Back in June, BSA published the first article on disCONNECT, a project created in London during the lockdown due to Covid-19. A collaboration between Schoeni Projects and HK Walls, disCONNECT involves the take over of a period building by 10 artists from different countries.
Disconnect “reflects on the creative and physical constraints of the current global crisis, exploring psychological and political reactions to the crisis, as well as the role of technology as conduit between the two.”
We’re pleased to bring you our final article on the project with images of the works of all 10 participating artists. For our previous coverage click HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.
Free Tickets for disCONNECT are now available. 24 July – 24 August, Wednesdays – Sundays. Hourly slots starting from 11am to 5pm, with a maximum of 8 people per slot. Please book below, we can’t wait to share this journey with you!
You have been seeing a number of rooms in this old Victorian home regaled and reimagined by a number of artists over the past few weeks as we have featured the installations for a unique exhibition called disConnect. Today we have artist Aida Wilde who speaks extensively here about every aspect of her installation and world view and how she created her work for this project .
“The inaugural exhibition at Schoeni Projects’ London space, a Victorian townhouse in South West London, the exhibition, Titled disCONNECT, transforms the period building – currently under renovation – with new site-specific works from ten urban artists working across seven countries.”
BSA: First tell us which room(s) were designated to you?
Aida Wilde: We were sent very concise floor plans and video of the house as were initially asked to state out preferences to which rooms we would like to take over.
From the off-set, I
was drawn to the most unusual and challenging spots in the house, like the walk
in master cupboard which was a little narrow with mirrors along it and a window
at the end of the little annex ….I also liked the wallpaper in the library but
again, that was a pretty conventional room- I’m not a big fan of the 4 walls/
window/box formula in spaces that I show art work in.
I like working with a
space that can interact and speak with the work… also sometimes I find that a
space can enhance and influence the kind of work being made…. They should go
hand in hand for me, especially when it comes to this kind of installation- in
a house….& if it doesn’t, it can shift context/perception and only be seen
conversations about stair cases and toilets which I have been know to have been
drawn to in the past so Nicole had suggested the downstairs loo (That she had
previously dubbed as the Nanny Loo) and it’s surrounding area which I was very
open to- so I began work based on the photos and videos I had been send. It
wasn’t until the very socially distanced site visit to the space that I knew we
had made the right decision. Everything clicked and was perfect for me.
BSA: Were the spaces intimidating, challenging, hunting or a walk in the park?
Aida Wilde: The spaces weren’t intimidating….I was more concerned about trying to execute the ideas that I had in a middle of a global pandemic, with a lot of the resources that I needed were either closed or operating on a skeleton capacity. There are still a couple things I could fabricate just because what I need was closed.
Fortunately for me, I
have a fully self-contained print studio to work from so I at least I knew that
I would be able to make most of the work here.
BSA: What first came to mind when you saw the space? Did you change your approach to the space a number of times?
Aida Wilde: I was very excited by the space, in particular the fixings and fixtures that were already there….. I had initially completely dismissed the small cupboard under the stairs, until the site visit and where I saw the big heavy safe inside. I don’t know a lot of houses/people who have a safe like that inside their house, so that sparked a lot of ideas about what I could put inside. I started playing with the idea of being safe/locked in/out, and that is when I came up with the idea of the “Pandemik Panik Room”. A contradiction in itself…. Where you would let out all your fears whilst still locked in inside…. But also, a place for safety, hiding and taking refuge inside of it, under the stairs. Made me chuckle.
It was always my intention from the beginning, that I would be doing asking people to be involved with the installation, initially via my social media platforms but later as lock down started to ease in the UK, I was able to run a Panik & Fear poster workshop for my neighbours. I live in a pretty sheltered artist warehouse complex, so I spread the word, put some posters up and people turned up outside my place on the day to get involved and make me posters to go inside the “Panik Room”. It was a beautiful sunny day, we shared, talked, created, laughed and got a little emotional, a very rewarding day. I love the fact that it is not only my voice in the house.
BSA: How did you arrive at the final concept?
