All posts tagged: Mexico City

BSA Images Of The Week: 01.21.18

BSA Images Of The Week: 01.21.18

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

The streets across the US were again flooded with justifiably angry, determined women yesterday. Nothing we can say here will do justice to the enormity of the crowds protesting in 250 cities on the first anniversary of the inauguration, nor the range of political and social fronts that are being contested.

Clearly the world stage has been thrown off kilter by the the erosion of trust and confidence in this government, in the economy, in the fraying social fabric, the attacks on people and the earth. “The decline in confidence in the U.S. president has been severe in some countries since Trump took office on Jan. 20, 2017,” says FactCheck.org, and it “is especially pronounced among some of America’s closest allies in Europe and Asia, as well as neighboring Mexico and Canada,” the Pew Global Attitudes Project found. That’s in only one year.

Oh, did we mention that the US has a government shutdown right now?

Today we chose the top image by Alex Senna to symbolize the people who are in the shadows who are hiding and who think we don’t know they are there and that no one is looking out for them. Immigrants across the country are being threatened, yet exploited day after day – afraid to go to the police or even hospitals when abused by employers, by family members, by misguided racists. We see you and we hear you. As a nation descended from immigrants, the indigenous, and the enslaved, we remember our history. Similarly, people who are being sex trafficked, or who are unable to speak up because of financial restraints, religious restraints, psychological restraints. We see you.

Heavy topics, but these are the streets, our streets, all of us. Roberta Smith said this week in The New York Times when reviewing the Outsider Art Fair; “Art Is Everywhere”. We’ll widen that sentiment and say that art is for everyone, and the street is more than ever a perfect place to see it.

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Adam Fujita, Ai WeiWei, Alex Senna, Cholula, Ernest Zacharevic, Fontes World, Mr. June, Retna, Roman, Stray Ones, Terry Urban, and Zola.

Top Image: Alex Senna ( photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ai Weiwei. “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors”. NYC wide multimedia/multi site exhibition for Public Art Fund. Brooklyn, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Street Art Council (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Terry Urban (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Adam Fujita and Fontes World collaboration brings to mind our recent article about artists endless fight for affordable housing in NYC Indeed a Dying Breed. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Stray Ones (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ernest Zacharevic fills the space with a cube. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist in Cholula, Puebla. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Paris (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Zola (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn vs Everybody (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Retna in Cholula, Puebla. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Román in Cholula, Puebla. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mr. June for The Buschwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This public ad campaign against fur borrows from the street art stencil technique. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist in Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Untitled. January 2018. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Please follow and like us:
Read more
A Street View From Inside the Doors of Mexico City ; Galleries, Studios, Museums, and the Metro

A Street View From Inside the Doors of Mexico City ; Galleries, Studios, Museums, and the Metro

Street Art and graffiti and their relatives often go inside these days, including in Mexico City, where we recently found some interesting new intersections between urban art and contemporary art when we wandered off the streets into studio, gallery, and even museum spaces.

Here we’ll show you images from a few of these places, including; a versatile gallery and performance space that happens to serve pizza, a toy museum and the Street Art visionary who runs it who has facilitated some of the best installations around the city that you’ll see, a visit with a Mexican mural/fine artist who has made serious waves on the Street Art stage as well as museums, three Argentinians setting up a temporary art-making studio in preparation for a gallery show, and a serendipitous run-in with Keith Haring on a train in a metro station.

Bernardo Flores pays tribute to Mexican Luchadores on the walls, ceilings in the Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM) that features murals and tags by Street Artists throughout the exhibitions and up on the roof. Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Perhaps taking its name from the largest cemetery in the city, or simply the Pantheon, the Roman temple with its multiple galleries leading off the grand rotunda, this Panteón opened in spring 2017 and is funded by Mexican pizza chain scion.

Inside a finely appointed 200 year old colonial mansion and former headquarters of the Mexican Academy of Language on Calle Donceles, one of the oldest streets in the city, the spacious two story building is now hosting a live concert stage with a bar off the pizza restaurant court on the first floor. Climb the winding stairs to discover an open balcony ringed with well-curated shows of current art movements that break your expectations in their diversity and quality, hung with care and well-lit in high-ceilings former libraries and entertaining salons, replete with hardwood floors and articulated cream and oak mouldings.

Motick. Centro Cultural Panteón. Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I think frontiers are breaking apart across the world,” says director and curator Andres Medina, who is creating a blended focus on graffiti writers, Street Artists, master screen printers, illustrators, and painters whose work is informed by elements of street culture like tattoo, dark pop, skater culture.

The 9 month old series of exhibitions and shows have included group shows, installations, and pop up shops by Mexican street heavyweights like Street Artist/muralist Smithe, original 90s stencilist Watchavato, and modern stylemaster Buster Duque, who has helped out with some selected burners on the roof. The tight vision of the shows is quietly bringing inquisitive fans as well.

“So we are getting at least one international visitor per week who wants to know more about our projects,” he says. As an editor of zines and a student of films, he gradually has been defining his focus on curation with themes that have an almost personal touchstone that he develops with the artists along with curator Mariela Gomez, and they both speak about a need for gallery exhibitions to evolve.

KlaseOne. Centro Cultural Panteón. Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“One of the things that excites us the most is the idea of an exhibition as more of a ‘happening’. We want there to be a part that is graphic and a part that is an experience,” he says as he leads us to a separate white walled colonial space where handguns are made from molds in black wax and guests at the opening scrawled missives across makeshift walls related to violence in society. “It’s meant as an interactive critique,” he says, “these are guns that shoot ideas.”

Attendees are not typical art patrons interested only in collecting – for this show about violence and terror, “Dispara” by the Mexico City artist Ciler, the invited guests were policy makers, elected officials, journalists, even Tito Fuentes the lead singer of the popular rock band Molotov, as well as people directly affected by gun violence. “It was a pretty emotional night,” says Mariela Gomez, who recounts the fiery conversations that began when guests realized that they could express their thoughts about gun violence and organized crime, which is more-or-less openly terrorizing certain neighborhoods and cities in the country.

Ciler. “Dispara (nombre ficticio)”. Centro Cultural Panteón. Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ciler. “Dispara (nombre ficticio)”. Centro Cultural Panteón. Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Wachavato. “No Esto No Es Lo Que Fue” Centro Cultural Panteón. Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Wachavato. “No Esto No Es Lo Que Fue” Centro Cultural Panteón. Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Once everyone was here we found that everyone wanted to make art as well; so they all became part of ‘the happening’,” she says. Guests broke the guns, wrote screeds across the walls, even blasted black paint with a power tool “Everyone was covered in black dust and wax, were breathing some of it” she says,” which goes along with the concept of violence in society – no one can escape it really.”

Still young and at the behest of a fast food business, it’s unclear what kind of mandate Panteón has, but the owner has long term leased the historic building next door to further the show, which will now include his brother’s burger café and a freshly poured concrete mini-skate park and we climb a tattered yet elegant staircase to tour through grand raw spaces that will house martial arts, yoga training and yes, the occasional sports branded pop-up store. It’s a formula attempted before – life-style and entertainment intermixing with the plastic arts – and it will be good to see the integrity of the art game supported here. The balance is hard to strike, but it can be done.

Buster. Centro Cultural Panteón. Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Museum of Toys and Art on the Streets

A Street Art proponent and personal brand champion, Roberto Shimizu is the second generation 30-something who is running the five-story, decade old Museo Del Juguete Antiguo (Antique Toy Museum) aka MUJAM with his ever-curious and professional collector father in the Colonia Doctores neighborhood. A stylistically unremarkable structure in the thick of this middle class eclectic cluster of cantinas, mechanics garages, and a hospital, most of the streets are named after famous physicians and many of the initial Street Artists who painted his parking lot and roof have also gone on to make names for themselves.

Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM). Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Circus. Detail. Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM). Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM). Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With a few hundred thousand toys carefully arranged in “toy environments” customized from industrial machinery and unusual found items, these surreal scenes may move animatronically or glitter under rotating lights – or get pinched and refracted through specialized viewers. If you are not high on something, there will be no need to do so before entering the meandering homemade and hand-loved MUJAM. Just unbutton your childhood imagination and you’ll find complete display cases of original illustrations and figures of Mexican comedic character Cantinflas, or an arrangement of stuffed bunnies dancing erotically, or a colorful parade of luchador dolls with Shimizu-customized fashions that play with proportions and sometimes reverse their genders – getting married to each other.

Pavel Ioudine. Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM). Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The beyond eclectic collection, estimated at only 5% of the total 60-year collection that has been hand-archived and warehoused, is only enhanced by large paintings by ROA or M-City that have graced the walls outside and the 75 or so intermediate and medium sized murals sprinkled through rooms, hallways, pillars, ceilings, stairwells throughout the museum, including a by-invitation-only rooftop gallery.

The younger Shimizu (and new father) weaves in and out of neighborhood streets with us in his truck the same way he navigates the museum, brooding and swerving and pulling aside to hold forth with bits of historical fanfare and numerical details, peppered by behind-the-scenes stories of intrigue and dalliances – all set off by his own striped and checked slim-waisted sartorial selections that effect an elegant carnival barker, a sixties mod rocker, or the mysteriously aloof millionaire in a family board game.

Arty & Chikle. Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM). Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Arty & Chikle. Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM). Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Arty & Chikle. Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM). Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Aligned with more commercial partners in the past when bringing appreciable Street Art names to Mexico City, Roberto says he prefers the organically grown festivals and exhibitions that have taken root in a few cities to the brand-flogging lifestyle-delivering “influencers” who are Snap-chatting their way through a Street Art tour. His own public/private collection of walls that he has organized over the last decade or so is rather impossible to categorize stylistically, veering from the cartoon to folkloric, photorealistic to abstract, magical-mystical to wildstyle bubbles.

With all these participants it is a come-one-come-all collection that reminds you of the vast reenactment of a circus that is under glass on the second floor, a menagerie of strongmen, tigers, lions, bearded ladies, and assorted crowds of various configurations lined up on the periphery of the big show.

Saner in Studio

Saner. Work in progress. Studio Visit. Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In a gated, if worn but serene, community of two story ranch houses built in the 1960s and 70s, the painter Saner has his studio and home. He meets you at the ornate iron gate to his concrete patio and invites you in while speaking on his phone to see the sun-sharpened shapes inside, a personal welcome replete with mask-painted characters interacting on the dining room wall, two large sculptural facsimiles of him and his wife and bright back deck.

A meteorically-rising yet not flashy spirit on the Street Art circuit, Saner is enjoying steady success with a carefully selected path of public walls, gallery shows and even museum representation in the last decade. Sitting in the small front living room while his beige retriever and muse chews through a basket of dog toys and vies for his masters attention, you can see that Saner’s art world accomplishments haven’t distracted him from a grounded view of Mexican socio-political history, his deep love for its people, and his almost mystical, darkly emotional storytelling.

Saner. Studio Visit. Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In his studio you see his latest sketchbook that he is slowly building page-by-page with details of figures overlapping and radiating and sometimes dancing in warlike poses among the fern and fauna. His crossed-arm stance while leaning on his worktable tells you that he’s waiting for your ideas to help propel the conversation, partially because he is shy, partially as a challenge. A graffiti writer here during the explosive 1990s scene on the streets and trained as a graphic designer, his identity as a Mexican painter became more important to him as he grew older and he began to be less concerned with emulating European or American visual and cultural language.

Saner. Studio Visit. Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

You look at the hand-illustrations of figures and costume, weaponry, instruments, flowers, feathers, and wild animals, and you realize that any of these could be the paintings you have seen on walls in neighborhoods and canvasses in galleries – suddenly perhaps a little awed to be in this artists sacred studio space. Then the talk turns to his dog and his recent travels across the world and you know that its just one guys’ greatness, that’s all.

3 Argentinian Street Artists in Studio

Elian. Studio Visit. Centro Historico. Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The thick air is thumping with a live-performance of a 1980s Judas Priest song by the house band in a musical instrument store across the street here in the crowded old central district of the city at lunchtime. With French doors flung open over your head from the second floor, a cloud of green aerosol envelopes the body of Street Artist Elian and creates a silhouette as he coats an organic form carved from wood on the worktable before him. The shape will join others mounted on a wall next week in Toba Gallery as a smaller 3-D interpretation of his abstract compositions that he sprays across massive walls on buildings and even parking garages for festivals and private clients across Europe, the US, Russia, and his native Argentina.

Ever. Studio Visit. Centro Historico. Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In this raw colonial former home with chipping paint and rusted hinges, the rooms serve as studios for a number of artists who pass by the small news stand with lottery-tickets and cigarettes before jogging up the central steps that are lit by an open sky. Also readying for the 3-artist show called “Deforme¨ are two Street Art brothers from the scene who have often painted in the same city with him, JAZ and Ever Siempre. Together the three are pushing their creativity beyond the work they are each known for in murals at festivals, each saying they are a little tired of the way the organic and illegal Street Art scene morphed into legal and often approved murals, even though they appreciate being paid by these events that are partially funded by municipalities or commercial interests. A symbol of mobility and fraternidad in the scene, local Street Art/graffiti artist Smithe, who is loaning the studio space to the artists as they prepare, also owns Toba.

JAZ. Studio Visit. Centro Historico. Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Speaking of galleries, the Celaya brothers have begun a number of commercial enterprises and spaces in the last half-decade, looking for the right formula for capitalizing on the Street Art zeitgeist and partnering with corporate brands. Not far from an enormous mural by the London-based D*Face, their most recent contemporary art gallery in Colonia Roma Norte was featuring a solo show “Trompe L’oeil” by the Italian born, Berlin-based Street Artist/ fine artist Agostino Iacurci as he adds a third dimension to his ornately synthetic forms and sophisticated bright palette. Curated by Vittorio Parisi, the room is spare, the sculptures pleasantly innocent, and slyly humorous.

Agostino Iacurci. “Trompe L’oeil” solo exhibition at Celaya Brothers Gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Keith Haring on a Train

The metro train system in Mexico City, like many aspects of public life over the last two decades, is a faded shade of its previous zeal. It may also be the damage from a large earthquake three months earlier that shook this city, which adds to a feeling of insecurity as you navigate the swarming crowds and watch packed trains pull away while you wait your turn to board. You may also get a bit forcefully pick-pocketed in the middle of the day on one of these trains, as did your author, so you may favor zippers inside your clothing the next time you return.

Keith Haring on a whole car on the Metro. Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hearkening back to the lack of public services in New York’s when it was fiscally broke in the 70s and 80s and Street Artists Keith Haring wrote freely on empty ad-spaces in the subway, it felt a little like the spirit of the Street Artist appeared unexpectedly in front of us while we waited for our next underground connection in this magic city. A swath of colorful characters jumping every which way across the full cars, the familiarly active Haring symbols of figures herked and jerked into place while the cars went through a series of starts and sudden stops. The riders slid back and forth, clutching their straphangers, and we quickly fumbled for a shot of this Mexico City train covered with the welcoming sight of a New York Street Artist who sparkled at the dawn of the go-go portion of the 80s, soon taken in the sadness of the AIDS-panic portion that struck the city.

Undoubtedly, the Street Art and graffiti scene continue to expand and morph into other scenes and venues – many now inside. For some, this is anathema to the true spirit of the mark-making practice that first took root in unsanctioned acts in illegal places, often in open defiance of accepted norms. For others, this route indoors only strengthens the appeal of voices that are now speaking inside the organizational structures we build, and it is remarkable to see such a diverse and lively number of examples throughout this doorway to Latin America aided by very gracious and friendly Mexican hosts at every stop we made.


