All posts tagged: Jane Dickson

“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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“Beyond The Streets” Comes To Brooklyn in June

“Beyond The Streets” Comes To Brooklyn in June

Gastman’s Massive Graffiti and Street Art Show Arrives at Epicenter.

“I’m really excited to bring this show to New York,” says curator, graffiti historian and urban anthropologist Roger Gastman, “because the city plays such a pivotal role in the origin and evolution of the culture. The iconic images of covered subway cars made graffiti famous worldwide.”

Style Wars Car by NOC 167 with Door Open, Man Reading Newspaper, 96th Street Station, New York, NY, 1981. (photo © Martha Cooper)

He’s talking of course about “Beyond The Streets” the hybrid exhibition that he mounted in LA last year featuring the work of 150 who have proved to be pivotal to the evolution of a fifty year global people’s art movement that includes graffiti, street art, and urban contemporary art. Filling over 100,000 square feet of new space in Brooklyn, this two-floor cross-section survey will feature artworks by many of the same vandals, graffiti writers, Street Artists, and art activists who hit NYC streets, created dialogue with passersby, and were sometimes chased by the authorities. To see them showcased here is to recognize that there is not just one route to take – in fact there are many.

Guerrilla Girls at Abrons Art Center, New York, 2015. (photo © Andrew Hindrake)

“We have an incredible roster of artists for New York,” Gastman tells us, “and a brand new space in Williamsburg that has a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline as our backdrop.” Notably the lineup includes artists whose work BSA has documented on the streets in this very same neighborhood over the past two decades, including Shepard Fairey, Faile, Swoon, Bast, Invader, Aiko, and others. Ironically the appearance of free-range Street Art in the neighborhood has been seriously diminished since that time.

The exhibition is one more verification that a significant portion of the scene is being widely recognized for its cultural contribution and value in the contemporary art canon – a significantly fluid scene fueled by discontent and a desire to short-circuit the established routes to audience appreciation. Like large survey shows elsewhere, the takeaway is the significant impact street culture and its tangential subcultures continues to have on the culture at large.

Lil’ Crazy Legs during shoot for Wild Style, Riverside Park, NY, 1983. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Gastman says the New York version of “Beyond The Streets” will take an additional interest at the role of music and art activism on the street, along with immersive installations, a tattoo parlor, a special Beastie Boys installation with artifacts and ephemera, a new 30th Anniversary Shepard Fairey project “Facing The Giant: 3 Decades of Dissent,” and large scale works by Gorilla Girls, Futura, Cleon Peterson, and Takashi Murakami. 

More news coming on programming and events, but the important opening date to know right now is June 21st.

“All in all, it will make for a really special show this Summer,” says Gastman.


BEYOND THE STREETS TEAM

Curator: Roger Gastman

Co-Curators: Sacha Jenkins SHR, Evan Pricco, David CHINO Villorente

Producer: Ian Mazie & Pressure Point Creative


Tickets and hours of operation can be found at: BEYONDTHESTREETS.COM


FEATURED ARTISTS INCLUDE:

A-ONE, AIKO, Al Diaz, Alexis Ross, Alicia McCarthy, André ​Saraiva, Barry McGee, BAST, Beastie Boys, Bert Krak, Bill Barminski, Bill Daniel, BLADE, Broken Fingaz, Buddy Esquire, buZ blurr, Carlos Mare, Carl Weston, Cey Adams, C.R. Stecyk III, Charlie Ahearn, Chaz Bojórquez, Claudia Gold, Cleon Peterson, COCO 144, Conor Harrington, Corita Kent, Craig Costello, CRASH, DABSMYLA, Dan Witz, Dash Snow, DAZE, DEFER, Dennis Hopper, Dondi White, Doze Green, EARSNOT, Estevan Oriol, Fab 5 Freddy, FAILE, Faith XLVII, Felipe Pantone, FREEDOM, FUTURA 2000, Gajin Fujita, Glen E. Friedman, Gordon Matta-Clark, Guerrilla Girls, HAZE, Henry Chalfant, Herb Migdoll, Husk Mit Navn, INVADER, Jane Dickson, Jason REVOK, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jenny Holzer, Jim Prigoff, John Ahearn, John Fekner, John Tsombikos, Joe Conzo, José Parlá, KATS, KC Ortiz, Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, Kilroy Was Here, LADY PINK, LAZAR, LEE Quiñones, Lisa Kahane, MADSAKI, Maripol, Mark Gonzales, Mark Mothersbaugh, Martha Cooper, Matt Weber, Maya Hayuk, Michael Lawrence, MIKE 171, MISS 17, Mister CARTOON, Nina Chanel Abney, NOC 167, Pat Riot, Patrick Martinez, Paul Insect, POSE, PRAY, Rammellzee, Randall Harrington, RETNA, Richard Colman, Richard Hambleton, RIME, RISK, Ron English, Ruby Neri, SABER, Sam Friedman, SANESMITH, Sayre Gomez, Shepard Fairey, SJK 171, SLICK, SNAKE 1, SNIPE1, STAY HIGH 149, Stephen Powers, SWOON, Takashi Murakami, TAKI 183, TATS CRU, TENGAone, Tim Conlon, Timothy Curtis, Todd James, Trash Records, UGA, VHILS, and ZESER

The show is developed in partnership with Adidas and Perrier. Additional support provided by Modernica, Montana Colors, NPR, NTWRK, Twenty Five Kent and WNYC.

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Spring / Break 2017 : This Years’ Times Square Show in Corporate Office Space

Spring / Break 2017 : This Years’ Times Square Show in Corporate Office Space

Braving the crowds at the 2017 Spring/Break show means meandering the floor plan of former corporate offices and encountering the daydreams of artists who usually work as temps here. After traversing the un-grand lobby and showing your ID, this high-flying glass and steel Times Square fantasy flips the lights on the funhouse as soon as the doors open to Greg Haberny’s elevator bank installation of hundreds of rough wooden sculptures dangling overhead while a hardcore soundtrack rams you through the glass doors to the reception area.

Greg Haberny. Detail. Curated by Ambre Kelly . Andrew Gori . Catinca Tabacaru. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This curator-focused show never allows you to be bored, ensuring an alternate-world full of possibility, often delivering on its promise, sometimes fooling you. Like a beehive of compartmentalized activities and scenarios playing out in a fractured psyche, you find comedy, fluid sexuality, bejeweled fantasies, a satiric art-factory performance, D.I.Y. cardboard set design, light illusions in closets, wide photographic vistas, costumed performers, photo shopped hyperfantasy, Basquiat photos by his ex-roommate, and fully immersive environments like a live barbershop delivering dramatic haircuts with multi-screened secret surveillance in the backroom – tracking movements and conversations here and on the street below.