Aida Wilde: In all honesty, it was very quick and organic. After initial conversations and half jokingly coming up with names like Nanny Loo and Granny Alley, these things already sparked off a lot of ideas. Dissecting the space into “Zones” / areas also helped with creating a pandemic narrative. I wanted each zone to represent a different idea and feeling that most of us might have gone through during our time in lock-down. There are several personal and emotional elements in the narrative like the Red flower/text pieces transcending up the stairs towards the light from the big window. Those pieces are my exploration of my thoughts about life, love and hope, mixed in with verses from the Persian poet and philosopher Rumi. I guess, it’s all about observation, silence, stillness and contemplation (which came with being in lockdown)
The Staying Alert
serigraphs were mostly sparked off by what I read and saw in the news… I call
these your infomercial doctor/school, you know the ones you may see in a
waiting room….warning you against the perils.
Also, I had started
to pick up a lot of discarded objects and materials that people were leaving
out on the street during the “Lockdown Spring Clean”. I know the thought of
bringing something inside your house left outside in a pandemic is absurd, but
it was good stuff and I had a little ritual where I would obviously pick them
up with gloves, bag them then disinfect immediately once I got them home. A lot
of the things I found also determined what I made them into and how I used them
in the installation.
I was going to print
some of my wallpaper poems to act like banners in the house on paper but I
found a big bag of beautiful white lace curtains one day… so this idea evolved
and I finally wrote them on the curtains which look so beautiful and haunting
on the lace with the light shining through them- They are like ghosts, so I
called them “Notes From A Phantom”
I think the curtains
are a great example of how ideas grew and evolved just by the substrate and I
love what they symbolise & the initial function of what curtains are
supposed to do…. So many correlations between lockdown and the outside world
and taking these curtains and placing them somewhere where they are completely
dysfunctional yet representing an ideology.
BSA: The wall papers are all so ornate…until you look closer…then all sinks in. Who would have thought terror could look so decorative. Like candy in a Florida motel. Did you have fun designing the wall papers?
Aida Wilde: I tend to have a lot of hidden sinister meanings behind most of my work- My fine art editions have undertone references to class, colonialism and the taboo. I also like to dissect things within my work. I want to make people stop and look a little bit harder. You know, we’re so used to everything being fast, especially visually; scrolling/swiping etc….. but this has been the perfect time for everyone to slow down and take in the things that we may have dismissed a million times before….so it’s a little bit about discovery and a surprise in the everyday. I wanted to capture this idea in the install. LOOK HARDER.
And I guess when you’re making work about a deadly invisible killer, you can’t instill any more fear and hysteria into people can you! I’m always striving to find a balance between creating something to communicate as well as making it desirable enough for you to want. I want my work to communicate in the most digestible, relatable and clearest way as possible. Art needn’t come with an instruction manual for you to understand it and feel it.
The “Pink Pop Spots”
as I call them have been with me for almost 15 years, they’re kinda my calling
card on the street as I don’t sign any of my work that’s put out, but people generally
recognise its me through them, and it was totally serendipitous that they resembled
the Covid-19 virus cells, and this is how we turned them into these little
mutating playful things. Forever involving.
With the emoji “Pandemik Mausoleum” wallpaper, I wanted to make something that was a nod to the houses past and complemented the original wallpapers that were already within it, but take it into 2020 obviously. As mentioned before, I really like the damask wallpaper in the library, so that sparked the idea of designing something based on the traditional damask design. Fortunately for me, my degree was in Printed Surface Design where I specialised in pattern for textiles and wallpaper, so again, this was a very comfortable and organic process for me.
I have been using Instagram and emoji subtly through out some of my street work for a few years now- For me, they are the ultimate universal world language to communicate through. From young to old, even my mother sends me an array of emoji based text messages. I had a terrible vision that what if the human population got wiped out because of Covid and a small section of my wallpaper was found some years later…. What would they be able to decipher from it?
