All posts tagged: Martha Cooper

BSA Film Friday 08.30.19

BSA Film Friday 08.30.19

Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. Don Rimx x Owley “Olor A Azucenas El Perfume Del Barrio”
2. Street Art Singapore (VICE)
3. LATINO Legends STREET ART in my BACKYARD! | Los Mendozas
4. Kitt Bennett “Sleeping Giant”


BSA Special Feature: Don Rimx x Owley “Olor A Azucenas El Perfume Del Barrio”

New Yorker/ Puerto Rican Street Artist Don Rimx illustrates his world and ours with his historical people, characters, and archetypes. For this recent piece in Brooklyn he focused on the guy who sells flowers, and the perfumeric effect he has on summer streets.

The mural symbolizes “a cultural bridge”: a flower vendor famous to San Juan, Puerto Rico. As Owley continues to develop his film-maker craft, his own personality is also beginning to emerge; a certain warmth and appreciation for his subjects readily apparent.

Street Art Singapore (VICE)

A quick study of the scene in Singapore at the moment, featuring a graffiti group of style writers and illustrators called RSCLS and a more traditional muralist named Yip Yew Chong. The vandalism laws are strict and violent, yo! So how do you get around them. Carefully. Also heavier topics like institutionalized racism, the surveillance state, and censorship are all hit on.

Respect to Vice for capturing these folks and their stories.

LATINO Legends STREET ART in my BACKYARD! | Los Mendozas

Santana, Selena, Vicente Fernandez, and Frida?

They are all heroes of Hispanic heritage in the house of Instagram comedian Jay Mendoza in Los Angeles. With the help of muralist Gustavo Zermeño Jr these neighbors get together to paint in Jay’s backyard.

Join the #LosMendozasFamily

Kitt Bennett “Sleeping Giant”

Yes, it will remind you of Ella & Pitr. And yes, Melbourne’s Kitt Bennett is impressive nonetheless.

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“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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Sneak Peek of “Beyond The Streets” Now Mounting in Brooklyn

Sneak Peek of “Beyond The Streets” Now Mounting in Brooklyn

Hammering the display walls, sanding off the plaster bumps, the whirring and popping of construction drills: Two assistants are helping 1970s NYC subway writer Lee Quinones lay out a #2 train-car-length canvas on the floor while you are distracted by the Empire State building puncturing the Manhattan cityscape across the East River, a sweeping vista through the glass walls of this new high-rise in Williamsburg.

“Hello?” Martha Cooper takes a phone call at Bill Barminski’s fantasy installation in progress where each object has been crafted from paper and cardboard. Beyond The Streets, Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nearby Cornbread’s notebook hangs next to his signature, a potent visual reverberation across five decades from graffiti’s Philly roots.

Elsewhere there are the sounds of woodsaws and metal clanging accompany the one-line drawings of freight-writer buZ blurr as historian Bill Daniel is completing his comprehensive mini-exhibition within this massive exhibition. With trains and photos and modern relics of American rail lore on display, this crucial antecedent of modern-day aerosol “writing” emerges and blows its chimes as well. This is a particular slice of the graffiti story that Mr. Daniel may describe, as he does in The Secret History of Hobo Graffiti, as “the dogged pursuit of the impossibly convoluted story of the heretofore untold history of the century-old folkloric practice of hobo and railworker graffiti.”

Vintage anti-graffiti posters from a private collection. Beyond The Streets Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It’s an apt descriptor for Beyond The Streets as well. This multi-artist graffiti/Street Art-influenced exhibition directed by the discerning shepherd and seer Roger Gastman that is now mounting over two floors and 100,000 square feet in North Brooklyn tackles an endlessly convoluted evolutionary path. He says the size and composition of the exhibition has slightly changed since its first mounting last year in Los Angeles, and he is acutely aware that its location is in the city that claims a huge part of the graffiti genesis story, carrying perhaps a steep level of expectations.

Not that he has reason to worry: there are more hits here than a blowout at Yankee Stadium.

