JPS is crashing again here in Berlin – this time we found him on the steps of the Urban Nation museum with his miniature stencil works that are tragicomic. The UK street artist planted many of these throughout Berlin as a kind of egg hunt, but we only caught these four as we toured the Schöneberg neighborhood – often just big enough to fit in your hand, there is no question that they fit in the street.
A highly effective work of political street art in the heart of Alexanderplatz, Berlin, this enormous blood-red “STOP WARS” slogan has been recently refreshed after fading. The message was undoubtedly on the minds of the hundreds who were gathered here in the plaza yesterday to protest Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Abstract, it is not.
The eight letter scream hovers above the corner of Otto-Braun-Strasse and the cars, bicycles, trams, and pedestrians who course by in this commercial and governmental district. Unpolished and urgent high above on the top 3 floors, no message could be clearing, or more of a draw for tourists who snap it and share.
The former Haus der Statistik (House of Statistics) between 1968 and 2008, it has been abandoned ever since, according to locals. Naturally it has been a magnet for urban explorers and graffiti writers – even though its proximity to the police station is close. Now a consortium of public and private interests are supposed to be conjuring plans for the 65,000 square meter building that will engage the arts, culture, social, and housing needs, but you know how long that can take in Western societies.
The sentiment that roars across the top of this gleaming white modernist box is as timely right now as ever. An urgent response to this modern era of continuous wars bolstered by a profitable war industry, the danger here on Berlin streets feels more palpable as well.
Colors wash over the city again, the greys now fading to the background. Even now, we stand in the shadow of war and all those who profit from it. Nevertheless, thanks to artists the streets are popping with promises, warnings, aspirations, exhortations, codes, and proclamation.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring: Faile, Adam Fujita, Jason Naylor, Almost Over Keep Smiling, Lauren Asta, Chris Soria, DEK@DX, SidkaOne, Misha Tyutyunik, TDM2DX, Ergot, Flye Lyfe, YoYo Cam, Let It Out, and Suizid.
“It was the very first time that I painted on a rooftop!,” says French-Swiss land artists Saype. It was so amazing.”
In a project commissioned for the “Urbain.es” exhibition curated by Magda Danysz, the large scale sprayer appears to be following a thread in Le Parc Barbieux in the south of France. “It was a beautiful opportunity to create an artwork and to create link between people there,” he says.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening: 1. Dyva & Haeck painting on the Molotow traTheo Jansen: Strandbeest 2. AMERICAN DREAM. America’s hidden geography of poverty. 3. Kunle EARSNOT Martins via Juxtapoz Magazine
BSA Special Feature: Theo Jansen: Strandbeest
The Dutch artist Theo Jansen creates new forms of life: impressive skeletal structures that move independently, powered by the wind. The Strandbeests are created with plastic electrical tubing and bring to mind the stages of evolution – especially when exhibited on oceanside. Jansen says his creations have actually moved through 12 periods of evolution.
“By developing this evolution, I hope to become wiser in the understanding of existing nature by encountering myself the problems of the real Creator.”
Currently on exhibition at Kunstmuseum Den Haag, “Theo Jansen, Strandbeesten, de nieuwe generatie” is open until July 3rd.
Theo Jansen: Strandbeest
Matt Black: UNAMERICAN DREAM. America’s hidden geography of poverty.
“I’ve spent nearly all my adult life in a photographic dialogue with the central valley of California, ” he says of the state so rich that it would rank high among countries of the world, if it were a country. But that’s not what Matt Black has been documenting.
Kunle EARSNOT Martins via Juxtapoz Magazine
Sell the product, people. That’s how the world runs. And Kunle is cute, so.
Because the photos from each installation are always so good, here is the latest installment by French-Swiss artist Saype, who is featuring his giant biodegradable landart painting on a floating barge in Venice.
The piece, part of his “Beyond Walls” global human chain, will travel in and around Venice during the Biennale Arte 2022 59th International Art Exhibition. It’s good to see that the artist is still staying true to his commitment to keeping his artworks and his materials biodegradable, unlike so many commercial products sold in stores today by multinationals that end up polluting our air, water, and soil. So many companies try to use others to “artwash” their images these days, so we know a number of artists who are acutely aware of this possibility and actively avoid it.
Almost a year ago, the Jersey City Mural Festival 2021 was launched. We covered it extensively for you here, here, here, and here on BSA.
Poet, urban author, photographer, and longtime NYC messenger Kurt Boone was there too, camera in hand and ready to record the action of the artists getting up on walls and meeting the public. Kurt throws himself into the scene and knows how to navigate while people are enjoying the atmosphere of creativity all around. With his knowledge of the street capturing graffiti, urban cycling, street photography, skateboarding, and busking, you know that his shots are on point.
Instead of uploading everything to a social media platform, Boone asked his friend Anthony Firetto to help lay out his photos to create a book. This is a genuine work of the heart – a self-published hefty book that captures a moment in time, the various players and styles, and a flashpoint in the development of Jersey City as it continues to change.