Below are more images and video from the Antique Toy Museum, MUJAM – Mexico City

Alegria Prado. Roof top. Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM). Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ear One has a good play on words here, and a nod to cartoonist Vaughn Bodē, whose work inspired a generation of graffiti writers on the Roof top. Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM). Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

LELO. Roof top. Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM). Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ovrlnds. Roof top. Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM). Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

NAS. Roof top. Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM). Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Alina Kiliwa . OJE . Alegria Prado. Roof top. Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM). Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

EsMARQ. Roof top. Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM). Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Noel. Roof top. Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM). Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Paola Delfin. Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM). Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Paola Delfin. Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM). Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Curiot. Detail. Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM). Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Curiot. Detail. Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM). Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This toy monkey served as the inspiration for a political mural by artist Erica Il Cane a few years ago visible to the street. See A Mexican Mural “Manifesto”, Blackened Flag Colors, and Censorship. Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM). Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Daniel Bauchsbaum. Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM). Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Daniel Bauchsbaum. Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM). Mexico, City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 


This is the second of two articles with BSA in Mexico City in collaboration with UN Berlin, it was originally published on the Urban Nation website, and the project is funded in part with the support of Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art (UN) in Berlin.


Additional coverage by BSA in Mexico City:

An Unlikely Museum for Street Art? MUJAM is in the MX MIX : BSA X UN X Mexico City: Day 1

Saner, Mexican Muralist and Painter, Studio Visit. BSA X UN X Mexico City: Day 2

Panteón and Watchavato “No Esto No Es Lo Que Fue” Opens In Mexico City

Exploring New Techniques and Processes with Elian, Jaz and Ever in Mexico City

BSA Images Of The Week: 11.26.17 Mexico City Special


This article is also published on the Urban Nation museum website:

Please follow and like us:
Read more
Mexico City: Aerosol Artists, Aztecs and Magic on the Street

Mexico City: Aerosol Artists, Aztecs and Magic on the Street

Every city has its own particular energy; it’s own articulated rhythm, its own unique chaos.

Mexico City’s is full of flourish and aspiration and fascination for the international new, while firmly rooted in respect for the past. When it comes to Street Art, murals, graffiti and discordant sub-cultural art movements that can disrupt the norm, this city shows the capacity to absorb and adapt and to continue moving forward, providing meaningful insights into the true nature of its people.

Curiot. Detail. For Lienzo Capital Project with Street Art MUJAM. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This magic city of more than 20 million is often referred to as a gateway to Latin America: economically, socially, and politically. With high tech industry, banks, multi-national companies, a university system that serves 300,000 students, 150 museums, three UNESCO World Heritage sites… you can see why. With heavy traffic despite a subway system and many forms of public transportation, it can take hours for you to cross Mexico City (Distrito Federal (D.F)) and you can be assured that you’ll probably never see all 16 boroughs.

El Mac. Detail. All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As Street Art and its associated movements move through Central and South America, invariably D.F. appears as an important tierra cultural to traverse. From an active graffiti scene and occasional mural festivals to a growing gallery representation and increasing museum interest, urban artists are capturing the attention of the Americas, making heads spin in public space. With Mexico City capturing nearly all the aspects at once, today we take a look at the city and give you only a few examples of the art in the streets here.

El Mac. All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The September 19th earthquake of 2017 shook Mexico City exactly 32 years after 10,000 lost their lives in a larger one, the largest. With broken sidewalks and taped off buildings still as physical evidence, you can hear in the voices the trauma that rocked tall buildings back and forth like huge ships on the sea. In addition to these more physical shocks, the city has been rocked in recent years by a rising evidence of frightening power shifts relating to drug traffickers, accusations of institutional corruption, and a sharply rising economic inequality that is transforming developing/developed societies across the globe.

Built upon the ruins of the Aztec city called Tenochtitlán, which was one of the worlds largest in the 15th century, Mexico City appears persistently ebullient when banding together against adversity. Determined to excel beyond the horrors of conquest by the Spanish that decimated an entire indigenous culture, still the ruins rise above the ground and this multi-hued global city rumbles forward with determination.

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sleek high rises and brightly patterned folkloric art and aerosol sprayed graffiti tags next to massive murals all blend and swirl like the jarabe Tapatío hat dance from block to block – a decisive commixture of the “brand new” with a heritage of indigenous/invader cultures that ruled here hundreds of years before. Today it’s a hybrid of purposeful optimism and wizened survival instincts that pushes the city forward, despite the shocks endured.

SEGO. All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The magic and realism so famously combined by authors like Garcia Márquez and Esquivel along with the brutal honesty of Mexican filmmakers like Inarritu, del Toro and Cuaron is fused onto the bricks of colonial mansions and cinderblock industrial neighborhoods like Roma-Condesa and Centro Histórico. These colonias and others like Xochimilco and Coyoacán are historic, commercial, somehow always in transition.

Buster (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As you walk and weave over the chunks of disrupted sidewalks, the local mechanic’s car-repair taking place on the curb is complimented by the smell of stacks of fresh tortillas from the tiny tortilleria. The booming tented markets of witty pop-culture t-shirts, knock-off sneakers, and decorative phone cases are sharing your memory space with the eye-popping magenta, sea foam green, and lemon sherbert yellow hues of huge layered toile netting as quinceañera skirts plumped full of Dior and displayed regally behind full glass windows, shop after shop.

The narrow street in old Centro Historico surges with the sound of a live heavy metal band demonstrating the equipment at a music store at lunch time, and three Argentinian Street Artists (Ever, Elian, and Jaz) are creating plumes of aerosol paint from the opened second floor veranda doors across the street while home-made Judas Priest reverberates over and around the slowly moving bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Arty & Chikle. “Only Love”. Street Art MUJAM in collaboration with the Mexico City National Youth Institute for Young Adults. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Of Mexico, “it’s always high noon and what glows is fuchsia and what’s dead is dead,” said author Henry Miller in his book Black Spring, and some spirit of that rings true here where so many objects and situations you encounter can be amazing and revelatory and yet locals simply roll them in a tortilla and toss it on a hot oiled comal for dinner.

The music options alone can be illustrative of the variety here: Las Madrigalistas are performing holiday classics in the Palacio Bellas Artes, Ricky Martin just played free for 100,000 in the Zocalo, there is an active punk scene that rivals many, a hiphop scene that draws fans from nearby cities, and a reverence for 1980s artists like Depeche Mode and The Misfits, and an almost religious devotion to Morrisey.

D*Face (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The scale of the murals can be as vast as the city, equally eclectically handmade and warm. Thanks to a rich heritage of mural-making and artists like Orozco, Rivera, and Siqueiros in the last century, the new generation of Mexicanos are interpolating the currents that ripple and wave through a society wedded to fierce independence and tradition. Today it is again rocked by our instant access to information and a global sense of modernity.

JET (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Interezni Kazki. All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This means that an international Street Art scene in D.F. features not only Mexican alchemists like Saner, Curiot, Farid Rueda, Lesuperdemon, Dhear and Sego (among others) but also invites the English D*Face, Italians Ericailcane and BLU, Belgian ROA, Los Angelianos Retna and El Mac, Polish M-City, Argentian JAZ and German duo Herakut to influence the voice of the street. With a visual wealth of inspiration and disruptive or unusual imagery in play on the street, this still  jittery city smiles and confronts you as the year turns, a response that is in flux and fiesta, sorrow and memory, outrage and magic.

ROA. All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

While traveling through the city with Roberto Shimizu, a central figure in the modern Street Art/mural scene here, and by visiting Street Artists and critical curators and organizers in studios and alternative spaces inside and outside the city, we garnered a greater appreciation for the complexity of the story here. It is distinctly different from the model we’ve seen elsewhere and explains the less showy trajectory that this still organic ecosystem has taken.

