All posts tagged: Futura

“Beyond The Streets” Opens in New York : Beyond Labels, With Roots

“Beyond The Streets” Opens in New York : Beyond Labels, With Roots

Look Who’s Back in the Neighborhood

They used to run from the Vandal Squad in this neighborhood. Now people pay to see their art here.

Through the expansive glass wall on the 6th floor you can look down Kent Avenue to see the spot where a monster pickup truck with a heavy chain tied around a FAILE prayer wheel almost jackknifed on the sidewalk, gave up and sped away. Not that many Brooklynites saw that event in the 2000s – nobody walked here and few people drove through Williamsburg then except truckers looking for street walking ladies wearing high heels and spandex. Oh, and a serial killer.

Faile. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Now visitors buy tickets to see a circular colonnade of FAILE prayer wheels here at 25 Kent – including the real estate developers and Wall Street professionals who displaced the community of artists whose work made the neighborhood attractive and “edgy”.

Along with Street Artists in this exhibition like Shepard Fairey, Bast, Swoon, Invader, Aiko, Dan Witz, Katsu, 1UP, and Lister, the FAILE duo put completely illegal artworks on walls under cover of night and threat of arrest in this same neighborhood then – transforming it with many others who are not in this show into an open gallery of the streets, placing Williamsburg on the map as New Yorks’ epicenter of the newly emerging Street Art scene. 

Swoon. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Nature of Graffiti and Street Art

As graffiti and Street Art are migratory and necessarily elusive by nature, this story is only one chapter in a volume of history that serious academics are now reconstructing and analyzing. With each passing year and published white paper, the practices of 20th century public mark-making are being examined in greater detail for archiving and for posterity. Not surprisingly, institutions, patrons, collectors, and brands are increasingly interested in this story as well.

When it comes to the anarchic subculture of illegal street art practice and its influence on society, there are non-stop ironies sprayed en route from verboten to Vuitton, and street culture has supercharged the imagination of the mainstream and high culture throughout history – that’s where the best ideas come from sometimes. Many seminal artworks from “the scene”, as it were, represent much more than what you are seeing at first glance. As art and cultural critic Carlo McCormick has described the iconic Shepard Fairey ‘Hope’ image in Art in America, many graffiti and Street Art works saved are “not a fleeting pop-culture sensation but simply the latest crossover hit in a long line of underground classics.”

The wide-ranging survey that is Beyond the Streets makes sure that you know where the roots are, and who many of the pioneers were. It is impossible to tell a complete story that includes scenes as diverse as west coast Chicano muralism, hobo graffiti, hip-hop commercial design, NY downtown artivism, Japanese low/hi contemporary, skateboard, tattoo, early train writing and a current romance with muralism, but BTS at least gives a serious consideration to each and offers you the opportunity to look further into them.

Martha Cooper with BGirl Rockafelka. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With the help of photography documentation from people like Martha Cooper, Henry Chalfant, Jim Prigoff, Lisa Kahane, Joe Conzo, John Fekner, Bill Daniel, Maripol, and Dash Snow, the crucial importance of this work provides needed interstitial and contextual information that enables myriad stories to be elucidated.

Joe Conzo. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Scale, The History

Exhaustive, no. Exhausting, possibly. Pace yourself.

 “I spent my life surrounded by graffiti and Street Art,” says the shows’ director Roger Gastman “and you could say that I have been obsessed with understanding the culture, its origins, and its evolution. It’s incredible to me how far it has come.”

With 150 artists whose practices span five decades and various (mainly) American subcultures displayed in a maze of new walls in this 100,000 sf, two-floor exhibition, the Beyond the Streets senior curatorial team includes Gastman, filmmaker/ graffiti historian Sacha Jenkins SHR, Juxtapoz Editor in Chief Evan Pricco, and author/ graffiti historian / graffiti writer David CHINO Villorente. Each curator brings core competencies and knowledge of the graffiti scene (Gastman, Jenkins, Villorente) as it has evolved to include the Street Art practice and an eventual move toward contemporary art (Pricco).

“It’s absolutely phenomenal,” says Villorente, who says his history as a graffiti writer compounds the impact for him. “I was glad that the show was coming to New York because I was born and raised in Brooklyn. I couldn’t have imagined it – especially when I think back on when I was writing on the trains and doing illegal graffiti. To have of show of this magnitude is really special.”

Mike 171. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

“We started writing in ’68 and here we are, fifty-one years later,” says Mike 171 as he gestures toward himself and crew writer SJK 171 when talking about how they began and continued writing their tags on the street in New York City. “This is the history right here,” he says, and you know you are about to be schooled about the plain realities of early graffiti writing. At the opening, you witness each guy tagging in a large dusty window here and realize the love for writing never actually stops.

“We were expressing something that was inside of us,” says SJK 171. “The streets were like ours,” he tells you against a backdrop of their work, Cornbread’s work, and of images full of one color, single line monikers that set the stage for the more colorful, character-driven pieces and burners a decade later, transforming trains into a rolling aesthetic symphony by the mid 1970s.

Cornbread. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo). Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

One of the actual “whole car” writers of that period, Lee “LEE” Quinones, here recreates a “Soul Train” car side on a canvas that looks like it could easily wrap an actual MTA #2-line car that he used to slaughter with cans in the middle of the night at the train yard. When describing the new work he said he was intentionally keeping it simple – perhaps owing the style to his earlier practice.

Lee Quinones. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I think this is one of Lee’s most amazing pieces,” says Charlie Ahearn, the director of the seminal 1982 “Wild Style” film that Quinones stars in. Ahearn self-produced that film which became an important distillation of the merging of graffiti with hip-hop culture during a pivotal moment in the history of both. Now also a professor of Hip-Hop, art, design, and documentary film making at Pace University, Ahearn is familiar with many of the artists work here, many relationships reaching back decades. “I told Lee that I liked that it was a one-off, that he painted all the color straight off without the embellishment, texturing, and all that stuff.”

John and Charlie Ahearn. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Charlie’s twin brother John Ahearn is represented here popping out from walls as well, his sculptures serving as authentic portraits of people you may easily have seen on New York streets over the last four decades. Casted directly on top of the people themselves in a technique he has perfected, the placement of the sculptures gives life to the space.

Star Writers, Immersive Environments, Foundations

Dabsmyla. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The individual clusters of work and canvasses by 1970s-80s train painters like Futura, Crash, Lady Pink, Freedom, Carlos Mare, Blade, Haze, and Daze and next gen graphic painters like Doze Green and Rime are complemented by a number of so-called “immersive” spaces here like the Mission Schools’ Barry McGee storefront with smashed window, and the Australian Pop duo Dabs & Myla’s eye candy floral walls with thousands of artificial fauna created in collaboration with Amelia Posada.