A bit like the hieroglyphics you know, what information could you extract, so that was what was going through my mind when I was making it. It was very challenging to get the initial shape and repeat to the way that I wanted it. It did take weeks to complete but I had so many laughs along the way, the mere fact that I was sitting there making an emoji based design with a yellow man clutching a loo roll and Poo’s coming out of a toilet being showered was just ridiculous and surreal, I laughed a lot, still am. One of the hardest challenges was that I wanted to include so much more of the emojis that I really love, but I had to be very brutal and concise with the story that I wanted to tell, it was hard to strip it way back to what it is now. I am happy with it… it seems balanced.
systematic racism have been brought to the forefront causing further
questioning of our institutions and causing rifts between friends and even family
members. The global balance is definitely shifting with internal instability on
the rise. With the usual
deterrents of conflict on the decline, a possible uprising could take place globally…
so warfare indeed.
BSA: How can you explain that a Pandemic can devolve into political warfare? Shouldn’t it all be left to the scientists and the doctors?
AW: This is a very thought provoking question so thank you for asking this as I haven’t talked about the piece of work in the installation that you are referencing.
Seemingly a very accessible and disposable substrate, but a t-shirt has a multi-faceted role which can bring forth and highlight personal or political ideals… even becoming a walking billboard in the communication of subcultures and beliefs etc… I always say, “never underestimate the political power of a T-shirt.” Obviously, how you present the said T-shirt as part of an installation is another matter- In this case, I have displayed it in a zip lock Vacuum Seal bag which is supposed to encase and preserve it in a “germ and dust free” environment.
The original design
referring to ‘Germ Warfare’ was
made by Keith Haring in 1987 in reference to the AIDS epidemic and we even had
to consult Annelise Ream the director of collections at the Haring Foundation
to clarify the origins etc… as I could not find any information during my
research into the t-shirt. It really spoke to me and I was very clear that I
needed to adapt this design and bring it into 2020. There were just too many
similarities and circumstances between the epidemic and the virus that struck
an unnerving chord. Shivers…. It was very emotional.
Regarding the scientists…
we are at the mercy of them and on our leaders. Yes, we are in a race, the race
for a vaccine and a cure. We really don’t know the atmosphere and tension
that’s going on behind those secure lab doors but what I feel is that imagining
once a vaccine is discovered! The first question is going to be “who” &
“Where”. The next thing is going to be, will they share this finding freely, and
at what cost? Is it going to become about POWER & control, commodity and
ownership? It’s a bit like someone knowing how to make gold! The power is going
to lie with the people/country, which will discover the vaccine first.
I really don’t want
to think about the worse case scenario & which country finds it first-
because if it is the US and if in particular still under it’s current
leadership- WE ARE ALL FUCKED.
Perhaps not a germ
warfare but a political one for sure, especially in regards to disparity, who
and what is effected and deaths. We need to consider the demographics too…. Those
living in poverty, women, the youth & the displaced like the refugees all
come into mind.
With this great
power, conflict may arise- we have already witnessed what took place in our
shops & the carnage of empty shelves, the fights, the diversion and looting
of PPE/Masks from airports etc… so imagine what conflicts can arise from
someone finding a vaccine.
If things like democracy and economic independence have been keeping the peace thus far, the global recession and depression caused by the virus; these degradations could shift the economic balance within many countries, affecting trade and peace within nations. Especially with the fall of trade, Trump has already waged trade wars as we speak with reconfiguring the US supply chains from China and defunding WHO and widening the economic inequalities, which are a direct consequence of the pandemic.
BSA: How best would you describe your installation besides the obvious messages?
Aida Wilde: I would like it to be seen as a narrative. It’s a time capsule that captures a moment, thoughts, emotions, loneliness, pain, love and politics. It’s about collaboration, community and the voice of the many. The work will speak and shout…. And I really hope it stands the test of time. I tried my best to present a sympathetic and mindful view of what many of us have experienced during these unsettling and unpredictable time in our history. Our individual experiences, memories and traumas have been so varied, so I hope there is something in there that people can relate to individually. I also hope that I have brought some light & humour into the installation- We need to remember how to feel laughter again.