Lady Pink. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Like the blast of colors and pieces at a sunny Saturday afternoon Meeting of Styles jam, this show of many writers, photographers, documenters, collectors, painters, vandals, and attitudes won’t disappoint. You can see and construct your own version of a celebratory story that illustrates and reveals surprising ways that the street subculture has left its mark indelibly on the mainstream, yet often stayed separate.

From the Beastie Boys wigs worn in the “Sabotage” music video to the camera Joe Conzo used to shoot the Cold Crush Brothers, to the MDF and cardboard pay phone by pop sculptor Bill Barminski, and Dash Snow’s hi-low societal slumming photographs depicting sex, drugs, rhyming and stealing, visitors easily will have a flood of images and histories to author their own convoluted version of the graffiti and Street Art tale.

John Ahearn with a detail of Swoon’s wallpaper. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Swoon. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Al Diaz (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dabs of DabsMyla at work on their installation in progress. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Martha Cooper discussing the options to hang her photos with a production assistant. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Lady Aiko. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Mr. Cartoon installation in progress. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Beastie Boys…there’s more here…much more… (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Detail of Shepard Fairey’s 30th Anniversary retrospective installation. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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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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“Titanes” at Work; New Murals and Social Inclusion in Don Quixote’s Land

“Titanes” at Work; New Murals and Social Inclusion in Don Quixote’s Land


“Every man is the son of his own works” ~ Miguel de Cervantes.


The greatest writer in the Spanish language was inspired by the character of this region and its arid but fertile elevated plateau when creating his greatest work Don Quixote, a true titan of historical literature and one of the world’s most translated books after the Bible.

His central character is a delusional would-be knight who calls himself The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha. His absurdist but imaginative self-regard is echoed in the sheer scale of the grand new Titanes (Titan) mural project. Given the camaraderie among artists and organizers here you may say that the heart of Titanes is more likely aligned with the earthy wit of his sidekick Sancho Panza.

Okuda. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Naturally when these characters are intermingled by an imaginative multi-disciplinary artist like Okuda San Miguel you are not surprised to see the image of movie director Pedro Almodovar co-starring along with Quixote; Okuda’s silo is seated in the filmmaker’s town of Calzada de Calatrava and Almodovar’s richly drawn characters have captured a generation of Spaniards happily. As a rainbow splits the storm clouded sky behind him, it’s precisely this painters intuitive alchemy of reality and fiction that may shake a viewers’ conscience while entertaining them, revealing Titanes as an enormous vehicle of communication.

Okuda. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)

“The past and present are seen through my geometric and surrealist filters,” says Okuda, who is a principle architect of this audacious public mural project in La Mancha. In an era of perplexing social, political, and economic upheavals, it is comforting to see modern artists take on the messages of the classics, reinterpreting and re-presenting them.

Okuda. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)

15 or so more murals on silos are on the way here from top talents before the year is complete. The societal outreach is ground-breaking in its own way with an uncommon integration and engagement with the neighboring communities.

“It’s an interesting story,” says photographer Martha Cooper, who shares her images with BSA readers today. “Okuda is working with organizations who help people with disabilities like autism and Down Syndrome. The part of the mural at the base of each one of the silos was painted by a number of these participants,” she says. “And they all seemed to be having a great time.”

Okuda. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Okuda. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Startlingly original and indelibly context-specific, Titanes is a mural/public art project that resides at the intersection of social responsibility and community participation. Organizers say that the goal is not only to bring a roster of well-respected artists here to paint but to be completely inclusive of societal members who aren’t typically thought of as artists.

Okuda. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)

From now until October, a number of artists from the urban art scene will be transforming silos into art all across this region, including Bicicleta sem Freio, Daniel Muñoz, Demsky J., Equipo Plástico (comprised of Eltono, Nuria Mora, Nano4814 and Sixe Paredes), Fintan Magee, Hell’O, Smithe, Nychos, Ricardo Cavolo and Spok Brillor. In an unprecedented program of social inclusion through public art, 450 members of the Laborvalía association will also be working alongside the artists on various creative activities.

Okuda. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Already the program has proven life-changing in many ways, say participants, as perspectives and relationships are evolving during the initial painting program. “Okuda worked with one boy with autism while painting his mural,” Martha tells us. “He began to speak and interact after starting to paint – much to his parents’ delight. This part of the project gave it more weight than just the usual “artists-painting-walls” event.”

