The nascent voyage of ‘Nuart Journal’ comes slowly into view as a softly bound Street Art/graffiti cultural preservation document; its glossy cover is purple for issue Number 2, like a thick royal-court velvet, or a bruised eye.
Editor-in-Chief Martyn Reed opens this forum to a hand-selected series of thought leaders, artists, organizers, academics and friends who are invited to impart, illustrate, confound and inspire. It is an extension of what he has endeavored to do with his annual invitational public art/commercial art festival Nuart- the newest edition which commences this week in Stavanger, Norway.
An impossible goal; to track the precise movement of the dancing tentacles of this scene as it grew – as it grows – much less to assign motivation or significance or measure impact. A mutational march of interconnected disconnectedness, no amount of pontification will ever fully capture the width of this circle, but Nuart Journal is beginning to take its measure and introduce a sense of order if only to better examine it. The theme is “Eloquent Vandals”, a reference to Nuart’s 2011 self-survey in hardcover. Themes range from colorless black street bombing to definitions of place and authenticity, to Street Art’s movement into conceptual, and decolonizing artivism.
The layout is the new utilitarian modern; clean-framing articles, essays, interviews, inquisitions – text-based and visual. Editor and academic Suse Hansen is nimble, streetsmart, and canny in her guiding of contributors. Hopefully, she can continue to steer confidently through these choppy waters, guiding a forward-moving course of enlightening observations – as the ship passes icebergs of false intellectualism, pirate boats of one-eyed tribalist gatekeepers, or the occasional showboat. Anglers ahoy!
Here’s the lineup of contributors for “Eloquent Vandals”, Nuart
Journal Volume 1 Number 2, 2019;
Jeff Ferrell, Oskolki, Jens Besser, Georgios Stampoulidis,
Daniel de Jongh, Jaime Rojo, Vlady, Alison Young, Reuben Woods, Lindsey
Mancini, Christian Omodeo, Vittorio Parisi, Faith XLVII, and Milu Correch.
Nuart Journal, Stavanger, Norway. Editor@nuartjournal.com Click HERE for more about Nuart Journal.
The news out of Nuart 2017 is splendiforous and we are feeling celebratorious. These irregularly formed adjectives are in good company with the mismatched yet harmoniously woven characters who together have again selected and summoned artists, academics, kooks and cultural workers to Stavanger for a September synergy of Street Art, public art, and myriad interventionist ideas. It is a highly particular hybrid germinated, conjured, emancipated perhaps, by the free-form and analytical mind of its Founder and Director Martyn Reed. While sowing Nuart seeds spectacularly on the shores of Aberdeen earlier this spring, it is here in Stavanger where the new ideas germinate, are nurtured and given latitude. It is also where the tortoises of conventional thinking are happily rolled onto their backs, little webbed feet waving. We’re pleased today on BSA to publish Martyn’s new manifesto in preparation for Nuart’s festival this autumn in Norway so one might better appreciate the ruminations behind and development of this year’s theme.
Nuart produces both temporary and long-term public artworks as well as facilitates dialogue and action between a global network of artists, academics, journalists and policy makers surrounding street art practice. Our core goal is to help redefine how we experience both contemporary and public art practice: to bring art out of museums, galleries and public institutions onto the city streets and to use emerging technologies, to activate a sense of public agency in the shaping of our cities.
Outside of Nuart Festival, our growing portfolio of projects represents an on-going art and education program that seeks to improve the conditions for, and skills to produce, new forms of public art both in Stavanger and further afield. For us, public spaces outside conventional arts venues offer one of the richest, most diverse and rewarding contexts in which this can happen.
Our work is guided by our belief in the capacity for the arts to positively change, enhance and inform the way we think about and interact with each other and the City.
The Real Power of Street Art
Nuart festival presents an annual paradigm of hybridity in global sanctioned and unsanctioned street art practice. Through a series of large and human scale public artworks, murals, performances, art tours, workshops, academic debates, education programs, film screenings and urban interventions, supported by a month long exhibition of installations, Nuart explores the convergence points between art, public space and the emergent technologies that are giving voice and agency to a new and more creative civilian identity, an identity that exists somewhere between citizen, artist and activist.
The real power of “street art” is being played out daily on walls, buildings, ad shelters and city squares the world over, and it’s now obvious that state institutions can neither contain nor adequately represent the fluidity of this transgressive new movement. As the rest of the world begins to accept the multiplicity of new public art genres, it is becoming more apparent, that street art resists both classification and containment. The question is, not how can this inherently public art movement be modified or replicated to fit within the confines of a civic institutional or gallery model, but how can the current model for contemporary art museums, galleries and formulaic public art programs, be re-examined to conform with the energy of this revolutionary new movement in visual art practice.