The marauding crowd, faceless and multi-podel, rumbling with half ideas and mislead missions. If you have lived in cities you know the feeling of being swept along inside one as it hurtles down the stairs, up the escalator, through the lobby, across various stadia.
We like it because we feel like we are part of something bigger, something that must have a logic of its own. In losing yourself, in becoming one with these others, we are reassured for that moment that there is something larger and of consequence, if only to break apart again into one once more.
and pandemic have scarred many minds in the last few months because they’ve been
couple with fear, but these events have opened a few minds as well because we’ve
had time to examine, correlate, critique, observe our own impulses and needs
Fakso tells us that he used to be an avid traveler for his work, relying perhaps
on incessant movement for his sanity – moving from city to city sort of
mindlessly. He says he may have taken some things and people for granted,
including himself. and the current world crisis has allowed him to reflect on
what was left for granted by many people including himself.
In his installation
for the disconnect exhibition in London, he says these ideas of panic and isolation
are at the core. A distanced exhibit, he’ll be happy to see you contemplate the
images of crowds placed here. He hopes it will be “a dive into a world which
has dramatically changed,” he says, and one in which, “as individuals, we
currently long to belong again.”
If you send your red painted door to Vhils in Lisbon you KNOW that you’ll be thrilled to see it come back!
The folks organizing the disCONNECT exhibition in this Victorian townhouse in South West London can confirm that this sensation of anticipation and discovery is exciting indeed, for anyone who has been watching the street artists’ work over the last decade.
Named disConnect because of our communal feeling of disconnection during quarantine these last few months, the unconventional art exhibition is breaking some new ground. Pulling the doors off the hinges in the library and popping them in the mail is one.
The pandemic show opens in a few weeks with the bas-relief works re-installed for the socially distanced attendees who can see it in person. It is also “accessible to online audiences through Matterport software, (with) each work further activated through an accompanying programme of digital initiatives, including downloadable artworks, online videos, virtual tours and an Instagram Live interview series.”
Adam Neate (UK) Aida Wilde (Iran) Alex Fakso (Italy) Mr.Cenz (UK) David Bray (UK) Herakut (Germany) Icy and Sot (Iran) Isaac Cordal (Spain) Vhils (Portugal) ZOER (Italy)
We’re thankful to show you these
exclusive images of the new Vhils work to BSA readers today.
For a considerable time now at BSA we’ve been discussing with authors, artists, academics, writers, historians, political scientists, sociologists, criminologists the topics of Street Art, graffiti, Urban Art, public art, and the milieu. Often considered is whether a piece or action is illegal, legal, activist, aesthetic, mark-making, territory-marking, interventionist. With few exceptions, there are often exceptions when it comes to labeling works and the artists who make them.
Perhaps with more emphasis than it merits, we regularly note that no point on our individual or societal timeline is static. The state of art and creative expression in the public sphere is one of continuous evolution along the continuum. From Villeglé and his ripping back of layers of street posters that revealed the colorful strata of public communications like a social scientist to Add Fuels’ surreal ripping back of the skin of buildings to reveal a decorative Trompe-l’œil Portuguese tiling, art of the streets has infinite through-lines that defy our ability to label them.
But we try.
Invariably, it pisses someone off. For the record, we’re okay with that.
“Street Art” the term has had a number of definitions in common usage since at least the 1970s (probably earlier) that include things like handcrafts, jewelry, even the current ballyhoo, the mural. Today, because we’re all so much more enlightened and street-wise, we are convinced that no credible scholar of academia or the street would include a mural in the definition of Street Art, which must be illegal and (most likely) installed on-the-fly.
Recently Raphael Schacter made a claim to renaming a family of practices that moves beyond the confused state of labeling we are in to something with more clarity called “Intermural Art”. He says with his signature humor and cadence that “Street Art is a Period. Period.” – and that very soon, if not already, we are moving beyond that period.