Organizers say that they hope Titanes will be an epic project that will go down in history as one of the world’s biggest events to promote social inclusion. At its core are Okuda’s own multi-faceted art agency called Ink and Movement, the Laborvalía organization, the Provincial Government of Ciudad Real, and a number of other municipalities and civic and tourism-related fields who are supporting the art and its message throughout society.

Laborvalía says in its mission statement that its principal goal is to promote the integration of people with disabilities in society and the workplace.

Titanes looks like it is the perfect project to make a big impression.

Hell’O, Okuda collaborates with Hell’O and a client from Laborvalía organization helps the artists with the mural. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Hell’O Our idea was to mix abstract shapes and figurative elements in a colorful environment. We enjoy playing with the balance between different shapes and finding a homogeneous composition. We wanted to give it an optimistic, pop, fresh touch, something that speaks to everyone

Hell’O and Okuda. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Hell’O. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Hell’O. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Hell’O. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Hell’O. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Bicicleta sem Freio “Os Gigantes de la Mancha” (The Giants of La Mancha) represents the power of creativity and imagination and its indispensable role in the ability of human beings to make sense of the world and others, especially among children and people with disabilities.

Bicicleta sem Freio. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Bicicleta sem Freio and clients from Laborvalía organization help the artist with the mural. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Bicicleta sem Freio and clients from Laborvalía organization help the artist with the mural. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Bicicleta sem Freio. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Bicicleta sem Freio. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Bicicleta sem Freio. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Daniel Muñoz & Spok Brillor:

There are a number of concepts behind our intervention. First, it represents 15 years of working together as artists and friends: each medal symbolizes a story from some of the projects we’ve worked on in recent years.

It also reaffirms the building from an architectural standpoint: “decoration” in the sense of an award or honor and not just ornamentation. For us, it’s important to reaffirm the object in itself and not its political history. Finally, there’s an irony in the use of gold and its contrast with bread, a basic product produced by the silo and one that, in reality, was always represented as luminary and powerful in the imaginary of the 20th century.

Daniel Munoz & Spok Brillor. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Daniel Munoz & Spok Brillor. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Daniel Munoz & Spok Brillor. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Daniel Munoz & Spok Brillor. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Daniel Munoz & Spok Brillor. (Equipo Plastico on the right) “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Equipo Plástico (Eltono, Nuria Mora, Nano4818 and Sixe Paredes)

“Meseta” (Plateau) is a homage to the countryside, to the intractable space surrounding these silos. The tones and patterns of the surrounding areas, their textures and shades, cover every centimetre of the wall like a blanket, giving the building a round, almost sculpted look. Ignoring the limits of the building and symbolically camouflaging it in its environment accentuates its current invisibility after years of neglect and helps lighten the weight of its history.

Equipo Plastico (Eltono, Nuria Mora, Nano4818 and Sixe Paredes). “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Equipo Plastico (Eltono, Nuria Mora, Nano4818 and Sixe Paredes). “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Equipo Plastico (Eltono, Nuria Mora, Nano4818 and Sixe Paredes). “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Equipo Plastico (Eltono, Nuria Mora, Nano4818 and Sixe Paredes). “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Equipo Plastico (Eltono, Nuria Mora, Nano4818 and Sixe Paredes). “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Demsky & Smithe

In “Parábolas del Pensamiento” (Parabolas of Thought), we have unified our style, based on the phases of the brain for creation and thinking: preparation, incubation, illumination and verification.

Demsky & Smithe. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Demsky & Smithe. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Demsky & Smithe. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Demsky & Smithe. “Titanes” Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Windmills at Campo de Criptana. Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. It is at the windmills that Quixote’s famous adventures begin, starting with his attack on the windmills, because he believes that they are ferocious giants. (photo © Martha Cooper)
An artist’s interpretation of Don Quixote & Sancho Panza. Ciudad Real, Spain. April 2019. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Okuda presented Ms. Cooper with a portrait of her.
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“Learn & Skate” in Mongolia Fundraises: Classic MC Skater Print circa NYC 1970

“Learn & Skate” in Mongolia Fundraises: Classic MC Skater Print circa NYC 1970

Shopping at an art fair this week? Why not buy something that directly benefits the culture that street art and graffiti came from?