Myla. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Shepard Fairey. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The high-profile graphic activist Shepard Fairey’s 30 year career overview takes a large area and encompasses all elements of his street and studio practice, and Bill Barminski’s cardboard home is open for you to explore with a wry smile, remembering the security room installation he did at Banksy’s Dismaland a couple years earlier.

Bill Barminski. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

You’re also treated to a full rolling wall of Craig Stecyk posters that brings you the sun and surf of California skate culture, sculptures by Mr. Cartoon and Risk, a kid-friendly illustrated room with crafting supplies for young fans on tables from HuskMitNavn, and an astute freight train culture educational display by writer/painter/sculptor Tim Conlon (complete with a mid-sized Southern Pacific freight on train tracks he and friends built), prints/photos by historian Bill Daniel, and original drawings by the man some call the King of Hobo Art, buZ blurr.

John Fekner. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“These are a self portrait as predicated on a first Bozo Texino person and I kind of changed the image around,” says Mr. blurr, a legendary figure in denim overalls, as he patiently describes his classic tag image of a railway cowboy.

“It is a writer motif – the pipe smoke is going up and then it is trailing back to signify movement as the train goes down the track,” he says. “I worked in the train yards and my job was as a brakeman. I had a little free time so I started making drawings. I made my first one on November 11, 1971,” he says as he recalls the state of mind that he was in at the time as he began to tag freights with the image and text that came to him clearly – and may have perplexed other travellers.

buZ blurr. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“They came from a confused state. I was questioning everything. I was putting kind of cryptic messages under my drawings. It was anybody’s guess as to its literal interpretation. I addressed some of them up to specific people but whether they saw them or responded to them, I wouldn’t have any idea.”  

Tim Conlon. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“When it’s shipped in the crate its 550 pounds,” says Conlon as he stands by the 3-foot high freight car re-creation on tracks and ties that is hit with a couple of wild and colorful graffiti burners. “Here I’m going to show you something,” he says as he pulls back the roof to reveal the narrow coffin interior in rusted red. “So I’m going to hide some beer in here during the opening party. This is like the fifth one of these I’ve made,” and he proudly confides that one lives in the house of Robert Downey Jr.

Digging Deep to Take Risks

Not content to rest on laurels and previous formulas of success, the show keeps a freshness by presenting known entities pushing themselves further and taking creative risks; a reflection of that spirit of experimentation we have always prized on the street.

Graffiti writer Earsnot from Irak crew, now known professionally as Kunle Martin, said he had been making work for the gallery containing elements of graffiti, but felt they were too “safe”.

Kunle Martin AKA Earsnot. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Then my friend Dan said ‘you should go back to doing drawings,’” he says as he stands before figurative canvasses in black and white on cardboard. “I said ‘I can’t! It’s too hard! But eventually I began working in my studio five days a week, and I made enough for a show.”

Reflective of the attitude of Gastman toward artists in the community, he told Martin that if he made enough of them, he could place them in this show. “I think he was happy to hear that I was in my studio working. He’s been very supportive of it.”

Kunle Martin. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A fluorescent color-drenched graphic/photographic collage style is featured with plenty of space in large frames from Chicago’s Pose, who says he is letting photography and geometry lead him away from his previous pop collage style that may have reminded many of Lichtenstein. His inspiration here comes from his research into early photos of graffiti writers running from police “I was obsessed with John Naars photos and I have usually Norman Mailer as in inspiration. Some of these photo references are from the Philadelphia Inquirer,” he says.

Pose. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Pose. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

New York’s Eric Haze also dares himself to take a new direction with three canvasses featuring a refracted piecing-together of imagery and memories of this city in monochrome. Based on black and white scenes of the city by photographer and NYC taxi driver Matt Weber, the scenes capture aspects that are culled from imagination and impression. The centerpiece canvas captures an iconic piece of the Williamsburg waterfront that has been removed in the last few years by developers; the signage of the old Domino Sugar factory by the Williamsburg Bridge.

Haze. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mr. Haze said he meant it as a gift and tribute to his wife, actress and longtime resident of the neighborhood, Rosie Perez who used to see it along Kent Avenue as a kid.  “He’s not afraid to take risks. He’s not afraid to go in the studio and express what’s inside of him. When he brought me to the studio, he says, ‘I have a surprise for you’,” she remembers. “I saw the beginnings of the Domino painting and I was stunned into silence and I got teary-eyed.”

Rosie Perez. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Beyond Labels

An expanded version of the show that first mounted in Los Angeles last year, the collection is focused a great deal on the American history of graffiti with a balance of East/West coast graffiti history – in a way that may remind you of 2011’s “Art in the Streets” at LA MoCA. That makes sense, considering Gastman co-curated that show as well.

“It’s both a historical and current look at where the culture went and where it started and how widespread it is,” says co-curator Evan Pricco, who perhaps provides a lynchpin view toward the big name Street Artists who continued to push expectations in the 2000’s on streets and in commercial galleries around the world. “With the space spread over two floors it has a way better curatorial sense. I also think it does compete with museums because it shows that this kind of work is on the same level. You kind of have to present it in a way that feels very institutional and archival.”

So is Beyond the Streets a graffiti show or a Street Art show or a contemporary art show? For artist Kenny Scharf, who first gained attention during the heyday of Downtown Manhattan’s art scene that benefitted from an interlude where rents were dirt cheap and Wall Street was on a cocaine high, there is no need to categorize what kind of art this is.

Kenny Scharf. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“You know I never liked labels or titles anyway so even back in the early 80s I was pegged like ‘oh you’re a graffiti artist,’” he says. “People feel the need to title and label so I’ll let them to continue to do that but I don’t fit into any of them and I don’t want to. I want to fit into all of them and none of them.”

Beyond the Streets opened June 21 and continues through the summer.

MADSAKI. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Blade and Doze Green. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Katsu. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Gajin Fujita. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Faith XLVII. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
John Ahearn. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Jane Dickson. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dan Witz. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
1UP Crew…it’s always a good thing to have your friends near by when you need them the most… Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
1UP Crew. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)ork. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Cleon Peterson. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Conor Harrington. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Felipe Pantone. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Beastie Boys. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Nekst . Risk. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bast . Paul Insect. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Invader. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Ron English. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Patrick Martinez. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dust tagger. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Martha Cooper with Freedom. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
What’s left and soon to be gone of the old Williamsburg’s waterfront right across from Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martha Cooper’s work as exhibited at Beyond The Streets New York

Beyond The Streets NYC is now open in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to the general public and will run until August 2019. Click HERE for schedules, tickets and details.

