All posts tagged: Ernest Zacharevic

2010-2020 : 10 Impactful Street Art & Graffiti Interventions & Events of the Decade

2010-2020 : 10 Impactful Street Art & Graffiti Interventions & Events of the Decade

BSA has been here with you for this entire decade – an honor and a privilege. Reviewing the many interventions and events we witnessed and shared with our readers, we realize that this grassroots people’s art movement is reflecting our society in fundamental ways and reaching deep as well as wide. Here in roughly chronological order we recount for you a Top 10 for BSA that have impacted our way of seeing art on the streets.


1.

The “Girl In The Blue Bra” – December 2011

Oppressive regimes worldwide have a few commonalities. One of them is patriarchy. Over the last decade we have seen many female artists rise powerfully to smash it, harnessing their rage and power and taking their voice to the street.

There were countless images that encapsulated the ferocity and the tenacity of the protesters during the Arab Spring uprisings in Cairo, Egypt in December of 2011. One image, in particular, captured the attention of the media and the public. The image is commonly referred to as the “Girl In The Blue Bra”. The image depicts a young woman, whose identity remains anonymous, being beaten and dragged by soldiers as she was taking part in the protests in Tahrir Square in Cairo, against Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. Her face is veiled and her jeans are still on but as she was being dragged by the soldiers her abaya came undone exposing her bare torso and revealing her blue bra as a soldier was about to kick her in her abdomen.

A young woman is being dragged and kicked, exposing her bare torso in the act by the military in Tahiri Square. Cairo, Egypt. December 17, 2011. (Stringer/Reuters/Landov)

While the image exposed the abusive practices and of power of the military in Egypt – it also swiftly sparked ferocious reactions around the globe, particularly with women who subsequently staged their own march in Tahrir Square in Cairo to demand the end of military rule.

Stencil work by Bahia Shebab “No to stripping/Long live a peaceful revolution” (image courtesy of the artist)

Among the artists who carried the Blue Bra theme to the streets was one artist, Bahia Shehab, whom BSA and its readers helped to get a movie made about Street Artists in the Arab Spring, called Nefertiti’s Daughters, directed by Mark Nicolas. Later we were the first to debut a scene from it at the Nuart Festival in Norway (“#Activism on the Street Now”), and years after that Nuart actually hosted professor Shehab. This is a small world, this Street Art community.

The actions of the young woman, the violent response of the military, and the overwhelming support of the public, in general, sparked a new wave of feminism in Egypt and inspired artists to create and display their artworks on the streets in protest.

Stencil work by Bahia Shebab “No to stripping/Long live a peaceful revolution” (image courtesy of the artist)
An unidentified artist in Cairo. (photo from Pinterest)

2.

“Art In The Streets” Opens at LA MOCA – April 2011

Art in the Streets was the first major U.S. museum survey of graffiti and street art, curated by MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch and Associate Curators Roger Gastman and Aaron Rose, an exhibition tracing the development of graffiti and street art from the 1970s to the global movement it had evolved to. BSA was there to capture and share some of what was happening.

Red Hot and Street: “Art in the Streets” Brings Fire to MOCA

From BSA

“Yes, Banksy is here. The giant ‘Art in the Streets’ show opening this weekend at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles gives a patch of real estate to the international man of mystery who has contributed greatly to the worldwide profile of what is soon to be, maybe already is, a mainstream phenomenon known as street art. A smattering of his pranksterism is an absolute must for any show staking claim to the mantle of comprehensive survey and an excellent way to garner attention. But “Streets” gets its momentum by presenting a multi-torch colorful and explosive people’s history that began way before Banksy was born and likely will continue for a while after.

The show is an audacious multi-platform, colorful endeavor; part history lesson and part theme park bringing about 50 years of graffiti and street art history, it’s influences and influencers, under one roof. Then there is the stuff outside. Engaging and educational, “Art in the Streets” makes sure visitors have the opportunity to learn how certain tributaries lead to this one river of swirling urban goo, mapping connections between cultural movements, communities, and relationships within it. When it does this, the museum system effectively differentiates its value apart from a mere gallery show. “

“Art In The Streets” Blade . Os Gemeos. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
“Art In The Streets” Invader’s invasion of Martha Cooper’s installation. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

3.

Banksy’s NYC Residency – “Better Out Than In” – October 2013

An unprecedented city-wide near daily installation of works in New York established a new high-water mark in the flood of Street Art that took many cities in the 2010s. The British Street Artist played to a media capital in such an effective campaign that even the least interested residents became familiar with the elusive prankster.

Banksy’s Final Trick

From BSA

A Genuine October Surprise for New York Street Art Friends and Foes Alike.

“In a series of communiqués beamed from his website, the global Street Artist Banksy gave graffiti and Street Art followers a near-daily jolt of mystery and mouse clicking that had people looking at every street scene as a possible Banksy by the time it ended. While few can confirm the exact level of involvement the actual artist had in the five boroughs, if any, none will deny that the Banksy brand underwent a major “refresh” this month that again put his name on the lips of those who had begun to forget him and many who had never heard of him.

Thanks to this masterful marketing campaign billed as a month-long ‘residency’ on New York’s streets, many thousands were talking about him daily on the street, on television, radio, social media, in galleries, studios, office cubicles, art parties, and the mayors’ office. By effectively combining the sport of treasure hunting with humor and populism, each new cryptic appearance of something-anything gradually conditioned some grand art doyennes and the plainer mongrels amongst us to drool on command and lift a leg in salute to the curiously still anonymous artist and the team who helped him pull it off.”

BANKSY “Better Out Than In” NYC Month Long Residency. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
BANKSY “Better Out Than In” NYC Month Long Residency. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

4.

The Brooklyn Museum’s Exhibitions with Swoon, Faile, BÄST, Haring, Basquiat, ESPO, JR Expand Knowledge, Appreciation

One cultural institution in New York City and indeed in the United States has been notable throughout the decade for its commitment to organizing exhibitions where graffiti, street art, and the artists whom have shaped it are given recognition for their contribution to the arts. The Brooklyn Museum’s leadership, including former director Arnold L. Lehman, current director Anne Pasternak, and Sharon Matt Atkins, Director of Exhibitions and Strategic Initiatives have been channeling resources and focus to the study, promotion, and exhibition of the works of important figures in the contemporary graffiti and Street Art movement. It notable that the museum has in its permanent collection the works of distinguished graffiti and Street Artists dating back to the dawn of the modern scene; something that other important cultural institutions in New York City that are dedicated to the preservation and promotion of modern, contemporary, and American art lack in their collections.

It’s for this reason that we have selected the Brooklyn Museum as one of the top ten graffiti and street art movers of the decade. Predated by 2006’s “Graffiti” exhibition the museum has mounted several important presentations during this decade that have not only been blockbusters but they have contributed to the cultural enrichment of all New Yorkers and the expanded discussion of the relevance of these art forms to established canons. Here are some highlights:

Keith Haring – March 2012

From BSA

Keith Haring 1978-1982 : Early Keith at The Brooklyn Museum

Keith Haring: 1978-1982, a traveling exhibition first shown in Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna and The Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, introduces a period of his work not often examined, taking you up to the edge of the seemingly sudden international fame he experienced as artist, activist and public figure through the rest of the 1980s.

… At a time when the small-town boy was developing his visual vocabulary as an artist, Haring was also discovering himself as a man in the world and in a city that he found endlessly fascinating and worthy of exploration. Capturing his spirit of hands-on experimentation, the show is almost entirely comprised of works on paper with one collaborative piece on plywood with his contemporary Jean Michel Basquiat, paper collage, video, and documentary photos.”

Keith Haring. Matrix, 1983. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Swoon – April 2014

From BSA

“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands”, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Museum

“Sharon brought me in here and said, ‘What is interesting to you in the building?’ and I really love that because the thing about working on the street is that you are always thinking site-specifically. And so that thinking has to translate into your work in all places. For me, if I make something in a museum I want it to be very site-specific and this is probably one of the most site-specific pieces I’ve ever done,” explains Swoon.