In Mongolia.

Martha Cooper in collaboration with Learn & Skate. (photo courtesy of Learn & Skate)

Actually the photographic print is a shot from New York City in late 1970 of a skater jumping 3 barrels at a high speed. Ahead of her trip shortly to Mongolia photographer Martha Cooper is donating 55 copies of this print to a non-profit there in Oulan Bator (also Ulaanbaatar) which supports a burgeoning skater scene and provides a safe space to learn skillz. 

Toulouse-based skater, organizer, DJ, and entrepreneur Jean Claude Geraud tells us, “Sales of this classic shot by Ms. Cooper will help to build a new cultural center and skate park in a poor area of the city.” 

Martha Cooper in collaboration with Learn & Skate. (photo courtesy of Learn & Skate)

So far he and partners have constructed a wonderland of ramps at Roule petit Ougandais, which hopes to open this month. Last month “Learn and Skate joined force with the museum of Les Abattoirs in Toulouse for a skate exhibition,” says Montana Cans blog.


With your help the whole team will be ready to open soon – and you’ll score a real piece of New York skater history.

Martha Cooper in collaboration with Learn & Skate. (photo courtesy of Learn & Skate)

Sérigraphie photographique / photography print
Couleur / Color : Noir et Blanc / Black and White
Taille / Size : 36 x 28 cm / 11 x 14 inches
Tirage limité / limited proof : 55 tirages / 55 proof
Signé par la main de l’artiste / signed by the hand of the artist
Année / Year : fin 1970 / Late 1970

https://learnandskate.bigcartel.com/product/martha-cooper

Click HERE to purchase the print.

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MARTHA: A Picture Story. World Premiere Today at TriBeCa (Video Teaser)

MARTHA: A Picture Story. World Premiere Today at TriBeCa (Video Teaser)

After two and a half years of intense filming, editing, and researching, Director Selina Miles will share her story of iconic photographer Martha Cooper on the big screen tonight at the World Premiere of “Martha: A Picture Story”.

A culmination of talents and passion from two great women in the graffiti-Street Art world, the film has been selected to screen in competition at the famed and respected TriBeCa Film Festival in New York City.

In the case of Ms. Cooper, it is a fascinating insight behind the scenes of the life of a person with a determined intellect and uncanny timing. You get a true sense of her focus and passion as she marches above and below the streets and the globe over more than five decades with camera in hand eager to discover and document. Only a director like Miles can tell the story like this, her sixth sense for detail and nuance driving her to the roots of a complex tale, complimented by her savvy ability for precisely timed editing and sound that keeps the viewer on pace for a story that takes many turns.

The first of four screenings (the newest added due to public demand) takes place today at the sold-out premiere.

Click HERE to read our interview with Martha and Selina.

All images here © “Martha: A Picture Story” 2019

Below are the screenings and times:

8:45 PM – THU 4/25Village East Cinema

8:00 PM – FRI 4/26Regal Cinemas Battery Park

9:30 PM – TUE 4/30Village East Cinema

3:45 PM – WED 5/1Village East Cinema

Click HERE to find out if tickets are still available.

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BSA Film Friday: 04.12.19

BSA Film Friday: 04.12.19

Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. David Shillinglaw: Alive In The Human Hive
2. Flavita Banana in Barcelona for 12+1 Project
3. JR at the Louvre
4. A NYC Subway Train in Queretaro, Mexico

BSA Special Feature: David Shillinglaw: Alive In The Human Hive

“The artworks I make are an absurd visual taxonomy listed in no particular order the ingredients that we all consume and produce,” explains the British painter and Street Artist David Shillinglaw. Clearly, he’ll have enough to paint until his dying day, as we cannot stop producing.