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Futura Goes “Full Frame” by Magda Danysz

Futura Goes “Full Frame” by Magda Danysz

One benefit of being ahead of your time is that you can paint your own rules, discover your own voice, set a standard. A drawback is that you may have to push forward on your own before you gain support for what you are pursuing. The key is to keep moving.

Futura 2000 FULL FRAME By Magda Danysz. Drago Publisher. Rome, Italy. 2018.

As Futura pulls fully into the frame of contemporary artist, its important for upcoming artists to remember that he had a long route – including being a bike messenger on Manhattan’s untamed streets to provide for his family – while he was waiting until the rest of the street and art world caught up with him. Now that Street Art has confirmed that his abstract explorations on subway trains were an early sign of what was coming, brands and gallerists and collectors often call.  “Full Frame” helps appreciate the body of work he developed during that time.

Futura 2000 FULL FRAME By Magda Danysz. Drago Publisher. Rome, Italy. 2018.

Self named Futura 2000 when that sounded futuristic, Lenny Gurr has done more painting on canvas than he realized since the early 80s and his style has continued to evolve and clarify.  

“Just for people to finally get a look at my work – I feel like a lot of what is being revealed hasn’t really been seen,” he tells us as he describes the nearly 300 page yellow tome “Full Frame,” published by Drago and organized by Magda Danysz. Among the richly illustrated pages, Danysz presents important benchmarks in Futura’s steadily growing career and personal life that bring the evolution closer to the reader.

In terms of the visual language in these sketches, diagrams and canvasses, there are a wealth of orbs and symbols and sprays and washes and stellar interstellar journeys that you have never seen before. Evolution appears to be natural for Futura, his pores and nerve endings collecting signals, firing synapses, pushing deep into imaginary worlds.

Futura 2000 FULL FRAME By Magda Danysz. Drago Publisher. Rome, Italy. 2018.

Influences run from expressionists, abstractionists, modernists, punks, the race to the moon and the moonage daydreams of city hippies everywhere. His recurring circle motifs are as much about his internal mind and world as they are about the cosmos.

A sense of balance in the chaos is always present, the palette choices impeccably on point, sharply sweet and frequently daring. Is this fantasy or diary? If Futura hasn’t flown to most of these places, it’s not because he hasn’t tried. But we’re treating these pages and frames of eye-popping other-worlds as evidence that he has.

Futura 2000 FULL FRAME By Magda Danysz. Drago Publisher. Rome, Italy. 2018.

“I think for the most part people appreciate survivors,” he is quoted in the book. Few survivors could be so freely percolating with ideas and graceful in their delivery.

Futura 2000 FULL FRAME By Magda Danysz. Drago Publisher. Rome, Italy. 2018.
Futura 2000 FULL FRAME By Magda Danysz. Drago Publisher. Rome, Italy. 2018.
Futura 2000 FULL FRAME By Magda Danysz. Drago Publisher. Rome, Italy. 2018.
Futura 2000 FULL FRAME By Magda Danysz. Drago Publisher. Rome, Italy. 2018.
Futura 2000 FULL FRAME By Magda Danysz. Drago Publisher. Rome, Italy. 2018.
Futura 2000 FULL FRAME By Magda Danysz. Drago Publisher. Rome, Italy. 2018.
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Futura 2000 In Studio and “The 5 Elements”

Futura 2000 In Studio and “The 5 Elements”

EARTH, AIR, FIRE, and WATER. And FUTURA 2000.

These are the five elements.

“Hey Guys!” he bellows from the doorway and invites us in.

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A non-stop full-voiced welcome fills the air of this factory loft space with stories and smoke and sports talk radio as you ascend steps from the truck-traffic cacophony of cold and rain on this Bushwick thoroughfare. For the next hour and a half, you are warmly surrounded by clothes racks and boxes and spray cans and multi-faceted anecdotes and impressions and fragments of memories that get shaken and sprayed and circled back to.

Here is a fond remembrance of something his mom or dad said from his childhood, an adroitly drawn quip about a curious gallerist, an excited discovery of new Super 8 footage of a mission with famed NYC graffiti writer Dondi in Japan to promote Wild Style. Elsewhere he recounts a meeting with Joe Strummer in a New York studio to share and record his own penned rap lyrics with The Clash, a trip to Berlin in ’85 with Keith Haring, a recent conversation with MODE2 who lives there now, a description of his personal misgivings about wearing his US military uniform into town while stationed at Yakuska Naval Base as a 20 year old.

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

An omnivore of ideas and initiatives and world cities, his march as a creative force of nature only gathers speed as he nears 40 years since first emerging from graffiti writing as a studio artist.

“1980 was the breakout year for us because we were all beginning to surface,” he says of the number of events that occurred that year and brought graffiti and street culture to a larger, more mainstream audience, and hopefully, a collector base. That was the year of the “Times Square Show” by Colab that introduced art and performance from the “Downtown” and “Uptown” scenes. It was also the year that Stefan Eins’ Fashion Moda gallery in the South Bronx had its first exhibition of graffiti art – Graffiti Art Success for America (GAS) – curated by artist John Matos (aka Crash), the show included work by graffiti culture artists such as Futura, Lady Pink, John Fekner, Disco 107, Fab Five Freddie, Futura, Kel 139th, Lee, Mitch 77, Nac 143, Noc 167, Stan 153, Tom McCutcheon, and Zephyr.

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“We were all willing to come above ground and investigate what was happening,” he says. “That was also the year I did the ‘Break Car’,” he says of the uniquely abstract whole graffiti car he painted that set him apart stylistically from the NYC graffiti writing pack and was captured famously by photographer Martha Cooper. That car and that style would proved to be the Cold War inspired rocketship that launched Futura 2000 into a forty year exploration of the Cosmos.

Fast forward to April 2018 in Lille, France, and Futura toils and emerges with a new body of work incorporating his long-held love for the interconnectedness of the galaxy, the stars, and the planet.

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I’ve been a child of the planet since I was a kid,” he says as he recalls the impact of the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens and how it tapped into his innate desire for exploration. “Every nation had a pavilion,” he says, and suddenly you see his collection of miniature architectural wonders from around the world, all grouped together for an idealized cityscape.

“I’ve got Berlin, Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Towers, Roma, Peru (Easter Island), the Blue Mosque in Turkey, Sheik Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi,” he says. “I don’t have Taj Mahal, but I’ve been to it. I need that.”

“The 5 Elements” is the exhibition that opens this week at Urban Spree in Berlin and of course refers as well to the so-called “Five Elements of Hip-Hop”, of which graffiti is one. But he reserves this reference to a greater sweep, expressed in about an expansive show. “There’s a whole series on water, air, on fire,” he says, “It’s all at some point color coated for each element.” He also creates a series of circular canvasses hung in relation to each other to evoke the planetary system.