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As in most cities today you’ll find the organic and autonomous quality of works is best represented by one-off, handmade individual pieces of art and stickers throughout neighborhoods, many anonymous. These are not the large scale legal murals that unfamiliar observers sometimes refer to as Street Art. These are still the lifeblood of any real Street Art scene and are often indicators of its truer eclectic nature.

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Maybe because there isn’t a large collector base for this work, or because some brands/marketers have already cheapened its image a bit, but Street Art hasn’t blossomed in the gallery world here to a great extent. Instead, true cultural curators like Shimizu have consistently led it directly to his festival programs or his family’s Mexico City’s Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM), and professors at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) are teaching about it to students .

Milamores and El Flaco. La Linea Street Art. Cholula, Puebla. 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We usually find the true nature of Street Art here is still in the streets – and in the artists community. In the Chulula area of nearby Puebla outside Mexico City, the mysterious renaissance seer named Milamores has quietly curated walls of many local and international artists over the last half decade, offering his compound and dogs for rest and companionship in a supportive artists space. Together with video animation artist Flaco he is presenting Street Art via Virtual Reality experiences that are in tandem with his organically grown mural program. Built on the site of a collapsed building from the 1985 earthquake, the artist/activist collective and community garden Huerto Roma Verde provides classes and workshops on art, sustainable architecture, gardening, and theater and has helped many artists to with mural opportunities as well.

Diana Bama . Martin Ferreira. Huerto Roma Verde. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Diana Bama . Martin Ferreira. Huerto Roma Verde. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As an emblem of the conflicting and harmonious forces at play, we cite the relatively recent mural painted by the Spanish Street Artist Escif on the wall of the Chihuahua housing complex on the Plaza of Three Cultures just north of the city center. Illustrating the privately funded public projects that Street Artists are doing now throughout cities, this one plumbs the unhealed wounds and still unanswered questions of a shocking event of political repression almost 50 years ago here in the plaza designed by Mario Pani.

Not only does the plaza physically join together a Spanish colonial church and the remains of a pre-Columbian Aztec temple with the 13 story housing complex, the square is most known today for the October 1968 suppression of a student movement where troops ran directly over the ruins and fired on a peaceful rally and secret police captured and tortured student leaders who were speaking from the balcony. Protest art and public installations about the 2014 Iguala mass kidnapping of 43 disappeared students recall the stories from 1968 today, and many make connections between the events.

Unidentified Artist. Installation in El Centro Historico for the 43 Desaparecidos. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Some academics have said the crushing of the student movement was part of a secret “dirty war” by the government to quiet dissent and present a unified Mexico image to the world ahead of the upcoming Olympics, but Shimizu tells us that visiting politicians to Escif’s new wall are pleased with the mural and made a tour by bus with guests to admire it. A monument to the Tlatelolco massacre stands in the plaza memorializing the events, and Escif made a few statements about his interpretation of his mural.

“As in my previous works, there is not a limited meaning in the ‘Chihuahua Mural’, but as many meanings as people try to approach it with,” said Escif to us recently about the two suited figures. He discusses his research into the events that took place, but ultimately he leaves the painting more open to interpretation. “Those two guys painted on the wall can be secretive executives, military officers, corporate people or anybody. That will depend on who sees the wall and his previous experiences.”

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For visitors to Mexico City looking for the local Street Art or graffiti scene it is helpful to recognize that this moment for a near-global fascination for art in the streets is here also intertwined with a national and local history, cultural pride, and the treasured heritage of indigenous peoples.

While so-called “western” countries may see a rebellious disaffected rage or critique as an overarching narrative for the graffiti and Street Art scene in New York, London, or Berlin, it may be that Mexico City, and Latin America by extension, is also very cognizant of its roots, in love with them even, always infusing new work with a certain respect for their progenitors. For an art practice that is characterized in part for its ephemerality the context of this particular urban environment reminds you of its often remarkable resilience.

Dueke . Miss1 Guette for MUJAM. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

RETNA. The Beauty Project, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA. La Linea Street Art. Cholula, Puebla. 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA. La Linea Street Art. Cholula, Puebla. 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA. La Linea Street Art. Cholula, Puebla. 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA. La Linea Street Art. Cholula, Puebla. 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Curiot (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Curiot. Detial. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

SINKO (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Interezni Kazki. La Linea Street Art. Cholula, Puebla. 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Interezni Kazki. La Linea Street Art. Cholula, Puebla. 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kill Joy . Mazatl. La Linea Street Art. Cholula, Puebla. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Fusca .  Blast. La Linea Street Art. Cholula, Puebla. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Erica Ilcane. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


This is the first of two articles with BSA in Mexico City in collaboration with UN Berlin, it was originally published on the Urban Nation website, and the project is funded in part with the support of Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art (UN) in Berlin.

Read Part II here:

A Street View From Inside the Doors of Mexico City ; Galleries, Studios, Museums, and the Metro


Additional coverage by BSA in Mexico City:

An Unlikely Museum for Street Art? MUJAM is in the MX MIX : BSA X UN X Mexico City: Day 1

Saner, Mexican Muralist and Painter, Studio Visit. BSA X UN X Mexico City: Day 2

Panteón and Watchavato “No Esto No Es Lo Que Fue” Opens In Mexico City

Exploring New Techniques and Processes with Elian, Jaz and Ever in Mexico City

BSA Images Of The Week: 11.26.17 Mexico City Special


This article is also published on the Urban Nation museum website:

 

Please follow and like us:
Read more
BSA’s 15 Most Popular Murals Of 2017 – A “Social” Survey

BSA’s 15 Most Popular Murals Of 2017 – A “Social” Survey

How do you measure the success of a street piece? Foot traffic? How long it runs before being dissed?

The Internet revolutionized our lives and our definition of community and along with that we extend the experience of art on the street to the conversations and sharing that takes place in the digital “social” realm. BSA lives in both spheres daily, capturing stuff on the street and then telling its story to a global audience online. The truth is, we never really know what people will like.

Actually we do know some things will always be a hit as time moves forward – pop culture references. Banksy and Shepard and D*Face and their generation could always count on Sid Vicious, Marilyn, Mickey, Her Majesty QE2 and the ironic turn of pop parlance to drive a humorous, campy, sarcastic point home. Today we can count on 90s rapper Biggie Smalls and Star Wars Storm Troopers in any iteration to send the image volleying through our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter referrals, comments, feeds. In fact, both Biggie and the Trooper made it into the top 15 mural collection this year and last year – made by different artists.

In fact, these 15 images are not all murals but they resonate with larger numbers than others we published this year; a visual conversation that includes legal, illegal, small, anonymous, massive, deliberately confounding, tossed off scrawling, handmade and mass produced stickers, tags, poetry, diatribes, culture jamming, ad takeovers, sculpture, installations. Every week we aim to present a varied selection of expressions currently represented on the street, and then it is your turn to respond.

During 2017 BSA readers responded to images via our website, Instagram, Twitter, Tumbr, and Facebook pages. In a thoroughly unscientific survey that calculates “likes” and “clicks” and “re-Tweets” and “impressions”, we tallied up which murals (or images) got the most interest from you. Care to interpret the results?


15 – Lonac.

Here is his multi-story mural of an artist friend painting a wall for “No Limit” Borås. Borås, Sweden. September, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


14 – Add Fuel.

His mural of traditional Scottish tile patterning in Nuart Aberdeen captivated many readers. Aberdeen, Scotland. April, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


13 – Daniel Buchsbaum.

Converting this water heater in a room of the Antique Toy Museum. Mexico City. November, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


12 – Axe Colours.

For the second year in a row, but in different cities by different artists, the 1990s Brooklyn rapper Biggie Smalls appears on the top 15 list. This time he is in Barcelona, Spain. November, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


11 – Miss Van.