In the 1990’s, Situationist concepts developed by philosopher Guy Debord, surrounding the nature of “The City”, “Play” and the “Spectacle”, alongside sociologist Henri Lefebvre’s theories exploring the rights to shape our own public and mental space, came together to form an emergent adbusting “artivism”, which now forms the foundation of street art practice. Radical cultural geographer David Harvey has stated, “The right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources, it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city”.
It is here, at the intersection between philosophy, geography, architecture, sociology, politics and urbanism, that Nuart situates itself, it exists as a critique of the colonization of everyday life by commodity and consumerism, whilst recognizing that one of the only radical responses left, is to jettison the hegemonic, discursive and gated institutional response to capitalism, and engage it directly where it breeds and infects the most, in our urban centers.
The challenge for a new and relevant public art isn’t to attempt to negate capitalisms neoliberal market logics with an ever more dominant liberal discourse, both are ultimately mired in a conflict that on the surface simply serves to feed the polarization and spectacle that we’re attempting to transcend. What we need is the active participation of citizens in the creation of their own holistically imagined environments, both physical and mental, a direct and collective response to space that leads to the shaping of place. A place in which the disengaged and passive citizens desired and ever more manipulated by market forces, are inspired to re-make themselves. Nuart proposes that the production of art in public spaces outside conventional arts venues offers the community, not only the most practical, but also the richest, most relevant and rewarding contexts in which this can happen.
It is in this “remaking” of self, this deep desire to engage with the world, to develop civic agency and purpose, that transcends identity, gender and class, and enables those locked out of the arts by a post-Adorno obscurant lexicon (eh?), that street art delivers. It offers an opportunity to reconnect, not only with art, but also with each other. Hundreds of people covering a vast swathe of demographics, from toddlers and single moms to refugees and property barons, on a street art tour conversing with each other, are testament to this.
We believe that when you want to challenge the powerful, you must change the story, it’s this DIY narrative embedded within street art practice, that forms the bonding agent for stronger social cohesion between citizens from a multiplicity of cultures, as our lead artist for 2017, Bahia Shehab will attest. It is this narrative, that is acting as the catalytic agent towards street art becoming a vehicle capable of generating changes in politics as well as urban consciousness.
The question of what kind of city we want cannot be divorced from what kind of person we want to be. The transformation of urban space creates changes in urban life, the transformation of one, being bound to the transformation of the other. What social ties, relationship to nature, lifestyles, technologies, art and aesthetic values we desire, are closely linked to the spaces we inhabit. The “banalization” of current city space, combined with the numbing effect of digital devices that guide us from A to B, have rendered us passive. Consumer cows sucking at the teat of capital trapped in a dichotomy between left and right, instead of right and wrong. And for the most, the hegemonic islands of sanitised cultural dissent we call Art Institutions, are either unable or uninterested, in engaging with the general public in any meaningful way.
In the early 2000’s, the evocative power of certain already existing and often crumbling industrial interzones, including that of Tou Scene, our main exhibition space, one that we were instrumental in establishing, gave rise to a new form of engagement with art in urban spaces that is only now being fully recognized and exploited. Street Art is at times of course co-opted and complicit with the “creative destruction” that the gentrification process engenders, but Capitalism’s continuous attempt to “instrumentalize” everything, including our relationship to art should be vigorously resisted. It is these “Stalker-esque” zones of poetic resistance, that initially gave shelter to one of the first truly democratic , non-hierarchical and anti-capitalist art forms, and unlike most cultural institutions, it is still, for the most, unafraid to voice this opinion, important in a time when even our art institutions are beginning to resemble houses of frenzied consumption. Street art exists to contest rather than bolster the prevailing status quo. As such, it is picking up as many enemies as friends within the field of public art.
By attempting to transform the city, street art attempts to transform life, and though by no means is all street art overtly political, it does, in it’s unsanctioned form at least, challenge norms and conventions regulating what is acceptable use of public space. In particular, it opposes commercial advertising’s dominion over urban surfaces, an area that Nuart are active in “taking over” throughout the year and in particular during the festival period. Our curating initiatives not only aim to encourage a re-evaluation of how we relate to our urban surroundings, but to also question our habitual modes of thinking and acting in those spaces. Street art is not just art using the streets as an artistic resource, but also an art that is questioning our habitual use of public space. Street art doesn’t simply take art out of the context of the museum, it does so whilst hacking spaces for art within our daily lives that encourage agency and direct participation from the public, “Everyone an artist” as Joseph Beuys would have it, and if it is accussed of being produced without academic rigour, we are reminded that he also asked, “Do we want a revolution without laughter?”.