Under the advice and guidance of an engineer, the artist also modified her design process to allow for foundational considerations like truss sections and lift points. “I showed him an initial model and he showed me an engineered system and then I built another model based on the system that he engineered.”

It is probably unusual for a grand museum to be so amenable to the requests of an artist for a site-specific piece that literally inhabits the furthest reaches of space, and Swoon says she recognizes the leeway she received. “You know, they have been really adventurous in letting us create this. We’ve been sort of pushing a lot with the creation of this piece.”

For Matt Atkins, the opportunity to bring an internationally known street artist and neighbor into the museum has been the result of just over two years of planning. ‘It’s been so wonderful working with Swoon to realize her vision for this project. This is the first time we’ve really used the full height of the 72-foot dome, so it’s quite spectacular. I am thrilled to see her boats back in New York and for them to have this new life. The underlying ideas about climate change in the installation also make this project an appropriate tie into the Museum’s focus on activism with our other exhibitions and collections,’ she says.”

“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks – April 2015

From BSA

Basquiat’s Notebooks Open at The Brooklyn Museum

“In Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks, now running at The Brooklyn Museum until August 23rd, the genius of his fragmenting logic is revealed as a direct relationship between his private journals and his prolific and personally published aerosol missives on the streets of Manhattan’s Soho and Lower East Side neighborhoods in the late 1970s and 1980s.

These notebooks were for capturing ideas and concepts, preparing them, transmuting them, revising them, pounding them into refrains. In the same way his text (and glyphic) pieces on the street were not necessarily finished products each time; imparted on the run and often in haste, these unpolished missives didn’t require such preciousness.”

Famous. 1982. Basquiat:The Unknown Notebooks. Brooklyn Museum. April 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Faile & BÄST – July 2015

From BSA

Holy Faile ! “Savage/Sacred Young Minds” at Brooklyn Museum

“FAILE may be a religious experience this summer at the Brooklyn Museum, but only one of the hallowed installations is called Temple. The seedier, more dimly lit venue will surely have the larger number of congregants by far, bless their sacred hearts.

Celebrating the duality and appropriation of words, slogans, and images have been the bailiwick of the duo since they first began hitting Brooklyn streets at the turn of the century with their stencils and wheat-pastes on illegal spots and neglected spaces. In FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds, their new attention-commanding/refracting exhibit organized by Sharon Matt Atkins at the Brooklyn Museum, these guys pour it on, compelling you into a complex panoply of possible re-imaginings of meaning that reference pop, pulp, myth, art history, 50s sci-fi, 60s advertising, comics, punk zines, consumer culture and their own pure artistic and branded fiction.”

FAILE. Temple. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Stephen ESPO Powers – November 2015

From BSA

Coney Island Dreaming: Following the Signs to Stephen Powers

Stephen Powers: Coney Island Is Still Dreamland (To A Seagull) is one of 3 new exhibits inspired by the historic attractions of Brooklyn’s seaside.

“Graffiti artist-turned-sign painter Stephen Powers is dreaming of Coney Island and he is bringing a colorful collection of found and freshly produced signage that evokes a forgotten era to climb the columns of a Brooklyn Museum gallery.

Given the boisterous parade of brands and logos into museums that is happening as part of the institutional funding and programming mix, it’s fun to see the ninth episodic installation of this traveling ICY SIGNS shop here; its simplicity and guile recalling amusing persuasive techniques from the mid-century American advertising lexicon. Simultaneously, for those who have been lucky enough to sicken themselves on cotton candy and The Wonder Wheel, the new show imparts a rather reassuring and seedy nostalgia for Coney Island, complete with an inexplicable hankering for a thick beef hot dog.”

Steve Powers “Coney Island Is Still Dreamland (To A Seagull)” Brooklyn Museum. November 2015 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR – October 2019

From BSA

“JR: Chronicles” Revels in His Explorations at Brooklyn Museum

“A retrospective at Brooklyn Museum currently showcases the photographic works and public projects envisioned and created by French Street Artist JR. Covering roughly two decades of work, JR: Chronicles dedicates an in-depth examination into his practices and personal philosophies when creating – as evidenced by this collection of his murals, photographs, videos, films, dioramas, and archival materials.

Brooklyn Street Art: JR created a new digital collage for this exhibition featuring a thousand or so people individually interviewed and photographed. Can you tell us about what criterion he used for selecting his subjects?
Sharon Matt Atkins: JR’s main focus was on capturing the rich diversity of New York City. As such, he photographed people in all five boroughs of the city, including many neighborhoods that were new to him. While he did invite some guests to participate, most of the people were passersby or business owners and workers of local stores. “

JR. 28 Millimètres, Portrait d’une génération, Braquage (Holdup), Ladj Ly, 2004
JR: Chronicles. Brooklyn Museum. Brooklyn, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)

5

Blu and Street Art – Banksy & Co.

Curated by Christian Omodeo, Luca Cinacabilla, and Sean Corcoran. March 2016

BLU buffing his own works in Bologna took the news cycle, his legion of compatriots armed with rollers and bucket paint. But it was the show that he was reacting to that brought thousands to the museum space to discuss the rightful place of Street Art, graffiti, and the relevance of preserving it for posterity.

From BSA

BLU Allies : A Counter Exhibition to “Banksy & Co.” Launched in Bologna

“The contested Banksy and Co. exhibition contains, among many other works, walls removed from a privately owned abandoned building in Bologna that were painted by BLU. Displaying the walls and his artwork without his consent so angered the painter that he rallied artists and activists to help him snuff out all his remaining murals and paintings in this Northern Italian city last week. (See A BLU Buffer Talks About the Grey Action in Bologna)

The heavily attended Friday night opening of Street Art – Banksy & Co. at Palazzo Pepoli – Museo della Storia di Bologna was curated by Luca Ciancabilla, Christian Omodeo, and Sean Corcoran and features roughly 250 historical and contemporary works spanning about fifty years and highlighting a number of movements within the so-called Urban Art genre. On balance it appears that 90 percent of the works are studio works, paintings, sculpture, videos, original sketches, and ephermera and were probably collected in a more conventional way and the tagged posters, stickers, metal doors, and wall fragments are viewed in the context of the whole scene.”

About Ponny (photo © @around730)

A BLU Buffer Talks About the Grey Action in Bologna

From BSA

“Reality TV is usually completely devoid of reality. That isn’t the exact comparison Andreco said on his Facebook page but we thought it was a fitting analogy. Street Art in a museum or gallery can sometimes feel like taxidermy.

Andreco actually said ‘Deciding which wall to paint or not to paint has always been one of our free choices. This operation, to uncork the walls and move them elsewhere, oversteps this freedom.’ Fair enough.

Of course, that is not the primary reason why activists and Street Artists joined in to help BLU paint over the many murals that he completed on Bologna city walls over the last two decades or so. In an English titled press release on the Italian website Wumingfoundation the artist lays out a multi-layered justification for destroying his own murals, many of which have become beloved landmarks around the city and which have helped make him an art star in some circles.”

BLU action in Bologna. (photo © Andreco)

American conceptual, activist and street artist John Fekner, whose art and his art partner Don Leicht were represented in the exhibition Street Art: Bansky & Co weighs in the controversy by saying:

  • The bottom line is: what’s done in public-doesn’t remain in public. There’s no protection for artists who trespass. It’s the chance one takes outdoors.
  • If you create illegal art murals, street rules are always in effect:
  1. You can’t stop a drunk in the middle of the night from pissing on your wall.
  2. You can’t stop a bulldozer from razing your work.
  3. You can’t stop a neighborhood anti-graffiti squad from painting over your work.
  4. You can’t stop a well-dressed thief in a suit, or their hired slug with a chisel from removing your wall work and hauling it off to their laird, garage, museum or art market.

“Under any circumstances, don’t immediately and irrationally react. If your original aspirations were to be an artist- then just do what you were meant to do: be an artist. Don’t double shift and be a night watchman patrolling the streets to try and thwart thieves of your work. Unique temporary outdoor creations engender a public conversation that includes everyone: art lovers and art haters, lowbrow and highbrow, and everyone who interacts with your public work.”