Ever more surreal, this is an instant classic by Miss Van is in Barcelona, Spain. November, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


10- Dave The Chimp.

The simplicity of Dave The Chimps’ characters can be a bit deceiving, considering how he manages to put them everywhere in so many situations. This one taps into our societal fears and the realization that our public (and private) moves are being recorded and scrutinized all the time, ready or not. Berlin, Germany. February, 2017.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)


9 – ATM Street Art.

Dude, the bird-admiring contingent online took this one and flew with it. It’s a Red-faced Warbler for Audubon Birds of Broadway. Manhattan, NYC. January, 2017.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)


8 – Suits.

A prize-winning use of existing conditions in furtherance of his message, Suits used this damaged wall very effectively. It helped to have Manhattan as a backdrop. Brooklyn, NYC. June, 2017  (photo © Jaime Rojo)


7 – BK Foxx.

Directly borrowed from a scene with Robert Dinero in the movie Taxi Driver, Street Artist BK Foxx uses the background to reference the never-ending scenes of violence that are in the news in the US. Brooklyn, NYC. November, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


6 – Tatiana Fazlalizadeh.

This garden of the mind grows in Manhattan at public school PS92. Manhattan, NYC. January, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


5 – The Outings Project.

Created during Nuart Aberdeen by Julien de Casabianca of the Outings Project, this reproduction of a painting was perfectly placed in a part of the city once known for the selling of people as slaves. An uncomfortable bit of beauty maximizes the possibilities with perfect placement. Aberdeen, Scotland. April, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


4 – 1UP Crew…and other vandals.

An iconic and isolated Brooklyn rooftop scene in the winter is made forbidding and welcoming by the snow storm and picnic tables.  Brooklyn, NYC. February, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 


3 – Pyramid Oracle.

Ascending the subway stairs to see the grand wizened man with a third eye, this black and white image was somehow inspirational to many of our fans. Manhattan, NYC. April 2017.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)


2 – Raf Urban.

A mid-sized wheat-pasted stencil piece claims the number 2 spot with the former President and First Lady, along with the message “Diversity is Hope.” Brooklyn, NYC. April, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


1 – Jerkface.

Guy Fawkes is a folk hero for the Occupy generation, here surrounded by the encroaching anonymous armature of the police state, represented by Storm Troopers. You can read many messages into this and like most good art, you’d would be right. Manhattan, NYC. March, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Please follow and like us:
Read more
BSA Film Friday: 12.01.17

BSA Film Friday: 12.01.17

bsa-film-friday-JAN-2015

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

Now screening :
1. Rough Cut of Haring on Train in Mexico City (DF)
2. Niels Shoe Meulman in Magic City
3. Carlo McCormick talks about ROA at Magic City
4. Miquel Wert / 12 + 1 Contorno Urbano
5. “Awareness, Optimism, Commitment” by GEC Art

bsa-film-friday-special-feature

BSA Special Feature: Rough Cut of Haring on Train in Mexico City (DF)

It all took us by surprise last week in Mexico City when suddenly a whole train covered on both sides with Keith Haring’s work approached while we were waiting at the platform to catch the Linea 2 of the Metro. He made his name in part by illegally doing drawings like these in NYC subways and here now they are crushing a whole train. The name of the project is “Ser Humano. Ser Urbano” or “Being Human. Being Urban” and it aims to promote human values and human rights. The pattern you see is from “Sin Titulo (Tokyo Fabric Design)” – now stretched across these whole cars, if you will.

The train itself is inexplicably having brake troubles, so we get some jerky spur-of-the-moment footage but all week on Instagram and Facebook we’ve received tons of comments from people reacting to this little bit of Keith video by Jaime Rojo on BSA.

 

 

Niels Shoe Meulman in Magic City – The Art Of The Street :

Niels Shoe Meulman spent some nights in a Munich jail thirty years ago for mucking about on the walls. This year he was paid to do it in Munich for Magic City, the travelling morphing exhibition (now in Stockholm) where Street Art is celebrated along with all its tributaries – including a film program and a number of photographs by your friends here at BSA.

Born, raised and based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Shoe shares here his new improvisational piece and some of his reflections on his process and his evolution from being in advertising as an art/creative director and reclaiming his soul as a graffiti/Street Art/fine artist. As ever, Martha is in the frame, putting him in the frame.

 

Carlo McCormick talks about ROA at Magic City – The Art Of The Street / Dresden-Munich-Stockholm

The urban naturalist ROA gets the Carlo McCormick treatment here as the chief curator of Magic City does the talking for the anonymous Ghent-based artist who has globe-trotted for almost a decade with his marginalized animal parade in monochrome. Here you get to see the inside/outside of his practice, a genuine master as work – with the delicious insight of Carlo to guide your appreciation.

 

Miquel Wert / 12 + 1 Contorno Urbano

In studio with Miguel Wert we get to see him sifting through a pile of black and white photos, assessing the scene, the sitters, the psychological-emotional dynamics of families, lovers, haters.

“In most family photos the interpersonal dynamics are more subtle,” we wrote when the wall was first unveiled in Barcelona, “but a close reading of posture, body language, and facial expressions all give unconsciously a lot of information about the true nature of the relationships officially on display.”

See more in “Miquel Wert Brings Awkward Family Dynamics From the Shadows in Barcelona”

“Awareness, Optimism, Commitment” by GEC Art

Young gymnast takes the opportunity to practice and perform for a moment atop this traffic barrier in Torino.

And why not?

 

Please follow and like us:
Read more
Exploring New Techniques and Processes with Elian, Jaz and Ever in Mexico City

Exploring New Techniques and Processes with Elian, Jaz and Ever in Mexico City

This week BSA is in Mexico City in collaboration with Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art (UN) to see what is steering the scene on the street, meet artists, visit artist compounds, museums, galleries, and studios – and of course to capture the wild and dynamic Street Art and graffiti scene here. Where Mexico City goes in art and culture makes big waves elsewhere in Latin America, and its Street Art scene has been quickly evolving in the last decade. Join us as we investigate the character and players in this modern/traditional city of more than 21 million people.


In a cacophonous neighborhood in downtown Mexico City that sells musical instruments and equipment the second floor verandas are emitting an aerosol fragrance, a cloud of lime green to mix in the air. Some how it mixes well with the honking cars and roaring live rock and roll concert across the street in a musical equipment store where they are performing covers of 80s metal bands like Mötley Crüe and Judas Priest.

Elian. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Elian is balancing his new pieces on saw horses and fumigating them with bright paints which he normally might be covering a huge mural wall with.

“I’m trying to break with my tradition of being a painter do you know,” he says, one of three close friends on the Street Art scene from Argentina here in this studio.

Elian. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Each of the artists say they are taking a little break from the work they normally do to experiment for their upcoming show at Toba Gallery here at the beginning of December.

The year-old gallery is owned by a local Street Art celebrity named Smithe, who still pursues his own art career while choosing artists from his peers to show at this location in el Centro de la ciudad.

Elian. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I want to build these kinds of objects and to create a dialogue with the space by changing the focus of attention by placing them around the gallery,” Elian says, pointing to imaginary spots in the air above and punctuating with his pointed index finger.

“Sort of like tick-tick-tick, like acupuncture needles, and I will mount all these pieces try to mix with the pieces of the guys.”

Elian. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The guys are Franco “JAZ” Fasoli and Nicolas “EVER” Romero, who each have their own small room in this artists’ studio enclave that is sort of hidden, requiring you to look carefully for an entrance hall behind a lottery ticket vendors signage on the street.

All three have often travelled and work together with a fourth Argentinian named Pastel in festivals and exhibitions over the past half decade, and these three consider this a happy reunion to work again with one another.