Nuart’s programs are designed specifically to explore and silently challenge the mechanisms of power and politics in public space. Increasingly, we see the rights to the city falling into the hands of private and special interest groups, and yet, we have no real coherent opposition to the worst of it. The 20th Century was replete with radical Utopic manifestos calling for change, from Marinetti’s Futurist manifesto of 1909 to Murakami’s “Superflat” of 2000. Nuart’s annual academic symposium, Nuart Plus, acts as a platform for a resurgency in utopic thinking around both city development and public art practice, and whilst recognizing that street art is often co-opted and discredited by capital, it also recognises that even the most amateur work, is indispensable in stimulating debate and change in a Modern society that has developed bureaucracies resistant to seeing art, once more, as part of our everyday life.
As the Situationst graffiti scrawled on Parisian walls in 1968 stated, Beauty is in the streets, so Rise Up! and support those dedicated to unleashing one of the most powerful communicative practices known to mankind, there’s work for art to be done in the world amongst the living.
Martyn Reed, July 2017
Artists scheduled to participate in Nuart Festival 2017:
Ampparito (ES), Bahia Shehab (EG), Carrie Reichardt (UK), flyingleaps presents Derek Mawudoku (UK), Ian Strange (AU), John Fekner (US), Know Hope (IL), ±maismenos± (PT), Igor Ponosov (RU), Ricky Lee Gordon (ZA), Slava Ptrk (RU) and Vermibus (DE).
| FIRST ARTISTS ANNOUNCED | NUART TALKS PROGRAM | BSA FILM FRIDAY LIVE | LIVE ARTIST INTERVIEWS | KEYNOTE SPEAKERS | FIGHT NIGHT RETURNS |
| SPECIAL FILMS THROUGHOUT EASTER WEEKEND AT BELMONT THEATRE |
NUART in Stavanger Norway has been distinguishing itself as a top-notch series of events showcasing Street Art and graffiti culture with full respect to its antecedents while spotlighting some talents and movements from the current scene who have made the path by walking.
Robert Montgomery (courtesy Nuart )
This April Nuart becomes mobile and shines from Aberdeen, Scotland with a line-up of International artists that will be announced this week to bring new voices to this pivotal port city where the Dee and Don rivers meet the North Sea.
BSA has closely followed Nuart for 9 years and presented, participated, documented, and interpreted the programming, street and gallery installations we’ve experienced for readers of Brooklyn Street Art and The Huffington Post and we’re happy to announce we’ll be in Aberdeen with you in April.
Herakut (courtesy Nuart )
The artist roster is looking stellar including these first three veterans of Nuart during its previous incarnations, Robert Montgomery, Herakut and Julien de Casabianca. Included in the events are some of the erudite Nuart Talks with keynotes and artist interviews and a new edition of Fight Night, as well as BSA in person for BSA FILM FRIDAY LIVE at the Belmont Cinema where we’ll also introduce movies to Aberdeen Street Art fans throughout the Easter weekend.
Julian Casbianca (courtesy Nuart )
We’re excited to see the reliably inventive, visonary and resourceful Nuart team, the installations of new works by some of your favorite Street Artists, and hopefully we’ll get to meet many BSA readers in Scotland this April! More on this on BSA Facebook and Twitter as details emerge.
As we near the new year we’ve asked a special guest every day to take a moment to reflect on 2016 and to tell us about one photograph that best captures the year for him or her. It’s an assortment of treats for you to enjoy and contemplate as we all reflect on the year that has passed and conjure our hopes and wishes for the new year to come. It’s our way of sharing the sweetness of the season and of saying ‘Thank You’ for inspiring us throughout the year.
Nuart Festival general manager (Daglig Leder) and the winning right-hand man of the cheerful troublemaker and visionary Martyn Reed, James Finucane has often firmly taken the reins on this Norwegian Urban Art festival to bring forward a remarkable cultural event for the last two years. The Stourbridge native was previously at London’s Serpentine Galleries as a researcher but his scope is vastly wider now and if you see the steel-nerved and unflappable James seeming to glide easily through the cloud of artists, volunteers, and installations in Stavanger, its because he has the patience of a saint – and a sharp eye. Today he shares with us a piece by an artist best known for his painting, prints, drawings, and animated films.