Another gem here: “We are funky little space monkeys orbiting a ball of hot gas”

David Shillinglaw: Alive In The Human Hive

Flavita Banana in Barcelona for 12+1 Project

“With a nod to La Danse by Henri Matisse and many human tribes’ rites of Spring, artist Falvita Banana creates her new “Juntes sumem” (add together) here on the façade of Cotxeres Borrell in Barcelona,” we wrote a few weeks ago when she first finished her mural. Today we have video of the event. See the original article here: Flavita Banana & Women in a Springtime Dance

JR at the Louvre

This time-lapse movie shows the installation of street artist JR’s paper trompe l’oeil at the Louvre Pyramid in Paris, France.

“On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the Louvre Pyramid, JR created a collaborative piece of art on the scale of the Napoleon Court. Three years after having made the Pyramid disappear, the artist brought a new light to the famed monument by realizing a gigantic collage, thanks to the help of 400 volunteers !

Each day hundreds of volunteers came to help cut and paste the 2000 strips of paper, making it the biggest pasting ever done by the artist.”

A NYC Subway Train in Queretaro, Mexico

When local graff writers in Queretaro, Mexico heard that New York’s famous photographer Martha Cooper was going to be in their town for a new exhibition they decided to welcome her in the best way they knew how: A graffiti jam on a train.

Read more here: A NYC Subway Train In Queretaro, Mexico

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A NYC Subway Train In Queretaro, Mexico

A NYC Subway Train In Queretaro, Mexico

When local graff writers in Queretaro, Mexico heard that New York’s famous photographer Martha Cooper was going to be in their town for a new exhibition they decided to welcome her in the best way they knew how: A graffiti jam on a train.

Queretaro Writers (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With the help of the organizers at Nueve Arte Urbano, the local kings and queens scored a long wall on a busy major avenue that they could paint subway cars on and convert to an NYC train. They hoped Martha would feel at home seeing this and it looked like she definitely did.

Homa (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It’s a fast-growing major city without a subway, even though it could definitely use a more inclusive and efficient public transportation system since its quick growth has swelled to a million inhabitants. Scores of multi-national corporations left the US and set up shop here since they wrote the NAFTA trade deal and now employ this highly educated population. Many universities, lower wages, and an easier regulatory environment have brought the big companies here as well as the fact that the city boasts an attractive protected historical area that was declared a World UNESCO zone. Now they have a subway, at least a temporary painted one.

Homa (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The neighborhood where the wall is located is called “San Francisquito” or Little San Francisco – a sort of sister city for many of the folks who have family in that US city as well. Rich in character and history, the neighborhood retains a distinct connection to indigenous culture: For example this is the home of Los Concheros, a group of native indigenous people in Mexico who have roots in the Chichimecas, Aztecs and, Mexicas who perform traditional dances dating back to the early colonial period.

Mostly residential, with narrow cobblestone streets and family-owned small business and grocery stores, we saw many locals who appeared pleased for the industry of local youth in a mural that stirred some excitement and pride.

Sucia (photo © Jaime Rojo)

They stopped by and commented on the new works and wondered where the action was coming from as aerosol lettering and characters began to populate the train sides.

It was an interlude of serendipity that the visiting New Yorkers were not expecting – a sunny day full of love and art. Martha happily obliged to requests for photos, to write tags in black books and thanked each of them for their gifts of t shirts, stickers and even a miniature portrait of her drawn in pencil.

Dheos (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Rosa . Diego Afro (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Diego Afro painting a portrait of Martha Cooper. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Diego Afro painting a portrait of Martha Cooper. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Diego Afro with his muse…Martha Cooper. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Foner (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Foner (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Evok (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Evok . Ternu (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Hopper . Gofe . Ryper . Goal . Cres (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Toes (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Toes . Hopper (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Toes . Hopper . Gofe (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Gofe (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Ryper . Goal (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Ryper . Goal (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Goal (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Cres . Siet (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Cres . Siet (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Mariana (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Mariana (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Famer (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Sckart (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Sckart (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Jhen (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Jhen (photo © Jaime Rojo)
What the writers didn’t know was that Martha had a surprise for them too! A signed poster advertising her book Hip Hop Files. She signed it in front of them, one for each and those who couldn’t get one due to short stock will get one from NYC…(photo © Jaime Rojo)
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BSA Film Friday: 04.05.19

BSA Film Friday: 04.05.19

Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. Icy & Sot Overview
2. Imaginary City. Teaser from MZM Projects (UA)
3. “Martha Cooper: Evolucion de una Revolucion” Queretaro, Mexico.
4. Fanakapan x 1UP Crew in Berlin.