John Fekner (© John Fekner)

6.

Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art Opens in Berlin – September 2017

We had the unique perspective of being two of the foundational curators who made this exhibition happen and made the doors fly open to thousands of visitors, so it only made sense that we covered the opening that brought much promise to the institutional recognition of Street Art, graffiti, and its move into Urban Contemporary.

From BSA

“Inundated!” Scenes from the Opening: UN – Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art in Berlin

“This week is Art Week in Berlin, and you just stole Art Week,” said a handsome and intensely opinionated German to us as we leaned on the arm rail of the M.C. Escher-inspired walkway before a Carlos Mare139 sculpture and above the capacity crowd on Saturday night at the Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art (UN).

Not sure if that was the exact goal, but we get his larger point; the UN has just made a massive entry into a number of societally and culturally influential minds when it comes to the relevancy of Street Art and graffiti to visual culture and art history. This movement into so-called Contemporary began as early as the 1970s and has overcome and weathered cultural and market ebbs and flows – persisted, if you will – yet somehow institutions have been wary of this work and these artists and unable to fully embrace their importance, you decide why.”

Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Hot Tea’s installation. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

7.

Five Pointz: A Legal Case For Urban Artists Shifts the Focus – February 2018

From BSA

Tell It to The Judge ; Graffiti Artists Win in 5 Pointz Case

“In a ruling that many graffiti and Street Artists interpret as a validation of their artwork and which may spawn further legal claims by artists in the future, Brooklyn Judge Frederic Block, a United States Federal Judge for the Eastern District of New York, awarded $6.7 million in damages to a group of 21 artists in the high profile case of the former graffiti holy place in Queens called 5 Pointz.

Under the leadership of artist and organizer Jonathan “Meres One” Cohen, also a plaintiff, the award is in response to a suit that cried foul on the overnight destruction of multiple artworks on building walls without consultation or notification of the artists.

Citing provisions of the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act that grants artists certain “moral” rights, the artists claimed that their artworks on the 5 Pointz compound that was owned by real estate developer Jerry Wykoff were protected and should be afforded certain rights and considerations.

Arts and intellectual property lawyers and judges will now be examining the implications of the ruling and citing it as an example in arguments about art created on walls legally and possibly those created illegally as well. In a city that prides itself as being a birthplace of graffiti and Street Art, many artists and wall owners must ask themselves if there will need to be an additional layer of the agreement before an aerosol can is held aloft.”

5Pointz. LIC Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
5Pointz. LIC Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
5Pointz. LIC Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

8.

The New York Times Publishes DONDI’S Obituary – February 2019

In an unprecedented posthumous publication of an obituary, this year The Times acknowledged something that it had so far failed to do; the contribution of graffiti writers to the cultural and art canons deserves serious recognition. By publishing the iconic image of DONDI taken by Martha Cooper that burned “Subway Art” into the mind’s eye of many generations of graffiti writers, the “paper of record” caught up with one the the scene’s leaders and heroes.

Dondi White by Martha Cooper. (photo courtesy of NYT / Martha Cooper)

The NYT obituary of Dondi begins like this:

Donald Joseph White, considered a legend before “street art” became popular, turned New York City’s subways into rolling canvases of color, humor and social commentary.”

Dondi White by Martha Cooper. (photo courtesy of NYT / Martha Cooper)


9.

Martha Cooper: A Picture Story Premieres at TriBeCa. A film by Selina Miles. April 2019

From BSA

MARTHA: A Picture Story. Shots from the Premiere and Movie Review

“First things first – Full disclosure; we are featured in the movie and we are close friends with both the subject of the doc and the director and we first suggested to the director that she was the perfect candidate to make a film about Martha Cooper. Now that we have that out of the way here are a number of shots from the premiere and our review of the movie:

Martha: A Picture Story had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this Thursday to an enthusiastic crowd that included big graffiti, Street Art, international press and film industry names, to see the highly anticipated documentary about the venerable photographer Martha Cooper by the Sydney director Selina Miles.

The electricity was in the air as Director Miles and producer Daniel Joyce along with the just-arrived Australian members of the “Martha” crew looked for their seats in the Village East Cinema. After a brief introduction by Miles, who told the audience that the film had been a great pleasure to make, the curtain went up to reveal the mother of the superstar art twins Os Gemeos on the big screen. She is sitting at her kitchen table in São Paulo remarking how her boys used to draw on everything, including fruit, and how Cooper and Chalfant’s 1984 book “Subway Art” changed their lives forever. With their story as a backbone for the film, the theme of personal transformation is repeated in a hundred large and small ways for the next hour and twenty minutes. “

Martha Cooper “A Picture Story” TriBeCa Film Festival. April 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Director Selina Miles with Martha Cooper. Martha Cooper “A Picture Story” TriBeCa Film Festival. April 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper “A Picture Story” TriBeCa Film Festival. April 2019. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

10.

Street Art and Activism Takes Larger Share of the Cultural Stage

This decade that is coming to an end has seen its share of natural disasters, human rights violations, atrocities of large scale against humanity, corruption at the highest levels, the reversal of hard-fought policies to protect the planet and keep our air and water clean. We have witnessed with despair the renaissance of hatred based on people’s nationalities, their skin color, their religion, their choice of attire, their level of material affluence and their sexual preferences.

We have seen progress as well. Women around the world have been freer to speak their mind against oppression and abuse of power thanks to social movements that have flourished around the world in big cities and small towns. Our LGBT brothers and sisters have scored numerous legal battles in their favor thanks to enlightened lawmakers and judges who have searched deep inside their intellect to find the right answer to make sure everybody is treated equally. Likewise, our peers whom we need to advance our cause have taken seriously the responsibility at the ballot box to make the correct choice with policies that will bring relief to those who have less than we do.

Art and artists have often reflected back to us the world we live in, it is for this reason that we have chosen Street Art and Activism as an important action in this decade. We have always championed the work of artists who imbued their art with a strong sense of social urgency. It is with their art that they talk to us in the hopes to change one mind, one action, one concept, one attitude towards the goal creating a common good. There are many of them currently active on the streets. This wouldn’t be the appropriate space to list all of them but we would like to give you some highlights:

No Borders: Murs Contra el Murs (Walls Against Walls)

Barcelona, February 2019.

From BSA:

“This past Sunday, February 17 at La Plaza de las Tres Chimeneas (Three Smokestacks Square) in Barcelona an international group of artists participated in the first ‘No Borders Festival.’

NO BORDERS is a grassroots organization that was created to raise awareness about the refugees, to demand their acceptance, and to raise funds through debates, art, and documentaries.

They say they want to raise the uncomfortable questions – which will undoubtedly lead to uncomfortable answers as well. To paraphrase the text on their website:

‘Do we settle for a society that violates its moral and legal obligations to refugees? A refugee is a person who flees – Flees because he is on the losing side. Because he thinks, feels or prays differently than those who point him with their weapons.’

As usual, artists are bringing these matters to the street for the vox populi to debate.”

Enric Sant. No Borders Festival. Barcelona, Spain. February 2019. (photo © Lluís Olive)

Andreco: Reclaiming Air and Water for Delhi, India “Climate 05”

New Delhi, March 2019.

From BSA:

An Art, Science and Climate Action project by Andreco

“And the statement isn’t hyperbole, according to AIR-Ink, the company that made his ink, which is “the first ink made entirely out of air pollution,” they explain on their website.

The unique art-making material is part of the Italian Street Artist / Activist’s most recent installment of his Climate Art Project, which he orchestrated on the streets here in New Delhi for the St+Art Festival this year. Part of a global, multi-city installation and demonstration, ‘Climate 05 – Reclaiming Air and Water’.”

Andreco. Climate Art Project. In collaboration with St+ART India Foundation. Delhi, India. March 2019. (photo Akshat Nauriyal)

“Post-Posters” Puncture Public Discourse in Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg, May 2019.

From BSA:

” ‘Actions Speak Louder Than Ass Ads,’ says a new stencil-style printed poster by New York’s epic, if sometimes cryptic, street commentator of four decades, John Fekner. Anyway, who will argue with that?

