These days it is the default storyline of a non-British arts journalist to deign that their local street artist is “Tel Aviv’s Banksy”, or “Wanaka’s Banksy”. Here in Madrid, this artist just calls himself Banksy’s cousin, or at least that could be one interpretation of his artistic name.
Primo Banksy is a trained artistic talent and uses his carefully rendered ink and watercolor illustrations to highlight cultural figures in art, politics, literature – like John & Yoko, the girl from the Velázquez’ Las Meninas, or this portrait of Federico García Lorca, the poet, playwright, and theater director.
Meanwhile the street artist known as TVBoy is much closer in style and sentimentality to the Bristol-born street art man of mystery known around the world. The Barcelona based Italian favors the pop side of so-called “urban art” here, his filter treatments of popular figures a sure hit for passersby who relate to the subject.
Our thanks to BSA reader Ricardo Hernandez who shares with
us some recent shots while strolling the streets of Madrid.
Welcome to BSA Images of the Week. Shana Tova to our Jewish brothers and sisters, even as we mourn the Friday passing of one of Brooklyn’s own, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was born here on East 9th Street in Midwood to Russian immigrant parents in 1933 and the governor says we’ll have a statue honoring her here too.
Compared to all these news, the scene with Street Art appears tame. But from Red Hook to Soho to LES to Bushwick to Ridgewood, it is definitely not lame.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring BK Foxx, Chris Tuorto, City Kitty, CRKSHNK, De Grupo, Downtown DaVinci, Freakotrophic, Half, Joe Iurato, Kesta, Logan Hicks, Mish, Ouch, Praxis VGZ, Sac Six, Sean Lugo 9, Stikman, and You Go Girl!
Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1933-2020) A role model. A trailblazer. A pioneer. An intellectual. A woman of her time. A feminist. A mother. A wife. A daughter. A sister. A grandmother. An extraordinary human who dedicated most of her life to extending the the reach of justice to all of us, and to protect us from the tyranny of others, including the state.
Her work is done and we are in deep gratitude to her for being such an amazing role model to us – even while we realize that our work will continue. Rest in Peace, Justice Ginsburg.
“Dissents speak to a future age. It’s not simply to say, ‘My colleagues are wrong and I would do it this way.’ But the greatest dissents do become court opinions and gradually over time their views become the dominant view. So that’s the dissenter’s hope: that they are writing not for today, but for tomorrow.” – Interview with NPR, 2002
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. Wall Writers
BSA Special Feature: Wall Writers
Wall Writers: Graffiti in its innocence. Directed by Roger Gatsman and narrated by John Waters is a documentary accompanied by a book with an introduction by Barry McGee. The film was released in 2016. Redbull is streaming the full film on their website now. For those interested in the birth of graffiti and wish to know more about the pioneers writers such as Taki 186, Cornbread, Snake 1 and, many more legends this is a perfect weekend treat.
Who are these revered men cast in iron, carved in marble, poured in bronze? What great lengths have they traveled to achieve what high aims, and who decided they were worthy of statuary? Also, how long should these figures stay up, remain relevant, remain revered?
History is written by the victors,
not the morally sound. Some get elevated because of the cult of personality, or
a campaign of suppression. So whether they are soaring, sublime, or ridiculous,
most statues represent the values and goals of the society – or at least the
dominant culture. But when values and social mores change, so do these
character’s relevance and appropriateness.
Street artist Vlady
questions whether we really know everything we should about these people
hoisted above us at City Hall, in the center of the fountain at the park, at
the entrance to the library. Have you done your due diligence?
In fact, Vlady believes
that “despite our memorable achievements, we are all despicable people.”
“Morality, ethics, fashion,
taste and even religion can change profoundly over time. Nothing remains
constant, and neither good nor bad are defined exactly the same way.”
Helpfully, he has drawn up
a number of “Accusation checklist” signs for Swedish city-dwellers to
learn truthful or bogus facts about their statues.
“I have targeted random
statues in Stockholm, assuming that each of these celebrated individuals of the
past had despicable moral conduct, according to today’s ethics,” he tells us. “My
accusations are on the funny side, but quite frankly, probably close to real.”
Birmingham, Englands’ Lucy McLauchlin carries the patterns and textures of natural forms in her mind and her paint brushes wherever she goes. In this new mural on a pebbledash wall in London, her ongoing fascination for the organic again intercedes the spirit of graphic geometry.
“I tend to approach a wall
by firstly understanding it’s situation within its surrounding area,” she tells
us, “this leads my painting so it’s more of a collaboration in a sense.” Working
in context is still uncommon in the street art milieu, although some profess to
create work with the local culture firmly in mind. For McLauchlin, it’s an intuitive
“In this case I allow a
spontaneous approach to guide my brush marks as they grow across the surface,”
“The citizens, using their artisanal skills, built a new bus-stop in the same place where the institutional one resided,” says street artist Biancoshock, “choosing the shape, the colors, the useful information and its name.”