Aside from the association that “intermural” has with both murals and with boys and girls playing dodge-ball in the school gymnasium (sorry that’s intramural), it somehow doesn’t capture a post Street Art period that is expanding to include so many practices and practitioners that it is altering things its path. But we get the point. Wait, did we just say “post Street Art”?
That’s what Martyn Reed at Nuart would like us to consider as a term that describes what he is illustrating with the curated installations this year for the festival in Norway. With a number of leaders of thought and letters doing some heavy lifting of street art antecedence and corollaries (and beer steins) at this annual festival over the last few years, it is with some careful consideration that he chooses his artists, and his terminology.
According to the show description ‘Post-Street Art’, an inside exhibition that opened last Saturday and continues through October 16, is an expression that “has been adopted to describe artworks, artists and events that are “informed by” and “aware of” the strategies, forms and themes explored by Street Art but which couldn’t rightly be regarded as ‘Street Art’ or ‘Street Artists’ per se. The term could also be used to describe a new breed of studio practice-based street artist, whose interest in and knowledge of the contemporary art world often far supplants that of an engagement with the street.”
Yes and yes. Additionally, we have heard this studio-originated practice that is informed by street practice described as Urban Contemporary or more simply Urban Art. You may also wonder how the label intersects with Post Modern and Post-Graffiti, if at all. We will not turn over these little monsters to look at their stomachs just now. Instead, let’s see these new exclusive photos from Ian Cox and Tor Ståle Moen of some of the new installations at ‘Post-Street Art’ at Nuart 2016.
Participating artists include: Add Fuel (PT), Axel Void (ES), Eron (IT), Evol (DE), Fintan Magee (AU), Henrik Uldalen (NO), Hyuro (AR), Jaune (BE), Jeff Gillette (US), KennardPhillipps (UK), MTO (FR), Nipper (NO), Robert Montgomery (UK) and SpY (ES)
Curlew, Orangutan, Rhino, Blue Whale, Bateleur, Polar Bear, and Grey-Breasted Parakeet are only a handful of animals who are critically endangered or vulnerable according to ecological conservators around the globe and 13 of the UK’s talented artists are creating a campaign about them called “Endangered 13”
“The idea of the project is to raise awareness of species in desperate decline, with many on the brink of extinction,” explains artist Louis Masai, who produced the program along with the environmental art platform Human Nature.
“We believe that the choices made in our market driven, consumer orientated, fossil fuelled society are steering us to ever increasing environmental degradation, biodiversity loss and species extinction,” says the groups’ manifesto, and the new paintings are ironically painted in London’s Tower Hamlets Cemetery as if to strengthen the dire results.
The artists gathered on the freshly grassy bank along the railway arches last weekend to create their missives of tribute and warning, each featuring one species that is currently endangered.
“We’re really honored to have Martha amongst us this week,” says Martyn Reed, the barely well behaved director of Nuart 2013, as he welcomes the photographer Martha Cooper, who has just touched down next to the new piece going up on the airport control tower by Polish Street Artist M-City. Not that Martyn was there when she landed. “Unfortunately not, what with the Mayor and everything there wasn’t room in the limo,” he says in the joking manner that tells you he is still kind of in awe of the success of this internationally known Street Art festival now underway for its ninth year.
“The trip was fine—a short flight from Oslo,” says Ms. Cooper, who immediately snuck an iPhone photo of the welcome banner with her name at the top, before wondering whether photos were actually allowed in that area of the airport. “I was met by Krystal, a Stavanger resident who has worked with Nuart before and who is very knowledgeable about the artists and the whereabouts of murals past and present,” she says.
“Faith 47 and Daleast were also waiting at the airport, having arrived a few minutes earlier from Cape Town and it was fun to reconnect with them.” And did they all get a look at the new piece that M-City is painting? “Unfortunately it was raining so we were unable to get a good look at the airport control tower which was shrouded in scaffolding and plastic,” says Ms. Cooper, but “The fact that permission had been obtained to paint the tower is an indication of how city officials have embraced street art.”
