Art was popping up like crokuses and animated robots all week here in NYC with a plethora of art fairs gathered under Armory Week, a number of fresh green gallery openings, and the welcome sign of perturbed perennials appearing on the street.
Although it is not surprising in any way any more, Street Artists are represented across all three of those options today, like Pixote, Swoon, and Ian Strange (Kid Zoom) at Spring/Break. Also John Matos, aka Crash One, and Lady Aiko in conversation with cultural critic and curator Carlo McCormick moderated by Harrison Tenzer of Sotheby’s at Scope. And you can’t forget the gallery openings of Buff Monster with Dalek, and the first solo show of Brendan Fagen (the artist formerly known as Judith Supine).
You try to see as much as possible, and of course a number of non-Street Art installations caught our eye like the top image of Fernando Orellana‘s animated “Robot Protest”, which you can participate in HERE, and see a video of at the end of this post. For the actual street we’ll mention some new art in ad places from Abe Lincoln Jr and Swiss Miss as a dominatrix in pink latex and Trump as the submissive on bus shelters.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets (and elsewhere), this week featuring Anna Kustera, Annette Bragasuma, Danielle Mastrion, Demsky, DrscO, Eric Mistretta, Fernando Orellana, Ian Strange, Jonathatn Rosen, Laura O’Reilly, Abe Lincoln Jr. LMNOPI, Megzany, Pixote, Praxis VGZ, Sarah Walkco, Screw Tape, Stick N Twisted, Stylist of the Lambs, Swiss Miss NYC, and Turtle Caps.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening :
1. ONO’U Tahiti 2017. A video re-cap by Selina Miles
2. Private View: Ian Strange via Nowness
3. Desprestigio by Pejac
4. Bonus Video. What the hell is a “Bomb Cyclone”?
BSA Special Feature: ONO’U Tahiti 2017. A video re-cap by Selina Miles
There is so much going on that you might miss during a mural festival. Aside from the progress of the artists at different rates in various locations around a city, which is a standard expectation, each festival is so unique in its personality and people that you cannot predict what you are likely to see next.
In Tahiti you can expect gorgeous natural beauty, and with ONO’U you can also expect a fashion show, a live projection mapping with the community, a panel discussion, a museum opening, delicious foods, flowers in your hair, and stories about the native people, wildlife, religious customs, colonialism, the value of the currency, and face painting. That’s before the weekend.
Filmmaker Selina Miles takes you up above it and directly streetside, a clear-visioned romantic who sees the beauty and the eclectic nature of our nature. Today we’re pleased to show her wrap up of October’s events in French Polynesia on the islands of Tahiti and Raiatea.
Private View: Ian Strange via Nowness
Continuing the attack on sublime suburbia to gain vengeance on the evil within, former Street Artist Kid Zoom, now Ian Strange, has the funding to do large and elaborate decimations and capture them on film for exhibition. Here is a private view, as it were, of a series of private matters made public.
Desprestigio by Pejac
A riveting bit of documentary storytelling that leads you to his newest artwork, Pejac takes a glocal story and reveals the folly of man. It happened 15 years ago, and is happening every few days all over the globe while the Earth’s economy is still firmly in the grip of the oil industry.
“This piece talks about the tragedy (of Prestige) that covered the coast of my country (and my region) in black 15 years ago, and whose damages to nature are still visible today,” says Pejac. “I chose this particular case, but want to extend it to all the environmental tragedies that happen on our seas and oceans every few years. Desprestigio works as a dark souvenir of a fact that should not be forgotten: we must, and can, be much better guests on Earth. After all, this work is a message in a bottle.’’
Bonus Video. What the hell is a “Bomb Cyclone”?
We started this week’s Film Friday with Tahiti’s tropical weather and end it with our own Jaime Rojo wading through the snow in New York’s Central Park yesterday for what the news services informed us all was called a “bomb cyclone”. For most of us, it looked like a snowstorm. The blustery wind and the snow and rapidly dropping temperatures meant that many stayed inside and many took the opportunity to see the natural beauty of this whitewashing of the urban environment. Here are a few choice shots Rojo got yesterday for you from right in the middle of Manhattan.