Ever. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nicolas “EVER” Romero is next door sitting cross-legged on the floor trying to balance a chunk of raw meat inside a papaya, accented by a jalepeno pepper. Around him are various tropical fruits and everyday vegetables teetering upon each other and bottles of sugary sodas.

He says his newest still-lifes are mixing traditional subject matter with pieces of modern life to draw attention to the contrasts and as a critique of the commercialized consumer culture that is eroding our connection with history.

Ever. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I feel like Mexico has the combination of ancient roots like the Mayan and Incan culture,” he says, “and their culture of cultivation of fruits and vegetables edit is in huge contrast with the modern world.” He blames a lot of the commercial junk food that has come into the country on the neighbor to the north, the United States.

“You can go to this store chain called Oxxo, like the 7-Eleven of Mexico, and you can see what the Mexican People are being offered to eat,” he explains.

Ever. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Basically they have tacos and tortillas and basically shitty food like Lays or Bimbo – super unhealthy foods.”

“That, for me, is a metaphor for Mexico. This super amazing strong food history and then you have this stuff – for me working with these real foods is part of the description for what is happening in Mexico today.”

Ever. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The still-lifes are a departure for EVER from his figurative work as well, and he is enjoying concentrating on craft in this way.

Free from the large walls and magic surrealism of his street murals, he says he can also hide his identity in this kind of painting that is a respected practiced thought to help artists “warm” their hands.

 

Jaz. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Another figurative painter known for his muscular strong characters and people, JAZ is taking a few steps back from realism to abstract. His studio features a large pile of ripped papers that he is gluing onto a sketch on brown paper.

The sketch comes from a digital collage on his laptop. He says he needed to separate himself from direct painting by creating a multi-step process like this. “I am kind of forcing myself into more abstract in a very artificial way because if I try to do it by myself.”

 

Jaz. Sketch shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The 10 meter long fragile piece will hang from wires in the gallery and it reminds you that he was a sceneographer before he was know for graffiti or Street Art.

The finished rolls feature figures running with backs to the viewer in a jumbled, violent chaos of hooligans in the street. Strung overhead across the ceiling is a colorful fiesta decor, denoting a sarcastic overlay to the lawlessness. It’s contrast he enjoys.

Jaz. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“This is a typical hooliganism that happens in South America but I also mixed up with this idea of a party or a celebration so I’m going to have these decorative streamers papers hanging from above,” he says. “It may be difficult to understand because it looks like it’s a party but at the same time there’s this clashing and it is in a sort of carnival environment in a formal way – it’s more of scene in a cinematic way.”

Having lived in Europe for the last couple of years, JAZ talks about his home town of Buenos Aires and his new ability to have perspective on some corrupt behavior and social structures that he has been examining.

Jaz. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Argentinian hooliganism is also a very strong political force,” he says. “It is not just about the activities related to the sport, it’s the mafia. It is 100% connected with politicians and drugs and crime all under one roof or protection of the sport.”

“It is a very social tool used for manipulation… extortion. It is very integrated into our society you can talk with any of us three Argentinians and talk about how deep inside our society it is. I do a kind of x-ray of how the society works by looking into just that particular segment of society.”

Jaz. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With Mexico City considered as a doorway to the Americas, it is interesting to note that these three Street Artists all express a certain admiration and solidarity with Mexico and are very familiar with the cultural traditions, heros and artifacts of the history and society; a pronounced departure from the neighbor to the north.

It is good to see again the maturation and evolution of these thirty-something artists as they dare themselves to try new techniques in pursuit of an art practice apart Street Art, and to witness the network of support that they create for each other regardless of their stylistic differences.


PROCESS: Elian, Jaz and Ever in Mexico City

Please follow and like us:
Read more
Panteón and Watchavato “No Esto No Es Lo Que Fue” Opens In Mexico City

Panteón and Watchavato “No Esto No Es Lo Que Fue” Opens In Mexico City

This week BSA is in Mexico City in collaboration with Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art (UN) to see what is steering the scene on the street, meet artists, visit artist compounds, museums, galleries, and studios – and of course to capture the wild and dynamic Street Art and graffiti scene here. Where Mexico City goes in art and culture makes big waves elsewhere in Latin America, and its Street Art scene has been quickly evolving in the last decade. Join us as we investigate the character and players in this modern/traditional city of more than 21 million people.


Newly opened Panteón in the very historic part of Mexico City features pizza, live music, and a series of open spaces for public programs and well appointed galleries – all inside a 400 year old colonial Spanish-style building on the cities’ oldest street. Architecturally registered as part of the cultural heritage of the city and country, these spaces are being preserved in their original splendor, and Street Artists/graffiti artists/contemporary artists are being carefully selected to breath new life into them.

Watchavato. NO ESTO NO ES LO QUE FUE. Centro Cultural Panteón. Mexico City. November 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Intended as a cultural meeting place where exhibitions, panel discussions, artist talks, community participation, screen printing facilities, and even “happenings” around social issues can co-exist, you can feel a positive inclusive vibe here, and you can imagine a number of new partnerships blossoming at Panteón going forward.

Watchavato. NO ESTO NO ES LO QUE FUE. Centro Cultural Panteón. Mexico City. November 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Thursday night features a much anticipated opening by a Mexican Street Artist Watchavato, who many here point to as a pioneer in the local Street Art scene of the mid-late 1990s’s. Known for his stencils, his devoted fans, and his insightful sarcasm in sign-making messages, the Sinaloa-based artist has incorporated sideways critiques of drug traffickers (“narcos”), by playing with the image of Jesús Malverde, a folklore hero of his home state who sometimes known as an angel of the poor, or the “narco-saint”.

Visitors to the show will see again a reference to Malverde here at the show as well as what can only be described as pieces expressing Watchavato’s existential feelings about graffiti and Street Art culture two decades after he began.

Watchavato. NO ESTO NO ES LO QUE FUE. Centro Cultural Panteón. Mexico City. November 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The sharp wit is not lost on us, as we have crossed paths with many an old-skool graff writer or early phase Street Artist who laments what they see as a loss of edge, rebellion, or even the transgressive nature of the early scene. The entire room can be taken into account as one installation, rather than individual pieces. Most notable of course are the gravestones, the most literal announcement of the death of Street Art we’ve seen.

Mourn not, we say, the future is unwritten.

We were incredibly fortunate to receive a full tour of every space (and future space) in Panteón by two of the curators of these newly opened art galleries, Andrés Medina who also serves as Director of the space and Mariela Gómez and the quality of concept and research that has gone into exhibits since opening this spring is already remarkable. Our sincere thanks to them.

Here are some of the images of the new show, NO ESTO NO ES LO QUE FUE (NO THIS IS NOT WHAT WAS).

Watchavato. NO ESTO NO ES LO QUE FUE. Centro Cultural Panteón. Mexico City. November 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Watchavato. NO ESTO NO ES LO QUE FUE. Centro Cultural Panteón. Mexico City. November 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Watchavato. NO ESTO NO ES LO QUE FUE. Centro Cultural Panteón. Mexico City. November 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Watchavato. NO ESTO NO ES LO QUE FUE. Centro Cultural Panteón. Mexico City. November 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Watchavato. NO ESTO NO ES LO QUE FUE. Centro Cultural Panteón. Mexico City. November 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Watchavato. NO ESTO NO ES LO QUE FUE. Centro Cultural Panteón. Mexico City. November 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Watchavato NO ESTO NO ES LO QUE FUE opens today at the Centro Cultural Panteón in Mexico City’s Centro Historico. Click HERE for more information.