“I think they’re like 70 pieces, in terms of that I don’t think I’ve ever done anything this extensive,” he says.

But “The 5 Elements” is not a retrospective show, says Urban Spree founder and curator Pascal Feucher, who has been preparing the show with co-host Art Together. “On the contrary,” he writes, “Futura worked specifically on a large museum-style conceptual exhibition, tackling the ambitious theme of the Creation of the Universe, confronting himself to the cosmos, the planets, the infinitely small, the Big Bang and the fundamental elements, producing a corpus of works that becomes a path to the exploration of the universe as well as providing a backdoor into Futura’s internal galaxy.”

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Coinciding with the show will be the release of a 128-page companion book titled “Futura, les 5 éléments” – certain to be sought after.

For the ever expansive graphic designer, clothing designer, wordsmith, musician, sneaker head, graffiti writer, abstract painter, photographer, the dots are all connected – and it always also connects to his roots.

“I like it when it’s a degree removed, yet connected – when you realize that the whole school – at least the whole New York City school, is vast,” he says. “It has touched a lot of people.”

Rather like Futura 2000.

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Futura sharing a picture of Lee Quinones on a moped in Roma (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Below are images of the 4 screen prints that will be released at the opening of “The 5 Elements”, based on the painting series “Pure”. Each 8-color screen print is hand-pulled by Dolly Demoratti (Mother Drucker/Urban Spree Studio), signed and numbered by Futura. The 50 x 50 cm prints are only sold as a limited edition of 100 sets.

Futura. Pure Earth. (photo courtesy of Urban Spree Gallery)

Futura. Pure Air. (photo courtesy of Urban Spree Gallery)

Futura. Pure Water. (photo courtesy of Urban Spree Gallery)

Futura. Pure Fire. (photo courtesy of Urban Spree Gallery)

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“Beyond The Streets” Exhibition : Gastman’s Train Pulls In to LA

“Beyond The Streets” Exhibition : Gastman’s Train Pulls In to LA

A steel-wheeled graffiti train with Roger Gastman at the controls roars into LA’s Chinatown for a two-month stay at this station, a 40,000 square foot warehouse that houses “Beyond the Streets.” Originating at the streets and train yards of the 1960s and 70s, this express survey carries with it 100 or so artists and writers from across the last five decades as practitioners of graffiti, Street Art, and mural painting. Somehow, everyone gets represented.

Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Opening night featured many of the names associated with its earliest beginnings of the New York /Philadelphia graffiti scene like Cornbread, Taki183, Futura, Lady Pink, filmmaker Charlie Ahearn, among many others, including photographer Martha Cooper, who in addition to being an artist in the show, shares these photos with BSA readers. She also extensively shares her photos for the accompanying show catalog,  providing documentation from the scene that exist nowhere else.

Retna. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

A diverse and almost overwhelming series of displays present the works in a way that can only hint at the thousands of artists who built this story, necessarily viewed through a wide lens: sculpture, photography, installations, and multi-media all join the canvasses and ephemera and Gastman’s collection of vintage paint cans. Smartly planned for the selfie generation, large pieces are presented almost as backdrop ready to be Instagrammed; a direction coming from the “Photos Encouraged” sign that is next to the wall covered with Retna’s original alphabet near the entrance.

Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Somewhat of a rejoinder to Art in the Streets, the eponymous graffiti and Street Art exhibition in 2011 at LA MoCA, Beyond the Streets takes a focused look at the multitudinous peoples’ art movement from the perspective of one of that first shows’ original curators, Roger Gastman. When arranging the two month exhibition that closes July 6th, Gastman says that his focus was to celebrate those with street cred, in terms of individual practice, and to combine that requirement with a respectable semblance of a studio practice.

Ultimately he looked for artists who have used their particular approach to expand the definition of art in the streets in some way. That definition by now has become quite wide and it’s also a tall order for any curator to find the common themes here and present them in a cohesive manner.

Beyond The Streets, compiled by Roger Gastman.

Both the accompanying catalog and exhibition take a welcome stance toward educating the audience in many ways, helping the viewer to decode this freewheeling graffiti and mark-making history with basic vocabulary terms, historical events, pop culture inflexion points and examination of tools of the trade all adding context. Catalog essays and interviews are incisive and enlightening, including wit, sarcasm and even the occasional admonishment – notably in the essay by author, filmmaker, and curator Sacha Jenkins, who has been documenting the graffiti scene for a least a couple of decades.

Studying the move of some artists from street practice to commercial gallery that began in earnest with early NYC train writers transitioning to canvasses in the early 1980s, Jenkins upbraids a disgruntled faction among old-school graffiti writers who he characterizes as perhaps intransigent in their stylistic evolution and unwilling to adapt with the game. Later in his essay he lambasts the overtly pleasant and narcissistic cultural newcomers who he sees as milk-toasting the scene with their adoration of pretty murals and shallow sentiments, obtusely ushering in gentrification and “leading up to hearing about how my mother’s building is going to get bulldozed for a hip residential building that has a hot tub in every apartment.” He also may be the only writer here so openly addressing race and class distinctions present during the evolution of the scene and now.

Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

The selection of artists and writers in the book and exhibition, many of them friends and colleagues with whom Gastman has worked with in the past, offers a rewarding and accessible panoply of styles and views. With some study the visitor understands connections in a widely dispersed multi-player subculture that coalesced and continuously changed its shape and character. But even if they don’t, they still get an amazing amount of eye candy.

The catalog offers extensive sections like those devoted to The History of Spraypaint and Graffiti in Galleries, and offers petite exegesis on influencing factors and benchmarks that shaped the art form’s route like Mobile DJs, The ’77 NYC Blackout, the European graffiti scene and graffiti’s role in gang culture, hip-hop and hardcore music. The compilation aids and supports the fullness of a story that frankly requires many voices to tell it. Gastman even gives forum and exhibition space to activist and defiant guerilla gardener Ron Finley and the holistic urban horticultural oases that he creates in South Central LA, calling it his form of graffiti in empty lots of the city.

Martha Cooper with Taki 183. Beyond The Streets. (photo courtesy of Martha Cooper)

With insightful interviews of artists in the exhibition from talented writers like Caleb Neelon, Caroline Ryder, John Lewis, Alec Banks, Evan Pricco, John Albert, Shelly Leopold, and Gastman himself, there are enough colorful anecdotes and decisive signposts en route to help tell the stories of the artists and their individual approaches to the street.

“The artists do not share a singular style, since they are primarily united by a common element of their personal biographies – the fact that they once made their art in the streets,” says self-described novice to the Street Art / graffiti world, Adam Lerner, the Director and Chief Animator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. “There are, however some threads that run through the works.”

Beyond the Streets will help visitors find some of those threads for themselves and undoubtedly they will forge their own interpretation of art in the streets.