As the visiting artists continue to land in Stavanger, already a number of pieces have gone up – ROA and David Choe have installed theirs and run out of town, for example. “I was especially happy to see C215 again because I hadn’t seen him since visiting Vitry a couple of years ago. Also I was excited to see a number of artists on the list whose work I was unfamiliar with. That always makes a festival more exciting,” says Martha.
Brooklyn Street Art:Have you been to Nuart before? Martha Cooper: This is my first trip to Stavanger and I was really looking forward to it because I’d heard many great things about the festival from How & Nosm and also photographer Ian Cox, who had shown me beautiful photos of the walls and the charming seaside town.
Brooklyn Street Art:Typically you are an invited guest as a photographer. This time you are also regarded as an artist, right? Martha Cooper: Correct. Although I usually say that I’m not an artist, it’s actually a relief not to be responsible for official photography.
Brooklyn Street Art:What sort of project are you thinking of doing? Martha Cooper: I’m not doing anything unusual. I’m having a slideshow of over 1300 photos; a sort of graffiti/hip hop/Street Art retrospective that we’ll be showing in an underground tunnel in the main venue. There is a series of short tunnels that artists are painting. Aiko is stenciling the sides of mine and the slides will be projected at the end.”
Cooper mentions her buddy Aiko, who will also be stenciling some work of her own on distinctive Norwegian seaport architecture that sometimes has as much character as the new stuff that adorns it. Aside from her projected installations, Ms. Cooper will of course be every where she can possibly be with her camera in hand, and probably one or two in her backpack.
“Martha’s here as an artist and our guest, she’ll be treated the same as all of our artists; Like a Queen,” Reed cracks, “only on a bike with a camera.”
“But seriously,” he continues, ”Martha’s quite rightly perfectly happy being recognized as a documentary photographer and I wasn’t sure she would accept being invited as an artist, but she did and we’re very thankful of that. I don’t see any reason why Martha can’t occupy this space. Inviting Martha to participate as an artist is due to the fact that, when I look at her work, I see art. I’d also heard she was a wonderful down to earth person with few airs and that’s very important for Nuart, which is fundamentally a volunteer-run organization.”
Already the two of them have been having fun together checking out possible walls for projects, digging up found materials and strategizing how to prevent visitors from stepping in front of the projector on opening night. Also there was the moment in one of the installation tunnels when Martha came rushing toward him with her phone out to him saying “,Quick, quick, it’s the attaché to the Norwegian Culture Minister, they want to speak to you”. It was a confusing moment he won’t ever forget he says, because he couldn’t imagine why the minister was on Martha’s phone.
Reed recalls, “I was thinking, a) it was a practical joke, b) ‘how did they know where I was,’ and more importantly, c) How the hell did they get Martha Cooper’s private number?” While Martha stood there beaming he took the phone and the voice on the other end said, “ Hello, this is the personal assistant to the culture minister Hadja Tajik, she’d like to visit Nuart on Thursday…” .
“After the call, we stood there a little dumbfounded, but after scratching our heads for a while trying to work out how they came to call Martha, we realized the festival had used my bank card to buy a Norwegian SiM card for her phone and that the Government had searched and found the number registered to me,” he says with a brightening realization, and then a darkening one. “I know, very NSA. Anyway, mystery solved.”
But for him, the moment was a marker in his memory, he says, “The image of Martha Cooper rushing over to pass me the phone to speak with the Culture Minister of Norway will stay with me for life. It felt like the festival had finally come of age.”
For her part, Ms. Cooper is laying plans for the out door component of her participation as artist/documentarian/photographer. “We are also planning to project photos on the sides of buildings in town,” she reveals, “ – including a huge silo. This will be the night of the opening and we won’t know whether it works until it happens. I’ve selected about 25 verticals and horizontals with a little more contrast that I think might work well.”
Reed doesn’t much mind what they end up doing – he’s just glad that he’s having this opportunity right now. “Martha holds the unique position of being a forerunner, pioneer, ambassador and also important contemporary voice in our culture – we wanted to salute that.”