Post-posters is a cooperative proposition about public billposting,” says French conceptual street anarchist Matthew Tremblin about his new project with hit-and-run situationist street posterer Antonio Gallego. Together they reclaim space with individually produced posters and they invite artists from around the world to do the same.

Over a two month period the creative place-makers are facilitating an international crew of artists to post posters on the occasion of the double exhibition by Banlieue-Banlieue group* (°1982, Poissy) taking place in Strasbourg, at both AEDAEN and the Syndicat Potentiel. “

John Fekner . Carole Douillard. Post-Posters Project. Strasbourg, France. April 2019. (photo courtesy of Syndicat Potentiel)

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh: When the Lion Roars Back, a small overview

Brooklyn, NY. July 2019.

From BSA:

“By putting these images of people of color, women, LGBTQ+ folks on the street with their blunt-force sentiments addressed to would-be harassers, she not only stands with them, but Tatyana has also used her work and vision to give them the courage to stand proud, assert their voice and to take public space.

After all, it belongs to the public.

“Women are not outside for your entertainment”, a startling truth for some guys that pointedly highlights abusive behavior toward women on the streets of Brooklyn and many cities around the world. Brooklyn Street Artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh has been targeting daily oppressive experiences of marginalized people with her campaigns of art on the streets – and in the gallery.

Addressing themes of social justice, racism, LGBTQ+ rights, and sexist street harassment, her beautifully drawn campaigns on wheat-pasted posters and painted murals across the globe have brought attention to issues sorely in need of addressing during hostile rhetoric from some men in the highest offices.”

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jetsonorama Tells “Stories From Ground Zero”

Church Rock, New Mexico. August 2019.

From BSA:

“This spill and these events did not happen in San Diego or Palm Beach. The story doesn’t affect wealthy white families and cannot be used to sell shampoo or real estate. That’s probably why we don’t see it in the press and never on the talking-head news. Street Artist Jetsonorama is not only a photographer who has been wheat-pasting his stunning images of people and nature on desert buildings for over a decade, he is also a doctor on the Navajo reservation, a human-rights activist, and an erudite scholar of American history as it pertains to the poisoning of this land and these people. Today we’re pleased to bring you this long-form examination from Jetsonorama’s perspective on a complicated and tragic US story of environmental poisoning and blight that affects generations of native peoples, miners, military personnel, and everyday people – and has no end in sight.

Most alarming is the news the current White House administration is endeavoring to mine uranium here again.

‘Private companies hired thousands of Navajo men to work the uranium mines and disregarded recommendations to protect miners and mill workers. In 1950 the U.S. Public Health Service began a human testing experiment on Navajo miners without their informed consent during the federal government’s study of the long-term health effects from radiation poisoning.  This study followed the same violation of human rights protocol as the US Public Health Service study on the long-term effects of syphilis on humans by experimenting on non-consenting African American men in what is known as the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment from 1932 – 1972.’ ~ Jetsonorama”

JC with her younger sister, Gracie (who is a NBCS participant).  (photo © Jetsonorama)

BSA Special Feature: “REWILD” from Escif

Sumatra, Indonesia. September 2019.

From BSA:

“As part of our core commitment as a non-commercial platform that has helped hundreds of artists over the last decade+, BSA significantly helped Escif to raise money for his Indiegogo fundraiser in Spring 2017 when we promoted his “Breath-Time” horticultural project heavily as he planted trees to reforest Mount Olivella in Southern Italy.

Today BSA debuts REWILD, a new tree-related project by the Spanish Street Artists – just as the Global Climate March is spreading to cities around the world, including New York.

The concept of the short film is simple: can’t we just push the “Rewind” button?

‘The narrative runs in reverse, rewinding the clock on deforestation to undo the damage caused by the unsustainable production of one of the world’s most versatile commodities. Beyond the industrialisation of the land, we end at the beginning, a thriving ecosystem alive with wildlife. The concept mirrors the real world action of the Sumatran Orangutan Society and their partners in reclaiming land on the borders of the Leuser rainforests to rewild them with indigenous trees, expanding the boundaries of one of the most biodiverse places on earth.’  

Finally, a stunning custom soundtrack by Indonesian composer Nursalim Yadi Anugerah captures and carries this into another world, which is possible.

Shout out to the folks behind the project Splash and Burn: a cultural initiative curated by Ernest Zacharevic and coordinated by Charlotte Pyatt run in association with the Sumatran Orangutan Society and the Orangutan Information Centre.

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BSA “Images Of The Year” For 2018 Video

BSA “Images Of The Year” For 2018 Video

Here it is! Photographer Jaime Rojo of BSA selects a handful of his favorite images from his travels through 9 countries and around New York this year to present our 2018 BSA Images of the Year.

Seeing the vast expressions of aesthetics and anti-aesthetic behavior has been a unique experience for us. We’re thankful to all of the artists and co-conspirators for their boundless ideas and energy, perspectives and personas.

Once you accept that much of the world is in a semi-permanent chaos you can embrace it, find order in the disorder, love inside the anger, a rhythm to every street.

And yes, beauty. Hope you enjoy BSA Images of the Year 2018.


Here’s a list of the artists featured in the video. Help us out if we missed someone, or if we misspelled someones nom de plume.

1Up Crew, Abe Lincoln Jr., Adam Fujita, Adele Renault, Adrian Wilson, Alex Sena, Arkane, Banksy, Ben Eine, BKFoxx, Bond Truluv, Bordalo II, Bravin Lee, C215, Cane Morto, Charles Williams, Cranio, Crash, Dee Dee, D*Face, Disordered, Egle Zvirblyte, Ernest Zacharevic, Erre, Faith LXVII, Faust, Geronimo, Gloss Black, Guillermo S. Quintana, Ichibantei, InDecline, Indie 184, Invader, Isaac Cordal, Jayson Naylor JR, Kaos, KNS, Lena McCarthy, Caleb Neelon, LET, Anthony Lister, Naomi Rag, Okuda, Os Gemeos, Owen Dippie, Pejac, Pixel Pancho, Pork, Raf Urban, Resistance is Female, Sainer, Senor Schnu, Skewville, Slinkachu, Solus, Squid Licker, Stinkfish, Strayones, Subway Doodle, The Rus Crew, Tristan Eaton, Vegan Flava, Vhils, Viktor Freso, Vinie, Waone, Winston Tseng, Zola

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Doug Gillen Writes: Ernest Zacharevic Is Sending An “SOS”

Doug Gillen Writes: Ernest Zacharevic Is Sending An “SOS”

SOS ! The Earth is increasingly sending out this message. And increasingly artists are answering the call As we near the end of 2018 we feel indebted to Street Artist / fine artist/ activist Ernest Zacharevic for what has been one of the most impactful and important art projects to raise awareness for other inhabitants of the planet. Here in Sumatra he raises awareness and proposes exact actions to protect the Sumatran Orangutan and the environment.

Today we sincerely thank filmmaker Doug Gillen, better known as the funny, entertaining and informative founder of FifthWall TV, who illustrates with his words the aerial image of Mr. Zacharevic’s distress signal:


By Doug Gillen

I often wonder if an artist has ever actually stopped a war by writing “stop wars” on a wall. I don’t have access to any hard empirical evidence to confirm or deny this, but I’ll go out on a limb here and say, probably not. Gauging the impact of art is tricky. All too often well-meaning messages of positivity become lost in the ether of narcissism and capitalist conquests that flood our Instagram news feeds.

Ernest Zacharevic. Splash & Burn. Sumtra, Indonesia. 2018. (photo courtesy of the artist)

Every so often though something pops up, a piece, a project, a stunt and it stops you in your tracks, because you know it’s the real deal. This happened for me back at the start of the year when Ernest Zacharevic came good on his ongoing battle with the Palm Oil industry.