Faile. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Invader. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Slick. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Takashi Murakami with Madsaki, Snipel, Tenga One and Onesker. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Lady Pink. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Charlie Ahearn . Futura . Lady Pink. Crash. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Mr. Cartoon. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Futura. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Futura takes a photo of Haze’s art work. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Niels Shoe Meulman. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Ron Finley’s Gansta Gardener installation. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Corn Bread. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Corn Bread. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

 

Crash . Daze. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Katsu. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Bill Barminski. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Faith XLVII. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Shepard Fairey. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Jenny Holzer, Flashlight (In Collaboration With A-One). Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Blade. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Aiko. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Al Diaz. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Barry Magee. Beyond The Streets. (photo and video below © Martha Cooper)

 

Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)


For more information please visit https://www.beyondthestreets.com/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

 

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Rose Béton Festival in Toulouse, France in Year 2

Rose Béton Festival in Toulouse, France in Year 2

Concrete Rose. Sounds like the name of a jailhouse jezebel with a beauty mark on her cheek and feathers and pearls in her hair. Translate it to French and you get the second edition of Rose Béton, a street art and graffiti festival in the “Pink City” of Toulouse, which has more than its share of pink paint and terra cotta brick.

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Hendrik Beikirch AKA ECB.  Rose Béton Festival. Toulouse, France. June 2016. (photo © ECB)

Organized around murals, graffiti jams, workshops, talks, and exhibits, Rose Béton had a New York centered theme this year, including an evening entitled “Hello Brooklyn” although the majority of artists painting were not from NYC aside from the ever youthful and sage Futura – so maybe the “Brooklyn” branding was more an inspiration derived from hip-hop music and the love of Jay-Z.

It also had a few large murals, including ones by Ben Eine, ARYZ and this beauty above by ECB, who painted a portrait of a Moroccan man on a building inhabited by many North African immigrants and a stunning view was captured here by the artist of prayer mats spread out next the building – especially significant during this month of Ramadan.

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Hendrik Beikirch AKA ECB.  Rose Béton Festival. Toulouse, France. June 2016. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Two actual New Yorkers Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant were there to exhibit their photographic works in one of oldest places dedicated to photography in the world, the Château d’Eau, an old nineteenth century water tower near to the cours Dillon. Along with their seminal New York graff-centered photographs were the work of a young photographer named Sylvain Largot whose specialty is illegal graff.

Martha tells us that the Toulouse event was all male except for one female from Bogota named Ledania and ironically here work received the most “likes” and attention on Martha’s Instagram account. She had come with a crew of mostly Columbians artists for a program called “Latino Graff” which held a show and soiree at Espace Allegria and Galerie Zunzun.

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ARYZ.  Rose Béton Festival. Toulouse, France. June 2016. (photo © Martha Cooper)

The “Hello Brooklyn” graff jam was held at a spacious former factory called Le 50Cinq, which has been renovated by artists and turned into artists’ spaces, studios, and commercial event rental venue.

A round table was held with Toulouse native TILT, who spoke with Bernard Baudron who founded the Toulouse graffiti shop “South Painters,” and Jordi Rubio Rocabert, who started Montana Colors.

Nearby at Musée Des Abattoirs there was an exhibit of graff and street artists including Delta, Krink, Mist, Futura and Boris Tellegen. As Martha shared with us, Toulouse has a long history of graffiti, and the range and passion of the events at Rose Béton this month again confirm that Toulouse is still at the top of its game.

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ARYZ.  Rose Béton Festival. Toulouse, France. June 2016. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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ARYZ.  Rose Béton Festival. Toulouse, France. June 2016. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Ben Eine.  Rose Béton Festival. Toulouse, France. June 2016. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Ben Eine.  Rose Béton Festival. Toulouse, France. June 2016. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Ben Eine.  Rose Béton Festival. Toulouse, France. June 2016. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Ben Eine.  Rose Béton Festival. Toulouse, France. June 2016. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Futura. Musée Des Abattoirs. Rose Béton Festival. Toulouse, France. June 2016. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Futura. Musée Des Abattoirs. Rose Béton Festival. Toulouse, France. June 2016. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Futura. Musée Des Abattoirs. Rose Béton Festival. Toulouse, France. June 2016. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Futura. Musée Des Abattoirs. Rose Béton Festival. Toulouse, France. June 2016. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Martha Cooper in the center flanked by Sylvain Largot on the left and Henry Chalfant on the right at Galerie Le Chateau D’Eau for their show “EPOXY”. Rose Béton Festival. Toulouse, France. June 2016. (photo courtesy of Martha Cooper)

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Poster for “Open Summer” graff jam was called “Hello Brooklyn”.  Rose Béton Festival. Toulouse, France. June 2016. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Bomin82. “Open Summer” graff -jam.  Rose Béton Festival. Toulouse, France. June 2016. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Bomin82. “Open Summer” graff -jam.  Rose Béton Festival. Toulouse, France. June 2016. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Ledania. “Open Summer” graff -jam.  Rose Béton Festival. Toulouse, France. June 2016. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Ever and ECB happy encounter at the “Open Summer” graff -jam.  Rose Béton Festival. Toulouse, France. June 2016. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Remeio. Rose Béton Festival. Toulouse, France. June 2016. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Krink. Work in progress. Musée Des Abattoirs. Rose Béton Festival. Toulouse, France. June 2016. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Delta. Work in progress. Musée Des Abattoirs. Rose Béton Festival. Toulouse, France. June 2016. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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From let to right: Tilt, Jordi Rubio Rocabert and Bernard Baudron. Rose Béton Festival. Toulouse, France. June 2016. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Thank you to Ms. Cooper and Mr. Beikirch for sharing their photos with us.

To learn more about Rose Béton Festival click HERE

To learn more about Musée Des Abattoirs and their hours of operation, exhibitions etc…click HERE

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BSA Images Of The Week: 05.15.16

BSA Images Of The Week: 05.15.16

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Coney Art Walls is back for 2016 and the artists have already begun painting, Duke Riley is on week two of performance with pigeons in The Brooklyn Navy Yard , the #notacrimecampaign is happening in Harlem to support a free press in Iran, Newark has started a huge public mural program called “Gateways to Newark: Portraits”, Urban Nation in Berlin promises a huge announcement this week,  and Vladimir Putin is in a lip-lock with Donald Trump on the street in Lithuania.  There is also a lot of new free-range, unsanctioned art on the streets.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring bunny M, Cdre, Crash, Dain, Dee Dee, Etnik, finDAC, Futura, Icy & Sot, Mister Cartoon, Myth, Pegasus, and Rone.