Welcome to Sunday! This week we have a special edition of BSA Images of the Week; Dedicated to Nuart 2017.
Each year Nuart challenges itself as much as it challenges you, unwilling to fall into the beckoning arms of the ever more bodacious and titilating Street Art Festival siren that increasingly works the thoroughfare in cities globally, looking so enticing in your Saturday night drunken reverie but unable to string together complete sentences over pancakes and coffee in the morning. Not that these stencils, these tiles, these installations and projections will necessarily lead to a more thorough examination and evaluation of neoliberal economics, corporate hegemony, or the caveats of a generation of identity politics, but they might. At the very least the practice of weighing in on these and other topics in a public way, in an ardent or passive voice, means that the conversation can be sparked, possibly brought to its fullness. And you may be encouraged.
John Fekner, stalwart public artist since at least the Reagan Revolution, has finally personally had his say here on the streets and on the subconscious . We asked him to share his wisdom with us, to take the measure of the scene and the new voices and perspectives. Not surprisingly, Mr. Fekner shows why an active engaged mind and spirit is paramount to evolving your art practice, your participation in the public conversation.
“The potent vitality of the artists in this year’s ‘Rise Up’ Exhibition in Stavanger, Norway is striking, in its exploration, selection, and development of the ‘visual voice’ of street art and mural making in 2017. NuArt exists as a ‘community commune of communication’ for artists, writers, musicians and guest speakers with an enthusiastic and participatory audience,” John tells us.
“Personally, I see a little bit of myself mirrored in some of the works- in the process, but not in the unexpected end results. Heralding from various countries, this younger generation represent new beginnings for outdoor art that combine social concern, expressive beauty and hope, urgency and manifesto, for a new future that includes and engages everyone to experience.”
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring ± Maismenos ±, Ampparito, Bahia Shebab, Carrie Reichardt, Ian Strange, Igor Posonov, John Fekner, Ricky Lee Gordon, Slava Ptrk, and Vermibus.
See our conversation with Vermibus about his work here at Nuart below.
BSA: Can you tell us about your new piece and what it is about and how you are feeling about the progress? Vermibus: I brought two original pieces for the festival, both are part of one artwork that is the installation itself, and even if each artwork has its own personality they need from the rest of the room to express what I want to say with the installation.
The tunnels from Nuart Festival are huge and very interesting, so I thought I could use all this space to create an atmosphere instead of trying to fill the whole space with artworks or with a massive piece.
With this installation I want to bring to the viewer to its more hidden part of its personality, there where you don’t usually allow others to go in, where all the fears and traumas survive.
I want the viewer to have some intimacy with it’s inner self through my work.
The way the viewer will see my work is completely different from other occasions.
BSA: Can you give us your impressions of Nuart and Stavanger and the environment you are working in? Vermibus: It’s the first time that I participate in a festival, so for me everything is new, but I have the strong sensation that this place is special.
The whole team is friendly, incredibly talented, surprisingly humble and completely ready to help the artists to express themselves without limitations, it’s kind of a paradise.
The lineup is so well curated that I cannot be happier to participate around all this amazing artists.
Ricky Lee Gordon is painting a mural of Finnish transgender activist Sakris Kupila for the launch of the BRAVE campaign with Amnesty International, raising awareness of human rights defenders and their work all over the world.
The news out of Nuart 2017 is splendiforous and we are feeling celebratorious. These irregularly formed adjectives are in good company with the mismatched yet harmoniously woven characters who together have again selected and summoned artists, academics, kooks and cultural workers to Stavanger for a September synergy of Street Art, public art, and myriad interventionist ideas. It is a highly particular hybrid germinated, conjured, emancipated perhaps, by the free-form and analytical mind of its Founder and Director Martyn Reed. While sowing Nuart seeds spectacularly on the shores of Aberdeen earlier this spring, it is here in Stavanger where the new ideas germinate, are nurtured and given latitude. It is also where the tortoises of conventional thinking are happily rolled onto their backs, little webbed feet waving. We’re pleased today on BSA to publish Martyn’s new manifesto in preparation for Nuart’s festival this autumn in Norway so one might better appreciate the ruminations behind and development of this year’s theme.