Triumph & Laments Artist: William Kentridge
Location: Rome, Italy
Date: October 2016
Photograph by Giulia Carpignol
This project by South African artist William Kentridge was his first public art commission at the age of 61 and a project that took 12 years from concept to completion. Whilst it was inspiring to see the work of one of the world’s foremost painters on this scale, for me, it also represented a clarion call to Street Art organizers and advocates the world over.
If public space is the last frontier of Contemporary Art what does this mean for the Street Art movement? In particular, how do we retain the activist, bottom-up and community-based spirit of Street Art and its associated movements and continue to challenge the contemporary art establishment as they begin to flex their institutional muscles in public space ever more frequently?
Disrupting the hermetically sealed art world is at the core of Street Art and ever more important in an era of unprecedented public interest in visual culture.
BSA galavanted through the streets last year and here we re-paste our recent newsletter to BSA readers. Sign up for it if you like. Here’s the original.
Happy New Year from BSA!
From Berlin to Norway to Rochester and Mexico, Faile to Swoon to Ron English to Dan Witz and Gilf!, BSA was in museums, galleries, artists studios, at festivals, on panel discussions, on stages, on TV, radio, in theaters, and of course in the street.
Here are some highlights of the some of the amazing things BSA did with you in 2015. We sincerely thank you for your support and send love to you and yours in the new year!
In ’15 BSA Created “Persons of Interest” with UN in Berlin
Brought 12 Brooklyn Street Artists to Berlin with “Persons of Interest” show for Urban Nation Museum (UN)/ProjectM7
BSA Presented “On the Radar” in Coney Island
With Jeffrey Dietch’s Coney Art Walls program at Coney Island Museum for Coney Art Walls, we presented 12 artist to watch who are on our radar.
BSA Presented Faile at the Brooklyn Museum
A beautiful experience to be a part of the FAILE exhibition from its earliest planning stages to its full summer run at Brooklyn Museum, the cherry on top was to host an in-depth presentation and conversation with Faile’s Patrick Miller and Patrick McNeil and BKM curator Sharon Matt Atkins in front of an enthusiastic Brooklyn audience.
Aside from The Pope landing in New York at the exact time people were traveling to the show and some microphone difficulties at the beginning of the show, it was a complete and total thrill for us. See the full video on LiveStream here.
BSA Joined Swoon to Inaugurate Her New Heliotrope Foundation
The tenacious and visionary Street Artist grounded her dreams in a formal foundation in 2015, allowing her to pursue even greater reach in her growing projects in New Orleans, Haiti, and Braddock, PA. We were honored to interview her and to help celebrate the official beginning of The Heliotrope Foundation with the help of special guest and board member Kaseem Dean aka Swizz Beatz.
Callie Curry (aka Swoon), Kasseem Dean (aka Swizz Beatz), Jaime Rojo, Steven P. Harrington inaugurate The Heliotrope Foundation
BSA Hosted Martha Cooper, Bortusk Leer, and Herman De Hoop at Nuart Plus
For presentations from each of the guests and panel discussion on the intersection of “Play” and public space at NUART 2015 in Stavanger, Norway.
Banksy Does New York Took Us to Theaters Around the World Good News: The movie got on NetFlix, iTunes, in festivals, and in theaters in cities around the globe Bad News: People think we have a museum
We Flew Over World’s Largest Mural
Flew by helicopter above the world’s largest mural by Ella and Pitr in Stavanger, Norway with two of our most admired photographers; Martha Cooper and Ian Cox. Thanks Nuart!
We presented BSA Film Friday Live at MAG Gallery
Under the direction of Jonathan Binstock at University of Rochester Museum the MAG Gallery hosted us during the Wall\Therapy festival.
This is the grassroots sort of festival that rings true to us these days and the down-to-earth volunteers and organizers of this event, along with those of our associates at Urban Nation (UN), made this a highlight of the summer.
BSA in Berlin Radio Interview with Vantage Point
We talked about Jay-Z, Bowie, Bushwick, the democratization of Street Art, cultural imperialism, the UN and what it is like to bust out a blog seven days a week and still keep your mind and heart open to discovery. Listen to it here on Vantage Point and Soundcloud:
▪ BSA completed its fifth year in partnership with The Huffington Post in June 2015 (225+ articles) and was translated in Spanish on El Huffington Post, in French on Le Huffington Post, in Italian on L’Huffington Post, in Korean on Huff Post Korea, in Portuguese on Brasil Post, and in Greek for Huffington Post Greece. ▪ BSA posted every single day and did 23 interviews and studio visits and published articles about street art in 103 cities ▪ BSA was reference or appeared in the media in The New York Times, The Today Show, Le Monde, Agence France Press, German Rbb Tv, Borås Tidning, El Diario, El Heraldo, ArtNet News, Juxtapoz, VNA, Hi-Fructose, and others. ▪ BSA’s Director of Photography Jaime Rojo took more than 10,000 images and we picked 143 as BSA 2015 Images of the Year.
