Tuesday night the summer air was heavy and thick, after an “ozone alert” day in New York drove most sensible people inside corner delis to slide open the icecream case and stare at popsicles for a few minutes, cooling off in the process. Thankfully there is always the roof!
Billi Kid led a cadre of 28 street and graffiti artists up the stairs above Gawker’s plush and well-appointed offices to host an unusual show called “Mom and Popism”. It was officially a press preview but there were about 150 people, cocktails, fancy snacks, a DJ, and even a few high-class prostitutes, but they came in with us.
Aside from the impressive list of participants, what makes this show remarkable is the use of Jim and Karla Murray’s photographs of New York “mom and pop” storefronts, blown up to nearly their original size, then carefully appointed with work of the artists in such an integrated way that it’s as if they brought the sidewalk up to the 4th floor.
One of the street artists, Royce Bannon, was on hand at the preview to talk about his experience;
BSA: How was it putting your piece up on a photograph of a storefront?
Royce: Uh, it was interesting. It was alright, it was fun, it was cool. I was in and out really fast.
BSA: Where you concerned that it wouldn’t really look like the street?
Royce: Actually I was concerned about what material they were going to use because I didn’t know what kind of paint to bring. I like Jim and Karla’s photography anyway so I would have done whatever they wanted.
BSA: Does this particular monster have a name?
Royce: Penny, because she’s got penny eyes. Like remember on PeeWee Herman, remember the Penny?
The night breeze was a relief, Jim and Karla were gamely signing copies of their book “Storefront: The Disappearing Face of New York”, artists were signing and creating pieces in each other’s copy of the book, and there was a fair amount of posing. The guests standing in front the storefronts created more than one or two double-takes because you could easily be transported to the streetscape without realizing they were photographs.
There will be a public showing of the installation on the 15th and we’ll be talking to Jim and Karla and Billi the Kid in upcoming posts, but first here’s a quick slideshow of behind-the-scenes makeing of the show from Mr. Kidd.
Artists featured are: Blanco, Buildmore, Cake, Celso, Cern, Chris (RWK), Crome, Cycle, David Cooper, Destroy & Rebuild, Enamel Kingdom, Goldenstash, Infinity, Kngee, Lady Pink, Matt Siren, Moran Thomas, Peru Ana Ana Peru, Plasma Slugs, Royce Bannon, Shai R. Dahan, Shiro, The Dude Company, Tikcy, Under Water Pirates, Veng (RWK), Zoltron, Billi Kid