Nuart produces both temporary and long-term public artworks as well as facilitates dialogue and action between a global network of artists, academics, journalists and policy makers surrounding street art practice. Our core goal is to help redefine how we experience both contemporary and public art practice: to bring art out of museums, galleries and public institutions onto the city streets and to use emerging technologies, to activate a sense of public agency in the shaping of our cities.
Outside of Nuart Festival, our growing portfolio of projects represents an on-going art and education program that seeks to improve the conditions for, and skills to produce, new forms of public art both in Stavanger and further afield. For us, public spaces outside conventional arts venues offer one of the richest, most diverse and rewarding contexts in which this can happen.
Our work is guided by our belief in the capacity for the arts to positively change, enhance and inform the way we think about and interact with each other and the City.
The Real Power of Street Art
Nuart festival presents an annual paradigm of hybridity in global sanctioned and unsanctioned street art practice. Through a series of large and human scale public artworks, murals, performances, art tours, workshops, academic debates, education programs, film screenings and urban interventions, supported by a month long exhibition of installations, Nuart explores the convergence points between art, public space and the emergent technologies that are giving voice and agency to a new and more creative civilian identity, an identity that exists somewhere between citizen, artist and activist.
The real power of “street art” is being played out daily on walls, buildings, ad shelters and city squares the world over, and it’s now obvious that state institutions can neither contain nor adequately represent the fluidity of this transgressive new movement. As the rest of the world begins to accept the multiplicity of new public art genres, it is becoming more apparent, that street art resists both classification and containment. The question is, not how can this inherently public art movement be modified or replicated to fit within the confines of a civic institutional or gallery model, but how can the current model for contemporary art museums, galleries and formulaic public art programs, be re-examined to conform with the energy of this revolutionary new movement in visual art practice.
In the 1990’s, Situationist concepts developed by philosopher Guy Debord, surrounding the nature of “The City”, “Play” and the “Spectacle”, alongside sociologist Henri Lefebvre’s theories exploring the rights to shape our own public and mental space, came together to form an emergent adbusting “artivism”, which now forms the foundation of street art practice. Radical cultural geographer David Harvey has stated, “The right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources, it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city”.
It is here, at the intersection between philosophy, geography, architecture, sociology, politics and urbanism, that Nuart situates itself, it exists as a critique of the colonization of everyday life by commodity and consumerism, whilst recognizing that one of the only radical responses left, is to jettison the hegemonic, discursive and gated institutional response to capitalism, and engage it directly where it breeds and infects the most, in our urban centers.
The challenge for a new and relevant public art isn’t to attempt to negate capitalisms neoliberal market logics with an ever more dominant liberal discourse, both are ultimately mired in a conflict that on the surface simply serves to feed the polarization and spectacle that we’re attempting to transcend. What we need is the active participation of citizens in the creation of their own holistically imagined environments, both physical and mental, a direct and collective response to space that leads to the shaping of place. A place in which the disengaged and passive citizens desired and ever more manipulated by market forces, are inspired to re-make themselves. Nuart proposes that the production of art in public spaces outside conventional arts venues offers the community, not only the most practical, but also the richest, most relevant and rewarding contexts in which this can happen.
It is in this “remaking” of self, this deep desire to engage with the world, to develop civic agency and purpose, that transcends identity, gender and class, and enables those locked out of the arts by a post-Adorno obscurant lexicon (eh?), that street art delivers. It offers an opportunity to reconnect, not only with art, but also with each other. Hundreds of people covering a vast swathe of demographics, from toddlers and single moms to refugees and property barons, on a street art tour conversing with each other, are testament to this.
We believe that when you want to challenge the powerful, you must change the story, it’s this DIY narrative embedded within street art practice, that forms the bonding agent for stronger social cohesion between citizens from a multiplicity of cultures, as our lead artist for 2017, Bahia Shehab will attest. It is this narrative, that is acting as the catalytic agent towards street art becoming a vehicle capable of generating changes in politics as well as urban consciousness.