Please follow and like us:
Read more
Saner, Mexican Muralist and Painter, Studio Visit. BSA X UN X Mexico City: Day 2

Saner, Mexican Muralist and Painter, Studio Visit. BSA X UN X Mexico City: Day 2

This week BSA is in Mexico City in collaboration with Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art (UN) to see what is steering the scene on the street, meet artists, visit artist compounds, museums, galleries, and studios – and of course to capture the wild and dynamic Street Art and graffiti scene here. Where Mexico City goes in art and culture makes big waves elsewhere in Latin America, and its Street Art scene has been quickly evolving in the last decade. Join us as we investigate the character and players in this modern/traditional city of more than 21 million people.


Saner has been a significant Mexican mural painter for the last decade, is invited to festivals regularly, works with some respected galleries, has partnered with some top brands, and has work in private collections and museums including Museo de las Americas in Denver and the newly opened Urban Nation museum in Berlin. A graffiti writer here during the explosive 1990s scene on the streets and trained as a graphic designer, his identity as a Mexican painter became more important to him as he grew older and began to be less concerned with emulating European or American visual and cultural language.

Saner.  Detail. Work in progress.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

That was when his personal voice emerged and he began synthesizing traditional symbols, colors, clothing, and (particularly) masks into the study of humans and our universal truths. His version of “primitive” is not so primitive, simplicity not so simple, upon closer observation, rather there are darker stirrings of profound truths about our nature. The masks and surreal scenes have multiple meanings, the characters and situations drawn from archetypes of history, his own taste in popular culture, and his critique of current events.

Saner.  Detail. Work in progress.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We visited Saner at his private home in a neighborhood not far from Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s colonia, a significant point in the personal story because of our association with their powerful voices, pride in Mexican traditions and history, and their individual desires for their work to have an impact on the lives of others. While Kobén, his beige (or golden) retriever paces around the living room with various chew toys and pushes them into our hands as an entreaty for play, Saner sits relaxed in loose chinos and a Café Tecuva t-shirt, chatting amiably while slouched in a hand woven reed chair.

He published a children’s book last year named after the dog about a boy facing his fears so you know that Kobén is part of our every conversation – barking and running and chewing on toys while we talk about stuff like the new mural scene internationally, the troubles with corruption and political parties, drug related crime and the disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa, his personal art projects with local kids, helping the community after the last months earthquake here, and his recent wedding to his beloved Lalix a term of endearment he and other use to call his wife Lizbeth.

Saner.  Detail. Work in progress.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The oversized spiritual recreations of the bride and groom sit in left and right corners of their dining room listening quietly to us. Saner and Lalix had worn them as they danced into the party this April in nearby Cuernavaca; modern and folkloric, peaceful and booming with promise.

He is so excited to tell the story of the wedding that he runs upstairs for a DVD and shows us footage from the ceremony and celebrations where we can see the two of them dancing together – many times he appears near tears, full of joy. So many of the stories we hear all tie back to this seamless integration of an artist, his life, his aspirations, his beliefs, philosophies, and evolving awareness.

Saner  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Later when we climb the stairs to see his studio, the small and bright space carries a similar optimism, despite the range of emotion expressed on the wall of masks and the characters in his multiple sketchbooks and the papers/canvasses stacked neatly or fanned out before us. Our conversation ranges again and settle for awhile on his experiences as world-travelling mural painter and his realization that his work needs to be in dialogue with the people and the neighborhood he is visiting.

Saner recounts a turning point a few years ago when painting an impromptu mural, just to pass the time in collaboration with local celebrated graffiti/Street Artist Smithe and other writers here in la ciudad. He says the content of their mural was meant to be violent and provocative and a commentary on the topical political events and warring drug factions in the country.

Saner  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The final product was an unexpected one for all when a neighbor stopped by on the sidewalk and questioned the artists about their intent with the mural – and in the process she revealed that a person in that same neighborhood had been killed violently on the corner. She stressed that she had known the individual and that the mural was painful to her. He says the connection between his art and how it affects the people who live with it suddenly came into focus, and he began to re-approach his public work.

Another experience of actually being stoned by small kids in Morcocco while he was painting his masked figures on a wall also shocked him into a sort of sensitivity immediately.

“They said that their mothers didn’t like the faces because they were evil. I decided to alter some of them by making them more friendly, removing the long tongues, adding some smiles – and checking with them about the results,” he says. The inclusion of the neighborhoods’ suggestions made the mural “theirs” he says, and the discord ended with some of the folks expressing a sense of pride in the new painting.

Saner  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ironically, a few peers suggested to him that by including the feedback of the people who live there, somehow the neighbors had “won”. Maybe that perception is informed by the contentious attitude of graffiti culture which may not take the opinions of the neighborhood into account, focusing primarily on the sport of “getting up” and the admiration of peers instead.

But this is a different approach for Saner and the comment that the neighbors had “won” makes him smile. “No, no, no. It’s not like that at all. If you think of painting in terms of someone winning or someone losing, you are doing it for the wrong reasons.” He says that he originally appreciated the cross cultural nature of the mural festival experience, but today he does extensive research before he even arrives in a new city – about the people and the history. He even interviews locals when he arrives to see if he has interpreted his research correctly.

Saner  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mexican artists, especially the muralists are inspirational for him – Rivera, Jorge González Camarena, Rufino Tamayo, the Spaniard Goya. Saner’s own mystical and grounded interpretations are modernized and contemporary, somehow timeless in a magic realism sort of way.

He also sites influences like his childhood cartoons and even the novelist Chuck Palahniuk, who wrote Fight Club and who specializes in a sort of transgressive fiction that could recall the dark surrealism evoked in some of Saner’s tableaus.

Saner  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We talk more and look at his newest sketches, experiments with colors and materials, even geometrically crisp forms. While Kobén circles us again, tail wagging and offering the occasional bark, the late winter sun through the 70’s suburban ranch windows sets the room aglow.

Saner tells us of his desire to challenge his viewers with slightly uncomfortable scenes. His process includes addressing an issue, then handing the microphone to the viewer, asking them to take ownership in the outcome.

It’s a subtle activism that many will miss in this psychological and sometimes spiritual play enacted before us; a gentle and insistent voice that tells you about the transformational power of art.

Saner  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Saner  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Saner  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Based on real life characters. From the children’s book Kobén by Saner. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

 

Please follow and like us:
Read more
An Unlikely Museum for Street Art? MUJAM is in the MX MIX : BSA X UN X Mexico City: Day 1

An Unlikely Museum for Street Art? MUJAM is in the MX MIX : BSA X UN X Mexico City: Day 1

This week BSA is in Mexico City in collaboration with Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art (UN) to see what is steering the scene on the street, meet artists, visit artist compounds, museums, galleries, and studios – and of course to capture the wild and dynamic Street Art and graffiti scene here. Where Mexico City goes in art and culture makes big waves elsewhere in Latin America, and its Street Art scene has been quickly evolving in the last decade. Join us as we investigate the character and players in this modern/traditional city of more than 21 million people.


Not much happens in Mexico City’s modern Street Art scene that Roberto Shimizu Jr. doesn’t know about.

El Mac is in good company. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With his namesake father at the helm of the Mexican Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM) since it opened in 2006, the younger Shimizu has organized 30 or so Street Art events, founded the All City Canvas program, worked with city and federal public art programs. He has also been a personal clearing house for some of the most recognized talents and new practitioners on the scene, inviting them to paint inside and outside this eclectic and curiously expansive, overwhelming museum of toys that span a century or so.

ROA. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We spent hours with Roberto walking the floors of this imagination-provoking museum today – oggling an ocean of hand-made and mass produced items here that his father has collected for almost 60 years in every state of Mexico, only 5% of an estimated 5 million individual pieces in their collection. As the son of a voracious lifelong collector with a razor sharp eye and appreciation for positive energy Roberto Jr. has an omnivore’s appetite for Street Art, public art, graffiti.

So naturally since the museum first opened he’s been bringing in an eclectic array of aerosol/brush painters, wheatpasters, stencils, sticker slappers to hit up walls in the courtyard outside, on the roof, inside the museum, and on walls around the industrialized/residential neighborhood of Colonia Doctores.