Alexis Adler’s photos of her room mate Jean-Michel Basquiat. Curated by Jane Kim. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo by Jaime Rojo)

While the aesthetic/mythic/pop culture influences are Diluvian and flattening our traditional hierarchies in this information age, shows like this also highlight our level of distraction – and test your ability to edit. It’s not as libertine or scummy as you would expect from a Times Square show in a what looks like a former den of lawyers, but then Times Square is not the flawed and blinkered glam and muck and whirl that it once was. Although who knows what lurks behind those brightly Disneyesque and moldy fur costumes…

Here is a pile of laundry from one perspective. From another it is an anamorphic portrait of activist Hellen Keller. Noah Scalin. Curated by Dawne Langford. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Noah Scalin. Curated by Dawne Langford. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ask Jane Dixon, whose “Male Nourished” paintings of men and their dicks fill an office and overlook the action on the street below. She says she is rather celebrating men’s continuous love affair with their genitalia and portrays them as nearly obsessive relationships.

Jane Dickson. Curated by Michelle Loh. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dixon knows these scenes better than most since she and husband Charlie Ahearn made their own Times Square home movies out the window and overlooking the street action in this famous nexus when gangs beset passersby, drugs were not delivered to your door via text message, arcades were dark  rooms full of pinball machines, and hookers and Johns were just “locals”. Dixon is also an alum of the famous “Times Square Show” mounted with 100 artists in 1980 in a massage parlor on 41st and 7th Avenue. The show later became regarded as a turning point in New York low/hi art and uptown/downtown culture with a list of young artists who became well known in certain circles; Tom Otterness, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kiki Smith, Jenny Holzer, Kenny Scharf, Nan Goldin.

Jane Dickson. Curated by Michelle Loh. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For a moment you can forget the high rents that have driven most of these artists out of Manhattan and into the crowded lofts of Brooklyn, Queens, even Jersey. Quirky, searching, forcefully unique and hoping for a break. The excitement among these 150 curators and 400 artists is palpable on opening night and you want these visionaries to succeed, and indeed they do through this dark lookingglass. Many themes continue out to the street, and for a few boisterous moments this chaotic labyrinthine in fluorescent glow mimics the streets below.

Lee Quinones takes a US propaganda ad which he salvaged from the Brooklyn Navy Yard and adds modern military bombing of Babylon as a backdrop. Curated by Sara Driver. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Lee Quinones. Detail. Curated by Sara Driver. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A barbershop in the front, a surveillance room full of screens in the back. Curated by Eve Sussman . Simon Lee. Barbershop. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Cate Giordano creates an apartment of papier mache. Curated by Suzanne Kim. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Michael Zelehoski. Curated by Che Morales. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

David Kramer. Curated by Ambre Kelly . Andrew Gori. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist, writer, publisher and jazz saxophonist Noah Becker does a self portrait against a backdrop of Basquiat. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Curated by Carole Vobe playfully displays that great leveling force of death. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tamara Santibañez and a monochrome hand-drawn teen bedroom from the 1980s. Curated by Justin De Demko. Spring / Break Art Show 2017. NYC, 02-2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Check out Spring/Break 2017 March 1-6.

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Coney Art Walls : 30 Reasons To Go To Coney Island This Summer

Coney Art Walls : 30 Reasons To Go To Coney Island This Summer

The gates are open to the new public/private art project called Coney Art Walls and today you can have a look at all 30 or so of the new pieces by a respectable range of artists spanning four decades and a helluva lot of New York street culture history. We’ve been lucky to see a lot of the action as it happened over the last five weeks and the range is impressive. These are not casual, incidental choices of players lacking serious resumes or street/gallery cred, but the average observer or unknowing critic may not recognize it.

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How & Nosm (photo © Jaime Rojo)

By way of defining terms, none of this is street art. These are murals completed by artists who are street artists, graffiti writers, fine artists, and contemporary artists. In the middle of an amusement park, these are commissioned works that respond in some way to their environment by thirty or so local and international heavy hitters and a few new kids on the block comprising a 40+ year span of expertise.

Open to many strata of the public and fun-seekers who dig Brooklyn’s rich cultural landscape, this outdoor show will surely end up as backgrounds for selfies — while perhaps simultaneously elevating a discourse about the rightful place of graffiti/street art/urban art within the context of contemporary art. Okay, maybe not such loftiness will result, but let’s not rule it out entirely.

 

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How & Nosm (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It should come as no surprise that it is the dealer, curator, perennially risk-taking showman Jeffrey Deitch who is the ringmaster of this circus, or that the genesis of this cultural adventure is perplexing to some who have greeted his newest vision with perplexity and derision. His Deitch Projects and related activities in the 2000s regularly presented and promoted the street-inspired D.I.Y. cultural landscape, having done his due diligence and recognizing that new life springs from the various youth movements always afoot. The Jeffrey-conceived “Art Parade” itself was a street-based all-inclusive annual panoply of eye candy and absurdity; inflicting humor, sex, gore, fire, glitter and possibility into the minds of Manhattan sidewalk observers.

As MOCA Los Angeles director Deitch also flipped the script with his “Art In The Streets,” organizing a vast survey of a half-century of the modern grassroots genres including graffiti/street art/urban art/tattoo/punk/hip-hop/skater culture that far surpassed anyone’s predictions for audience attendance and public engagement. Aside from tripping wires and a public misstep here and there, the show earned critical praise, pinched art-school noses, and pushed skeptical institutions and patrons to question their prejudices. It also gave voice to a lot of people.

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Daze (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Notably, that MOCA exhibit drew a little over 200,000 attendees in four months. Coney Island beach and boardwalk gets about 14 million annually. Even if the Smorgasbord pop-up village food trucks feed a fraction of that number, there will be more folks viewing art and interacting with it here than, say, the Four Seasons dining rooms, which also display street artists and contemporary artists in the restaurants’ artistic programming. Side by side comparisons of Smorgasbord/Four Seasons diners ethnic diversity, income, age, education level, museum board membership or real estate investments were not available at press time. But neither can be fairly described as exploitative to artists or audience without sounding patronizing.

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Daze (photo © Jaime Rojo)

These multicolored and monochromatic murals illustrate a wide and balanced smorgasborg of their own; examples of myriad styles are at play with some engaging in activism and local politics and Coney Island history. From original train writer Lady Pink to aerosol drone sprayer Katsu, from eL Seed’s lyrical Arabic calligraffiti to Retna’s secret text language to graffitist-now-collagist Greg Lamarche, from Shepard Fairey’s elegant Brooklyn salute to polluters and blasé consumerism to Tatyana Fazlalizadeh’s spotlight on current Coney Island neighbors, from urban naturalist ROA’s monochrome marginalized city animals to How & Nosm’s eye-punching and precise graphic metaphors, you are getting a dizzying example of the deep command Deitch has of this multi-headed contemporary category that is yet to settle on a moniker to call itself.

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Crash (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Coney Art Walls assembles world travelers from NYC and LA and Miami and internationally; Belgium, Barcelona, Brazil, Paris, Tunisia, London. Some are 80s Downtown NYC alumni, others were train writers in the 70s or big crew graff heads and taggers from the decades after. Some are considered historical originators of a form and cross-genre risk takers pushing beyond their comfort zone. Take a close look and you’ll find names that are in major collections (private, institutional, corporate) and that go to auction.

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Crash (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Some are regularly showing in galleries and are invited to street art festivals, exhibited in museums and discussed in academia and print. Others have studio practices spanning three decades, are lecturers, panelists, authors, teachers, community advocates, art stars, reality TV personalities, film actors, product endorsers and art product makers working with global brands. One or two may be considered global brands themselves. A handful have been painting on the streets for 40 years. Monolithic they are not.

One more notable aspect occurred to us as we watched this parade making its peregrination to these summer walls – either because of Deitch or the romance or history of Coney or both; When you are looking at the range of ages and ethnicities and family configurations and listening to the variety of accents and opinions expressed and seeing the friendly but tough-stuff attitudes on display — you might guess you were in Brooklyn. You are.

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Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Shepard Fairey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Shepard Fairey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jesse Edwards (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jesse Edwards (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Irak (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lady Pink (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lady Pink (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ben Eine (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ben Eine (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ben Eine (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Maya Hayuk (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Maya Hayuk (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lady Aiko (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lady Aiko  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Buff Monster (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Buff Monster (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Miss Van (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Miss Van (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jason Woodside (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jason Woodside (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ron English (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ron English (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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AVAF  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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eL Seed (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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eL Seed with Martha Cooper (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kenny Scharf (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Mister Cartoon (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jane Dickson (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jane Dickson (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Marie Roberts (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Marie Roberts (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Greg Lamarche (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gregg Lamarche (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Katsu (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Retna (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kashink (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kashink (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kashink (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kaves (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kaves (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kaves (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kaves (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kaves (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lauren Halsey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Our previous weekly updates track the installation period of Coney Art Walls:

Coney Art Walls: First 3 Completed and Summer Begins

DEITCH Masters, Coney Art Walls Part 2 : Coney With a Twist

Eine, Hayuk: A Riot of Color at Coney (Update III)

Coney Art Walls: Gypsies, Stallions, Mermaids, and Pop Optics! Update IV

Coney Art Walls Opens for the Mermaids! Update V

 

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This article is also published on The Huffington Post

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Coney Art Walls Opens for the Mermaids! Update V

Coney Art Walls Opens for the Mermaids! Update V

Dude/Dudette, it’s Mermaid Parade Day – part of Coney’s modern pop-carney cultural heritage. Rolling up Surf Avenue, turning right and coming back down the boardwalk, the three decade old event is both a well organized and entirely rag-tag D.I.Y. affair simultaneously. It’s the enthusiasm of the participants and their street performances and costumery that pull in the equally enthusiastic fans, but it is the bedazzled breasts and free-flowing beer that make them seek that illusive and effervescent feeling of abandon.

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Skewville at work on their piece…while some folks go against gravity above…(photo © Jaime Rojo)

Meanwhile more walls were being painted at Coney Art Walls this week by another impressive cross section of talents from points local and international. The Skewville twins completed their free-standing monster boom box, El Seed brought his lyrical Arabic inspired calligraffiti, fine artist Jane Dickson applies her eye to the symbols of the carnival footprint and turns amusements into colorful cakes, Katsu spreads wider with his investigations into drone painting that are looking impressionistic, Mr. Cartoon enlivens a Vandal/Copper chase with a grim reaper and a selfie-snapping angel, former graffiti outlaw Gregg LaMarche slams his collaged font explosion with color, Coney-Island artist icon Marie Roberts invokes ghosts and her own family’s deep roots in this place’s history, Miami’s Rage Johnson of Inkheads Crew brings crisp psychadeliac forms with AVAF (Assume Vivid Astro Focus), Sheryo and The Yok use a new palette to depict a beach inspired hotdog caper, and Tatiana Fazlalizadeh creates warm black and white portraits of local current neighbors who live in these environs here year round.

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The Twins Skewville at work on their piece…yes the other one showed up for photo op… (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Briefly, a snafu in the proceedings popped up when Cope2 suddenly did one of his eponymous bubble tags smack on the center of a freshly finished Retna wall Friday. Shortly thereafter Retna’s assistant was seen buffing the tag. Sources tell us that Cope’s participation in the project wasn’t originally scheduled and while some permissions had been secured, not all parties were in agreement before work commenced. The affair spurred speculation about who gave permission and who denied it in a flurry of social media postings, but the matter has been resolved. No doubt rumors on the street and online will be profligate – it is the nature of these aerosol Olympic games. Let’s see how the buffed section of Retna’s wall is addressed now that fin-fested visitors are schooling through the concrete complex chomping on cotton candy and sausages.

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Skewville at work with the help of an assistant. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

But don’t let this petit drama overshadow the talent and effort and storied history of the two dozen other artists whose work is on display. A more diverse collection of artists from the past four decades from across this spectrum is rarely assembled in one location – a mini reprise of Mr. Deitch’s Art in the Streets, minus the ceiling. It’s not street art, urban art, or graffiti so none of those labels rightly apply to this amusement park exhibit. To the visiting crowds this is primarily background for selfies but fans of these artists will attach a much greater significance to some of these brand new works, as they should. Stay tuned for our final roundup of all the walls next Wednesday on a screen near you.

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Skewville… for a dollar we’ll show you the rest… (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville practicing an abundance of caution while at work …  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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El Seed (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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El Seed with Martha Cooper. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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El Seed (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jane Dickson’s work in progress. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jane Dickson at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jane Dickson at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jane Dickson work in progress. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jane Dickson  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Katsu tried his hand at Impressionism with a drone. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Mr. Cartoon (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gregg Lamarche at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gregg Lamarche at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gregg Lamarche (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Marie Roberts at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Marie Roberts (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Marie Roberts (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Rage Johnson of Inkheads Crew working on the piece designed by Brazilian AVAF (Assume Vivid Astro Focus). (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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AVAF executed by Rage Johnson of Inkheads Crew. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sheryo and The Yok (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tatiana Fazlalizadeh at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tatiana Fazlalizadeh at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tatiana Fazlalizadeh…”The Day Before Easter And The Day After Labor Day – People Still Live Here. People Die Here. People Love Here” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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

brooklyn-street-art-banksy-jaime-rojo-moca-art-in-the-streets-huffpost-04-11-web-15Banksy’s Reliquary (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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

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Os Gemeos Untitled. Detail  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

To continue reading about this exhibition go to The Huffington Post ARTS by clicking on the link after the image below.

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Direct link to article on HuffPost Arts

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FUN FRIDAY 04.08.11

Fun-FridayThis weekend brings a Spring bounty of delicious  Street Art related openings in many cities across this great country of ours. But FIRST, this OLD SKOOL Romanic Boogie Down Production …

Pump Up the Sculpture Jam from SAM3

Sticker Phiends in AZ

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Tempeh is a soy product and meat substitute originally from Indonesia. Tempe is a city in Arizona that is hosting the 4th giant Sticker Phiends show tonight. Stickers continue to grow in influence in Street Art and in private collections in black books and refrigerator doors and this is a cool show that gives them away and sells them. They have limited edition “Sticker Phiends” tee-shirts designed by Brooklyn street art collective Robots Will Kill. Also cold beer. Possibly tempeh too because Chris RWK is a good veggie.

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FREE HANDOUTS provided by our sponsors
ALL ART for $ale!
Limited Merch for $ale!
Drinks with ID – 21+

Opens at 8pm April 8th!
Cartel Coffee Lab
25 w. University Dr.
Tempe, AZ.
480-225-3899

Some of the names include:

Abcnt, Age, Dolla, DumperFoo, Dissizit/Slick, 123 Klan,Griffin One, Clown Soldier, Mad One, Mat Curran, MBW, 20 MG, Obey, Pez One (U.K.), Sike’, U.W.P., Seizer One

*********************************************************************

Martha Cooper Remixed

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How & Nosm interpret Martha Cooper’s original photo from the 1970s (both photos © Martha Cooper)

The Carmichael Gallery will be throwing a memorable opening party for Martha Cooper’s REMIX show and, lazy hyperbole aside, this one is one NOT to miss.

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Photographs by Martha Cooper

with

Original remixes of these photographs in a range of media by Aeon, John Ahearn, Aiko, Bio, Nicer & B-Gee, Blade, Blanco, Mark Bode, Burning Candy, Victor Castillo, Cey, Cekis, Claw, Cosbe, Crash, Dabs & Myla, Anton van Dalen, Daze, Dearraindrop, Jane Dickson, Dr. Revolt, Shepard Fairey, Faust, Flying Fortress, Freedom, Fumakaka, Futura, Gaia, Grotesk, Logan Hicks, How & Nosm, LA II, Lady Pink, Anthony Lister, The London Police, Mare 139, Barry McGee, Nazza Stencil, Nunca, José Parlá, Quik, Lee Quinones, Kenny Scharf, Sharp, Skewville, Chris Stain, Subway Art History, Swoon, T-Kid, Terror161 and more.

Carmichael Gallery

5795 Washington Blvd
Culver City, CA 90232

April 9 – May 7, 2011

Opening Reception: Saturday, April 9, 6-8pm

Click on the link below for more information regarding this show:

http://www.brooklynstreetart.com/theblog/?p=19900

Cern YMI in Greenpoint by Gandja Monteiro

ROA at White Walls in SF

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Image of ROA in Salton City (© and courtesy of White Walls)

In San Francisco ROA will have his opening at the White Walls Gallery with his iconic paintings of nature’s marginalized animals in large scale. Ever the hard worker, ROA paints non stop year round all over the globe on surfaces that are challenging, like this one on the side of a mobile home. If you have only seen his art on line and if you are in San Francisco this Saturday, it’s your turn!

For more information about this show contact the gallery.

White Walls Gallery

835 LARKIN ST.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA. 94109

Phone: 415.931.1500

Chor Boogie in Washington DC

While the Rich Man Party of NO! brings the country to a halt in the Capitol, Chor Boogie will be bringing much needed healing color to Washington DC at The Fridge Gallery.

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The Fridge Gallery Presents: Chor Boogie “This Aint No Place For No Hero” (Washington, DC)

For more information about this show click on the link below:

http://www.brooklynstreetart.com/theblog/?p=19952

Chor Boogie is an artist, a conceptual genius, a street romantic, a master of illusion and technique, Chor Boogie is an original. His works can be described as having healing effects by his unique and unmatched use of color, which brings greater meaning and understanding to his works. Every vibrant piece has a story attached to it. Chor Boogie’s colorful paintings are attracting A-list celebrities, art galleries and museums. Originally from San Diego, the artist known as Chor Boogie currently resides in San Francisco but is an internationally known artist and has traveled extensively to exhibit his work around the world.

The Fridge is located at

516 8th Street, SE

REAR ALLEY

Washington, DC 20003

David Ellis and Blu in a collaboration of a loop video from 2009

Yo Son the Boyz from Queens are Comin out With New Jams Next Month!

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Carmichael Gallery Presents: Martha Cooper “Remix” (Culver City, CA)

Martha Cooper
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Photographs by Martha Cooper

with

Original remixes of these photographs in a range of media by Aeon, John Ahearn, Aiko, Bio, Nicer & B-Gee, Blade, Blanco, Mark Bode, Burning Candy, Victor Castillo, Cey, Cekis, Claw, Cosbe, Crash, Dabs & Myla, Anton van Dalen, Daze, Dearraindrop, Jane Dickson, Dr. Revolt, Shepard Fairey, Faust, Flying Fortress, Freedom, Fumakaka, Futura, Gaia, Grotesk, Logan Hicks, How & Nosm, LA II, Lady Pink, Anthony Lister, The London Police, Mare 139, Barry McGee, Nazza Stencil, Nunca, José Parlá, Quik, Lee Quinones, Kenny Scharf, Sharp, Skewville, Chris Stain, Subway Art History, Swoon, T-Kid, Terror161 and more.

Carmichael Gallery

5795 Washington Blvd

Culver City, CA 90232

April 9 – May 7, 2011

Opening Reception: Saturday, April 9, 6-8pm

For Immediate Release:

Carmichael Gallery is pleased to announce Martha Cooper: Remix, an expansive group show featuring highlights from Martha Cooper’s photographic archive and works by over 50 artists who have created their own unique interpretations of her iconic, historically significant imagery. There will be an opening reception for the exhibition on Saturday, April 9 from 6 to 8pm with Martha Cooper and several of the participating artists in attendance. The exhibition will run through May 7, 2011.

Martha Cooper, Photographer of Art on the Streets for Six Decades

Written by Steven P. Harrington, this article is featured in tasj vol ii – issue v.

The daughter of a Baltimore camera store owner, Martha Cooper’s romance with photography began in the 1940s when bobby-soxers and penny loafers were the sign of edgy youth culture. Her dad, an amateur photographer himself, gave his small girl a camera and together they hit the streets in search of adventure. “Yeah, my father used to take me out and we would take pictures. That’s what I thought photography was…we were just looking for pictures,” she recalls. Six decades later, Cooper is still looking for pictures; meanwhile, many works from her archive are cited as pivotal recordings of the birth of hip-hop culture and its plastic art form, graffiti.
During the cultural upheavals of the 1960s, Cooper earned a Bachelors of Art degree in Iowa, taught English for the Peace Corps in Thailand and rode a motorcycle from Bangkok to obtain a graduate degree at Oxford. As a freelancer and staff photographer in Japan, Maryland and Rhode Island in the early 1970s she moved to the media and art center of New York City to catch bigger fish. Landing a job on the staff of The New York Post in 1977, she discovered that the resistant and competitive boys club of photographers there were reluctant to countenance this scrappy young woman shooting hard news stories and Studio 54 celebrities.
Hungry for discovery, Cooper would spend her time to and from assignments in bombed-out neighborhoods, where she took pictures of kids entertaining themselves with games they devised on the street, often with the humblest of materials. It was during one of those trips that she stumbled on graffiti and the members of its community. She met a young boy who suggested she photograph the work she was seeing, then showed her a stylized drawing of his name, or piece, in his notebook.
Then he asked her if she wanted to meet “The King”.
Following this lead to Brooklyn, Cooper met Dondi, the citywide-famous graffiti writer who kept a published photo of hers in his black book because its background contained one of his graffiti throw-ups. Cooper quickly realized that she had stumbled into a lively street culture and became an avid student of the teen writers she befriended. By the time she took her last news picture for the New York Post in 1980, her primary desire was to capture as many pieces, tags, and trains as she possibly could find. Today, she remarks on her near-obsessive devotion to documenting New York’s graffiti: waking before dawn to hit the street, waiting five hours for a freshly painted #2 train to pass with the sun at her back and countless secret adventures with vandals in train yards, evading transit police in order to pursue a shot.
Joining efforts with fellow graffiti photographer, Henry Chalfant, Cooper proposed putting together a book of their documentation. The pair endured multiple rejections from publishers while lugging around a big “dummy” book with their pictures glued to the pages. Eventually, however, they landed a deal and Subway Art was published in 1984. Although not an immediate success, it came to sell half a million copies and established itself as a holy book for fans, aspiring artists and art historians worldwide. By the time the 25th anniversary edition was published in 2009, generations of graffiti and street artists had been influenced by it and the hip-hop culture Cooper and Chalfant had captured had gone global.

In the intervening years, Martha Cooper never stopped shooting. Her love of serendipity on the street and the exploration of cultures led her to publish thousands of photos in books such as R.I.P.: Memorial Wall Art, Hip Hop Files 1979-1984, We B*Girlz, Street Play, New York State of Mind, Tag Town, Going Postal, and Name Tagging. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide and published in numerous magazines including National Geographic, Natural History, and Vibe. While she is still shooting graffiti, street art and the occasional break dance competition today, Cooper’s current project involves documenting people and events in Sowebo, a drug-riddled neighborhood in her birthplace of Baltimore.

Steven P. Harrington is editor-in-chief of BrooklynStreetArt.com and co-author (with Jaime Rojo) of Brooklyn Street Art and Street Art New York, both by Prestel Publishing. He and Jaime Rojo are also contributing writers on street art for The Huffington Post.

About Carmichael Gallery:

Founded in 2007 by husband and wife team Seth and Elisa Carmichael, Carmichael Gallery focuses on a select group of artists breaking ground in painting, mixed media, photography and sculpture. Their annual program consists of a series of solo and group exhibitions that document the progress of these artists.

For information on current, past and upcoming shows, visit www.carmichaelgallery.com. For additional information and press materials on this show, please contact the gallery at art@carmichaelgallery.com and

+1 323 939 0600 and Andi Baker at andi@carmichaelgallery.com.

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Martha Cooper, Photographer of Art on the Streets for Six Decades

Martha Cooper landed in LA yesterday and will spend the next week installing her photos and their remixed new versions beside them, even flanking hers like stereo speakers. Since the press release has gone out we thought we’d share with you the bio written by Steven P. Harrington and the promo photo by Jaime Rojo which will appear in a special issue of The Art Street Journal dedicated entirely to her to come out this week.

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Martha and Pablo at home, with a portrait of her sitting on a train car with camera in hand painted by Os Gemeos overlooking the scene. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martha Cooper, Photographer of Art on the Streets for Six Decades

Written by Steven P. Harrington, this article is featured in The Art Street Journal vol ii – issue v.

The daughter of a Baltimore camera store owner, Martha Cooper’s romance with photography began in the 1940s when bobby-soxers and penny loafers were the sign of edgy youth culture. Her dad, an amateur photographer himself, gave his small girl a camera and together they hit the streets in search of adventure. “Yeah, my father used to take me out and we would take pictures. That’s what I thought photography was…we were just looking for pictures,” she recalls. Six decades later, Cooper is still looking for pictures; meanwhile, many works from her archive are cited as pivotal recordings of the birth of hip-hop culture and its plastic art form, graffiti.

During the cultural upheavals of the 1960s, Cooper earned a Bachelors of Art degree in Iowa, taught English for the Peace Corps in Thailand and rode a motorcycle from Bangkok to obtain a graduate degree at Oxford. As a freelancer and staff photographer in Japan, Maryland and Rhode Island in the early 1970s she moved to the media and art center of New York City to catch bigger fish. Landing a job on the staff of The New York Post in 1977, she discovered that the resistant and competitive boys club of photographers there were reluctant to countenance this scrappy young woman shooting hard news stories and Studio 54 celebrities.

Hungry for discovery, Cooper would spend her time to and from assignments in bombed-out neighborhoods, where she took pictures of kids entertaining themselves with games they devised on the street, often with the humblest of materials. It was during one of those trips that she stumbled on graffiti and the members of its community. She met a young boy who suggested she photograph the work she was seeing, then showed her a stylized drawing of his name, or piece, in his notebook.

Then he asked her if she wanted to meet “The King”.

Following this lead to Brooklyn, Cooper met Dondi, the citywide-famous graffiti writer who kept a published photo of hers in his black book because its background contained one of his graffiti throw-ups. Cooper quickly realized that she had stumbled into a lively street culture and became an avid student of the teen writers she befriended. By the time she took her last news picture for the New York Post in 1980, her primary desire was to capture as many pieces, tags, and trains as she possibly could find. Today, she remarks on her near-obsessive devotion to documenting New York’s graffiti: waking before dawn to hit the street, waiting five hours for a freshly painted #2 train to pass with the sun at her back and countless secret adventures with vandals in train yards, evading transit police in order to pursue a shot.