Our top image: CRASH and the first wall completed for the 2016 edition of Coney Art Walls, courtesy of Jeffrey Deitch and his amazing crew, especially Ethel Seno. BSA will bring you all the details, works in progress and behind-the-scenes juiciness for the entire duration of the project until all the walls are completed. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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DAIN (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Etnik for fallOutWalls fest in Torino, Italy. (photo © Etnik)

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Icy & Sot (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Pegasus in London interprets The Beckhams from his series “Gods and Monsters”  (photo © Urban Art International)

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An unidentified artist creates “Urban Paleontology” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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RONE in East Harlem for #notacrimecampaign (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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RONE. Detail. East Harlem for #notacrimecampaing (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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CDRE (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dee Dee (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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FUTURA does something new and organic for The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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FUTURA. Detail. The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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bunny M (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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FinDac in Berlin for Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Mister Cartoon’s is pugilistic for Coney Art Walls 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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We are hoping that one of you dear readers will help us ID this artist, whose signature we can’t figure out. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Unidentified Artist  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Unidentified Artist  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Myth says “Sayonara Dana P” and reaches for the Bowie phone. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Untitled. The Last Picture. F Train. Brooklyn, NYC. April 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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BSA Images Of The Week: 02.07.16

BSA Images Of The Week: 02.07.16

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Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring 92, Alice Mizrachi, Bifido, Dubois Does Not Speak French, El Sol 25, Futura, Jick, JR, Klops, Rubin415, Specter, and Tara McPherson.

Our top image: Tara McPherson is not usually someone whose work you see on the street but here it is… (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tara McPherson (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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JR (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unknown or is this mural an advert? Actually, the latter. The Guggenheim uses this ten-point motivational sign to advertise the restrospective of Swiss artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss. According to the artists the original sign was found in a factory in Thailand. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Specter advert take over on the NYC Subway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Specter does an abstract billboard take over in Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Specter billboard take over in Dayton, Ohio. (photo © Specter)

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El Sol 25 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Klops for The Bushwick Collective illuminates the concentration of 90% of the media in the hands of 6 companies. In 1983 there were 50. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Bifido in Caserta, Italy. (photo © Bifido)

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Bifido in Italy creates this surrealist animation with flying garbage. (photo © Bifido)

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Dubois DNSF (full name Dubois Does Not Speak French) for Top To Bottom in L.I.C. Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The sky poem along the top reads: That Morning / Everything / Remember? / Made of SKY / The hardpress of Avenues / Your hands / My day a checklist mingling with a cosmos / We have been in love / Since the invention of gazing at stars / I still whisper “We one day / will have to party”/

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Rubin415 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jick for Top To Bottom in L.I.C. Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Alice Mizrachi for Top To Bottom in L.I.C. Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Futura dissed. This is Futura’s Houston/Bowery wall in Manhattan which we published as he was painting it. Honestly! Actually, now that you see the choice of black on grey and white on black, you may even say this is a collaboration. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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92. Apparently in fact there is no respect; Neither for the masters nor for the emerging artists. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Untitled. Playground. Brooklyn, NY. February 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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BSA Galavanting, The New Year and You

BSA Galavanting, The New Year and You

BSA galavanted through the streets last year and here we re-paste our recent newsletter to BSA readers. Sign up for it if you like. Here’s the original.

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Happy New Year from BSA!

From Berlin to Norway to Rochester and Mexico, Faile to Swoon to Ron English to Dan Witz and Gilf!, BSA was in museums, galleries, artists studios, at festivals, on panel discussions, on stages, on TV, radio, in theaters, and of course in the street.

Here are some highlights of the some of the amazing things BSA did with you in 2015. We sincerely thank you for your support and send love to you and yours in the new year!

***

In ’15 BSA Created “Persons of Interest” with UN in Berlin
Brought 12 Brooklyn Street Artists to Berlin with “Persons of Interest” show for Urban Nation Museum (UN)/ProjectM7

Reviews in:
Juxtapoz, VNA, Hi-Fructose, Huffington Post, Butterfly

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The (almost) complete “Persons of Interest” crew courtesy ©Sandra Butterfly

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BSA Presented “On the Radar” in Coney Island
With Jeffrey Dietch’s Coney Art Walls program at Coney Island Museum for Coney Art Walls, we presented 12 artist to watch who are on our radar.

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BSA Presented Faile at the Brooklyn Museum
A beautiful experience to be a part of the FAILE exhibition from its earliest planning stages to its full summer run at Brooklyn Museum, the cherry on top was to host an in-depth presentation and conversation with Faile’s Patrick Miller and Patrick McNeil and BKM curator Sharon Matt Atkins in front of an enthusiastic Brooklyn audience.

Aside from The Pope landing in New York at the exact time people were traveling to the show and some microphone difficulties at the beginning of the show, it was a complete and total thrill for us. See the full video on LiveStream here.

What Happened with BSA + FAILE at the Brooklyn Museum?

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Steven P. Harrington, Patrick Miller of Faile (top), Sharon Matt Atkins, Patrick McNeil, and Jaime Rojo (image © by and courtesy of The Dusty Rebel) (@DustyRebel on Instagram)

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BSA Joined Swoon to Inaugurate Her New Heliotrope Foundation
The tenacious and visionary Street Artist grounded her dreams in a formal foundation in 2015, allowing her to pursue even greater reach in her growing projects in New Orleans, Haiti, and Braddock, PA. We were honored to interview her and to help celebrate the official beginning of The Heliotrope Foundation with the help of special guest and board member Kaseem Dean aka Swizz Beatz.

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Callie Curry (aka Swoon), Kasseem Dean (aka Swizz Beatz), Jaime Rojo, Steven P. Harrington inaugurate The Heliotrope Foundation

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photo ©Daniel Feral

BSA Hosted Martha Cooper, Bortusk Leer, and Herman De Hoop at Nuart Plus
For presentations from each of the guests and panel discussion on the intersection of “Play” and public space at NUART 2015 in Stavanger, Norway.

Read our published essay for the academic conference at Nuart: “TECHNOLOGY, FESTIVALS AND MURALS AS NUART TURNS 15

NUART 2015 Roundup: A Laboratory on the Street

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Jaime Rojo, Harmen De Hoop, Martha Cooper, Bortusk Leer, Steven P. Harrington at Nuart Plus (©MZM Projects)

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Banksy Does New York Took Us to Theaters Around the World
Good News: The movie got on NetFlix, iTunes, in festivals, and in theaters in cities around the globe
Bad News: People think we have a museum

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We Flew Over World’s Largest Mural
Flew by helicopter above the world’s largest mural by Ella and Pitr in Stavanger, Norway with two of our most admired photographers; Martha Cooper and Ian Cox. Thanks Nuart!