The question of what kind of city we want cannot be divorced from what kind of person we want to be. The transformation of urban space creates changes in urban life, the transformation of one, being bound to the transformation of the other. What social ties, relationship to nature, lifestyles, technologies, art and aesthetic values we desire, are closely linked to the spaces we inhabit. The “banalization” of current city space, combined with the numbing effect of digital devices that guide us from A to B, have rendered us passive. Consumer cows sucking at the teat of capital trapped in a dichotomy between left and right, instead of right and wrong. And for the most, the hegemonic islands of sanitised cultural dissent we call Art Institutions, are either unable or uninterested, in engaging with the general public in any meaningful way.
In the early 2000’s, the evocative power of certain already existing and often crumbling industrial interzones, including that of Tou Scene, our main exhibition space, one that we were instrumental in establishing, gave rise to a new form of engagement with art in urban spaces that is only now being fully recognized and exploited. Street Art is at times of course co-opted and complicit with the “creative destruction” that the gentrification process engenders, but Capitalism’s continuous attempt to “instrumentalize” everything, including our relationship to art should be vigorously resisted. It is these “Stalker-esque” zones of poetic resistance, that initially gave shelter to one of the first truly democratic , non-hierarchical and anti-capitalist art forms, and unlike most cultural institutions, it is still, for the most, unafraid to voice this opinion, important in a time when even our art institutions are beginning to resemble houses of frenzied consumption. Street art exists to contest rather than bolster the prevailing status quo. As such, it is picking up as many enemies as friends within the field of public art.
By attempting to transform the city, street art attempts to transform life, and though by no means is all street art overtly political, it does, in it’s unsanctioned form at least, challenge norms and conventions regulating what is acceptable use of public space. In particular, it opposes commercial advertising’s dominion over urban surfaces, an area that Nuart are active in “taking over” throughout the year and in particular during the festival period. Our curating initiatives not only aim to encourage a re-evaluation of how we relate to our urban surroundings, but to also question our habitual modes of thinking and acting in those spaces. Street art is not just art using the streets as an artistic resource, but also an art that is questioning our habitual use of public space. Street art doesn’t simply take art out of the context of the museum, it does so whilst hacking spaces for art within our daily lives that encourage agency and direct participation from the public, “Everyone an artist” as Joseph Beuys would have it, and if it is accussed of being produced without academic rigour, we are reminded that he also asked, “Do we want a revolution without laughter?”.
Nuart’s programs are designed specifically to explore and silently challenge the mechanisms of power and politics in public space. Increasingly, we see the rights to the city falling into the hands of private and special interest groups, and yet, we have no real coherent opposition to the worst of it. The 20th Century was replete with radical Utopic manifestos calling for change, from Marinetti’s Futurist manifesto of 1909 to Murakami’s “Superflat” of 2000. Nuart’s annual academic symposium, Nuart Plus, acts as a platform for a resurgency in utopic thinking around both city development and public art practice, and whilst recognizing that street art is often co-opted and discredited by capital, it also recognises that even the most amateur work, is indispensable in stimulating debate and change in a Modern society that has developed bureaucracies resistant to seeing art, once more, as part of our everyday life.
As the Situationst graffiti scrawled on Parisian walls in 1968 stated, Beauty is in the streets, so Rise Up! and support those dedicated to unleashing one of the most powerful communicative practices known to mankind, there’s work for art to be done in the world amongst the living.
Martyn Reed, July 2017
Artists scheduled to participate in Nuart Festival 2017:
Ampparito (ES), Bahia Shehab (EG), Carrie Reichardt (UK), flyingleaps presents Derek Mawudoku (UK), Ian Strange (AU), John Fekner (US), Know Hope (IL), ±maismenos± (PT), Igor Ponosov (RU), Ricky Lee Gordon (ZA), Slava Ptrk (RU) and Vermibus (DE).
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening :
1. Borondo and Narcissus
2. Fukushima: Happened 3 Years Ago
3. A Wynwood Timelapse – Miami, Puerto Rico, and Spain in Effect
4. Ian Strange: FINAL ACT
4b: Gordan Matta Clarke building cuts
5. Louis Jensen Profiles Ronin Tomoshima in The Mission
BSA Special Feature: Borondo and Narcissus
In this video by Fabiano Caputo we see a London installation beside a busy watery channel between two nondescript bridges. It is simple concept executed brilliantly and presented without gimmickry or chest thumping – even though the inspiration is that fella who fell in love with his own reflection.