Special thank you to photographer Martha Cooper and Nuart Festival director Martyn Reed for the banner image from this years festival.
After Stavanger Mayor Christine Sagen Helgø made the official declaration of the opening of the Nuart gallery show at Tou Scene last night the sliding barn door on the ex beer factory moved back to allow the crowd to flow in like a river to see this years collection of art installations in the “tunnels” of the space. This component of the Nuart experience allows a certain degree of curation and idea development that brings you a fuller appreciation of the artists who create murals on the street as well.
Additionally, and we are telling you nothing secret here, the adhoc crew of technicians and scene creators here are rough and ready; obviously over qualified and with a fair degree of refinement when it comes to helping the artist realize some of their grander aspirations. Artists are encouraged to think big and a number of them have this year, including some who are so capacious they nearly collide or eclipse one another, but visitors this year may feel like the quality and depth of this editions 5-week show just advanced by a length.
This week’s interview with the street is not actually on the street – but rather a reflection of the direction that the street can take a curated collection of current artists and corollary influencers from years past.
Clearly you can go as deeply or shallowly as you want with this years theme of “Play”. Harmen de Hoop’s video of Thursday’s performance piece on Stavanger’s streets by a renowned mathematics and statistics professor Jan Ubøe, who mystifies the assembled audience while explaining the factors that form our world economy is rather utterly balanced on a jerking seesaw with Bortusk Leer’s incessantly cheery monster diorama.
50 years of selected photographs by ethnographer Martha Cooper of children in cities around the world at play with improvised tools and methods are almost matched in impact by Ernest Zacharevic’s slowly tumultous sea waters tossing a child’s paper boat with a handful of kids inside, evoking the current news with immigrants escaping to Europe in dangerous waters. Isaac Cordal’s installation of achingly desperate white-collar men in a desperate diorama is uplifted by Ella & Pitr’s fairy tale giant reaching from the heavens to pick one from a chair.
Sandra Chevrier brings a signature masking of a woman’s visual and olefactory senses, quite alone in the bright spotlight. The iconic ripped shreds and piled irony of Jamie Reid brings the radicalized hippie and punk politics into front and center while Pixel Pancho and Bordalo II each take swipes at the oil economy that dominates our lives while killing others.
Bordalo alone could command the entire space with his found/reclaimed Stavanger refuse that is fashioned into a immensely tragic scene of a spent whale submerged in muck and spouting that black gooey pulp from it’s blow-hole. Icy & Sot next door use their understated humor and biting criticism with a summer tree in a verdant hue captured as soliloquey, first appearing leafy and fluttering from a fan-stirred breeze, then revealed as suffocated by 300 petroleum-based green plastic shopping bags that are caught in its branches.
Finally the painterly abstractions of Futura across half a tunnel are set free, poignantly balancing the symbolic liberty of Martin Whatson’s graffitied butterfly, now cravenly pierced and readied for your private collection.
While you can practically smell the brands hovering over quality events like these to hopefully insinuate themselves into – Nuart continues to keep its independence of curation, broadening its branches with the Tou Scene installations and deepening its roots with academic forums and related programming in such a way that its true nature remains. Hopefully it will be to continue this way despite a tightening Norwegian economy.
Yes there was some talk at panels this week about the fact that a 15 year old Street Art mural festival is in itself an institution and anathema to what the graffiti/street/urban art practice may have originated from, but one of the myriad outcomes of pounding away with purpose at thoughtful parallel programming like this Tou Scene show year after year is that you may also develop something uniquely relevant in its own right.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street – this week via the exhibition space of Nuart 2015 and featuring Bordalo II, Bortusk Leer, Dolk, Dot Dot Dot, Ella & Pitr, Ernest Zacharevic, Furtura, Harmen de Hoop, Icy & Sot, Isaac Cordal, Jamie Reed, Martha Cooper, Outings Project, Pixel Pancho, and Sandra Chevrier.
Here’s a fresh video (below) completed yesterday that shows a little of the excitement and machinations behind the scenes of the Project M/3 in Berlin, as well as dramatic foreshadowing of the UN. Director Yasha Young lays some of the groundwork philosophy and Martha Cooper alludes cheerfully to the scope of things to come.