Congrats to Mr. Boone for putting this together and thanks to him for sharing it with us and BSA readers. See more about Kurt Boone and his impressive work HERE.
These stormy spring days are full of dark clouds, so it’s time to brighten things up with ‘The Peacock’ mural in Leeds city center celebrating Marching Out Together. Even in these photos furnished by the artist Cbloxx aka Jay Gilleard, you can see how much the new piece can perk up a passerby.
The artist and organizers of this new piece say that the mural means to celebrate and encourage the further inclusivity of LGBTQ+ folks in the fandom and fields of Leeds United Football Club. Since 2017 a campaign has recognized everyone’s right to stand proudly, cheering the team.
“Marching Out Together was founded in 2017 by Andrew Tilly and Drew Harrison, with the support of Leeds United Football Club, to create a safe space for LGBTQ+ supporters, their friends, family, and allies at LUFC’s matches,” says a press release. “The group’s wider mission is to bridge the gap between the LGBTQ+ community and the stereotypically masculine fanbase of football.” Sounds good from here and looks fantastic up there on York Street.
Since the peacock image has been affiliated with Leeds United since about1842- historically playing on a patch called the Old Peacock Ground, it’s a fitting image to breathe new life into.
“The core thematic of The Peacock really is Pride; what is more sassy and full of pride than a peacock?” says the artist Cbloxx, whose work as one half of Nomad Clan has been published here on BSA several times. “Its otherworldly flamboyance, confidence and striking visuals made it a focal point no-brainer. To convey the notion of activism, protest and visibility I borrowed aesthetics from the old coal mining embroidered flags, which echo the typical northern working-class heritage that I so often celebrate in my work.”
“This show is dedicated to my home country, Ukraine, says Aleksei Bordusov, aka AEC Interesni Kazki’ from his place of exile in Spain. He’s been preparing for his show “Victoria,” which opens tomorrow in Vienna, Austria, at the AG18 Gallery.
“Ukraine was brutally attacked by Russia on February 24th,” says the artists who studied in Kyiv at the Academy of Fine Arts. “The war is going on. No end in sight. And every day we learn of new atrocities and crimes that Putin’s troops are committing against my people,” he says. “The title of the exhibition ‘Victoria’ represents what I believe in and wish for Ukraine.”
A muralist and fine artist who is known by many people for his works on the streets worldwide for the last decade – he prefers now not to think of himself as a “street artist,” says his press release. Indeed, his developed skills and aesthetic milieu are not often represented in the global street art scene. There simply isn’t a lot of old-school surrealism that makes it to the street unless it is flashy and with a commercial slickness. His work is of such quality and content that it’s now more often been compared with the surreal canon of Bosch, Goya, Dali, Riviera, and Moebius – here in Vienna, others mention Rudolf Hausner.
Whatever your passion, psychological or carnal, something is stirred in these canvasses – triggering the myths of your religious training perhaps, or the musical storytellers of 1970s post-psychedelia, or perhaps by looking at war told about and mediated on social media postings in your pocket. His figures are “heavily stepping forward, powerful, making their way through a mad world.” Maybe these mis-figures and their pungent palettes appear more familiar and make more sense today.
The new show opens tomorrow, and AEC says he will also be signing copies of his new book “Mythgazing.” Still, his feelings of utter displacement are only compounded by the normalcy of an art opening at a beautiful gallery. He’s named the new show “Victoria” because “it represents what I believe in and wish for Ukraine: Victory of the creation over destruction, good over evil, truth over lies. The Ukrainian people are defending themselves and fighting against pure evil.”
Happy Easter! Sameach Pesach! Ramadan Mubarak! It’s a rare year when all three of these holidays are happening at the same time. It’s a religious trifecta that you can see playing out on the streets of New York. What a rich tapestry we wrap ourselves with in this beautiful city.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring: Rambo, Winston Tseng, JJ Veronis, Bastard Bot, Sam Durant, Paoli Pivi, Curb Your Ego, Guerra Paint, and WASP.
Recently we brought you coverage of Shepard Fairey’s newest work for the Djerbahood project on the island of Hara Sghira Er Riadh in Tunisia. A gradually-building project curated over the last decade or more by the Tunisian-French owner of Paris’ Galerie Itinerrance, Medhi Ben Cheikh, there must be nearly 200 artists from 30+ nations represented here now.
As each year passes we become more aware that the collection represents an era, a vast survey of a time when street art was graduating to murals worldwide. Some of these artists have risen in prominence in the street art/contemporary art world, while others have declined, or have shifted their attention to something else entirely. In that respect, Djerbahood is an archive for all to investigate and analyze.
Sensitive to local cultural values in terms of content, the various expressions of creativity may not follow one aesthetic – but they invariably are complemented by the predominant white stucco walls that define this pristine haven for street art murals. While some have aged quite beautifully, others have shown the passage of time and the elements, gently weathering the overall aesthetic.
The project is documented in a beautifully edited and printed book, which we reviewed here. To reacquaint you, below are a few selections from the project:
To reaquaint you, below are a few selections from the project: