All posts tagged: Keith Haring

The New Whitney Opens May 1 – “America Is Hard To See”

The New Whitney Opens May 1 – “America Is Hard To See”

The stunning new Whitney Museum opens tomorrow, May 1st, in the Meat Packing District of lower Manhattan and you will be overwhelmed to see the last 115 years or so of artistic expression in America on display for the exhibit “America Is Hard To See”. 400 artists of every discipline and many art movements during your life and your great grandparents are here – from film and video to painting and sculpture and new media and photography, from abstract, figurative, text based, landscapes, and our own visual jazz – abstract expressionism – you’ll be exhausted when you are through with this show.

You’ll also be energized by the sense of sheer possibility presented – and the amount of space and the many outdoor plaza views. This is a new jewel in New York, and you have discovered it.


Donal Moffett. He Kills Me, 1987. The artist printed this poster and wheat pasted it on walls across New York City as a critique of President Reagan’s silence towards the AIDS epidemic. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We don’t get a new museum every day, but tomorrow you do, and it is rather spectacular to be privileged this way in this city of constant change. No matter your perspective, you will find the inaugural show to be vast. You are certain to like or disagree or applaud or dish with someone here, and it is all strangely American – Here is just a partial sampling of names showing about 600 works that should whet your appetite; Vito Acconci, Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Rory Arcangel, John Baldessari, Mathew Barney, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louise Bourgeois, Paul Cadmus, Alexander Calder, Chuck Close, Imogen Cunningham, Willem de Kooning, Mark di Suvero, Elsie Driggs, William Eggleston, Anna Gaskell, Milton Glaser, Nan Goldin, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, George Grosz, Keith Haring, Eva Hesse, Edward Hopper, Robert Indiana, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Mike Kelley, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Louise Lawler, Sherrie Levine, Sol LeWitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Rober Mapplethorpe, Gordon Matta-Clark, Paul McCarthy, Joan Mitchell, Donal Moffett, Louise Nevelson, Georgia O’Keefe, Jose Clemente Orozco, Nam June Paik, Jackon Pollock, Richard Prince, Christina Ramberg, Robert Raushenberg, Hans Richter, Mark Rothko, Edward Ruscha, David Salle, Dread Scott, Richard Serra, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, Kiki Smith, Frank Stella, Hedda Sterne, Alfred Stieglitz, Rirkrit Tiravanjia, Anne Truit, Cy Twombly, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol, Weegee, William Wegman, Gertude Vanderbuilt Whitney, David Wojnarowicz, Francesca Woodman, Andrew Wyeth.


Barbara Kruger. Untitled. (We Don’t Need Another Hero), 1987. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

You’ll look through that list and want to add some of your own of course, everyone does. Despite the revered Biennial which periodically bowls you over with new talent, some still find that there are not enough of certain social groups represented, and that is probably fair.

We find it somewhat alarming that 50+ years of graffiti and street art is only minimally represented here –  especially when it has become one of the hugely praised cultural exports to cities around the world and it is highly collected and ever-more auctioned. Talk about American! New York is considered a birthplace for the urban art scene and we can recommend a short list of these artists who are daily defining a new contemporary art for serious consideration. Yes this show has Haring, Basquiat, Kruger – acknowledged. But a great deal has happened in the last two decades. Maybe now that formally trained artists are frequently killing it on the streets in the 2000s and 2010s we will see more of these names included as part of the American story in the future. In fact, there is no doubt.


Glenn Ligon. Ruckenfigure, 2009 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The striking new modern home by Renzo Piano is twice the size of the old one and some of the views from the museum of this city that you love may rob your attention briefly from the art displayed inside. The inaugural show up until September is called America is Hard to See, and at $22 a ticket, so is the new Whitney Museum of American Art. That price may not seem like much when you consider it would get you four hours rent in a market rate one-bedroom in this neighborhood. But in a city where workers are fighting for a $15 minimum wage we’d like to see it accessible to more New Yorkers as it is the preeminent institution devoted to the art of the United States. Just had to say it. Hopefully they will find a way to institute frequent “pay what you want” nights, and to be fair, students get in FREE every day.

But this is your museum, and we hope you add your voice to the discussion.

Meanwhile, join us as we say “Welcome to the New Whitney!”


George Segal. Walk, Don’t Walk, 1976 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


George Segal. Walk, Don’t Walk, 1976 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Christopher Wool. Untitled, 1990 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Edward Ruscha. Large Trademark with Eight Spotlights, 1962 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


John Baldessari. An Artist Is Not Merely the Slavish Announcer, 1966-68 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Mike Kelly. More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid and The Wages of Sin, 1987 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Lee Krasner. The Seasons, 1957 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


From left to right: Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


General view of one of the galleries. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Mary Heilmann. Sunset, detail. Site specific installation. 2015 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


The back yard. The view from the back of the building. (photo © Jaime Rojo)



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




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BSA Images Of The Week: 12.14.14

BSA Images Of The Week: 12.14.14



The year is winding down people, and the hits just keep on coming!

Bankers are ruling us and setting us up for their next crashing of the economy, mistletoe-carrying drones are a good idea gone wrong, and thousands continue to protest injustice toward black and brown people in Washington DC and Washington Square. In happier news: – just one photo we posted this week on Instagram – LMNOPI’s painting of a small boy protester – united the boy’s mother with the artist and us via social media, which was kind of magical. See a version of the image below. The city is also crammed with tourists (Hi Aunt Bobbie and Uncle Roy! Hi Kate and William!), drunken Santa’s are somewhat less cranky this year, and the Dyker Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn is already encrusted with Christmas lights.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring $howta, Crummy Gummy, Dhear, Don John, Eelco Virus, LMNOPI, London Kaye, Mistakoy, Mr. Oneteas, Peter Van Flores, Rocko, Tracy168, WERC, and ZIMAD.

Top Image >> A Mr. OneTeas tribute to Keith Haring appeared in Soho. Earlier in the week an “I Can’t Breath” piece by the artist appeared on the street in Williamsburg but was torn down before we could get to it. Things happen fast sometimes with this ephemeral form of speech, and some pieces (like anything too cutesy or anything with male nudity) come down fast. The artists Instagram has a version of the large wheatpaste. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Mr. OneTeas (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Zimad just finished this tribute to Basquiat for The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


A Tracey 168 re-resurgence appeared suddenly for The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Mistakoy (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Crummy Gummy in Miami. (photo © Crummy Gummy)


LMNOPI (photo © Jaime Rojo)


London Kaye getting in the spirit of the season and sharing it on the streets. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


London Kaye (photo © Jaime Rojo)


London Kaye (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Eelco Virus with Rocko for The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Eelco Virus. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Don John at work for Urban Xchange: Crossing Over in Penang, Malaysia. (photo © Nikko Tan)


Don John. Urban Xchange: Crossing Over. Penang, Malaysia. (photo © Nikko Tan)


Peter Van Flores in Miami. (photo © Crummy Gummy)


WERC (photo © Jaime Rojo)


$howta (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Dhear in Mexico City for MUJAM. (photo © Wladimir Sanchez)


Untitled (photo © Jaime Rojo)



Please note: All content including images and text are ©, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!
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Tour Paris 13 : Fluorescent & Towering Show Book

Tour Paris 13 : Fluorescent & Towering Show Book

Another book to tell you about today! Remember when BSA took you to Paris that time and we skipped the line and went into all the floors of this soon to be demolished building?

“The numbers are astounding; 105 artists, 9 floors, 36 apartments, 30,000 visitors.

One hour.

That is how much time Street Art enthusiast Spencer Elzey had to himself inside the largest gallery of Street Artists and graffiti artists ever assembled specifically to transform a building for a public show. As he looked out a window to see the snaking lines of Parisians and tourists restlessly waiting to get in, he couldn’t believe his luck to be able to walk through the exhibit by himself and get off some clear shots before the throng hit.”

That is how we described it in November 2013 when Spencer took us on a whirlwind tour of TOUR 13.


Tour Paris 13 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Published last month this towering book with the page edges sprayed neon orange was released by Mehdi Ben Cheikh in French and English to commemorate the event, and seeing the installations this way is going to make you wish the place wasn’t destroyed. 500 new photos previously unpublished allows you to see the show as you travel from the cellar to the top floors.

You may wish you had more background on the artists and the context and clearly not all of the artistry is of similar quality but you will be satiated by the images and thankful that they were recorded during their brief duration. Published by Editions Albin Michel, in partnership with the Itinerrance Gallery, this show will continue to soar long after the dust has settled.


Entes . Tour Paris 13 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Inti . Tour Paris 13 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Ethos .Tour Paris 13 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Seth .Tour Paris 13 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Moneyless .Tour Paris 13 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artists included in the Tour Paris 13 project:



Click HERE to read BSA’s coverage of this project before the building was demolished.

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Philadelphia Mural Arts, A Golden Age

Philadelphia Mural Arts, A Golden Age

It is a rainy day in Philadelphia, but you can’t tell it by listening to Jane Golden.

After 30 years and countless meetings with community groups, artists, city agencies, elected officials, volunteers, and donors, the founder and Executive Director of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program has developed a perpetual advocacy style that leans decidedly toward axioms that tell you the glass is half full. No painting is happening on walls in the city of brotherly love today, but the phones are still ringing in this agency of 50, and as Golden sees it, the community is still being served by their educational programs and a remarkably wide variety of outreach efforts.


Jetsonorama and Ursula Rucker “You Go Girl” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Street Art and graffiti have been parlaying with their cousin, the community mural, in recent years thanks to the growing popularity worldwide of the former so we thought this would be a great opportunity to learn about the largest and most successful version of the latter.  What we found was that we share an underlying philosophy toward and an awe of the creative spirit, however it is expressed.  In 2011 BSA curated a gallery show in LA with 39 artists called “Street Art Saved My Life” after hearing enough artists and graffiti writers express a similar sentiment over the previous 10 years or so. So it should not have been a revelation to find that Jane Golden is known to repeat an analogous mantra that summarizes her work here in Philadelphia: “Art Saves Lives”.

Initiated as an anti-graffiti campaign by the city in 1984, the program originally made the common mistake of equating a style of art-making with illegally made works. With time, education, and outreach to the graffiti-writing youth she met in the streets, Golden gradually helped the city to begin to make a distinction between aerosol art and vandalism. As graffiti writers and others were invited to participate in the mural program, interact with the community, and to get paid for their work, the city witnessed a slow and gradual metamorphosis to becoming a capital of public art revered by many.


Joe Boruchow “Watchtowers” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A trained artist and political science scholar, Golden never embraced the so-called “Broken Window Theory” that typecasts people as it pertained to graffiti writers and instead she shepherded that creative instinct among artistic types whom she met into creating work that gives back.

“I think that it is almost the opposite of the “broken window” stereotype,” she says, “This is about opportunity and possibility. It is opening up a window that wasn’t previously open in a way that people hadn’t anticipated.” She talks about the impact the Mural Arts Program has with its tireless outreach to engage neighborhoods in the decision making process about what work goes where, and she guarantees you that the overall effect is greater than a pretty picture.


Eric Okdeh “Family Interrupted”” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I have seen it in communities where there was support for the project, but maybe not universal support. Then the mural goes up and suddenly there’s this ripple effect. When people start talking about it, connecting with it, thinking about other things and then sometimes thinking about things that are totally unrelated to us but if you were to do a diagram of the various outcomes, you know that it started with us.”

One example is a mural in the late 1980s that enlivened a neighborhood and inspired a community group to form and eventually become a powerful force of advocacy for the needs of neighbors. “When we did this “peace” mural the neighborhood reclaimed the space and then they bought a house from the city for a dollar and turned it into a headquarters. Then they lobbied for more art, then they lobbied for educational programs,” she says as she describes the evolution of a community that may have once felt like prey to a vocal one that now comes to speak to her students a the University of Pennsylvania about topics like economic development.


Christophe Hamaide-Pierson of Assume Vivid Astro Focus  “All Very Amazing Fingers” Mural Arts Program in collaboration with Goldman Properties. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I’m not saying that what we do is a panacea for all that ails the city but the catalytic role that art plays can’t be discounted because it is igniting something in us; it’s transformative. Art engages people in a way that just doesn’t happen in their day-to-day life. We want to help change the city and we feel that art is part of it.”

A particular threshold sighted for Street Art into the mural arts program was when artist Keith Haring painted “We the Youth” here in 1987, and that mural became part of the city in such a strong way that Mural Arts undertook a painstaking restoration of it a few years ago, as it has with many murals.  It wasn’t unusual in those early years of the program for murals to be done without proper consideration for life of the paint or the surface it was on.


Keith Haring “We The Youth” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With the Keith Haring mural the stucco was in such a bad shape we had to almost re-do the entire surface and that was an extensive process of peeling layers off. We wanted to make sure as we were restoring it we were remaining true to the original that Keith painted and it had to be done with incredible care, love and integrity. So we took its restoration and preservation really seriously and because it was necessary to do it right, we re-routed some funding from new projects to restoration.”


Keith Haring “We The Youth” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Procuring funding for the many Mural Arts programs is an original model that other public arts programs have looked at – a balance of public and private that has enabled it to grow and support artists as well as the city itself – a system of securing funding that Golden describes as sort of an art in itself. “We are a city agency and we have gotten to a point where our budget is 35 % city and the rest is non-city funding through foundations, corporation and individuals earned income. It is an interesting hybrid model but that city part still resonates.”

She describes the alchemy of going to private donors as well as testifying about her budget before the city periodically. “We formed a board, we got our own 501c 3, and I just went underground,” as she describes the additional funding that enables multiple programs and actually pays artists a fair price for their work – something that the majority of Street Art festivals and various real estate holders are very reluctant to do – to the tune of nearly $2.2 million a year.


Kenny Scharf. Mural Arts Program in collaboration with Goldman Properties. Philadelphia, PA. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Someone told me about this art festival recently and said that they are paying the artists 300-500 dollars to do a major work and I said ‘What?’” she says incredulously, and scoffs at the idea that artists would work simply for “exposure”.  “We pay our interns! We pay our middle school students in the summer. Seriously? Everybody here is getting paid.” Granted, it isn’t always as much as they would like to pay an artist, but she makes sure the artists understand the full scope of the project before asking them to commit.

Despite the negative association many still have with graffiti and Street Artists a fair number have been joining in with the Mural Arts Program in recent years. With known and respected Street Art blogger RJ Rushmore joining the enterprise as Communications Manager two months ago, you can expect to see perhaps a few more names from the Street Art scene on the walls as time goes forward.


Steve ESPO Powers “Love Letter” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“The Street Artists are inspired by Mural Arts and we are inspired by them,” says Golden, who is enthusiastic about this subtle programming shift that she began a few years ago with the encouragement of people like real estate developer Tony Goldman, who was credited with transforming neighborhoods like Manhattan’s Soho and Miami’s Wynwood District, and whose company acquired 25 properties from 1998 through 2003 in Philadelphia, according to the Goldman website.

“When (graffiti and Street Artist) Steven Powers contacted me to work together and he had this great idea, I said ‘I totally want to work with you’,” she says of his multi-building text project “Love Letters” that you can view from an elevated train line.  There weren’t any rules that say I couldn’t – we just need to get funding.” Of course it was as simple as Powers may have originally thought because the neighborhood also needed to be consulted, a practice Golden will not waver from.


Steve ESPO Powers “Love Letter” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Steve couldn’t believe he had to go to community meetings and I said ‘but you have to’.” As it turned out, the neighborhood had no interest in love letters. “We don’t want to talk about love. We are actually really angry at the city because the mass transit agency has shot down one of the major thoroughfares for repair work'” she remembers.

Some also didn’t understand the idea of text-based artwork rather than representational or figurative work. “’This isn’t a Mural Arts mural’, some folks in the neighborhood remarked. And I said ‘There isn’t really such a thing as a Mural Arts mural – its about creativity and its impact on the world’ and people then interestingly enough started to open up. They started to talk to Steve about their past, about what they did love about their neighborhood, about their memories and history and stories. It was fantastic and so it was a different kind of process and it had power on its own. That was a clue to us that we had built up 20 years of goodwill and we can now take risks as long as we are respectful and that will never change. It paid off because it opened the door for us to think differently about how we work.”


Shepard Fairey “Lotus Diamond” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

She speaks as well about some of the other Street Artists from recent years. “Then we had Shepard (Fairey), and Chris Stain and How & Nosm,” she recalls. “I think their art is terrific and when they are here I want them to be a role model for the kids. Like How & Nosm – they were role models. They couldn’t have been nicer, kinder to our kids. Here are guys who started writing graffiti on walls and now they are traveling the world with their art and that is a fantastic message. For our kids to know that Shepard started out as a student at the Rhode Island School of Design, that he was doing stickers, and that now he’s got a big design firm, it was important. We do have an entrepreneurial division at Mural Arts and Shepard is a role model for them.”

Sometimes the value of the project is not simply monetary but goes far deeper, which explains the level of commitment many have shown. We asked Golden to describe a couple of projects that have been personally satisfying for her, and we share one here that illustrates the entirely holistic approach Golden and the Mural Arts program take to art in the streets.


Cesar Viveros and Parris Stancell “Healing Walls” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

She describes what evolutionary process contributed to the creation of a series of “healing walls” that depict all the members of community who are affected by crime; the criminal, the victim, and all the people they touch. Of  the many outstanding aspects of the project, one is that the people who are involved, including the offender, are deeply involved in its creation.

“We did a project with crime victims, victim’s advocates and prisoners in our mural class. We decided to start work in the prison.  The men in the class said they wanted to do outdoor murals. I said ‘you are lifers, you are never getting out, how in the world are you going to do that?’” she says as she describes a solution that enabled the artwork of the prisoners to be mounted on the mural walls. “We work a lot on parachute cloth, so we thought we could do this, we can work inside and take it outside.”


Cesar Viveros and Parris Stancell “Healing Walls” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The rallying together of the participants was not always smooth as the project began, she says, as the raw emotions and torn lives at times overwhelmed the process of creating the mural and voices of discontent threatened to capsize the project. “So I went to the Pennsylvania Prison Society, and I did research and designed a project called “Healing Walls” and I said ‘We are going to bring together everyone to talk about the impact and consequences of violent crime, because when crime happens everyone loses.”

In a process emblematic of the painstaking lengths Mural Arts goes to seek common ground, Golden describes where the main obstacle to the project lay. “So we asked everyone in this group from all different walks of life to come together to create a series of murals about this.  We are going to work partially in the prison, we’ll work in a church in the neighborhood, we are going to work here at the Mural Arts offices and we are going to work in some schools. Then the project started and it was contentious,” she says.

“No one wanted to get along because everyone had their story;

‘My pain is bigger.’

‘I’m from the neighborhood and we are scarred.’

‘Our neighborhood has been victimized.’

And no one understands the pain of the victim; The victim said, ‘I lost everything.’ Then the prisoner said, ‘I have been in pain since I was young. I’m filled with remorse.’ ”


GAIA. Mural Arts Program in collaboration with Goldman Properties. Philadelphia, PA. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

After each party was heard and the project threatened to fall in disarray, an unexpected outcome began to emerge, says Golden.

“Then eventually, over time, we started to create together. We’re in a giant auditorium and we have tons of tables. On each table we have crime victims, victims advocates and prisoners.  Then people started to say, ‘Can you pass the glue? Can you pass the brush? What about my shape? Then what happens was kind of miraculous because people began to listen to each other as they painted together. Eventually people were like ‘You know what? We really need to come together. We all want a safer city. What can we do about it and people started brainstorming – People behind the walls and people on the outside.”

“Then the murals went up and we had a dedication at this church and tons of people showed up. People’s whose sisters and brothers were incarcerated were there, victims were there, the Department of Corrections came and there was a major conversation about redemption and rehabilitation and giving people a chance. It sort of tapped into people’s humanity that no one had articulated.”


How & Nosm. Mural Arts Program in collaboration with Goldman Properties. Philadelphia, PA. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Thirty years and a few thousand painted walls are only some of the outcomes of a program like this, but countless more are told in the generative effects, the rippling of waves of the efforts by artists and community. Those outcomes are impossible to measure or to quantify, even though we try.

BSA: It appears that you can use the art as a vehicle and you are a bit of an anthropologist, ethnologist, sociologist –  so along with your formal education you are getting many degrees as you go in the process.
Jane Golden: I believe in what we are doing, that art making is really about access, justice and equity. That’s the real deal for us, a lot of it. But I love this merging of worlds but you are right in order to do this work it is anthropology, sociology, urban planning, urbanism its everything…


Steve ESPO Powers “Love Letter” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“When people think of mural arts I want them to think: ‘They have a little budget, they do tons of work, they are relevant to my life and they are impactful,’” says Ms. Golden. “And that, I think, is important and that connects me to something else that I have seen especially over the last five, six, or seven years. That is that when it comes to solving societies’ more intractable problems – we can never discount the role of innovation and creativity to make a difference when our traditional interventions have failed us.”

And then we go out and ride the train and look at more murals in the rain.


Steve ESPO Powers “Love Letter” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Steve ESPO Powers “Love Letter” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Steve ESPO Powers “Love Letter” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Steve ESPO Powers “Love Letter” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)


To learn more about the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program click HERE

BSA would like to thank Ms. Jane Golden for her generous time with us and also Mr. Brian Campbell and RJ Rushmore for their gracious hospitality, guided tour of the murals and lunch.


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


This article was also published on The Huffington Post



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“The City As Canvas” Opens with the Collection of Martin Wong

“The City As Canvas” Opens with the Collection of Martin Wong

Last night the graffiti and early Street Art history from New York’s 1970s and 80s was celebrated by the City of New York – at least in its museum. Criminals and outlaws then, art stars and legends today, many of the aerosol actors and their documentarians were on display and discussed over white wine under warm, forgiving, indirect lighting.


DAZE in the background sliced by a wall of cans at the opening of “The City As Canvas” (photo via iPhone © Jaime Rojo)

“City as Canvas: New York City Graffiti From the Martin Wong Collection” is an exhibition as well as a book released last fall written by Carlo McCormick and Sean Corcoran, with contributions by Lee Quinones, Sacha Jenkins and Christopher Daze Ellis, and all the aforementioned were in attendance. Also spotted were artists, photographers, curators, writers (both kinds), art dealers, historians, family, friends, peers and loyal fans – naturally most fell into a few of these categories at the same time.


“The City As Canvas” exhibition at Museum of the City of New York welcome text with pieces by Futura 2000 and Zephyr to the right. (photo via iPhone © Steven P. Harrington)

“City as Canvas” is possible thanks to the foresight, eye, and wallet of collector Martin Wong, an openly gay Chinese-American artist transplanted to New York from San Francisco, which is remarkable not only because of the rampant homophobia and near hysterical AIDS phobia at the time he was collecting but because the graffiti / Street Art scene even today throws the term “fag” around pretty easily. A trained ceramacist and painter whose professional work has gained in recognition since his death of AIDS related complications in 1999, Wong is said to have met and befriended a great number of New York graffiti artists like Lady Pink, LEE, DAZE and Futura 2000, who were picking up art supplies where he worked at the Pearl Paint store – a four story holy place on Canal Street that thrived at that time.

 Brooklyn-Street-Art-Sharp-Paints-a-Picture-copyright-Martin_WongThe show contains black books full of tags and drawings as well as canvasses and mixed media Wong purchased, commissioned, and painted, including a portrait of graffiti artist Sharp wearing a respirator and standing before a canvas he’s working on entitled Sharp Paints a Picture (1997-98).

The mood at the museum was celebratory as guests looked at the 140+ works from Wong’s collection; a cross between an art opening and a graffiti trade show, with enthusiastic peers and fans waiting patiently to speak with, pose for pictures with, and gain autographs or tags in their black books from artists in attendance. The only officers that could be seen were holding back the line of guests to make sure there was no overcrowding of the exhibit.


The famous Martha Cooper photograph of Dondi in action in the train yards. “The City As Canvas” exhibition at Museum of the City of New York. (photo via iPhone © Jaime Rojo)


A Keith Haring and LA2 collaboration at “The City As Canvas” exhibition at Museum of the City of New York. (photo via iPhone © Steven P. Harrington)


Artist LA2 with Ramona “The City As Canvas” (photo via iPhone © Jaime Rojo)


Keith Haring (Smiling Face) from 1982 at “The City As Canvas” exhibition at Museum of the City of New York. (photo via iPhone © Steven P. Harrington)


Lee Quiñones speaking with a never ending stream of fans before his canvas Howard the Duck, 1988, at “The City As Canvas” (photo via iPhone © Jaime Rojo)


Digital prints of images shot by photographer Henry Chalfant brought the trains alive. On top is an image of a train with Sharp/Delta 2 from 1981 and below is “Stop the Bomb” by LEE (Quiñones), 1979 at “The City As Canvas” exhibition at Museum of the City of New York. (photo via iPhone © Steven P. Harrington)



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

The French contemporary art magazine Graffiti ART has just released their New York issue, giving an overview of historical and current players on the graffiti/street art scene in New York City. Along with profiling the work of people like Keith Haring, Patty Astor, Crash, Dan Witz, and How & Nosm, you’ll find a nice piece about your favorite street art blog, Brooklyn Street Art (BSA).

Special thanks to editor Samantha Longhi, who once wrote a regular column here on BSA with her Top 5 Stencils of the Week, for her inclusion of us in this issue, and to BSA readers for your continued support. We appreciate the recognition for our work and labors of love.

GraffitiART issue #17 on news stands now. (photo © courtesy of Graffiti ART)

BSA shares the spread with some true leaders At149th Street in the New York Issue of GraffitiART. Thank you to Martha Cooper for the photo! (photo © courtesy of Graffiti ART)


Click here for more on the Graffiti ART Magazine New York Issue.


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KAWS to Debut New “Companion” Balloon at Thanksgiving Parade

Brooklyn Street Artist Joins Tom Otterness, Jeff Koons, Keith Haring, Takashi
Murakami as Latest Artist to Blow Up at the famous New York Parade

KAWS on the street (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Another Street Artist is crossing a cultural threshold this fall when KAWS debuts a new balloon called “Companion” for the 3.5 million spectators lining the streets of Manhattan. It’s entertaining to imagine of this work nestled between Mickey and Sponge Bob and all their friends on Turkey Day. According to a press release KAWS will reinvent a multitude of balloons, floats and other parade elements featured in the promotional are to be used on posters, advertising and on select merchandising. Go Merch!

