All posts tagged: Michelle Houston

BSA Film Friday 07.22.22

BSA Film Friday 07.22.22

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

Now screening:
1. URBAN NATION 2022 – “Talking… & Other Banana Skins” – on FWTV
2. Flower Punk”- Azuma Makoto
3. JR: Can Art Change the World?

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BSA Special Feature: URBAN NATION 2022 – “Talking… & Other Banana Skins” – on FWTV

In his first official visit back to Urban Nation since its opening in 2017, Fifth Wall host Doug Gillen finds a more democratic collection of artists from various points in the street art/urban art constellation. That impression is understandable due to the heavy presence of commercial interests involved in the selection of bankable street art stars and OGs chosen to represent five decades of graffiti/street art at the opening of a new institution dedicated to the scene. Curators were careful to program several relative unknowns and lesser-recognized artists into that initial grab-bag collection, but we take the point.

It’s refreshing to hear the current show’s curator Michelle Houston speak about her personal and professional philosophy toward street art and our collective relationship to it. A hybrid of the existing UN permanent collection and new works, it comes off as a rather wholistic approach that respects more players and their contribution to what has proven to be a very democratic grassroots art movement on streets around the world.

With decidedly less focus on the ever-more codified, commodified, and blue-chip-ivy-league-endorsed criterion of exclusivity that plagues the ‘art world’, this varied collection may represent a retaining wall against trends we witness that threaten to erect the same sort of structures of exclusivity that unbridled art-in-the-streets set out to destroy. Of course, every modern counterculture eventually gets transformed on its way to accepted culture, and we’re somewhat resigned to that reality. However rather than zapping the life out of the free-wheeling nature of graffiti and street art, Urban Nation may be staking a claim of departure from peers to defend some of those original tenets – in this insistently self-defining scene.

URBAN NATION 2022 – “Talking… & Other Banana Skins” – Exhibition Review | FWTV

“Flower Punk”- Azuma Makoto

And speaking of every modern counterculture that eventually gets transformed on its way to accepted culture, we present the Punk Florist, artist Azuma Makoto, who uses plants in a sculptural manner. It is a practice that he hopes can connect humanity and nature. It may help if you are listening to Dead Kennedys or Black Flag – or perhaps something more industrial, or no-wave. But when he and his team send a ragged bundle of beauty literally into space, all bets are off. It’s a new game.

JR: Can Art Change the World?

In yet another TED talk, JR speaks for himself.

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European Month Of Photography 2020 in Berlin Features “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” Exhibition at UN

European Month Of Photography 2020 in Berlin Features “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” Exhibition at UN

We’re proud to announce that our exhibition Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures will be featured during the prestigious European Month of Photography (EMOP) in Berlin this October for Urban Nation Museum’s very first photography-based program.

The European Month of Photography is a network of European photo festivals which began in 2004 when photography enthusiasts in Berlin, Paris and Vienna decided to put photographic art at the center of public attention for one month at least every two years. It is Germany’s largest photography festival.

Today EMOP it is a network of photography and visual arts institutions from seven European capitals: Berlin, Budapest, Bratislava, Ljubljana, Luxembourg, Paris, and Vienna with aims “to confront expertise in curatorial practice in photography and the intention to develop common projects, notably exhibitions, including exchange of information about the local photographers and artists concerned with photography. Founding members include the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, the Cultural Department of the City of Berlin (Museumspädagogischer Dienst Berlin headed by Thomas Friedrich) and the Department for Cultural Affairs of the City of Vienna (director Bernhard Denscher).

Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures combine photographs and personal artefacts in this retrospective that traces her life from her first camera in nursery school in 1946 to her reputation today as a world-renowned photographer. The exhibition covers Cooper’s wide range of subject matter. Many of her photographs have become iconic representations of a time, place, or culture and are distinguished by their frank human vitality, with an eye for preserving details and traditions of cultural significance.


We’re grateful for this recognition of the exhibition and look forward to participating in the EMOP 2020 this October and we hope you can join us at Urban Nation – if not in person then please join us ONLINE for our LIVESTREAM opening October 2 !  All are welcome!