BSA Special Feature: Icy & Sot Overview

The Iranian brothers have been toiling and innovating and taking risks on the streets of Tabriz and Brooklyn now for more than a decade. Now commercial brands are discovering them as well. These guys just keep marching forward with purpose, staying true to their beliefs.

Icy & Sot Video Project

Imaginary City. Teaser from MZM Projects (UA)

Entirely of their own volition and vision, filmmakers Kristina Borhes & Nazar Tymoshchuk created this ode to Stavanger and the Street Art festival called Nuart.


Two BSA quickvids in a row here from our recent travels in Berlin and Queretero…

“Martha Cooper: Evolucion de una Revolucion” Queretaro, Mexico.

Urban photographer Martha Cooper now has 101 of her photographs on the streets — literally on the streets of Queretero, Mexico. Part of the Nueve Arte Urbano festival, the exhibition is called “Evolution of a Revolution” and we were pleased to be a part of the opening events with Ms. Cooper, who said she was very pleased with the quality of the large format photos and the reception of the people on the streets.

Thanks to Édgar Sánchez and Sigre Tompel and their team for the vision and hard work. See more on “Evolucion de una Revolucion” Outside in Queretaro, Mexico

Fanakapan x 1UP Crew in Berlin.

Thanks to a new big empty city lot this building seems primed for the big stage! First the Alanis angel has ridden on this wall for a long time with grace and beautiful realism. Secondly, Berlin Kidz climbed vertically down from the roof in their distinctive and colorful language.

But we were lucky to see the British Fanakapan working with the worldwide, Berlin-based, anonymous graffiti crew 1UP for a stunning collaboration. This kind of shit can turn you into a fanboy or fangirl in a heartbeat. If you had a heart.

Shout out YAP and team! Read more about the project on Vox Graffiti Roars in Berlin with New Fanakapan X 1UP Collabo.


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Nighttime Adventures in Queretaro

Nighttime Adventures in Queretaro

The city changes at night – the blinking, the beams, the shadows. The tires screech, the leaves scatter across pavement in the dusty breezes. The hushed voices, the silences. The spraying of gestures and earnest street choreography inside the tunnel while others sleep.

Ryper_One with mousy Cres on the bottom left. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It is an impromptu invitation to discover the creative spark as it reveals itself on the city in the dark; now part of the city loudly, quietly. To have this moment, with these people, in this place, with this history, on this precipice… it is a moment of wonder that lifts us all off of the ground, if only a few centimeters. Then we are back here, together, in the night.

Ryper_One. Coquina Voragine on the right. (photo © Jaime Rojo
Ryper_One (photo © Jaime Rojo
Ryper_One (photo © Jaime Rojo
Coquina Voragine (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Coquina Voragine (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Coquina Voragine (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Cres (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Cres (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Cres. Graffiti All Night… (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tosk 01 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tosk 01 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tosk 01 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tosk 01 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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“Evolucion de una Revolucion” Outside in Queretaro, Mexico

“Evolucion de una Revolucion” Outside in Queretaro, Mexico


“Martha Cooper isn’t only a photographer, she’s a historian as well and you are here with us today to pay homage to her work. Martha is my teacher and she taught me more than graffiti, she’s taught me the way in which we live with art every day. When we see a piece of art on the street we bring it into our daily lives. That’s precisely Martha’s contribution to our lives”

Edgar Sánchez, co-founder of the Nueve Arte Urbano festival.


Someone left a love message for Martha on the board of the explanatory text for the exhibition. It reads in Spanish: “Martita I love you in secret”

Under the magical spell of the Jacarandas in full bloom, a spirit of Pax Urbana flowed through Queretaro’s lush public park Alameda Central this weekend as dignitaries from the city, including the honorable Andrea Avendaño, the Minister of Culture of the City of Queretaro, and the Nueve Arte Urbano team hosted the opening of an outdoor exhibition by famed photographer Martha Cooper.