Joining efforts with fellow graffiti photographer, Henry Chalfant, Cooper proposed putting together a book of their documentation. The pair endured multiple rejections from publishers while lugging around a big “dummy” book with their pictures glued to the pages. Eventually, however, they landed a deal and Subway Art was published in 1984. Although not an immediate success, it came to sell half a million copies and established itself as a holy book for fans, aspiring artists and art historians worldwide.

By the time the 25th anniversary edition was published in 2009, generations of graffiti and street artists had been influenced by it and the hip-hop culture Cooper and Chalfant had captured had gone global.

In the intervening years, Martha Cooper never stopped shooting. Her love of serendipity on the street and the exploration of cultures led her to publish thousands of photos in books such as R.I.P.: Memorial Wall Art, Hip Hop Files 1979-1984, We B*Girlz, Street Play, New York State of Mind, Tag Town, Going Postal, and Name Tagging. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide and published in numerous magazines including National Geographic, Natural History, and Vibe. While she is still shooting graffiti, street art and the occasional break dance competition today, Cooper’s current project involves documenting people and events in Sowebo, a drug-riddled neighborhood in her birthplace of Baltimore.

********************

Steven P. Harrington is editor-in-chief of BrooklynStreetArt.com and co-author (with Jaime Rojo) of Brooklyn Street Art and Street Art New York, both by Prestel Publishing. He and Jaime Rojo are also contributing writers on street art for The Huffington Post.

********************

brooklyn-street-art-martha-cooper-remix-carmichael-gallery

Photographs by Martha Cooper

Martha Cooper ; Remix

with

Original remixes of these photographs in a range of media by Aeon, John Ahearn, Aiko, Bio, Nicer & B-Gee, Blade, Blanco, Mark Bode, Burning Candy, Victor Castillo, Cey, Cekis, Claw, Cosbe, Crash, Dabs & Myla, Anton van Dalen, Daze, Dearraindrop, Jane Dickson, Dr. Revolt, Shepard Fairey, Faust, Flying Fortress, Freedom, Fumakaka, Futura, Gaia, Grotesk, Logan Hicks, How & Nosm, LA II, Lady Pink, Anthony Lister, The London Police, Mare 139, Barry McGee, Nazza Stencil, Nunca, José Parlá, Quik, Lee Quinones, Kenny Scharf, Sharp, Skewville, Chris Stain, Subway Art History, Swoon, T-Kid, Terror161 and more.

Carmichael Gallery is pleased to announce Martha Cooper: Remix, an expansive group show featuring highlights from Martha Cooper’s photographic archive and works by over 50 artists who have created their own unique interpretations of her iconic, historically significant imagery. There will be an opening reception for the exhibition on Saturday, April 9 from 6 to 8pm with Martha Cooper and several of the participating artists in attendance. The exhibition will run through May 7, 2011.

Click on the link below to read BSA interview with Martha Cooper:

http://www.brooklynstreetart.com/theblog/?p=19366

Carmichael Gallery

5795 Washington Blvd

Culver City, CA 90232

April 9 – May 7, 2011

Opening Reception: Saturday, April 9, 6-8pm



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Martha Cooper Remixed by Chris Stain and Billy Mode

More pictures and an interview here with Martha Cooper, Chris Stain, and Billy Mode about their new mural in Brooklyn and her new show next month. An inspiration to many graffiti and street artists, her photos are the basis for the Martha Cooper: Remix show at Carmichael and why she and Street Artist Aiko are wheat pasting 170 of them on a wall at the MOCA Art in the Streets exhibition opening the following Saturday.

When we were thinking of Martha’s work and and the concept of remix, it easily tapped into the span of her career; both the hip-hop analog dj technique of vinyl sampling as well as the digital cut-and-paste practice of modern mashup artists who are running the streets at the moment. While it is true that Ms. Cooper has captured a vast archive of history, it’s the high regard she has earned and the relationships she has engendered that are the reason that many of these Remix pieces are so powerful. An ethnographer by training and one of the most important photographers of street and street art culture for the last four decades, Ms. Cooper remains amazingly approachable and outright enthused about her photographs and the people in them, as if she had snapped them just yesterday. And she’s pleased to meet you.

Brooklyn Street Art: Of course the city has changed a lot in the last 35 years, and you probably have also. Can you share some insight with us about what the city was like for young photographers at that time?
Martha Cooper:
I first came to NY in 1975 and for me the city was a place of opportunity. Although it was the center of publishing at the time, there weren’t that many photographers. You could call up an editor and he (usually he) would pick up the phone. I loved roaming around neighborhoods looking for pictures. Graffiti was very much underground and few people even realized that what kids were writing on walls and trains was their name. My fascination with graffiti and b-boying grew out of photographing the unknown, of being allowed entry into a world that most adults didn’t know existed. The city was going bankrupt, very few security systems were in place, and both photographers and graffiti writers could get away with a lot.

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This original photo taken on Houston Street in NYC in 1978 from which Chris Stain borrowed the boy on the right. (photo courtesy of Ms. Cooper © Martha Cooper)

Brooklyn Street Art: You used to get up before dawn to catch a picture of a train, and sometimes wait 5 hours for the right shot. How did you pass the time when you had to wait for hours? Crossword puzzles?
Martha Cooper:
There was no down time. Trains were constantly going by in both directions. I had to stay alert watching for just the right painted car. All of the trains in my photos were moving.

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Brooklyn Street Art: So how did you get this idea for the theme for the show?
Martha Cooper: From you! (laughs) Over the years I’ve seen a lot of people using my photographs, authorized and unauthorized. The Carmichaels had asked me to do a solo show. After considering a number of options, I thought about what we had done, what you had done in that blog post. We talked about how artists had used my work and I thought, ‘Why don’t I do that?’ So that’s how it happened.

Brooklyn Street Art: Way before this show, Street Artists like Chris Stain and Shepard Fairey interpreted a number of your photographs in their work.
Martha Cooper:
Some photographers don’t want their photos to be used as a basis for someone else’s art but mostly I don’t mind. Both Chris and Shepard asked permission and in both cases the collaboration has had unexpected positive results, one of which was connecting with BSA.

brooklyn-street-art-chris-stain-billy-mode-martha-cooper-jaime-rojo-03-11-web-2Chris Stain and Billy Mode (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: And what have the responses been like so far?
Martha Cooper: I got a lot of really heart-warming responses from people I’ve been in touch with over the years. A lot of old-school and new-school artists and that made me feel good.