For two years running the Lithuanian artist has been running a festival of sort in Indonesia. For Splash and Burn he invites several artists to the country he now resides in to engage publicly with the theme of palm oil deforestation. The likes of Issac Cordal, Vhils, and Mark Jenkins have all stepped up to the plate but for me the real home run came when Zacharevic revealed he had bought 52hectares of unnatural palm oil plantation to it repopulate it with naturally occurring trees, native to the region. As he tore down the palm oil trees, he carved out a large scale “SOS” into the land in what is one of the most visually captivating and symbolic statements of the year.

It should be said that this project was not done by one person. It was only made possible thanks to groups such as the Sumatran Orangutan Society (SOS), the cosmetic company LUSH and a swath of behind-the-scenes and front line cogs that brought it together.

There are many known problems with the palm oil industry; it’s contribution to climate change, the unregulated black market, the forests are uninhabitable for wildlife, the list goes on. The industry is wreaking havoc on the region, particularly on the island of Sumatra, where Splash and Burn takes place. This was a small, but vital push back but more so, it was an artist coming good on their ethos, taking their vision to the next level to play their role in making the world a better place.

 

 

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BSA Film Friday: 08.10.18

BSA Film Friday: 08.10.18

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Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. VHILS Splash and Burn
2. MONUMENTA PREPARES with The Intelligence of Many SEPT 2018

a. Yairan Cinco Montejo
b. What Inspires You?
c. Super Fresh Air

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BSA Special Feature: VHILS Splash and Burn

“The prime location we have to communicate is the public space. It can have a huge impact on society,” says Vhils in the introduction to this new video, and it is a mantra we have been repeating for over a decade. Powerful work well placed with authenticity – that can have resonance.

In this new piece to raise awareness about endangered species in general and the Tapanuli Orangutans’ habitat in specific, the Portuguese artist creates a portrait that is perhaps outside his usual collection.

“The world is not taking the time to consider how to move forward, there is no effort to reflect on the real impact of decisions,” he says in a warning that should send a chill up your spine.

Click on the link below to sign the petition to save the Tapanuli Orangutans’ habitat:

https://secure.avaaz.org/campaign/en/save_the_tapanuli_orangutans_42/?cRimElb

MONUMENTA PREPARES with The Intelligence of Many SEPT 2018

A magnetism of like minds is pulling together in Leipzig, Germany next month; a modern merging of  current critical thinking in the fields of urban art, public performance, city planning, architecture and the flattening of the hierarchies that once defined how we interact with our cities and with each other. As paradigms rapidly shift it is The Feelers, The Thinkers, and The Fun-Seekers who are all in attendance, and BSA introduces the MONUMENTA Talks on September 1st in this inspiring hulking former home of industry.

Our guests; artists, futurists, planners, architects, curators, thinkers all – we’ll hope to have on parade the intelligence of many.

Enjoy some titillating video tidbits for MONUMENTA

MONUMENTA: Yairan Cinco Montejo

 

MONUMENTA: What Inspires You?

 

MONUMENTA: Super Fresh Air

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BSA Images Of The Week: 07.01.18

BSA Images Of The Week: 07.01.18

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This week’s edition of BSA Images Of The Week is heavy with messages, especially on the subject of refugee children and our responsibility to keep them safe. Family Values, as we once heard on a near daily basis here, are apparently not to be mentioned when applied to certain families according to the people pulling children away from immigrants – certain immigrants anyway.

New York streets had people marching yesterday about these families, and our top Street Art image by Ernest Zacharavic features little kids set afloat figuratively. As Mexico elects a new president today, the US Supreme Court looks rightward with Kennedy’s resignation last week. Meanwhile the country will celebrate “liberty and justice for all” this week – and the streets are thick with politics like we haven’t had in a while.

On a practical, art-making level, we have also noticed the prevalence of wheat-pasted posters on the streets this spring/summer. Whether mass-printed or labor-intensive one-off paintings, wheatpasting is a practice that has been a staple since we began documenting the arts on the streets worldwide. We are glad to see that the ‘paster, like the humble one-color stencil, hasn’t lost its appeal in the face of the current fascination with big murals.

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Adage, AJ LaVilla, Baron Von Fancy, Boutros Buotros Bootleg, C3, Damon NYC, Drsc0, Ernest Zacharevic, Indie184, Jason Naylor, Jeff Henriquez, LMNOPI, Praxis, Simon (Xi An), REVOK, Tristan Eaton, Unapologetically Brown Series, and Voxx.

Top image: Ernest Zacharevic sets these kids afloat in Manhattan (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ernest Zacharevic (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ernest Zacharevic (photo © Jaime Rojo)

AJ Lavilla (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Unapologetically Brown Series (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jason Naylor (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Indie184 for 212Arts. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

LMNOPI (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Adage (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Damon NYC for 212Arts. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jeff Henriquez (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Baron Von Fancy (photo © Jaime Rojo)

VOXX (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Boutros Buotros Bootleg (photo © Jaime Rojo)

REVOK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Adage (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Simon (Xi An) somewhere in China. (photo © Simon)

Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The wheat pastes above and below remind us of the early works of Faile and Bast…on the streets of Williamsburg. It’s fun to see their influence on the streets today.

Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

drsc0 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Praxis (photo © Jaime Rojo)

C3 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. An spectator taking in Tristan Eaton’s crafty work at the Houston/Bowery Wall. NYC. June 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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BSA Images Of The Week: 01.21.18

BSA Images Of The Week: 01.21.18

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The streets across the US were again flooded with justifiably angry, determined women yesterday. Nothing we can say here will do justice to the enormity of the crowds protesting in 250 cities on the first anniversary of the inauguration, nor the range of political and social fronts that are being contested.

Clearly the world stage has been thrown off kilter by the the erosion of trust and confidence in this government, in the economy, in the fraying social fabric, the attacks on people and the earth. “The decline in confidence in the U.S. president has been severe in some countries since Trump took office on Jan. 20, 2017,” says FactCheck.org, and it “is especially pronounced among some of America’s closest allies in Europe and Asia, as well as neighboring Mexico and Canada,” the Pew Global Attitudes Project found. That’s in only one year.

Oh, did we mention that the US has a government shutdown right now?

Today we chose the top image by Alex Senna to symbolize the people who are in the shadows who are hiding and who think we don’t know they are there and that no one is looking out for them. Immigrants across the country are being threatened, yet exploited day after day – afraid to go to the police or even hospitals when abused by employers, by family members, by misguided racists. We see you and we hear you. As a nation descended from immigrants, the indigenous, and the enslaved, we remember our history. Similarly, people who are being sex trafficked, or who are unable to speak up because of financial restraints, religious restraints, psychological restraints. We see you.

Heavy topics, but these are the streets, our streets, all of us. Roberta Smith said this week in The New York Times when reviewing the Outsider Art Fair; “Art Is Everywhere”. We’ll widen that sentiment and say that art is for everyone, and the street is more than ever a perfect place to see it.

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Adam Fujita, Ai WeiWei, Alex Senna, Cholula, Ernest Zacharevic, Fontes World, Mr. June, Retna, Roman, Stray Ones, Terry Urban, and Zola.

Top Image: Alex Senna ( photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ai Weiwei. “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors”. NYC wide multimedia/multi site exhibition for Public Art Fund. Brooklyn, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Street Art Council (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Terry Urban (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Adam Fujita and Fontes World collaboration brings to mind our recent article about artists endless fight for affordable housing in NYC Indeed a Dying Breed. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Stray Ones (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ernest Zacharevic fills the space with a cube. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist in Cholula, Puebla. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Paris (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Zola (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn vs Everybody (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Retna in Cholula, Puebla. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Román in Cholula, Puebla. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mr. June for The Buschwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This public ad campaign against fur borrows from the street art stencil technique. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist in Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Untitled. January 2018. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Street Artist StrØk in Indonesia Ready to Catch Orangutans

Street Artist StrØk in Indonesia Ready to Catch Orangutans

Activism in the practice of Street Art and murals continues to inject itself into different situations, adding to its own definition, and perhaps challenging ours.

Part of a larger campaign called “Splash and Burn,” today we have Norwegian stencil artist Strøk, aka Anders Gjnnestad, with a brand new piece he did in Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra, Indonesia.