“good table manners, social awareness, whether or not they are house trained…”
Project M sounds like a James Bond plot feature, and if you’ve seen the smartly swarthy man of mystery at the helm of this installation you may expect him to scale the facade of the Urban Nation, instead of simply curate it.
But that is what Nuart’s founder Martyn Reed is doing in Berlin right now – cultivating a diverse program of urban artists on the ground level of a promising new project now under construction. Last week Martyn met with a number of the participants who flew, drove, walked to this neighborhood in transition to install their works for M/3 – including New York’s Martha Cooper, Melbourne’s Buff Diss, and Berlin’s Various & Gould, among others.
Project M, now in it’s 3rd edition, is a rotating street level exhibition to draw attention to the birth of an auspicious new cultural and art project that will anchor Berlin even further in the minds of fans and academics alike who follow the scene that continues to evolve around art in the streets.
An international presence in an internationally revered street art/ graffiti/ urban art/ mural city, so far Project M has featured artists such as Faile, Ron English, Know Hope, Sandra Chevrier and Strøk, and by the end of this series will have featured many more who are lending shape and form to this global scene with many names.
On hand for the installation action a few days ago was New York based photographer Luna Park, who shares with BSA readers some of the installation action, and we spoke with Mr. Reed about his curatorial vision for this iteration of Project M.
Brooklyn Street Art:Can you tell us about Project M and what you will be drawing attention to here? Martyn Reed: It’s an interesting project and quite unusual in that it uses the inside of windows to house the work, and due to the nature of the project has quite a few restrictions that we’re not used to on the street or gallery. But like working on a canvas, these restrictions can often focus the mind.
For this iteration of Project M (the third), we set ourselves three tasks; to integrate Berlin artists into the group, to focus primarily on Stencil Art, and to mix well know names with emerging talent. We also asked a few of the artists, Martin Whatson and Ernest Zacharevic for example, to work site specifically.
Brooklyn Street Art:When you were thinking about which artists to choose for this project that is still in its early days at UN, what qualities were you looking for? Martyn Reed: As ever with Nuart, it’s not always just about the art. This was to be a pretty intense 12 hour working period in a relatively small space with a crew who hadn’t yet met the artists. In cases like this it is important, like at all great dinner parties, to get the mix of guests just right.
Failing that, it is important to ensure that there’s plenty of alcohol available. Other qualities we looked for were good table manners, social awareness, whether or not they are house trained, and whether they can they be trusted with sharp implements etcetera. – For the most, I think we got the balance just right.
Brooklyn Street Art:Berlin obviously is a major city for street/urban/graffiti/mural art. How would you describe the influence of the local scene as factoring in to your curatorial vision on this project? Martyn Reed: I think it’s important to get to know as much as possible about the artists and area you’re working in. Fortunately we have a lot of friends based in Berlin and a pretty intimate knowledge of the scene.
I knew which artists and style of work I wanted for this project and also those I thought who would be valuable allies for the UN project in the future. Berlin’s an interesting place to work with its heady mix of activism, anarchy and youthful abandon. I guess finding a way to harness and present this without becoming it, is key.
Brooklyn Street Art:You have had some view of this already during the installation – but which artist do you think will provoke the most response from passersby? Martyn Reed: For me it is Martha Cooper’s “Cops” from 1981, a vintage photo install chosen specifically for this location that is overlooked by the U-Bahn, Berlin’s Subway. It’s 20% larger than life and is really imposing in situ and when viewed from the train. It has already garnered the most interest and I’m sure is on its way to being a “future classic”.
I’m really happy bringing this particular work to the street and presenting it as a work of art in its own right, and of course, it’s always a pleasure to honour such a legend as Martha.
We wish to extend our heartfelt gratitude to Luna Park for sharing her photos with us. If you wish to see more of Luna’s work click HERE
PROJECT M/3, curated by Martyn Reed of Nuart features: MARTHA COOPER (US), DOTDOTDOT (NO), ERNEST ZACHAREVIC (LT), VARIOUS AND GOULD (DE), M-CITY (PL), LEVALET (FR), PLOTBOT (DE), MARTIN WHATSON (NO), EVOL (DE), BUFF DISS (AUS)
“We’ve had terrible weather–rained most of the day today–so artists have been slow getting their walls done,” said Martha Cooper about the scene in Stavanger for Nuart 2013 on Friday. Today is looking much better, she reports, almost good enough for a boat ride.
Each of the artists have been commenting on the sometimes heavy rains, which can sort of kill your aerosol buzz, but no one really minds because the festival buzz is building toward tonight’s big events. We think the folks at Nuart had it planned this way because there is work that needs to be done underground in the tunnel gallery spaces for the Saturday night opening.