Brooklyn Street Art: Was it surprising to see the response?
Martha Cooper: I didn’t know what kind of response I was going to get. It was a little scary to write to people. I decided right in the beginning that I was going to write personal notes to everybody. So you guys and I talked about it and we made a list.

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Chris Stain and Billy Mode (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Well, we tried to include old-school people you were very familiar with and a number of the new people that we were familiar with.
Martha Cooper: Yes, many of whom I had met. As it turns out, Miami was really a hotbed of street artists for me in the two years I went down there to shoot at Wynwood during Art Basel. And I would not have known some of them had it not been for Basel, so I have to thank Tony Goldman for that.

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Chris Stain and Billy Mode (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: We’ve worked with Chris Stain before and we’ve been talking to him about doing another wall together. When we told him about this show he said “Why don’t I do a Martha piece?”
Martha Cooper:
I didn’t know who Chris Stain was. He contacted me a couple of years ago by email and just said that he had done work using my photographs. And a little dialogue developed and I went over to his studio in Brooklyn and I met him and it all worked out. He had already seen my books – he doesn’t take the exact picture, he takes parts of it.

Brooklyn Street Art: Yeah, he takes elements from your photographs and puts them in a different context. And that’s okay with you, it doesn’t offend you that he takes a portion of it?
Martha Cooper: No! It flatters me. You know, just the idea that people are looking at these pictures and liking them enough to base their own art on them, to me is flattering. Maybe not to everybody, but to me, I like it. Especially if you asked permission and at least you are acknowledging that you are borrowing work from me. Then it is fine.

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Chris and Bill take a break from the cold winds to talk about the piece (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: So tell me about this piece and the boy in the picture. Do you remember when you first saw that picture?
Chris Stain:
The first time I saw that picture was in Martha’s book, “Street Play” because she gave me that book. The image is from her photograph. I had been working from other images of hers and I felt bad working from all these photographers work.  I thought, “Maybe I should just try to contact them and seeing if it’s okay if I work from them.” Because some of this stuff was going into paintings and I’m selling them and some of them are going into the streets, which doesn’t really matter.

So she was the first photographer I contacted. I was like, “Dear Ms. Cooper, I’m a big fan of yours, have been for a long time….” I talked about Subway Art, this and that. “…and I’m making paintings from some of your photographs and I was just wondering how you felt about it.”  She wrote me back and she was really into it and she was really cool with me using the images and we just kept going. She said, “I want a painting” and we met up one day and I gave her a painting and she gave me her book “New York State of Mind”. It went from there.

…..This whole wall, Billy and I did it in Miami but we’ve changed it up.

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Chris Stain and Billy Mode. The second day in the late afternoon begins (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Chris Stain and Billy Mode (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: You did it for Wynwood? Primary Flight?
Chris: Yeah Primary Flight like three years ago. The train behind the boy says “Cries of the Ghetto” and I was told that it was originally a piece done by Dezz and Ski, and somebody else told me it was Shane. So I’m not sure who originally did it. But I’ve always liked that train a lot and I liked the words a lot so we just incorporated the whole thing together.

And tonight Bill re-did the lettering to bring it up to date a little bit and to add our own kind of twist to it and that’s what we got.

Brooklyn Street Art: So really it’s a collage of a few images.
Chris Stain: Actually it’s a collage of a photo that I took, a photo of Martha Coopers’, and I don’t know who originally photographed that “Cries of the Ghetto” train – I’m not really sure exactly who did it – whether it was Martha or Henry or somebody else but I’ve always liked it.

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Chris Stain and Billy Mode (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Chris Stain and Billy Mode (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: But thematically it is a good way to tie together her history ..
Chris: Yeah because it has the kids, which she was always photographing, together with the graffiti aspect that she’s really well known for.

Brooklyn Street Art: And then as a technique that you use, it brings the whole into the Street Art thing that is going on today.
Chris Stain: Yeah it’s bringing it up to what people are doing with street art now.

Brooklyn Street Art: How many pieces of hers have you done?
Chris Stain: I’ve probably done six or seven, with one that’s unfinished. I’ve done the one with Lady Pink holding the spray paint cans, the one with boy taking the tire off (or putting it on, I can’t tell), the one on the roof, the “Cries of the Ghetto”.

Billy Mode: You did that one with the kid holding the dove on the roof.

Chris Stain: Yeah the kid holding up the pigeon on the roof with one hand and there’s another one with the same boy where he’s holding two pigeons close together.

Brooklyn-Street-Art-chris_stain_WEB-Martha-Cooper-doves

A Chris Stain piece from a couple of years ago is based on a photograph by Martha Cooper (© Chris Stain)

Brooklyn Street Art: Oh yeah! Gaia is doing that one for this show!
Chris Stain:
He is?  Cool, that’s cool.
Brooklyn Street Art:
Well he loves doing birds, and feathers, and animals.
Chris Stain: Well Gaia’s a bird brain, that kid, so it makes sense.

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Chris Stain’s reference screenprint for the wall (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Billy Mode updated the letter style for this new piece. Here’s his sketch. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: So Billy you changed the style of the lettering for “Cries of the Ghetto”. How would you characterize this new style?

Billy Mode: Windy style!  It’s loose, I don’t know. The original style in some ways it’s fitting to the imagery in that it is classic but I kind of see the “Cries of the Ghetto” as being more victorious now. I want those letters to be more celebratory and have more energy to them. A lot of my letter styles are, not necessarily flamboyant, but  they have a lot of flair, a lot of motion. I’m really just bringing in my own take on it.  There’s some influence from other people’s style, and I think that’s what happens in graffiti art is you get motivated by what other people are doing.

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Chris Stain and Billy Mode (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Martha, your blog for 12oz Prophet is followed quite heavily. What is your favorite part about writing a blog?
Martha Cooper:
My favorite part is not the writing part! For me the best thing about blogging is that I get to make use of photos immediately instead of just archiving them for possible future use as I formerly did.

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Chris Stain and Billy Mode (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Stickers are a really popular medium for expression on the street today and you point to Twist, Cost, and Revs as some of the first to use them. What makes stickers so interesting?
Martha Cooper:
Stickers are everywhere and yet they’re invisible to the uninitiated. Keeping your eyes peeled for stickers turns a walk down any street into a treasure hunt.  It’s a fun way to navigate a city.

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Chris Stain and Billy Mode (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: After years of searching for perfect shots, what’s the Holy Grail now?
Martha Cooper:
Now I’m more worried about archiving my photos than taking them. I have enough pictures to last several lifetimes but I need to be able to find and access them.