The image of a huge net is not remarkable except for Strøk’s characteristic play on perspective and planes, and the fact that the subject is Orangutans, or rather, an increasing lack of them.

Strøk for Splash & Burn Project. Sumatra 2016. (photo © Strøk)

EcoTourism has become such a huge industry in the last decade and a half thanks to Westerners longing to do something meaningful and engaging on their vacations aside from going to an amusement park or lying by the beach. Unfortunately, irresponsible development, untrained “guides” and uncaring tourists have trampled over the natural areas, changed the natural behavior of wild animals and endangered their future – with Orangutans in Bukit Lawang as a prime example. The lure of tour money and the behaviors of visitors ignoring even basic rules like “don’t feed the wild orangutans” has created a lot of aggressive animals who are now dependent on you for food and the uncontrolled hordes of visitors have damaged the living environment.

“I just found that what I wanted to create was a mural about Orangutans and one of the main problems they are facing – destruction of habitat,” says Strøk of his new piece.

Reference photo. Rescuers working for  Sumatra Orangutan Society or SOS for its initials in English prepare a net to catch an Orangutan about to fall down from a tall tree. (photo © Andrew Walmsley)

With a desire to educate himself about what orangutans are like and how some of them need rescuing and relocating, the artist went to the Orangutan Information Centre headquarters in Medan and met with the people working there. “While being given a presentation of their work, I got the idea of what I wanted to paint. They showed us photos of how they work with the SOS (Sumatran Orangutan Society) to rescue and relocate orangutans in trouble,” he explains. “Orangutans travel great distances almost daily, in search for food. If the jungle is cut down around them and they get stuck in a small pocket of trees, that’s bad news for them.”

“Basically, OIC/SOS have a hotline that people can call if they see a distressed orangutan. Then the OIC/SOS gets together their team that is on standby, go to the location and they shoot the Orangutan with a sedation dart. When it sleeps and falls down from its tree, they are standing below it, breaking the fall with a net – much like the old school fireman rescue method. Then the orangutan gets checked by a vet, and depending on its condition it is either relocated into the wild, or taken to a rehabilitation facility.

Strøk for Splash & Burn Project. Sumatra 2016. (photo © Strøk)

The new stenciled and sprayed wall piece was created to evoke the image of the animal falling to safety and as a larger metaphor about our collective responsibility to care for nature and its other inhabitants. Strøk says he really liked the location he worked with, and after taking photos while standing on a roof of local guys holding the net, he created the stencils and started painting.

“I was free to do whatever I wanted, on whatever wall or surface I preferred and that we could get permission to paint. On top of my list was a rusty old tourist agency billboard with a barely visible map of Sumatra that was along the main road as you enter the village. I integrated the oil palm tree that was already directly behind and leaning over the billboard into the composition of my painting,” he says

Strøk for Splash & Burn Project. Sumatra 2016. (photo © Strøk)

This might be a bit of a sidenote, but I wanted to include this photo of the construction I was standing on to paint. “I´ve always had massive respect to people who can put together something good and solid, in an effective way. This construction was put up for me by two local men in about an hour, and proved to fit me and the work I needed to do, like a glove. I am glad they got a look at me before they started, though, as I am about 1,5 times the height and at least double the weight of an average Indonesian. They tailored it so I could stand up straight on the middle level and climb up and down with confidence.”- Strøk

Strøk for Splash & Burn Project. Sumatra 2016. (photo © Strøk)

The palm oil tree that reaches over the front of the new piece is significant because this installation is part of a larger campaign about the palm oil industry begun by Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic, who raised money for Strøk and six other artists this January by selling a special lithograph print called “Splash and Burn

Other artists like Mark Jenkins, Isaac Cordal, Pixel Pancho, Gabriel Pitcher, Bibichun, and Axel Void all participated in the first series of installations, and Zacharevic intends to develop the project further to raise awareness about the negative impact that our often unregulated industrial world is having on the natural one, and the people, animals and ecosystems that depend on it. For more information on “Splash and Burn” check out the new article just published in The Guardian.

“For this project I knew I wanted my work to connected on more levels, to tell a more specific story in a way,” StrØk tells us. “I wanted to create a work about Orangutans without painting one. It was a challenge, but a very welcome one.”

To read about an unregulated industry of ecotourism that is not eco-friendly and is very possibly ruining the habitat for orangutans, go here.


Our sincere thanks to Charlotte Pyatt for her help in the project and with this article.

 

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BSA Images Of The Week: 01.29.17

BSA Images Of The Week: 01.29.17

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Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Able, Alexis Diaz, Bruno Smoky, Case Ma’Claim, Crash, Dan Flavin, Ernest Zacharevic, Inti, Jose Mertz, Kryptick, Logan Hicks, Maya Hayuk, Miro, Pichi & Avo, Santiago Rubino, Shalakattak, and Sipros.

First image above: Alexis Diaz. Wynwood, Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Able. Wynwood, Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jose Mertz. Wynwood, Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sipros. Wynwood, Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Miro. Wynwood, Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Santiago Rubino. Wynwood Walls, Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kryptik. Wynwood Walls, Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ernest Zacharevic in collaboration with Martha Cooper. Wynwood Walls, Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Inti. Wynwood Walls, Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Crash. Wynwood Walls, Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Maya Hayuk. Wynwood Walls, Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Case Maclaim. Wynwood Walls, Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pichi  & Avo. Wynwood Walls, Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Logan Hicks. Wynwood Walls, Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bruno Smoky and Shalakattak. Wynwood, Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bruno Smoky and Shalakattak. Wynwood, Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. Dan Flavin. Chelsea, NYC. January 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“Magic City” in Dresden : Exhibition of Street Artists and City as Muse

“Magic City” in Dresden : Exhibition of Street Artists and City as Muse

An unusual amalgam of the interactivity of the street combined with the formality of a gallery environment, Magic City opened this fall in a converted factory in Dresden, Germany with an eclectic selection of 40+ artists spanning the current and past practices of art in the street.

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Skewville. Children enjoying Skewville’s “tete-a-tete” shopping cart. Ernest Zacharevic’s mobile in the background. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With revered culture critic and curator Carlo McCormick at the helm alongside curator Ethel Seno, the richly marbled show runs a gamut from 70’s subway train writers and photographers like Americans Daze, Henry Chalfant, and Martha Cooper to the Egyptian activist Ganzeer, Italian interventionist Biancoshock, popagandist Ron English, and the eye-tricking anamorphic artist from the Netherlands, Leon Keer.

Veering from the hedonistic to the satiric to head-scratching illusions, the collection allows you to go as deep into your education about this multifaceted practice of intervening public space as you like, including just staying on the surface.

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Ernest Zacharevic mobile with a “listening station” on the left. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It’s not an easy balance to strike – some of these artists have heavy hearts and withering critiques of human behaviors and institutional hypocrisies ranging from 1st World treatment of refugees to celebrity culture to encroaching surveillance on individual rights, government oppression, and urban blight.

Magic City doesn’t try to shield you from the difficult topics, but the exhibition also contains enough mystery, fanboy cheer, eye candy and child-like delight that the kids still have plenty of fun discoveries to take selfies with. We also saw a few kissing couples, so apparently there is room for some romance as well.

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 A visitor to Magic City enjoys a “listening station”. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“We believe that even the typical city is uncommon, and that the idiosyncrasies that make each city unique are collectively something they all have in common,” says McCormick in his text describing the exhibition. “This is then a celebration of the universal character of cities as well as a love letter to their infinite diversity. The special magic that comes from our cities is germinated in the mad sum of their improbable juxtapositions and impossible contradictions.”

Of particular note is the sound design throughout the exhibition by Sebastian Purfürst and Hendrick Neumerkel of LEM Studios that frequently evokes an experiential atmosphere of incidental city sounds like sirens, rumbling trains, snatches of conversations and musical interludes. Played at varying volumes, locations, and textures throughout the exhibition, the evocative city soundscape all adds to a feeling of unexpected possibilities and an increased probability for new discovery.

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Olek’s carousel from above. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Obviously this Magic City cannot be all things to all people, and some will criticize the crisp presentation of a notably gritty series of subcultures, or perhaps the omission of one genre or technique or important artist. It’s not meant to be encyclopedic, rather a series of insights into a grassroots art and activism practice that continues to evolve in cities before our eyes.