Here under cover from the storms C215 is hard at work on a very large and color drenched portrait, Hush is on a ladder glossing the lips of a modern geisha, and Aiko is stenciling a signature sexy pop-inspired theme that covers two thirds of the front of one tunnel – leaving the remaining space for Ms. Cooper to project some 1300 of her photos for the expected crowd this evening.
DalEast and Faith47 have been slowed down a bit too. “Raining now,,, waiting for it to stop,” she taps out on her keyboard in a brief cadence as if sending a guarded cable in Morse code across the Atlantic. Meanwhile, there are some other diversions to be inspected, and other artists to meet. Everyone has been talking about taking a local fjord boat ride up Stavanger Peninsula so they may accompany Martha on the voyage to see the natural beauty of the Norwegian coastline while things are drying out today.
Luckily a fair share of work has been completed, and the Minister of Culture has already stopped by to tour and pose for a photo in front of the David Choe piece, and the scaffolding on the airport control tower came down to reveal the new large stenciled mural wrapping it by M-City, who has since moved on with ROA to Lodz, Poland for the Urban Forms festival.
“We’ll all be here through the weekkend so that’s when the bigger walls may get finished,” says Martha. Martin Whatson is just about finished and Ernest Zacarevic completed his outside installation with a stack of chairs for his stencil to balance upon. He also rather conspiratorially reveals this teaser to BSA, “my main installation for Nuart 2013 will feature a car, half sliced.” He says it will continue a theme in his previous work.
More from Nuart soon, but in the mean time, here are some progress shots for BSA readers including work by David Choe, C215, Aiko, Vhils, Ernest Zacharevic, Dot Dot Dot, Hush, and M-City.
“We’re really honored to have Martha amongst us this week,” says Martyn Reed, the barely well behaved director of Nuart 2013, as he welcomes the photographer Martha Cooper, who has just touched down next to the new piece going up on the airport control tower by Polish Street Artist M-City. Not that Martyn was there when she landed. “Unfortunately not, what with the Mayor and everything there wasn’t room in the limo,” he says in the joking manner that tells you he is still kind of in awe of the success of this internationally known Street Art festival now underway for its ninth year.
“The trip was fine—a short flight from Oslo,” says Ms. Cooper, who immediately snuck an iPhone photo of the welcome banner with her name at the top, before wondering whether photos were actually allowed in that area of the airport. “I was met by Krystal, a Stavanger resident who has worked with Nuart before and who is very knowledgeable about the artists and the whereabouts of murals past and present,” she says.
“Faith 47 and Daleast were also waiting at the airport, having arrived a few minutes earlier from Cape Town and it was fun to reconnect with them.” And did they all get a look at the new piece that M-City is painting? “Unfortunately it was raining so we were unable to get a good look at the airport control tower which was shrouded in scaffolding and plastic,” says Ms. Cooper, but “The fact that permission had been obtained to paint the tower is an indication of how city officials have embraced street art.”
As the visiting artists continue to land in Stavanger, already a number of pieces have gone up – ROA and David Choe have installed theirs and run out of town, for example. “I was especially happy to see C215 again because I hadn’t seen him since visiting Vitry a couple of years ago. Also I was excited to see a number of artists on the list whose work I was unfamiliar with. That always makes a festival more exciting,” says Martha.
Brooklyn Street Art:Have you been to Nuart before? Martha Cooper: This is my first trip to Stavanger and I was really looking forward to it because I’d heard many great things about the festival from How & Nosm and also photographer Ian Cox, who had shown me beautiful photos of the walls and the charming seaside town.
Brooklyn Street Art:Typically you are an invited guest as a photographer. This time you are also regarded as an artist, right? Martha Cooper: Correct. Although I usually say that I’m not an artist, it’s actually a relief not to be responsible for official photography.
Brooklyn Street Art:What sort of project are you thinking of doing? Martha Cooper: I’m not doing anything unusual. I’m having a slideshow of over 1300 photos; a sort of graffiti/hip hop/Street Art retrospective that we’ll be showing in an underground tunnel in the main venue. There is a series of short tunnels that artists are painting. Aiko is stenciling the sides of mine and the slides will be projected at the end.”
Cooper mentions her buddy Aiko, who will also be stenciling some work of her own on distinctive Norwegian seaport architecture that sometimes has as much character as the new stuff that adorns it. Aside from her projected installations, Ms. Cooper will of course be every where she can possibly be with her camera in hand, and probably one or two in her backpack.
