter which time they belong to.  The audience always finds the pairing interesting.

Brooklyn Street Art: As you know, New York (particularly Brooklyn) is currently experiencing an explosion of new street art.  Are there any particular street artists of the new crop whose work excites you?

Brigette & Chantal: We are in New York also to discover this new crop, which one day we can maybe bring to Europe so that people can discover their works in future exhibitions.  We cannot put out a name, but the spirit of our gallery, which has been an experimental territory for young or acclaimed artists, has definitely been thrilled by the extreme creativity of young artists here in New York.

Brooklyn Street Art: As co-curators and twins, have you had the same vision for this show, or do your tastes differ a great deal?

Brigette & Chantal: We are alike and very different at the same time, but we function as a team and all our final decisions are a mix of our sensitivities and tastes. We find a way to agree at the end, and what people see is a jigsaw version of the two of us.

Brooklyn Street Art: A show of this vast scope must take a huge amount of planning, logistics, and effort.  What has been the most surprising part of the process for you?

Brigette & Chantal: To discover New York in a different way, definitely. We learn from people here every day and this turns out to be an extremely interesting experience. This is the logical direction of our professional path, and also part of a journey that we’ll continue in the future.

Brooklyn Street Art: Popular perception of graff and street art continues to evolve.  When people walk away from the show, what you like them to be thinking?

Brigette & Chantal: We would like them to see that these artists and their works have their place in the contemporary art field and they are part of the future history of art.  We are satisfied when people enjoy our exhibitions and discover new forms of art and new talents. This exhibition in particular is very alive, full of movement, colorful, like the Americans are, and like this city remains despite this difficult economic crisis worldwide.

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Whole in the Wall: 1970 to Now

Friday, May 29 to Saturday, June 27
Open 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Tuesdays through Saturdays
529-535 W. 35th St. @ 11th Ave. (former Splashlight Studio)

Helenbeck Gallery

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