Fun Factory art project space is proud to present Take To The Street, a group show of Street Art & Graffiti Photography. Focusing on the eye of the photographer, it pays special attention to the individual styles of these artists and what makes their photos unique and personal.Featuring the photography of: Unusualimage, Nolionsinengland, Mark Rigney (Hookedblog), Joeppo, Delete, Howaboutno, Myriam JC Preston, Alex Ellison, Doug Sherman, Cheffo31 and Ian Cox.
BSA is not just Brooklyn, you know. Last year we brought you new Street Art from Atlanta, Arizona, Baltimore, Berlin, Boston, Bronx, Brooklyn, Brisbane, Bristol, Costa Rica, Chicago, China, Dominican Republic, The Gambia, Guatemala, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Istanbul, Italy, Jamaica, Johannesburg, Kenya, Los Angeles, London, Mexico City, Miami, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Norway, NYC, Palestine, Panama, Paris, Perth, Queens, Reno, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, and Trinidad. And that is a partial, incomplete list. Remember that the next time someone says we cover just Brooklyn and New York. Not quite.
Also while we were surveying what we did in 2012, we were curious to see which were the top stories we covered for the Huffington Post, measured by hits, social sharing, and emails sent to us. Here are the top stories you liked the most of the 44 we cross-published with Huffington Post Arts & Culture in 2012. (A complete list at the end of the posting)
We’re counting down the last 12 days of 2012 with Street Art photos chosen by BSA readers. Each one was nominated because it has special meaning to a reader or is simply a photograph from 2012 that they think is great. Our sincere thanks to everyone who shared their favorite images.
Our tenth entry comes from photographer Ian Cox and was taken at this year’s NUART Festival in Stavanger, Norway. This entry was nominated by Martyn Reed, founder of NUART, who waxes below about the photo and it’s taker.
“Ian Cox, fast becoming one of the scenes’ leading documentarians, captured this perfect shot of Mobstr’s piece for Nuart. Ian headed out during a relentless downpour and waited for his moment. For me, it captures so much of what is usually missed when documenting street works; its site specificity (The downhill sloping wall was a nightmare to source), how it’s not only seen but also “activated” by people passing by, its humour, the concept and how it allows a photographer to also add new layers of meaning.”
The initial pun is elevated to new levels when viewed through the lens of a remarkable photographer,” remarks Mr. Reed.
“By far the best exhibition we’ve yet created,” says Martyn Reed, organizer of the Nuart 2012 street art festival as it draws to a close in Stavanger, Norway. What’s left after two weeks of painting, panel discussions, and parties stands on it own; The Art.
On old factory buildings, bricked stairways, in labyrinthine tunnels, and hanging on gallery walls, the city itself has welcomed international Street Artists to do these installations over the last decade and the funding for the events, artists, and materials are largely contributed to from public grants.
It’s a stunning model of arts funding that we’d like to see more of; one that is sophisticated enough to make behavioral and aesthetic distinctions and that is appreciative of the positive contributions of Street Art to the contemporary art canon. Here is one model that recognizes the importance of art in the streets as something necessary, valued. And the city of Stavanger keeps inviting a varied mix of well-known names and newcomers who show promise year after year.
At some point during the panel discussions at Nuart Plus this year there was talk about the dulling effect that the growing popularity of Street Art festivals specifically and sanctioned public art generally can sometimes have on the finished pieces. Certainly we are all familiar with those brain-deadening community murals of yesteryear that include lots of diversity, droning morality lectures and cute ducks. But we think the right balance of currency, community, and unchecked creativity can often catalyze great results, and smart people will know how to help keep it fresh.
Solidly, Stavanger took a lead in the Street Art festival arena early and is still setting standards for high quality as an integrated cultural event without compromising integrity with so-called ‘lifestyle’ branding. These images from 2012 show just a sampler of the many directions that Street Art is taking us, with traditional graffiti and letter-based influences and new overlays of 20th century fine art modernism keeping the scene unpredictable and vibrantly alive. Nuart artists this year included Aakash Nihalani (US), Dolk (Norway), Eine (UK), Ron English (US), Saber (US), Sickboy (UK), Mobster (UK), HowNosm (US), Niels Shoe Meulman (NL), Joran Seiler (US), and The Wa (France).