“Martha’s here as an artist and our guest, she’ll be treated the same as all of our artists; Like a Queen,” Reed cracks, “only on a bike with a camera.”
“But seriously,” he continues, ”Martha’s quite rightly perfectly happy being recognized as a documentary photographer and I wasn’t sure she would accept being invited as an artist, but she did and we’re very thankful of that. I don’t see any reason why Martha can’t occupy this space. Inviting Martha to participate as an artist is due to the fact that, when I look at her work, I see art. I’d also heard she was a wonderful down to earth person with few airs and that’s very important for Nuart, which is fundamentally a volunteer-run organization.”
Already the two of them have been having fun together checking out possible walls for projects, digging up found materials and strategizing how to prevent visitors from stepping in front of the projector on opening night. Also there was the moment in one of the installation tunnels when Martha came rushing toward him with her phone out to him saying “,Quick, quick, it’s the attaché to the Norwegian Culture Minister, they want to speak to you”. It was a confusing moment he won’t ever forget he says, because he couldn’t imagine why the minister was on Martha’s phone.
Reed recalls, “I was thinking, a) it was a practical joke, b) ‘how did they know where I was,’ and more importantly, c) How the hell did they get Martha Cooper’s private number?” While Martha stood there beaming he took the phone and the voice on the other end said, “ Hello, this is the personal assistant to the culture minister Hadja Tajik, she’d like to visit Nuart on Thursday…” .
“After the call, we stood there a little dumbfounded, but after scratching our heads for a while trying to work out how they came to call Martha, we realized the festival had used my bank card to buy a Norwegian SiM card for her phone and that the Government had searched and found the number registered to me,” he says with a brightening realization, and then a darkening one. “I know, very NSA. Anyway, mystery solved.”
But for him, the moment was a marker in his memory, he says, “The image of Martha Cooper rushing over to pass me the phone to speak with the Culture Minister of Norway will stay with me for life. It felt like the festival had finally come of age.”
For her part, Ms. Cooper is laying plans for the out door component of her participation as artist/documentarian/photographer. “We are also planning to project photos on the sides of buildings in town,” she reveals, “ – including a huge silo. This will be the night of the opening and we won’t know whether it works until it happens. I’ve selected about 25 verticals and horizontals with a little more contrast that I think might work well.”
Reed doesn’t much mind what they end up doing – he’s just glad that he’s having this opportunity right now. “Martha holds the unique position of being a forerunner, pioneer, ambassador and also important contemporary voice in our culture – we wanted to salute that.”
Heads up to BSA readers that the annual trip up north to Stavanger Norway is about to begin and we’ll be providing you with exclusive shots and insights as the events progress in this coastal town eight hours south of Oslo. With a working title of “Invisible Cities” Nuart 2013 takes an inspiration from the author Italo Calvino, who likens city streets to the lines in your hand.
Here is a snappy video introducing this years events. Even as guests have been arriving over the weekend, some artists like ROA and David Choe have already begun their pieces.
Directed by Martyn Reed managed by Marte Jølbo and a coterie of dedicated organizers and people in the local arts community, Nuart evolves your expectations every year about what a Street Art festival can be, but a few things stand: outstanding placement, high quality work, stimulating conversations, and head-whopping beer.
This years lineup is their most international, including:
MARTHA COOPER (US), DAL EAST (CN), ROA (BE), M-CITY (PL), FAITH47 (ZA), HUSH (UK), VHILS (PT), ERNEST ZACHAREVIC (LT), C215 (FR), DOT DOT DOT (NO), DOTMASTER (UK), STRØK (NO), MARTIN WHATSON (NO), DAVID CHOE (US) AIKO (JP)
We’re counting down the last 12 days of 2012 with Street Art photos chosen by BSA readers. Each one was nominated because it has special meaning to a reader or is simply a photograph from 2012 that they think is great. Our sincere thanks to everyone who shared their favorite images.
Our tenth entry comes from photographer Ian Cox and was taken at this year’s NUART Festival in Stavanger, Norway. This entry was nominated by Martyn Reed, founder of NUART, who waxes below about the photo and it’s taker.
“Ian Cox, fast becoming one of the scenes’ leading documentarians, captured this perfect shot of Mobstr’s piece for Nuart. Ian headed out during a relentless downpour and waited for his moment. For me, it captures so much of what is usually missed when documenting street works; its site specificity (The downhill sloping wall was a nightmare to source), how it’s not only seen but also “activated” by people passing by, its humour, the concept and how it allows a photographer to also add new layers of meaning.”
The initial pun is elevated to new levels when viewed through the lens of a remarkable photographer,” remarks Mr. Reed.