The 101 photographs spanning four decades were enlarged and mounted in weather resistant vinyl throughout the park, representing the full range of Ms. Cooper’s continued focus on art in the streets.

Martha Cooper. Evolucion de una Revolucion. In collaboration with Nueve Arte Urbano. March 30th, Queretaro, Mexico. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Named “Evolucion de una Revolucion” (Evolution of a Revolution), produced by Nueve Arte Urbano in collaboration with the Secretariat for Culture of the city of Queretaro, the open air exhibit champions the grassroots art movement that continues to evolve in cities around the world. It also references the social and political revolutions in countries like Mexico that reflect the will of people and produce upheaval that change the course of history.

The welcoming ceremony featured bboys, bgirls, djs, and speeches by the Minister of Culture, representatives of the municipality, and Edgar Sánchez, co-founder of the Nueve Arte Urbano festival.

Martha Cooper. Evolucion de una Revolucion. In collaboration with Nueve Arte Urbano. March 30th, Queretaro, Mexico. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With the arte libre espiritu of New York graffiti writers like Dondi, Lee, and Futura mingling in the air with Mexican muralists Siqueiros, Rivera, and Orozco – a rather transnational reverence for the powerful engagement of art in the streets was at play.

Notably, the audience here were again the youth of the city who feel the powerful magnetism of this grassroots people’s movement that opens doors to them to create and express themselves, giving them a sense of agency over their own environment. 

Martha Cooper. Evolucion de una Revolucion. In collaboration with Nueve Arte Urbano. March 30th, Queretaro, Mexico. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It has always been the kids, teens, and young adults who have driven this global urban culture and Ms. Cooper has steadfastly sought the clues to our future by consulting the opinions and creative expressions of these folks.

That may explain why Cooper today embodies that precise sense of discovery and vitality – an enthusiasm that shined during a personal tour she gave of her new photo exhibition here outside in Mexico.

Martha Cooper. Evolucion de una Revolucion. In collaboration with Nueve Arte Urbano. March 30th, Queretaro, Mexico. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“On a path where thousands of people walk every day
we’ll be welcomed by urban art in an urban space. “Evolution of a Revolution” is an exhibition by famed photographer Martha Cooper under the project PaxUrbana, a collaborative project that’s rooted in a dialogue between several sectors of our society and includes the graffiti writers from different neighborhoods of the city of Queretaro”

Andrea Avendaño, Minister of Culture of the City of Queretaro


Diego Afro. DJ, bboy and artist. Martha Cooper. Evolucion de una Revolucion. In collaboration with Nueve Arte Urbano. March 30th, Queretaro, Mexico. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Martha Cooper. Evolucion de una Revolucion. In collaboration with Nueve Arte Urbano. March 30th, Queretaro, Mexico. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Martha Cooper. Evolucion de una Revolucion. In collaboration with Nueve Arte Urbano. March 30th, Queretaro, Mexico. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Martha Cooper. Evolucion de una Revolucion. In collaboration with Nueve Arte Urbano. March 30th, Queretaro, Mexico. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Martha Cooper. Evolucion de una Revolucion. In collaboration with Nueve Arte Urbano. March 30th, Queretaro, Mexico. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Martha Cooper. Evolucion de una Revolucion. In collaboration with Nueve Arte Urbano. March 30th, Queretaro, Mexico. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Martha Cooper. Evolucion de una Revolucion. In collaboration with Nueve Arte Urbano. March 30th, Queretaro, Mexico. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Martha Cooper. Evolucion de una Revolucion. In collaboration with Nueve Arte Urbano. March 30th, Queretaro, Mexico. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Martha Cooper. Evolucion de una Revolucion. In collaboration with Nueve Arte Urbano. March 30th, Queretaro, Mexico. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Martha Cooper. Evolucion de una Revolucion. In collaboration with Nueve Arte Urbano. March 30th, Queretaro, Mexico. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
In no particular order: @arthlets @bgirljenko @oness_tor Diego Afro Cruz, @mexicanitolibre @cirujanomalagon @andynmt07 Martha Cooper. Evolucion de una Revolucion. In collaboration with Nueve Arte Urbano. March 30th, Queretaro, Mexico. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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