“good table manners, social awareness, whether or not they are house trained…”
Project M sounds like a James Bond plot feature, and if you’ve seen the smartly swarthy man of mystery at the helm of this installation you may expect him to scale the facade of the Urban Nation, instead of simply curate it.
But that is what Nuart’s founder Martyn Reed is doing in Berlin right now – cultivating a diverse program of urban artists on the ground level of a promising new project now under construction. Last week Martyn met with a number of the participants who flew, drove, walked to this neighborhood in transition to install their works for M/3 – including New York’s Martha Cooper, Melbourne’s Buff Diss, and Berlin’s Various & Gould, among others.
Martha Cooper. Shot from inside the window. (photo © Luna Park)
Project M, now in it’s 3rd edition, is a rotating street level exhibition to draw attention to the birth of an auspicious new cultural and art project that will anchor Berlin even further in the minds of fans and academics alike who follow the scene that continues to evolve around art in the streets.
An international presence in an internationally revered street art/ graffiti/ urban art/ mural city, so far Project M has featured artists such as Faile, Ron English, Know Hope, Sandra Chevrier and Strøk, and by the end of this series will have featured many more who are lending shape and form to this global scene with many names.
Martha Cooper poses in front of her window, 33 years after taking the original photo. (photo © Luna Park)
On hand for the installation action a few days ago was New York based photographer Luna Park, who shares with BSA readers some of the installation action, and we spoke with Mr. Reed about his curatorial vision for this iteration of Project M.
Brooklyn Street Art: Can you tell us about Project M and what you will be drawing attention to here?
Martyn Reed: It’s an interesting project and quite unusual in that it uses the inside of windows to house the work, and due to the nature of the project has quite a few restrictions that we’re not used to on the street or gallery. But like working on a canvas, these restrictions can often focus the mind.
For this iteration of Project M (the third), we set ourselves three tasks; to integrate Berlin artists into the group, to focus primarily on Stencil Art, and to mix well know names with emerging talent. We also asked a few of the artists, Martin Whatson and Ernest Zacharevic for example, to work site specifically.
So much for the “Broken Window” theory. Martha Cooper (photo © Luna Park)
Brooklyn Street Art: When you were thinking about which artists to choose for this project that is still in its early days at UN, what qualities were you looking for?
Martyn Reed: As ever with Nuart, it’s not always just about the art. This was to be a pretty intense 12 hour working period in a relatively small space with a crew who hadn’t yet met the artists. In cases like this it is important, like at all great dinner parties, to get the mix of guests just right.
Failing that, it is important to ensure that there’s plenty of alcohol available. Other qualities we looked for were good table manners, social awareness, whether or not they are house trained, and whether they can they be trusted with sharp implements etcetera. – For the most, I think we got the balance just right.
Levalet at work on his piece. (photo © Luna Park)
Brooklyn Street Art: Berlin obviously is a major city for street/urban/graffiti/mural art. How would you describe the influence of the local scene as factoring in to your curatorial vision on this project?
Martyn Reed: I think it’s important to get to know as much as possible about the artists and area you’re working in. Fortunately we have a lot of friends based in Berlin and a pretty intimate knowledge of the scene.
I knew which artists and style of work I wanted for this project and also those I thought who would be valuable allies for the UN project in the future. Berlin’s an interesting place to work with its heady mix of activism, anarchy and youthful abandon. I guess finding a way to harness and present this without becoming it, is key.
Levalet (photo © Luna Park)
Brooklyn Street Art: You have had some view of this already during the installation – but which artist do you think will provoke the most response from passersby?
Martyn Reed: For me it is Martha Cooper’s “Cops” from 1981, a vintage photo install chosen specifically for this location that is overlooked by the U-Bahn, Berlin’s Subway. It’s 20% larger than life and is really imposing in situ and when viewed from the train. It has already garnered the most interest and I’m sure is on its way to being a “future classic”.
I’m really happy bringing this particular work to the street and presenting it as a work of art in its own right, and of course, it’s always a pleasure to honour such a legend as Martha.
Various & Gould at work on their piece. (photo © Luna Park)
Various & Gould (photo © Luna Park)
Martin Whatson at work on his piece. (photo © Luna Park)
Martin Whatson (photo © Luna Park)
Buff Diss at work on his piece. (photo © Luna Park)
Buff Diss (photo © Luna Park)
Buff Diss (photo © Luna Park)
Evol. Detail. (photo © Luna Park)
Plot Bot at work. (photo © Luna Park)
Ernest Zacharevic at work on his piece. (photo © Luna Park)
Ernest Zacharevic stands aside his new installation for M/3 (photo © Luna Park)
Poland’s M-City through the glass. Detail. (photo © Luna Park)
M-City with David Hochbaum on the right. (photo © Luna Park)
Rone on the facade, upper portion. Curated by Urban Nation. (photo © Luna Park)
David Hochbaum on the lower facade. Curated by Urban Nation. (photo © Luna Park)
We wish to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Luna Park for sharing her photos with us. If you wish to see more of Luna’s work click HERE
PROJECT M/3, curated by Martyn Reed of Nuart features: MARTHA COOPER (US), DOTDOTDOT (NO), ERNEST ZACHAREVIC (LT), VARIOUS AND GOULD (DE), M-CITY (PL), LEVALET (FR), PLOTBOT (DE), MARTIN WHATSON (NO), EVOL (DE), BUFF DISS (AUS)
For more information on Urban Nation, click HERE.
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