For full disclosure, we curated the accompanying BSA Film Program for Magic City by 12 artists and collectives which runs at one end of the vast hall – and Mr. Rojo is on the artist roster with 15 photographs of his throughout the exhibition, so our view of this show is somewhat skewed.

Here we share photographs from the exhibition taken recently inside the exhibition for you to have a look for yourself.

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Olek (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ron English (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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A MadC installation made with thousands of spray can caps. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Belgian urban naturalist ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville . ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Daze (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Martha Cooper at the gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Henry Chalfant at the gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Bordalo II (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Andy K. detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dan Witz (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dan Witz (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Isaac Cordal. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Isaac Cordal (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Anders Gjennestad AKA Strok (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Icy & Sot with Asbestos on the left. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Replete (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Truly (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Leon Keer (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jaime Rojo. A young visitor enjoying the Kids Trail through a peephole with Jaime’s photos inside an “electrical box”. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jaime Rojo. The Kids Trail wasn’t only for kids it seems. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tristan Eaton on the right. Olek on the left. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Aiko at the Red Light District. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The Yok & Sheryo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Herakut. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Herakut (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Full list of participating artists:

Aiko, AKRylonumérik, Andy K, Asbestos, Benus, Jens Besser, Biancoshock, Mark Bode, Bordalo II, Ori Carino & Benjamin Armas, Henry Chalfant, Martha Cooper, Isaac Cordal, Daze, Brad Downey, Tristan Eaton, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Fino’91, Ganzeer, Anders Gjennestad, Ben Heine, Herakut, Icy & Sot, Leon Keer, Loomit, MadC, OakOak, Odeith, Olek, Qi Xinghua, Replete, Roa, Jaime Rojo, Skewville, SpY, Truly, Juandres Vera, WENU, Dan Witz, Yok & Sheryo, Ernest Zacharevic.

 

Visit MAGIC CITY DRESDEN for more details, news, videos and the blog.

 


This article is also published on The Huffington Post

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“Magic City” Premieres in Dresden : Seno and McCormick as Alchemists

“Magic City” Premieres in Dresden : Seno and McCormick as Alchemists

40 Artists Up Along Main Street, 12 More in the BSA Film Program

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Curators Ethel Seno and Carlo McCormick in front of a new mural by German duo Herakut announcing the premiere of Magic City in Dresden. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)


 

“Nature is a petrified magic city.” – Novalis

Curator Carlo McCormick quotes Novalis by way of describing this new exhibit of an eclectic blend of terrific troublemakers, pop-culture hijackers, and show-stopping crowd pleasers drawn from cities all around the Street Art/ graffiti /urban art scene today – and forty years ago. This is a welcoming walk of unexpected intersections that only McCormick and co-curator Ethel Seno could imagine – and pull together as a panoply of street wizardry that acknowledges activism, artistry, anarchy, and aesthetics with a sincere respect for all. It will be interesting to see how this show is viewed by people who follow the chaotic street scene today in the context of its evolution and how they read the street signs in this city.

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Curator Ethel Seno with Managing Director Dieter Semmelmann and exhibition Designer Tobias Kunz cutting the ribbon at the premiere of Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

McCormick, in his customary self-effacing humor, expects there to be some shit flying – as anyone who is involved in this scene expects from the hard-scrabble rebellious margins and subcultures that this art-making interventionist practice rises from. There also are a growing and coalescing mini-legion of scholars and academics who are currently grappling with the nature and characteristics of this self-directed art-making practice rooted often in discontent – now organized inside an exhibition that is ticketed and sold as a family friendly show.

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Street Artist and pop mashup painter Tristan Eaton in front of his new mural wall at the premiere of Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

In his descriptions of the public sphere, the writer, historian, author, and cultural critic McCormick often refers to graffiti and street artists messing with “contested space”. It’s an apt description whether we are talking about the public space in high-density gleaming metropolises or the bombed-out grid-less and polluted quagmires of human fallibility and urban un-planning that dot our globe; all public space its nature is contested.

Here is a place used by many artists to protest, agitate, advocate, or deliver critique – and many of the artists in this exhibition have done exactly this in their street practice, often pushing limits and defining new ones. Dig a little into many of the individual story lines at play here and you’ll see that the vibrant roots of social revolution are pushing up from the streets through the clouds of propaganda and advertising, often mocking them and revealing them in the process.

Ultimately, this Magic City experience is an elixir for contemplating the lifelong romance we have with our cities and with these artists who cavort with us within them. “Our Magic City is a place and a non-place,” McCormick says in a position statement on the exhibit. “It is not the physical city of brick and mortar but rather the urban space of internalized meanings. It is the city as subject and canvas, neither theme park nor stage set, but an exhibition showcasing some of the most original and celebrated artists working on and in the city today.”

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Mixed media Street Artist Asbestos from Dublin, graffiti master/ painter Chris “Daze” Ellis from NYC, and Tristan Eaton from Los Angeles at the premiere of Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Curator Carlo McCormick with New York billboard/culture jammer and artist Ron English in front of his new wall mural at premiere of Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Dutch anamorphic art master Leon Keer with Polish crochet transformer/Street Artist Olek at the premiere of Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

BSA curated the film program for Magic City with a dynamic array of some of the best Street Art related films today presented together in a relaxed environment. In this video hosted by Andreas Schanzenbach you get a taste of the works that are showing that we draw from our weekly surveys on BSA Film Friday. Over the last few years we have had the honor of presenting live in-person to students and scholars and fans an ever-evolving collection of videos that speak to the spirit experimentation, discovery and culture-jamming outrageousness of urban interventions, graffiti and Street Art.  The BSA Film Program at Magic City presents a survey of some of the very best that we have seen recently.

Magic City artists include:
Akrylonumerik, Andy K, Asbestos, Ben Heine, Benuz, Biancoshock, Bordalo II, Brad, Downey, Dan Witz, Daze, Ernest Zacharevic, Ganzeer, Henry Chalfant, HERAKUT, Icy & Sot, Isaac Cordal, Jaime Rojo, Jens Besser, Juandres Vera, Lady Aiko, Leon Keer, Loomit, MAD C, Mark Bode, Martha Cooper, Oakoak, Odeith, Olek, Ori Carin / Benjamin Armas, Qi Xinghua, Replete, ROA, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Skewville, SpY, Tristan Eaton, Truly, WENU Crew, Yok & Sheryo

The BSA Film Program for Magic City includes the following artists:
Borondo, Brad Downey & Akay, Ella + Pitr, Faile, Farewell, Maxwell Rushton, Narcelio Grud, Plotbot Ken, Sofles, Vegan Flava, Vermibus

Some behind the scenes shots days before the Premiere

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Popagandist Ron English preparing his Temper Tot at Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Popagandist Ron English preparing his Temper Tot at Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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DAZE reviewing his work at Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Urban naturalist ROA at Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Sheryo strikes a pose while the guys build the installation she did with The Yok at Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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A Magic City Slowly Unfolds In Dresden : Artists Building Now

A Magic City Slowly Unfolds In Dresden : Artists Building Now

“The special magic that comes from our cities is germinated in the mad sum of their improbable juxtapositions and impossible contradictions,” says curator Carlo McCormick when talking about the new show opening in Dresden, Germany this week in a former engine factory called Magic City : The Art of the Street.

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AIKO at work on her piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

Along with curator Ethel Seno and a creative team (full disclosure, BSA is part of it) McCormick is evoking an interstitial city that rises from the streets in many urban centers globally. Whether it is graffiti, Street Art, urban interventions, detournement, adbusting, or myriad cultural refinements, artists and activists are commonly, sometimes radically, altering the city and our experience of it.

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Mad C at work on her piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

By engaging some of the best visual and intellectual examples of the whole current scene with a full knowledge of our recent past, Magic City lays out a route for you to appreciate the individual and a sense of the cumulative. It’s bold and somewhat romantic move to look for magic in the Graffiti / Street Art / Urban Art scene. Some may argue that it consists of nothing less.