Thanks to Ian Cox for sharing these images, some exclusive and some previously published.
BROOKLYN! Jay-Z opens the new stadium in Brooklyn tonight with a lot of fanfare – and if you don’t have tickets just have a blast in the hundreds of studio spaces and gallery shows and “in the street” installations and performances starting tonight at the Dumbo Arts Festival that brings thousands coursing through the neighborhood over the next three days.
Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, and Quincy Jones. (VIDEO)
Here’s a clean way to see writing on Brooklyn walls and to practice your lyrical skillz.
1. Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, and Quincy Jones. (VIDEO)
2. Nuart 2012 Begins in Norway
3. NY ART BOOK FAIR at PS1 (LIC, Queens)
4. DUMBO ARTS FESTIVAL 2012 (Brooklyn)
5. Futurism 2.0 at Blackall Studios (London)
6. JAZ “Metodologias del Discurso” (Argentina)
7. Narcelio Grud “Paraphernalia” (VIDEO)
8. Daytime Bombing with HNR (VIDEO)
Nuart 2012 Begins in Norway
Named the Cultural Capital of Europe a few years back, Stavanger has remarkably open minds and has embraced a select slice of the Street Art scene that is displayed this time of year via large mural installations, indoor shows, and speakers. NUART was born here and it set the standards for many Street Art Festivals that have followed since NUiART first opened its walls to visiting international Street Artists in the early 2000s. NUART 2012 opened Thursday with a full day of activities related to NUART PLUS and it will continue thorughout the weekend with the opening of Tout Scene on Saturday. The list of participating artists this year include: AAKASH NIHALANI (US), DOLK (NO), EINE (UK), RON ENGLISH (US), SABER (US), HOWNOSM (US), MOBSTR (UK) NIELS SHOW MEULMAN (NL), JORDAN SEILER (US), THE WA (FR), SICKBOY (UK).
For more information on all activities and schedules regarding NUART PLUS click here.
For more information regarding Saturday’s Opening of Tout Scene click here.
NY ART BOOK FAIR at PS1 (LIC, Queens)
People who are designing and creating independent zines and books are a really important part of the Street Art and graffiti D.I.Y. culture and PS1 in Long Island City is a vast feast of cool printed matter this weekend. Starting today and running through Sunday, the Fair is presented by the esteemed establishment Printed Matter and if you don’t find stuff that engages you and blows your mind, it will be a surprise. One of the groups we highly recommend that you go and visit is the Pantheon Projects table (#12) where you’d find delicious hand crafted zines by Avoid, Droid, R2 and Carnage.
These little art books capture stuff on the street in a way that helps you organize and appreciate it – with wit and a street poet approach. They also can give advice occasionally, like the recipe we found for juicing cucumbers/pineapple and something else to produce “donut water”. Feast your eyes on the dope images and take in the authors’ notes and observations as they rack up serious road miles for the love of art and discovery. Here is a selection of images from spreads of these zines to give you an idea of what we’re talking about.
For further information, schedules and transportation regarding this Art Fair click here.
DUMBO ARTS FESTIVAL 2012 (Brooklyn)
This weekend Brooklyn is the the cultural STAR of New York City once again. The DUMBO Arts Festival opens today with more than 500 artists participating from all over the world. There will be open studios for you to visit, outdoor installations for you to explorer and huge video projections for you to be in awe of. Hop on the F train and get off at Jay Street and take in the breathtaking and majestic views of the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges with the city’s skyline as a background.
For further information regarding this show click here.
JAZ “Metodologias del Discurso” (Argentina)
JAZ’s new solo show is now open at the Kosovo Gallery in Cordoba, Argentina. Known for his representational exploration of beasts and men this artists likess to work big with over scaled representations of his subjects. Internationally known, you’ll see his stuff at Street Art Festivals around the world, and in some back alleys and empty lots too.