Curiot. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We’ll be telling you more about this ingenious genius and his heartfelt amor for toys and Street Art later, but we thought we’d just show you some excerpts of a large rolled canvas signed by the important artists, curators, sincere fans and occasional rock stars that he’s been amassing for the last few years.

Here you’ll find a number of the big names from today’s Street Art scene from before anyone really knew them – people to whom he personally gave opportunities and encouragement and materials and who later have landed in the collections of museums and collectors thanks to him giving them an opportunity, or two, or three. Also it was good for us to see names of the new kids on the block and a number of Latin American talents we all will be getting to know in the future.

Herakut. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JAZ. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Neuzz. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Liqen. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

M – City. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Luca Dalto. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

For more information about MUJAM click HERE

Please follow and like us:
Read more
Johannes Mundinger Painting in Mexico City for “Wall Dialogue II”

Johannes Mundinger Painting in Mexico City for “Wall Dialogue II”

Berlin based Street Artist and abstract impressionist Johannes Mundinger just spent a month in Mexico City as part of WALL DIALOGUE II painting in collaboration with Blo and talking with other artists and the community mainly about the new president in the US and how it is affecting things in Mexico.

Johannes Mundinger . Blo. Tulum, Mexico. 2017. (photo © Johannes Mundinger)

Starting WALL DIALOGUE in Berlin in 2015, this combination of artist residency and cultural exchange aims to “feature international urban artists and bring their various forms of expression into an international dialogue and to create a physical space of exchange,” Johannes tells us.

The project is funded by Goethe Institute and IFA and is interested in “discussing city development and promoting an exchange between the independent scene of Berlin and Mexico City,” says the ATEA statement.

Johannes Mundinger . Blo. Tulum, Mexico. 2017. (photo © Johannes Mundinger)

The location this time was in the popular neighborhood of La Merced and included eleven artists from Europe, México and Argentina. The artists painted solo, collaborated, and all together for a wall painting jam in the independent art space ATEA.

Here are the walls Mundinger created so BSA readers can get a taste of the scene. Also participating were Pao Delfin, Libre, Vlocke, Said Dokins and La Piztola from Mexico, the artist couple Billy and Mernywernz from UK, Alaniz from Argentina and Nelio from France.

Johannes Mundinger . Mexico City. 2017. (photo © Johannes Mundinger)

Johannes Mundinger . Mexico City. 2017. (photo © Leda Fenix)

Johannes Mundinger . Mexico City. 2017. (photo © Oscar Sandoval)

Johannes Mundinger . Mexico City. 2017. (photo © Johannes Mundinger)

 

Please follow and like us:
Read more
Said Dokins & Lapiztola : Gentrification in Mexico City’s La Merced Market

Said Dokins & Lapiztola : Gentrification in Mexico City’s La Merced Market

Lapiztola & Said Dokins. Del Barrio / Mi Merced Mexico City. 2017. (photo © Leonardo Luna)

The writing is on the wall. Can you read what it says?

 

Lapiztola & Said Dokins. Del Barrio / Mi Merced Mexico City. 2017. (photo © Leonardo Luna)

“Social Cleansing” is a term used by Said Dokins and Lapiztola when describing the process of a gentrifying neighborhood in Mexico City where the enormous and historical public market called La Merced Market is now gradually disappearing, taking the people who made it possible with it.

Lapiztola & Said Dokins. Del Barrio / Mi Merced Mexico City. 2017. (photo © Leonardo Luna)

Their new piece looks at the destroying of a native culture by the forces of development that feed on its unique energy and character to sell real estate and investment opportunity but in the process negate its very authorship, its right to its formidable historical place in community.

Their new wall contains the messages from Said Dokins within his particular calligraffiti style that is both communication and ornamentation. The composition also features a stencil from Lapiztola of the face of a girl, perhaps from Oaxaca, where her dress would be typical.

Lapiztola & Said Dokins. Del Barrio / Mi Merced Mexico City. 2017. (photo © Leonardo Luna)

The states of Oaxaca and Chiapis have provided the life of La Merced for many decades – the market itself a jewel and historical institution in this neighborhood that has hosted commercial activities for more than five centuries.

“This mural was made within the project called WallDialogue2, which took place in a parking lot where several vendors from La Merced Market pass through everyday,” say the organizers of the program that took place January 20-22.

“The intentions of this project were to generate a discussion site focused on the relation between urban art and gentrification processes.”

Lapiztola & Said Dokins. Del Barrio / Mi Merced Mexico City. 2017. (photo © Leonardo Luna)

Appropriately, we have a poem written by Natalia Saucedo when she was 12 and a girl from this community of the market.

My MERCED (Fragment)

Alert in my heart the market that saw me grow up
Cruelly falls little by little
My life runs here
I can’t let it go.

From here I hear the noise of machines
Little by little
My market destroyed

Ladies and gentlemen, without a job have been left

Be strong
Those who love the market crying inside,
Smiling outside

Withered heart
Traveling hope.

~ Natalia Saucedo

Lapiztola & Said Dokins. Del Barrio / Mi Merced Mexico City. 2017. (photo © Leonardo Luna)

Lapiztola & Said Dokins. Del Barrio / Mi Merced Mexico City. 2017. (photo © Leonardo Luna)

 

WALL DIALOGUE 2 – Nuestro Barrio Wall Painting Jam
ATEA Topacio 25, Centro Histórico, Mexico City
January 20 – 22
Featured Artists: Billy, Blo, Johannes Mundinger, La Piztola, Libre, Mernywernz, Nelio, Pao Delfin, Said Dokins 

Please follow and like us:
Read more
BSA Film Friday: 05.13.16

BSA Film Friday: 05.13.16

Brooklyn-Street-Art-Film-Friday-Jorge-Rodriguez-Gerarda-740-Screen-Shot-2016-05-13-at-8.10

bsa-film-friday-JAN-2015

 

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

Now screening :

1. Jorge Rodriguez Gerarda: Changing The Face Of Barcelona
2. Nychos X Udon Lords Crew in Taiwan
3. ERICAILCANE / Mexico City
4. Pref ID

bsa-film-friday-special-feature

BSA Special Feature: Jorge Rodriguez Gerarda: Changing The Face Of Barcelona

“It’s not necessarily street art and its not necessarily the known directions of contemporary art,” says Jorge Rodriguez Gerarda as he describes his mural paintings of a woman he photographed. His critical eye toward the way images and messages are marketed to us by advertisers is not new, he says, having devised ways to culture-jam and deface ads in the public space in New York in the past. Now he has developed a voice that in praise of the everyday person and is giving it volume on this vast façade in Barcelona.

 

Nychos X Udon Lords Crew in Taiwan

Building and pumping adrenaline is the cohesive device that ties together these images of people in action and the audio outtakes from adventure films, evangelists, propaganda and advertising slogans. Nychos loves to rip the mortal coil open for you to examine its contents and his metaphor is the innards of animals. This vicious/comedic somewhat exploding dragon is in itself a symbol to generations of people and by juxtaposing it with text based graffiti lettering and these intercut messages you know he is examining the beast from as many angles as possible. Director Cory Ring captures this quote in Taiwan: “But what we know is art is not a crime. The crime is the state of mind” to end the brief but effective visual and aural onslaught.

ERICAILCANE / Mexico City

Rapid drums and bass and reggae keep the painters animated for the creation of “The Rabbit & the Fox”, a new mural by the Italian Street Artist Ericailcane in Mexico City.

Images and editing by Alice Bettolo.

Pref ID

Northwest London’s Pref takes us into his studio and onto walls in a test of how he interprets words thrown to him freestyle. His overlapping word and letter styling is compelling and his point of view is clear. But hang in there for the paper-cut collages!

Please follow and like us:
Read more