Fukushima: Happened 3 Years Ago
A helpful reminder that radiation lasts thousands of years. Any questions?
A Wynwood Timelapse – Miami, Puerto Rico, and Spain in Effect
Doesn’t look like much is happening at the beginning but the weather is always nice even when it isn’t in Miami. Then suddenly the details emerge and the composition makes sense. The collaborative wall includes Trek6 (Miami / Puerto Rico), DonRimx (New York / Puerto Rico),Txemy (Spain) & Separ (Puerto Rico).
Ian Strange: FINAL ACT
A film, photography and installation based project by street artist Kid Zoom, now establishing himself as visual artist Ian Strange.
These houses condemned for demolition in Christchurch, New Zealand provide fodder for artmaking after a devastating earthquake in 2011 made 16,000 of them unsafe to inhabit. Taking influence from artists like Gordon Matta Clarke (see below), who was doing his site-specific “building cuts” in the 1960s and 1970s, Strange brings this work to a more camera and exhibition-friendly level by hiring construction professionals to selectively remove portions of the facade and bringing a brand name cinematographer as partner to record it with environmental back lighting that causes the family homes to glow from within.
“FINAL ACT is in part an archival documentation of these Christchurch homes and a continuation of the artist’s ongoing exploration into the home and its role, particularly in Western culture, as a social icon.”
Louis Jensen Profiles Ronin Tomoshima in The Mission
The continuation of a series whose Kickstarter we supported called “Spraying Bricks”
Says Jensen, “I originally had no intention of producing a film on Ronin, I was simply picking up some general footage of San Francisco. However, I was inspired by his story so thought it necessary to share. Art is the freedom to express, there are many more creatives in The Mission who are just like Ronin. So if you’re passing through The Mission on your travels, spare a penny or two for the local artists, who each day are making this world a colourful and vibrant home.”
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening: MOMO in Jamaica and Cuba with Angelino, POSE and REVOK in NYC, Ian Strange AKA Kid Zoom and “Suburban” project, and “The Story of The Fisherman”.
BSA Special Feature: MOMO in Jamaica and Cuba
with traveling companion Angelo Milano
FAME Festival impresario Mr. Milano just released the completed video diary of his trip to Cuba and Jamaica this spring with Street Artist/Fine Artist/Abstract Painter/None of the Above MOMO. The color, patterns, and expressive people are rich, as are his observatory reveries – all strung together as a culmination of many creative interludes recorded in his personal style and edited together as a road-trippy and happy paintcation. Don’t let the 20 minute length deter you, this is as good as going on a vacation, but you can’t go because you are stuck at your desk aren’t you. Well, this will help you pretend. Guarantee.
POSE + REVOK in NYC
The Seventh Letter crew gives you a nice recap of some of the street and gallery action a month ago for Revok and Pose’s New York visit. Most illuminating are the two soliloquies of the artists during the opening as they deliriously ruminate on their method of art making and the philosophy behind the name of the show.
See the BSA full coverage of the Houston Street Wall going up HERE
Repositioning himself as cultural critic behind the lense and in front of it, Kid Zoom targets the pleasant mythology that served as iconic foundation for the middle class that blossomed in first world countries after the second world war, the aspirational quarter acre tract in a grid full of nearly identical homes. Part examination of the fiction perpetuated, part target practice at perhaps his own youth, the “Suburban” project is ready to demolish what’s left of that neighborhood feeling.
“The Story of The Fisherman”
Street Artist and illustrator Vladimir Chernyshev discovered a low cost D.I.Y. way to make a story slowly animate and shares it here in “The Story of The Fisherman”. Don’t expect explosions, or even one quick edit – this slowly advancing diorama peaks your imagination as remembered in a childrens storybook – almost brooding, yet incandescent.
The St. Petersburg based Chernyshev explains how his short story about one man’s disappearance was hand-drawn, hand illuminated, and very gentle advanced.
“At the time of the film’s production I used a self-built wooden box with a glass screen atop and candles at the bottom – that caused the light to fill the carbon-paper. The image was made by erasure of the paper’s upper layer with a metal stick. A simple mechanism slowly rolls the tape of 12 meters through the glass screen showing the lighted erased parts of carbon-paper.”