Our special thanks to our entire team at Urban Nation including but not limited to Martha Cooper and Director Jan Sauerwald and
Melanie Achilles, Dr. Hans-Michael Brey, Carsten Cielobatzki, Sean Corcoran, Annette Dooman, Steve Fiedler, Seth Globepainter, Florian Groß, Sven Harke-Kajuth, Nancy Henze, Michelle Houston, Hendrik Jellema, René Kaestner, Kerstin Küppers, Nika Kramer, Barbara Krimm, Tobias Kunz, Jean-Paul Laue, Beatrice Lindhorst, Nicola Petek, Carlo McCormick, Selina Miles, Michelle Nimpsch, Christian Omodeo, Christiane Pietsch, Dennis Rodenhauser, Jens Rueberg, Dr. Anne Schmedding, Malte Schurau, Janika Seitz, Anna Piera di Silvestre, Skeme, Markus Terboven, Reinaldo Verde, Lennart Volber, Akim Walta, Samuel Walter, Rebecca Ward, and Susan Welchman.

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Michelle Houston, BSA Wishes And Hopes For 2019

Michelle Houston, BSA Wishes And Hopes For 2019

As we draw closer to the new year we’ve asked a very special guest every day to take a moment to reflect on 2018 and to tell us about one photograph that best captures the year for them. It’s a box of treats to surprise you with every day – and conjure our hopes and wishes for 2019. This is our way of sharing the sweetness of the season and of saying ‘Thank You’ to you for inspiring us throughout the year.

Today’s special guest:

Michele Houston, enfant terrible, storyteller in the Queen’s English, curator at Monumenta festival Leipzig, at Zwitxhermaschine Gallery in Berlin, for this years very successful Wandelism, and co-founder of Berlin Art Society.

In times where the world seems to have gone mad, with segregation rather than inclusions and the unthinkable such as Brexit becomes a reality.

The photograph I selected is a night street view of the exhibition: “Bonjour Tristesse” by artist KITRA.

The show is titled after the infamous graffiti just off Schlesisches Tor (Berlin), which has crowned the building opposite the exhibition for the past 37 years, which translates to hello sadness and seems to embody the zeitgeist of now.

The public from all walks of life were invited to literally walk in to an artwork, as the walls, ceiling and floor were painted by the artist. It was an exhibition like a candy shop, where one could immerse themselves inside of an artwork.

In 2019 I wish for more colour and light to break through the impending darkness.

Artist: Kitra

Location: Berlin, Germany

Date: 29.04.2018

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Calligraffiti Runs Through It : “Einen Tag lang Fur Immer” in Berlin

Calligraffiti Runs Through It : “Einen Tag lang Fur Immer” in Berlin

A tiny gallery pop-up show at Zwitxhermaschine Gallery in Berlin quickly illustrates quite literally the narrative that is often on the street between different pieces and players.

In this case the photographs by Manfred Weber, the only two on display in this storefront space, were entirely unconnected until author Nora Linneman joined them in her mind and her imagination.

The calligraffitist Parisurteil literally tagged the story across the two pieces, a painted tattoo of text that wends across the walls, ceiling and floor of the space in such a way that you may become dizzy standing in the all-white box as you follow the narrative thread around the space.

The photographer, the writer and the urban calligrapher all come together to create “Einen Tag lang für immer” (roughly translated as “For one day forever”) – an uncommon story told by many.


“In very few circumstances do you get this kind of mix of people together,” says Michelle Houston, who co-curated the show with Denis Leo Hegic. “We were looking to make a collaborative piece and we think that bringing different disciplines together is quite unusual.”

If you are in Berlin this weekend and would like to hear Nora Linnemann’s enchanting story read by the author at 4 pm Sunday September 9th.

Einen Tag land für immer is organized by Denis Leo Hegic and Michelle Houston at the Zwitschermaschibe Galerie in Berlin. The exhibition closes on September 12th, 2018.

BERLIN ART SOCIETY @ Zwitschermaschine

Eröffnung: Do 16.08.2018, 19 Uhr
Ausstellung: 17.08. – 12.09.


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