This is community participation at its best and another route of inquiry into public space and its relationship to city dwellers for this Italian conceptual artist.
“The old bus stop was removed many years ago because it was damaged. The transport company never replaced it,” he explains.
The space was abandoned by the municipality but not by the neighborhood – so he and another noteworthy street artist Alice Pasquini convened a Zoom meeting with area neighbors during a Covid-skewed version of this years’ CVTà Street Fest in Civitacampomarano. Pasquini is also the Artistic Director of the Festival in this Medieval Italian village that is wrestling with depopulation and the related loss of services.
The bus shelter was designed to shelter a historic bench where every day the inhabitants meet for a chat at the end of the day – a symbolic and meaningful place that helps keep the sociability alive.
Together with the shelter, the stop pole was created, which shows the institutional signage and the updated timetables of the urban routes that connect the village with the city. Together they have named the bus stop A-VIA-NOV, which in the local dialect is translated as New Street.
A great new public space for the public to enjoy and the municipality is still happily ignorant of the fact. “No transport company was notified about this action,” Biancoshock tells us.
“So for me, this intervention can be interpreted more as an activist gesture than an artwork.”
Project by Biancoshock
Art direction: Alice Pasquini
Cvta Street Festival 2020, Civitacampomarano (CB) – Italy
Before there were drones, there were bees. They are far more sophisticated still when it comes to their subtleties of collecting pollen on their furry bodies, flying on translucent panels through the heavy sticky air.
Here in Stornara, Italy, artist Bastardia is thinking of their bodies positively charged with static electricity, nervously excited as they plunder the petals, ready to attract the fine powder dust shaken loose from the flower, alight on the music meanderings of summer.
The artist invites us into this delicate world, imagining further the relationship of the bees and the flowers, playing to one another, with one another, their minds drunk with love.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. Esteban del Valle – The End is Near 2. NADIA VADORI-GAUTHIER: Une minute de danse par jour – September 2020.
BSA Special Feature: Esteban del Valle
An excerpt from Esteban del Valle’s artist talk for The Fine Arts Work Center Summer 2020 Virtual Event, where he discussed his work in an upcoming solo exhibition “The End is Near” at Albert Merola Gallery Sept 4 – 24, 2020.
Une Minue de Danse in 2020
LET’S DANCE! Your interpretation is welcomed.
It’s good to see that Nadia Vadori-Gauthier is still innovating on the street. BSA has featured her work many times in the last half-decade, and we admire her tenacity. With more than 2066 daily dances, the French performer has been dancing every day for at least one minute since January 14, 2015.
She often stages her performances in Paris in public spaces. Before Covid-19 she had the freedom to interact with the public and immerse herself within the context of the public space. Below we share with you some of her most recent performances.
NADIA VADORI-GAUTHIER: Une minute de danse par jour / September 7 2020.
NADIA VADORI-GAUTHIER: Une minute de danse par jour / September 3 2020.
NADIA VADORI-GAUTHIER: Une minute de danse par jour / August 23 2020.
NADIA VADORI-GAUTHIER: Une minute de danse par jour / July 3 2020
Slowly the world is opening up, one little step at a time. We hope.
Essential services and workers never shutdown, people who were on the frontlines of the Pandemic, making certain we have emergency medical attention, electricity, food on the table, running water, trash collection, and a secured environment in our homes and outside deserve our gratitude for many years to come. Most countries have set up phases for reopening with the goal of returning to a normal life, or at least a semblance of it.
Among the many sectors of our society that are hit by Covid and vulture economics, the art community was among the most affected; many artists the last to return to their practice, or losing their spaces. In fact, in many countries, the arts and entertainment are still in lockdown. It’s especially gratifying for us to see our peers getting up and making art after months of not being able to do what they love the most.
Today we have a familiar glowing face on the pages of BSA. Spider Tag who tells us that after months of not being able to even go to his studio finally he has something new up for the Take Tomorrow Back Festival in Söderhamn, Sweden to celebrate the cities 400th anniversary. His work has evolved from using yarn to cable to neon with his illuminated pieces now being interactive as is the case of his new creation Neon Mural #9 (INM#9).
Sometimes the eyes tell you
a lot. In the case of masked people, its all you can rely on aside from posture
and body language. Here in Cork, Ireland,
the artist who calls himself Asbestos keeps the faces hidden and the eyes alert
– very alert.
“The piece is another in a
series of mask murals I’m doing,” he tells us. “This mask has drawings on it by
my childhood subconscious, an imaginary version of myself called Left Hand. He
exists as an innocent and naive version of myself, who doodles thoughts of the
past and snippets of the life he sees through my eyes.”
The mural was part of this years Cork Graffiti Jam was organized by @mistertrixy. Asbestos would like to thank him for the chance to paint this and the wonderful hospitality.