KAWS on the street in the meat packing district last June (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A KAWS rendering of the new balloon (© KAWS)

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Dorian Gray Gallery Presents: GroupGraff: 30 Years of Public Dialogue (Manhattan, NY)

Dorian Gray Gallery

30 years of Public Dialogue

Exhibition Dates: April 13 through May 16, 2012
Reception April 28th, 5-8 pm. RSVP

Dorian Grey Gallery presents an exhibition spanning thirty years of pivotal graffiti artists and writers whose work have helped define the medium and style. Featured works include such iconic New York names as Keith Haring, LA 2, Futura, Richard Hambleton, COPE 2, & CRASH. International artists such as Bansky and DOLK are paired with the modern innovators XAM, SeeOne, Penn & AVone.

The Dorian Grey Gallery, 437 East 9th Street between 1st Ave and Ave A., NY, NY
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 12a-7p.
Subway stop: #6 Astor Place. Free Admission.
CONTACT: Christopher Pusey, 516-244-4126,
Official Dorian Grey Gallery music site:

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Images of the Week 03.25.12

Saw my first barefoot hippie walking down 7th Avenue on Friday and it was like spotting a Robin on the lawn in Union Square Park. SPRING! Spring time hit New York like a truckload of thick sweet kisses and homeboys started checking every cute move of all the shorties, who mysteriously also fluffed up all their magnolia pink feathers and almost imperceptibly put a bit more sa into their shay. Don’t ask us what any of that means, except that when the days get all comfy and warm like these, it’s all about the birds and the beeeeeeees, B.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, with some special shots by Jaime Rojo from a secret place in the Bronx as well as some contributions from Lima, Peru by Adolfo Bejar, and in Essen, Germany from Skount. Names this week include DCT, Elliot Tupac, Essam, How & Nosm, EKG, Keith Haring, Mariposa Mentirosa, Radical!, Seth, Skount, V, and Zam. First we start out with some spring flowers by an unknown artist.

Artist Unknown. Street installation to welcome the Spring 2012 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist Unknown. Street installation to welcome the Spring 2012 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mariposa Mentirosa. Street installation to welcome the Spring 2012 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

How & Nosm (photo © Jaime Rojo)

How & Nosm (photo © Jaime Rojo)

How & Nosm (photo © Jaime Rojo)

How & Nosm (photo © Jaime Rojo)

EKG…is feeling a bit cocky. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist Unknown  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

V (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Zam (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Radical! (photo © Jaime Rojo)

#Heros Street Art…Keith Haring. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Essam (photo © Jaime Rojo)

DEKRD (photo © Jaime Rojo)

DEKRD (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 SKOUNT “The Automata Repairer” Essen, Germany. (photo © Skount)

SKOUNT “The Automata Repairer” Essen, Germany. (photo © Skount)

DCT, SETH and ELLIOT TUPAC. Lima, Peru. (photo © Adolfo Bejar)

DCT, SETH and ELLIOT TUPAC. Lima, Peru. (photo © Adolfo Bejar)

Untitled. (photo © Jaime Rojo )


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Images of the Week: 03.18.12

Our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Buttless, Curly, Don’t Fret, Droid, ENO, Enzo & Nio, ENO, Eras, Keith Haring, Memo, ND’A, Nev1, Never, Pakpoom Silaphan, Radical!, Read, Sheepman, and Skewville.

Skewville IS NOT ON SALE but you could make him an offer he can’t refuse. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Curly wants to know how much longer he has to toil…any answers? (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Radical and ND’A making a connection.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Punk wheat paste. Who is the artist? (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Never . Eras (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sheepman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sheepman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nev 1 with girl in her panties. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Enzo & Nio (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Droid . Read (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Buttless helped out Supreme with their ubiquitous yearly banal postering campaign, in much the same way that Faile assisted in 2009 with tiger heads over Lou Reeds’ face. Their big Kate Moss repetition irked a number of Street Artists again this time by mindlessly papering over the individual with the mass message. By the way, is smoking cigarettes the new heroin chic? (photo © Jaime Rojo)

MEMO (photo © Jaime Rojo)

MEMO (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Don’t Fret in Chicago (photo © Don’t Fret)

Pakpoom Silaphan did this portrait of Keith Haring on a vintage Pepsi sign spotted at one of the art fairs last weekend. Might this have been a calculated effort to ride on the success of the Keith Haring retrospective currently on view at the Brooklyn Museum? Maybe it is simply another expression of the well worn practice of re-appropriating pop culture, with Haring clearly now in icon territory. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We listened for some ambient synthesizer music when this was discovered. ENO (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Fun Friday 03.16.12

Yowsah! It’s a Triple Header for Street Artist shows in Brooklyn tonight, with Haring at the Museum, Stikman at Pandemic, and JMR/See One at Mighty Tanaka. But that’s not all that’s happening this weekend.