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Ella & Pitr © Jaime Rojo

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Ian Cox, Martha Cooper, Jaime Rojo getting ready to fly over Ella & Pitr in Norway (photo selfie ©Ian Cox)

We presented BSA Film Friday Live at MAG Gallery
Under the direction of Jonathan Binstock at University of Rochester Museum the MAG Gallery hosted us during the Wall\Therapy festival.

This is the grassroots sort of festival that rings true to us these days and the down-to-earth volunteers and organizers of this event, along with those of our associates at Urban Nation (UN), made this a highlight of the summer.

WALL\THERAPY 2015 : Surrealism and The Fantastic

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Steven P. Harrington at MAG Gallery for Wall\Therapy (photo ©Jason Wilder)

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BSA moderated 1st panel for 1st event of 1st edition of LoMan Festival
“OMG Is this Street Art?” was the name of our panel with guest panelists Ron English, Gilf!, Dan Witz, and Jonathan Levine.

LoMan Art Festival Launches Its First Blast in NYC

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Ron English, Ann J Lewis, Dan Witz, Jonathan LeVine, and Steven P. Harrington for first LoMan festival event in August (photo ©Rodrigo Valles‎).

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BSA in Berlin Radio Interview with Vantage Point
We talked about Jay-Z, Bowie, Bushwick, the democratization of Street Art, cultural imperialism, the UN and what it is like to bust out a blog seven days a week and still keep your mind and heart open to discovery.
Listen to it here on Vantage Point and Soundcloud:

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BSA completed its fifth year in partnership with The Huffington Post in June 2015 (225+ articles) and was translated in Spanish on El Huffington Post, in French on Le Huffington Post, in Italian on L’Huffington Post, in Korean on Huff Post Korea, in Portuguese on Brasil Post, and in Greek for Huffington Post Greece.
BSA posted every single day and did 23 interviews and studio visits and published articles about street art in 103 cities
BSA was reference or appeared in the media in The New York Times, The Today Show, Le Monde, Agence France Press, German Rbb Tv, Borås Tidning, El Diario, El Heraldo, ArtNet News, Juxtapoz, VNA, Hi-Fructose, and others.
BSA’s Director of Photography Jaime Rojo took more than 10,000 images and we picked 143 as BSA 2015 Images of the Year.
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Special thank you to photographer Martha Cooper and Nuart Festival director Martyn Reed for the banner image from this years festival.

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BSA “Images of the Year” for 2015 : New Video

BSA “Images of the Year” for 2015 : New Video

Was 2015 the “Year of the Mural”?

A lot of people thought so, and the rise of commercial festivals and commissioned public/private mural programs probably brought more artists to more walls than in recent history. Judging from the In Box, 2016 is going to break more records. Enormous, polished, fully realized and presented, murals can hold a special role in a community and transform a neighborhood, even a city.

But they are not the “organic” Street Art that draws us into the dark in-between places in a city, or at its margins.

We keep our eyes open for the small, one-off, idiosyncratic, uncommissioned, weirdo work as well, as it can carry clues about the culture and reveal a sage or silly solo voice.  It also just reinforces the feeling that the street is still home to an autonomous free-for-all of ideas and opinions and wandering passions. For us it is still fascinating to seek out and discover the one-of-a-kind small wheatpastes, stencils, sculptures, ad takeovers, collages, and aerosol sprayed pieces alongside the enormous and detailed paintings that take days to complete.

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The main image above is from a vinyl subway advertisement that was high-jacked and we published it in February of this year on our Images of the Week posting. It’s small, personal, and very effective as you can see someone suspiciously similar to Batman is jumping out of the mouth of someone looking awfully similar to Hedwig of “Angry Inch” fame.

Of the 10,000 or so images photographer Jaime Rojo took in 2015, here are a selection 140+ of the best images from his travels through streets looking for unpermissioned and sanctioned art.

Brooklyn Street Art 2015 Images of the Year by Jaime Rojo

 

Brooklyn Street Art 2015 Images of the Year by Jaime Rojo includes the following artists;

365xlos43, Amanda Marie, Andreas Englund, Augustine Kofie, Bisser, Boijeot, Renauld, Bordaloli, Brittany, BunnyM, Case Maclaim, Casg, Cash4, CDRE, Clet, Cost, Curve, Dain, Dal East, Dan Budnik, Dan Witz, David Walker, DeeDee, Dennis McNett, Don Rimx, Ricardo Cabret, LNY, Alex Seel, Mata Ruda, Don’t Fret, Dot Dot Dot, ECB, El Mac, El Sol25, Ella & Pitr, Eric Simmons, Enest Zacharevic, Martha Cooper, Martin Whatson, Ever, Faile, Faith47, Findac, Futura, Gaia, Gilf!, Hanksy, Hellbent, Hot Tea, How & Nosm, Icy and Sot, Inti, Invader, Isaac Cordal, James Bullough, Janet Dickson, Jef Aerosol, Jilly Ballistic, Joe Iurato, John Fekner, Le Diamantaire, Li Hill, LMNOPI, London Kaye, Low Brow, Marina Capdevilla, Miss Van, Mr. Prvrt, Mr. Toll, Myth, Nafir, Nemos, Never Crew, Nick Walker, Nina Pandolofo, Old Broads, Oldy, Ollio, Os Gemeos, Owen Dippie, Paper Skaters, Pet Bird, Kashink, Smells, Cash4, PichiAvo, Pixel Pancho, QRST, ROA, Ron English, Rubin415, Saner, Sean 9 Lugo, Shai Dahan, Shepard Fairey, Sheryo & The Yok, Sinned, Sipros, Skewville, Slikor, Smells, Sweet Toof, Snowden, Edward Snowden, Andrew Tider, Jeff Greenspan, Specter, Stray Ones, Sweet Toof, Swil, Willow, Swoon, The Outings Project, Toney De Pew, Tristan Eaton, Various & Gould, Vermibus, Wane, Wk Interact

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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This article is also published on The Huffington Post

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FUTURA At The Houston Wall, Heart of the Concrete Jungle

FUTURA At The Houston Wall, Heart of the Concrete Jungle

The Houston Street Wall took a turn for the abstract, atmospheric, and the futurist imaginings of New York artist Futura these last few days. Pushing his own borders and in a reductionist state of mind, the graffiti writer abandons the splashy colors and recalls the monochrome pallet of the NYC train yards he ventured into as a teen; black of night, steel grey, the glint of light on the tracks that lead out through the city.

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Futura. Houston Wall. September 2015. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Stepping back and leaning in you can see the exposed vertical trussing of an NYC that always under construction with cranes stirring the sky; once building factories now high-rises and thin ultra luxe finger towers, these steel structures are adorned with ivy, razor wire, plastic bags fluttering in the gritty breeze.