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Chris Stain and Billy Mode (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Your photographs of New York City youth and their art inspired the art of the next generations. What do you think is your legacy as a photographer of this pivotal period?
Martha Cooper:
In the pre-digital era, culture was disseminated by newspapers, magazines and books. I was part of a small corps of mostly freelance photographers, filmmakers, and journalists who documented early hip hop. By paying attention to subjects that might have been overlooked by mainstream media, we helped start and spread the art, dance, and music movements, now called hip hop, worldwide.

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Martha with her beloved 21 year old cat Pancho (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA…………..BSA…………..BSA……………

Martha Cooper : Remix
Featuring original photography from Martha Cooper and original remixes from Aeon, Anton van Dalen, Aiko, Barry McGee, Bio, Nicer, B-Gee, Blade, Blanco, BurningCandy Crew, Cey, Cekis, Chris Stain, Claw, Cosbe, Crash, Dabs & Myla, Daze, DEARRAINDROP, FAUST, Flying Fortress, Freedom, Fumakaka World Dominator, Futura, Gaia, How & Nosm, Jane Dickson, John Ahearn, Jose Parla, Kenny Scharf, LA II, Lady Pink, Lee Quinones, Anthony Lister, Logan Hicks, The London Police, Mark Bode, Nazzareno Stencil, Nunca, Mare, Quik, Evil Dr. Revolt, Shepard Fairey, Skewville, Subway Art History, Swoon, T-Kid, Terror161 and Victor Castillo.

Coming to Carmichael Gallery April 9.

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Chris Stain and Billy Mode “For Martha”

This weekend for BSA was a little bit of street art and graffiti history alchemy, transmuted by the presence of the lady we were all doing it for, Martha Cooper. To celebrate her birthday and the soon to be unveiled “Martha Cooper: Remix” show at Carmichael Gallery in Culver City, CA, Street Artists Chris Stain and Billy Mode sprayed aerosol into gold using imagery from her photography as base inspiration.

brooklyn-street-art-chris-stain-billy-mode-for-martha-jaime-rojo-03-11-web- 2Chris Stain and Billy Mode (photo © Jaime Rojo)

On this bitterly cold and windy Brooklyn night, the good humored boys were blowing through cans on tops of shaking ladders, continuously working against the elements for what Chris called “some xtreme painting”. While taking a break to warm up inside, everybody had some chocolate birthday cake and Martha flipped through Subway Art with Chris and Billy, answering questions and relating stories about what it was like for her to capture graffiti on trains in New York in the 1970s and what it’s like to see Street Artists like Chris Stain interpreting her photographs today. 

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Chris Stain and Billy Mode in the reflection of rainwater pooled  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Our first conversations in September ’09 with Martha for a posting on BSA that discussed art inspired by her work evolved into a 50-artist “remix” show featuring old-school graff writers and new guard street artists next month.

“I thought about what we had done, what you had done in that blog post. We talked about how artists had used my work and I thought, ‘Why don’t I do that?’ ,” Martha remarks on the formation of her show plan.

It has been a genuine honor to be a part of the process and to see the pieces coming in to Ms. Cooper’s studio for the show. It’s also been intoxicating to imagine the relationships and personal paths that have intersected in the pursuit of artistic expression. Each invited artist has a very personal take on the influence of her photographs from a 40 year span, and the directions they take the work are myriad. Watching Chris and Billy create this large scale wall tribute in Brooklyn reminds us of the interconnected worlds of Graffiti Art and Street Art and how Ms. Coopers’ photography has contributed to the history and artistry of both.

Here are a few shots by Jaime Rojo of the installation for a sneak peek of this great experience – with a full length feature interview with Martha and commentary about the nature of the image from Chris and many more images coming this week.

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Chris Stain and Billy Mode (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Chris Stain and Billy Mode (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Chris Stain and Billy Mode (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Chris Stain and Billy Mode (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Chris Stain and Billy Mode (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Chris Stain and Billy Mode (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-chris-stain-billy-mode-for-martha-jaime-rojo-03-11-web-9

Photo © Jaime Rojo


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Martha Cooper : Remix
Featuring original photography from Martha Cooper and original remixes from Aeon, Anton van Dalen, Aiko, Barry McGee, Bio, Nicer, B-Gee, Blade, Blanco, BurningCandy Crew, Cey, Cekis, Chris Stain, Claw, Cosbe, Crash, Dabs & Myla, Daze, DEARRAINDROP, FAUST, Flying Fortress, Freedom, Fumakaka World Dominator, Futura, Gaia, How & Nosm, Jane Dickson, John Ahearn, Jose Parla, Kenny Scharf, LA II, Lady Pink, Lee Quinones, Anthony Lister, Logan Hicks, The London Police, Mark Bode, Nazzareno Stencil, Nunca, Mare, Quik, Evil Dr. Revolt, Shepard Fairey, Skewville, Subway Art History, Swoon, T-Kid, Terror161 and Victor Castillo.

Coming to Carmichael Gallery April 9.

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Eric Firestone Gallery Presents: DOWN BY LAW: New York’s Underground Art Explosion, 1970s–1980s (East Hampton, NY)

ERIC FIRESTONE GALLERY PRESENTS:

I wanted to invite you to the launch of DOWN BY LAW: New York’s Underground Art Explosion, 1970s–1980s, a new exhibition I am co-curating, which opens at the Eric Firestone Gallery in East Hampton on Saturday, August 14.

The exhibition surveys the originators and innovators of the graffiti and street art movements, looking at where they have been and where they have come over the past 40 years. Highlights include:

  • Paintings by Coco 144, whose work in the early 1970s earned him the title “The Marcel Duchamp of graffiti subculture.”
  • Rarely seen canvases from the early 1980s by style master Dondi White, who by age 22 had had seven solo exhibitions and whose painting was in several European museum collections.
  • Zephyr’s animation sequence frames for Charlie Ahearn’s iconic film, Wild Style.
  • Original drawings from “Yo! MTV Raps”, plus original logo designs for the Beastie Boys, Run-DMC, and the Cold Chillin’ record label.


Featured artists include Charlie Ahearn, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Blade, Henry Chalfant, Coco 144, Joe Conzo, Martha Cooper, Cope 2, Daze, Jane Dickson, Dr. Revolt, John Fekner, Cousin Frank aka Ghost, Michael Halsband, Keith Haring, Eric Haze, Keo, Eric Kroll, LA2, Lady Pink, Greg LaMarche, Michael Lawrence, Chris Pape aka Freedom, Rammellzee, Carlos “Mare 139″ Rodriguez, Anita Rosenberg, Sharp aka Aaron Goodstone, Jamel Shabazz, T-kid 170, Dondi White, and Zephyr.

EAST COAST SPACE
4 NEWTOWN LANE
EAST HAMPTON, NY 11937
631-604-2386

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