1. Keith Haring: 1978-1982
2. Stikman “20” at Pandemic
3. JMR and See One @ Pandemic
4. SANER @ Fifty24SF (San Francisco)
5. Chris Stain “Long Story Short” at Wooster Social Club
6. Sickboy, White Walls Gallery new show “Wonder Club”
7. Asbjorn Skou AKA Armsrock “Stedfortrædere” at  Mosh Gallery in Copenhagen
8. “My Turn” at Carmichael Gallery with Bumblebee, Hyuro, Interesni Kazki, Jaz, Klone, LineLineDot, Moneyless, Penny, Stinkfish, Zeus.
9. KEMP “Behind her Disguise” at Artsee.
10. Kid NES in Dallas. Time Lapse (VIDEO)
11. Mimi The Clown turns Superhero by OAOFB. (VIDEO)
12. Mimi The Clown turns Superhero by OAOFB. (VIDEO 2)
13. Ben Eine getting up in London by Abbie Brandon (VIDEO)

Keith Haring: 1978-1982

“This exhibition shows you how much fun New York City used to be” – Mare 139

Opening to the public today Keith Haring: 1978-1982 at the Brooklyn Museum and while Mare 139 has a point, we contend that Brooklyn is still tons of fun, if Manhattan has lost much of it’s edge. Regarding this exhibit, GO! Exquisitely curated, it welcomes the viewer to Mr. Haring’s early days in NYC when the “downtown” scene was the scene.

Keith Haring. Pia Zadora subway installation. Courtesy of Mugrabi Collection. © Mugrabi Collection. The Brooklyn Museum (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The curators have included pieces rarely or never before viewed including an amazing slide show of images taken by Kwong Chi showing the artist illegally putting work in the subways. Combined with some of Harings journals, his Cipher chart, videos and 155 works mostly on paper, it is informative, accessible and fun to see.

Keith Haring. A photo taken from the Slide show at the exhibition of images taken by Kwong Chi. Courtesy of and © The Keith Haring Foundation. The Brooklyn Museum (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For more information regarding this exhibition click here.

To read our article on the Huffington Post of this exhibition with a complete photo essay and and written overview click here.

Stikman “20” at Pandemic

One of the most prolific and hermetic Street Artists working today on the streets of New York, sometimes literally melted into the street, Stikman has a gentle legend to his name. His solo show “20” opens today at Pandemic Gallery today, offering a rare glimpse into his world of secrecy and continuous invention. The little stick character he’s been leaving for two decades is synonymous with the symbol-based tagging of graff writers and the re-inventive practice of a fine artist continuously exploring new techniques of expression.

Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For further information regarding this show click here.

JMR and See One @ Pandemic

Fresh off their showing at Fountain last weekend, Mighty Tanaka is not skipping a beat by unveiling a brand new dual show in Dumbo tonight. If you thrill to “Color and Motion” then check out new works by JMR and See One tonight.

JMR (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For further information regarding this show click here.

SANER @ Fifty24SF (San Francisco)

Mexican Street Artist SANER has been impressing Street Art and graff fans in the last couple of years with his near magic interpretations, incredibly rendered. A down to earth fellow who often teams up with SEGO for collaborations, the artist makes his debut solo show in San Francisco tonight at the Fifty24SF Gallery.

Saner with Sego in Miami (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For further information regarding this show click here.

Chris Stain “Long Story Short” at Wooster Social Club

At the crowded opening for Chris Stain’s new show and book launch Wednesday, the vibe was a testament to his working class roots and real people charm, with Billy Mode on the turntables and Ray Cross from Bushwick Print Lab screen-printing some fresh Occupy Wall Street posters for people to take to the streets. It’s the the kind of kindred community that fostered “Long Story Short”, his new monogram on Drago, and the kind of environment that makes Stains work resonant in these times where the working person feels like they have a boot to his/her neck. Stop by The Wooster Social Club anytime to see Mr. Stain’s new body of work and catch an intimate look into his influences both as an artist and as a person.

Chris Stain (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For further information regarding this show click here.

Also happening this weekend:

  • San Francisco’s White Walls Gallery new show “Wonder Club” opens tomorrow. This is Sickboy‘s first US major solo show. Click here for more information about this show.
  • Asbjorn Skou AKA Armsrock new show “Stedfortrædere ” at the Mosh Gallery in Copenhagen, Denmark opens today. Click here for more information about this show.
  • Bumblebee curates the new show “My Turn” at the Carmichael Gallery in Culver City, CA opening this Saturday with artists including: Bumblebee, Hyuro, Interesni Kazki, Jaz, Klone, LineLineDot, Moneyless, Penny, Stinkfish, Zeus. Click here for more information about this show.
  • KEMP solo show “Behind her Disguise” is marks his New York debut at Artsee. This show is now open to the general public. Click here for more information about this show.


Kid NES in Dallas. Time Lapse (VIDEO)

Mimi The Clown turns Superhero by OAOFB. (VIDEO)

Mimi The Clown turns Superhero by OAOFB. (VIDEO 2)

Ben Eine getting up in London by Abbie Brandon (VIDEO)


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Keith Haring 1978-1982 : Early Keith at The Brooklyn Museum

1978 and 2012 seem closer to one another than ever right now when we look at the blossomed Street Art scene in cities around the world. More than 30 years after Keith Haring moved to New York as an art school kid at the School of Visual Arts, a new generation of art school kids consider it almost a birthright to take their work directly to the street. Right now feels like an excellent time for Brooklyn to spotlight this study of his first four years in the city that blew his mind and inspired him to alter the whole system of how an artist reaches the public.

Keith Haring. Untitled, 1982. Courtesy of  and © Keith Haring Foundation. The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo

Keith Haring: 1978-1982, a traveling exhibition first shown in Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna and The Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, introduces a period of his work not often examined, taking you up to the edge of the seemingly sudden international fame he experienced as artist, activist and public figure through the rest of the 1980s.