Over the last few weeks about 40 artists have been installing brand new pieces and environments in the long wide factory space in advance of the grand preview this weekend. Here are some process shots of the building of a Magic City.

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OLEK at work on her piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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OLEK at work on her piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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ROA at work on his piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Ernest Zacharevic at work on his piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Benuz at work on his piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Qi-Xinghua at work on his piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Replete at work on his piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Ori Carino and Benjamin Armas at work on their piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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WENU at work on their piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Jens Besser at work on his piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Leon Keer at work on his piece for Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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SpY. Magic City. Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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BSA’s 15 Most Popular Murals Of 2015 – A “Social” Survey

BSA’s 15 Most Popular Murals Of 2015 – A “Social” Survey

People’s Street Art preferences can be very hard to predict. On social media we can reliably tell you that opinions are unreliable. Murals that we are sure you’ll love fall flatter than a one-sided pancake. Conversely, that piece we were tepid about? – Up the charts faster than a Kardashian in search of a camera.

With that in mind we thought you might like to see how the top social platforms sorted out the shots of 2015 by our Editor of Photography, Jaime Rojo.

 

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We surveyed the number of “Likes” and shares his images received on Instagram, and Facebook in 2015 and based purely on the numbers, here are the Top 15.

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No. 15 : Os Gemeos in Manhattan

Brazilian twin brothers Octavio and Gustavo are Os Gemeos and this year they began popping out of walls – and that’s not all! See the original posting here :

OS Gemeos Pop Through Walls Downtown NYC, Screens in Times Square

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Os Gemeos in Manhattan. August 2015  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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No. 14 : Icy and Sot in Berlin

Looks like we picked a winner when BSA curated Iranian brothers ICY and SOT onto this Berlin facade of the Urban Nation. Following the theme of our “Persons of Interest” show there in March with some of Brooklyn’s finest Street Artists, the brothers reflected the fall of the Berlin Wall in the face of this Brooklyn-based woman. Look for a release of their book by Lebowski Publishers with an essay by BSA telling the story of the Tabriz-now-Brookyn-based ICY and SOT to be released in Spring 2016.

See more about our Persons of Interest show and ICY and SOT’s mural here : Complete “Persons of Interest”: Brooklyn in Berlin

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Icy & Sot in Berlin for Urban Nation. March 2015  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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No. 13 : Alexis Diaz in NYC

Surreal illustrationist Alexis Diaz has been making brains stretch and stand up and clap with his murals from Miami to Hawaii to Lodz, Poland this year, continually impressing with his meticulous and tight cross-hatching skills, wildly wide imagination, and his uncanny ability to collaborate stylistically with other artists.  This relatively small piece by him in Manhattan turned heads for months and earned this pic lots of attention via BSA.

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Alexis Diaz in Manhattan. May 2015 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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No. 12 : Dian in Brooklyn

Essentially a live shot of the last frame for a stop -action mural video (featured on BSA Film Friday: 11.06.15) this image got a lot of traffic probably because of it’s perceived political critique of the Republican Party – but the artists say that they weren’t even familiar with US politics when they made it.

“Dian is a street artist from European art label Life is Porno. In 2015, he decided to do a series of stop-frame stop frame animations around Europe and the world. This time he turned a building in Brooklyn, NYC into his animated reality. And grew an elephant from his mushrooms…

(The) whole animation was spray-painted, without any computer animation. The Bullshit sign was installed by a legendary fusion artist Shalom Neuman.”

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Dian in Brooklyn, NY. November, 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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No. 11 : Pichi & Avo in Sweden

“The Spanish Street Art duo Pichiavo brought the antiquities and modern day graffiti together last week on a soaring multi-story wall in Borås, Sweden,” we wrote of this multi-story mural that appealed to many readers this September. It’s the sort of formula that works again and again for these guys, most recently in Miami last week.

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Pichi & Avo in Boras, Sweden for No Limits. September 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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No. 10 : Dal East in Sweden

Participating in the same small festival (Borås “No Limit)” as PichiAvo above, the artist Dal East captured the imagination of BSA readers with this soaring wingspan painted high upon a five stepped modern facade building across from a textile university campus.

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Dal East in Boras, Sweden for No Limits. September 2015  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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No. 9 : Owen Dippie “Radiant Madonna” in Brooklyn

The first of two entries by Kiwi Owen Dippie on our Top 15 list for 2015, this merging of Raphael’s Madonna with Haring’s radiant baby snapped people out of their stupor with the unconventional paring. A fan of both artists, Dippie’s mural reminded us of Haring’s flirtation with Christian “Born Again” fundamentalism before he decided to be an out gay man in the 1980s – at a time when the so-called Moral Majority was ready to send gays to be quarantined because of the AIDS crisis. This three story mural by Dippie is still vibrating with the tensions he encompassed in this one powerful composition.

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Owen Dippie in Brooklyn. July 2015  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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No. 8 : Ernest Zacharevic in Brooklyn

Outside of this Lithuanian Street Artists’ typical wheelhouse, its the irony of this piece that contains his DNA. Capturing the same commercial advertising linguistic that Street Artists typically lampoon, the text based riff clearly draws the connection to the appreciation for hand-style that originally marked a “style” revolution in graffiti. Maybe it was this timeless “instant classic” quality that drew so many fans on Instagram and Facebook.

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Ernest Zacharevic. Brooklyn, NY November 2015 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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No. 7 : Ella & Pitr in Norway

The French couple were in the town of Stavanger to create the World’s Largest Mural so comparatively this was just doodle on the back of an envelope for Ella & Pitr, but something about it struck a chord with you this September.

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Ella & Pitr in Stavanger, Norway for NUART 2015. September, 2015  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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No. 6 : ECB in Brooklyn

His pensive and looming old men and women from Morroco have been made into a book recently, but ECB made this guy in dirty old Brooklyn this year and photographer Jaime Rojo caught it a day after heavy rains provide this reflective moment. Read more about ECB’s portraits of working folks in : The Trades: Street Artist ECB Traces Morocco’s Faces

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ECB in Brooklyn. May 2015 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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No. 5 : Okuda in Manhattan

Nearing 20 years in the game, the Spanish Street Artist Okuda is always a pleaser with his rich-hued pop surrealism and geometrics that mimic the man-made urban environment. Here his organic forms in a New York doorway pop out from the dim grayness of the streetscape.

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Okuda in Manhattan. June 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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No. 4 : Case Ma’Claim in Berlin

One of the current crop of photo-realists that are drawing so much attention, Ma’Claims’ meditation is often on hands. This one may have had additional appeal on Social platforms because of it’s combination of skin colors and its appearance during the “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” marches in cities across the US.

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Case Ma’Claim in Berlin. March 2015 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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No. 3 : Nick Walker

The Bristol-born Mr. Walker has a soft spot for New York and this placement outside a pizza parlor of his iconic bowler-hatted avatar made a lot of connections for viewers on Facebook who shared this image like crazy last winter.

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Nick Walker. Manhattan, NY. January 30 2015 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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No. 2 : JR in Manhattan

A commercial wheatpaste project with The New York City Ballet, their principal dancer the ballerina Lauren Lovette, a documentary called LES BOSQUETS, and a real estate developer, this image of a woman flying through the air to kiss Manhattan’s sky was so riveting that it continued to ricochet JR’s image across digital devices for months after we posted it.

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JR in Manhattan. August 2015  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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No. 1 : Owen Dippie “Ninja Renaissance Masters” in Brooklyn

With 1.1 million shares across our Facebook page, this merging of four Renaissance master visages and the 1990s Ninja Turtles masks leap-frogged every other image we posted this year, and busted peoples’ brains open. The New Zealand based Dippie was killing it this summer in Brooklyn before heading out to the West Coast, but this trackside trick continued to draw visitors long after he headed back to his homeland, and his pic wins 2015 decisively. See the original posting here : Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello Spotted in BKLN : Owen Dippie Lies in Wait

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Owen Dippie in Brooklyn. July 2015  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

 

 

 

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This article is also published on The Huffington Post

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