As he sat cross-legged on the pavement before his “Concrete Jungle” for a cluster of photographers while holding open the double page spread of his 1980 train paintings, “Break,” only Martha Cooper could claim to shoot both this scene and the one thirty five years earlier.

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Futura. Houston Wall. September 2015. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This wall can sometimes feel like a backdrop for a family reunion, with all manner of friends, associates, peers, culture critics, photographers, fans, family, writers, photographers, fashion models, and selfie-stick carrying tourists stopping by to check the progress and say hello.

With hometown hero Futura at the brush, this heart of a concrete jungle becomes more of resting place by a tree, a welcoming urban oasis without the rose-colored glasses. Actually, now that you think of it, this guy posing gamely with open arms and happily signing your sketchbook or dollar bill does have red reading frames on, and his New York stories smooth over the rough patches and frequently look for a positive tone to strike.

As you see him painting and creating his massive piece in-the-moment here while people swarm by, cars honk their horns, trucks roar their engines, and sirens scream, it strikes you that this is New York then and this is New York now, thanks to the truly contemporary Futura.

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Futura. Houston Wall. September 2015. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Futura. Houston Wall. September 2015. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Futura. Houston Wall. September 2015. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Futura. Houston Wall. September 2015. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Futura. Houston Wall. September 2015. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Futura. Houston Wall. September 2015. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Futura. Houston Wall. September 2015. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Futura. Houston Wall. September 2015. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Futura. Houston Wall. September 2015. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Futura. Houston Wall. September 2015. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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NUART 2015 Roundup : A Laboratory on the Street

NUART 2015 Roundup : A Laboratory on the Street

A roundup today for the Nuart street art/ mural festival in Norway with images of the final walls by this years artists. Now celebrating its 15th year, the mid-sized fjord-facing city of Stavanger has played host to a selection of international and local artists directly or indirectly related to the evolving scene we know as Street Art.

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Ella & Pitr. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Again this year the selection of invited participants is varied, potent, and occasionally a smack upside the head – with punk rock graphic designer Jamie Reid leading the way in spirit and on walls. Reid’s inspiration dates to the radical hippie politics and Situationist practices of the 1950s and 60s but he is best known for formation of the Sex Pistols anti-monarchial slash and burn visual identity and for penning their pivotal recording “Anarchy in the UK” – a history discussed in Carlo McCormick’s presentation during the Nuart Plus program.

In tandem with his paste-ups around town and installation at the formal gallery show was the lesser-known street photography of very-well-known graffiti photographer and ethnographer Martha Cooper, who displayed a selection of five decades of children playing on the streets with improvised toys and games – via an automated slide show – as well as an additional one she narrated during our panel on this year’s theme “Play” at Nuart Plus.

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Ella & Pitr. Detail. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

While neither Reid nor Cooper are thought of as Street Artists per se, their choice as participants gave grounding to the proceedings and is emblematic of director Martyn Reed’s holistic approach to an eclectic programming that mixes up the tributaries and the river in such a way that observers may better have tools to measure the creative flow that we are all witnessing on city walls across the globe today.

As we mark the halfway point of this decade and see the institutional discussions of Street Art taking form while academics try to place it in the canon of art-making and decide upon the nature of its impact, they do it with the knowledge that gallery shows, museum exhibitions, high-profile auctions, individual collecting, lifestyle marketers, and public festivals of many configurations and aspirations are already embracing its relevance. No one can possibly gauge this story in all of its complexity but some will capture its spirit. Being on the street helps.

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Ella & Pitr. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

One way to get a pulse on the present is to attend shows like Nuart and witness the diverse stratagems that artists are using to engage their audiences and judge if they are successful at realizing their intentions. With a deliberately mixed bag of thinkers, feelers, documentors, aesthetes, and pranksters culled together for your edification, this show stokes the discussions.

Others may say that the headliners of this year’s Nuart were the French couple Ella & Pitr, whose record-setting 21,000 square meter mural of a young woman in running shorts lying in a semi-fetal position could only be viewed by helicopter across the roofs of a large construction company complex.

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Ella & Pitr. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

You could say that Stavanger streets were commanded with greater effect by the simple addition of Spain’s Isaac Cordal and his handmade concrete (or resin) bald businessmen, fifty or so of which he glued into crevices and upon ledges and structural fissures on buildings throughout town. Their sad existential conundrums are ours, even though we are guilting them with all the corrupt actions we are at least a little complicit in.

Arguably the greatest metamorphosis took place with the collection and assembly of local detritus – broken car pieces, old bicycles, tires, even ship buoys. Before you roll your eyes and think of homey craft-inspired planters on front lawns, the likenesses of animals that Bordalo II can evoke with his sculptures is uncanny and a little spooky.

His “stag” deer is meant as a commentary on the loss of natural habitat of the animals at the hands of what we call “development”. The companion piece of a whale overwhelmed by environmental poisoning in the Tou Scene gallery installation proves equally compelling and tragic.

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Ella & Pitr. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Harmen de Hoop invited a top economist to perform his installation purely with chalk and a 30-minute lecture on the streets of Stavanger on the subject of option pricing, Dolk bravely experimented with a new abstractionist, reductivist approach that ran counter to the style he is known for, and brothers Icy & Sot were the most currently topical with their portrait of a girl whose distorted visage is that of a refugee boat crammed with people. If Nuart at times feels like a laboratory it may be the perfect analogy for the street experience in cities everywhere.

Have a look at many of the finished walls at Nuart this year. See our essay marking their 15th anniversary HERE.

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Ella & Pitr. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ella & Pitr. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Isaac Cordal. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Isaac Cordal. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Isaac Cordal. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dotdotdot. Portrait of Sex Pistol’s Johnnie Rotten/John Lydon. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Martin Whatson. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Martin Whatson. Detail. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Martin Whatson. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Martin Whatson. Detail. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Pejac did a reinterpretation of “The Scream” by the Norwegian expressionist Edvard Munch, using a toy truck tire on a paint roller. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Futura. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. See his indoor installation video here. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Futura. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sandra Chevrier. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sandra Chevrier. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sandra Chevrier. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nafir. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The Outings Project. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The Outings Project. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ernest Zacharevic. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ernest Zacharevic. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ernest Zacharevic. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dolk. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Icy & Sot. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Icy & Sot. Detail. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Icy & Sot. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Icy & Sot. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Bortusk Leer. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Bortusk Leer. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Bordalo II. The artist preps the wall in the background. Trash collected from near by empty lots sits in the foreground to serve as the raw material for his work. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The completed wall by Bordalo II. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Harmen de Hoop. CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE. Nuart 2015. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Harmen De Hoop “Permanent Education” from NUART

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!
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This article is also published on The Huffington Post

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