“Raphaela Platow, who was the original curator of this show, went into the archives and pulled out things that had basically just been sitting there, ” explained Tricia Laughlin Bloom, the project curator for the current show as she gave a tour this week before its opening at the Brooklyn Museum Friday.

At a time when the small-town boy was developing his visual vocabulary as an artist, Haring was also discovering himself as a man in the world and in a city that he found endlessly fascinating and worthy of exploration. Capturing his spirit of hands-on experimentation, the show is almost entirely comprised of works on paper with one collaborative piece on plywood with his contemporary Jean Michel Basquiat, paper collage, video, and documentary photos.

Keith Haring. Untitled, 1982. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In these years Disco was on a full force collision course with Punk, New Wave, and Rap, and Haring was embracing the nightlife of a college student sampling the downtown scene, exploring his sexuality, and commandeering entire rooms at SVA to mount shows on paper. Some of those “body involvement” painting sessions are documented well here in video; a sort of full immersion painting baptism. While jamming out to music he covers every white surface with thick black symbols and gestural marking, sometimes painting with both hands in a rhythmic automatic study of both the physicality of the process and his own interaction with space and materials.

Not to be missed in person is the 30 piece collection in the final room of actual subway black papers that Haring adorned with his white line drawings, energetically created symbols and characters throughout stations in New York’s train system. The frames and glass protect them for us to appreciate them today in their disarming simplicity, their collection ironically alleged by some to be why the artist discontinued the subway practice. Equally compelling is the projected large slide show of Haring in photos by Tseng Kwong Chi, whom the artist called to shoot almost every time he did an illegal piece in the subway.

Keith Haring. Matrix, 1983. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Keith Haring. Manhattan Penis Drawings for Ken Hicks, 1978. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With almost half of the pieces here never displayed publicly like this before, the show is a welcome revelation for fans hoping to peel back a little of the hype-like gloss that time and opportunism may have shined his legacy with. Whether it’s his hand-collaged flyers for the indie group shows he curated, his home movies of Klaus Nomi and Joey Arias performing in the living room, or the complete re-installation of a wall from his 1980 show at PS 122, you get the idea that this was an audacious observant art student gulping at the faucet of life in a pulsating dirty city that welcomed him.

“He’s such a thoughtful and complicated figure – at the same time with that really pure impulse of not wanting to alienate people but to bring them in,” says Laughlin Bloom as she describes the young artist she discovered en route. “He’s this combination of fun-loving, and life-loving, and intellectual, accessible – a total populist but not in an insincere way.”

Keith Haring. Twenty Polaroid self-portraits with glasses painted by Kenny Scharf and Peter Schuyff, 1979-82. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Keith Haring. Still from Lick Fat Boys. April, 1979. Vide0 3 min. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Keith Haring. Still from Lick Fat Boys. April, 1979. Vide0 3 min. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Keith Haring. Still from Lick Fat Boys. April, 1979. Vide0 3 min. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Keith Haring. Still from Lick Fat Boys. April, 1979. Vide0 3 min. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo

After 1982, Haring’s entire visual language of characters and symbols would become iconic, international; his work in dialogue with modern art history and everyday people eventually outlasted him to inspire a diverse generation of artists working on the street from Shepard Fairey and Swoon to Stikman and Specter, among many others.

“Haring saw the subway as the ideal platform for showing work – one of the few places to catch New Yorkers off-guard,” says Poster Boy, a Street Artist/collective who is credited/blamed for re-engineering and culture jamming subway posters with a razor in very recent years. Speaking of Haring’s chiding of corporate commercialism in the culture, Poster Boy observes, “For advertisers it’s the perfect opportunity for a commercial break. Haring saw it as a break from commercials.”

Respected for his early interest in busting down barriers in social activism, street art, and illegal art, it’s likely that many on the Street Art scene today will be checking out the pre-buzz Haring on display at this show. At the moment, it feels like one of New York’s adopted hometown heroes is back in Brooklyn.

Keith Haring. Untitled, 1982. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Art is for everybody. To think that they-the public- do not appreciate art because they don’t understand it, and to continue to make art that they don’t understand and therefore become alienated from, may mean that the artist is the one who doesn’t understand or appreciate art and is thriving in this “self-proclaimed knowledge of art” that is actually bullshit.”  1978

 – Keith Haring Journals

Keith Haring. Cipher chart, 1971-73. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Keith Haring. Wall papered with reproductions of hand collaged flyers to advertise shows that Keith Haring curated, 1981. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Keith Haring. Detail. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“These are flyers from 1981 – an aspect of his production that maybe people aren’t aware of. He did a lot of organizing shows in alternative spaces and curating 24 hour exhibitions, xerox exhibitions, neon exhibitions, open-calls for artists where they show your work for 24 hours and then it’s taken away. He designed these – the framed works are the originals of the collages and posters that he did for these shows,” Tricia Laughlin Bloom, the project curator for the show.  Keith Haring. Detail. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Keith Haring. Thirty untitled subway drawings, 1980-85. Private Collection. The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Keith Haring. Thirty untitled subway drawings, 1980-85. Private Collection. The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Keith Haring. Thirty untitled subway drawings, 1980-85. Private Collection. The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


With special thanks to Tricia Laughlin Bloom, Sharon Matt Atkins, Sally Williams, Marcus Romero, Matthew Branch, The Brooklyn Museum, and the Keith Haring Foundation.


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