All posts tagged: Moscow

C215 and Two Fine Ladies In Moscow

C215 and Two Fine Ladies In Moscow

BSA is in Moscow as curators of 50+ international artists in the Artmossphere Biennale 2018 for its 3rd edition called Street Art Wave. Till the end of the month we’ll working with a stellar cross section of people involved with Urban Art/Street Art/Graffiti at curious and fascinating intersections. We’re meeting with Street Artists, academics, collectors, gallerists, museum curators, organizers, and thoughtful pontificators of all sorts in studio, on the street, behind the scenes, and on display. Come with us!


Finding Street Art is sort of like a treasure hunt – one that you become addicted to and can never fully peel away from your psychological experience of the city.

Today we found by chance an eight year old stencil piece in Moscow that we had imprinted in our minds  probably ever since French Street Artist C215 first posted it on his Flickr page in 2010.  Of course his stencil style is his alone, but the style of these two figures is also impeccable – if fading from its original grandeur. If we find more information regarding their identity, we’ll update this post. In the meantime we’ll enjoy the serendipity of meeting old friends for the first time on the streets of Moscow.

C215. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A shot by the artist when he first painted this in 2010 (© C215)

A shot by the artist when he first painted this in 2010 (© C215)

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Tristan Eaton Pops The Cosmonaut Theme In Moscow

Tristan Eaton Pops The Cosmonaut Theme In Moscow

BSA is in Moscow as curators of 50+ international artists in the Artmossphere Biennale 2018 for its 3rd edition called Street Art Wave. Till the end of the month we’ll working with a stellar cross section of people involved with Urban Art/Street Art/Graffiti at curious and fascinating intersections. We’re meeting with Street Artists, academics, collectors, gallerists, museum curators, organizers, and thoughtful pontificators of all sorts in studio, on the street, behind the scenes, and on display. Come with us!


Ask most Street Artists looking for fame and they’ll tell you it is a bonifide space race out there – looking for the right wall that gets the best exposure to peers and fans is key to winning. Tristan Eaton is launching his murals around the world this summer – including New York’s famed Houston/Bowery wall and this cosmonaut themed installation that has landed in a heavily trafficked section of Moscow’s inner ring.

It’s part of a project called The Artrium that has been inviting high profile international and Russian Street Artists to paint this summer. We hear news that more Americans will touchdown before cold weather arrives, including Futura and Shepard Fairey in September.

Tristan Eaton. Moscow, Russia. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

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WK Interact Leaping From Rooftops In Moscow

WK Interact Leaping From Rooftops In Moscow


BSA is in Moscow as curators of 50+ international artists in the Artmossphere Biennale 2018 for its 3rd edition called Street Art Wave. Till the end of the month we’ll working with a stellar cross section of people involved with Urban Art/Street Art/Graffiti at curious and fascinating intersections. We’re meeting with Street Artists, academics, collectors, gallerists, museum curators, organizers, and thoughtful pontificators of all sorts in studio, on the street, behind the scenes, and on display. Come with us!


Last week we featured several photographs from Martha Cooper of WK Interact while they were both participating at the 20x21EUG Mural Project in Eugene, Oregon. So naturally we were surprised to see him jumping from rooftops here in Moscow – or more appropriately maybe he was para-troopering down from the sky, having been dropped by a plane. As he does.

No surprise here, Martha is on her way to Moscow as well!

WK Interact. Moscow, Russia. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ben Eine Welcomes You to Moscow

Ben Eine Welcomes You to Moscow


BSA is in Moscow as curators of 50+ international artists in the Artmossphere Biennale 2018 for its 3rd edition called Street Art Wave. Till the end of the month we’ll working with a stellar cross section of people involved with Urban Art/Street Art/Graffiti at curious and fascinating intersections. We’re meeting with Street Artists, academics, collectors, gallerists, museum curators, organizers, and thoughtful pontificators of all sorts in studio, on the street, behind the scenes, and on display. Come with us!


BSA has just arrived in the home of the Kremlin and while waiting 5 hours for a hotel room to become available after the 10 hour plane trip we hit the streets to capture whatever we could find – hopefully without walking directly into traffic because of the deliriously heavy jet lag.

None of the Artmossphere artists who will be creating and installing have arrived yet here, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing fun to see on the Street Art scene in the capital and most populous city of Russia (13.2 million).

Earlier in the year we spent some time with Ben Eine in Colombia so imagine our surprise when turning a corner we saw this welcoming sign in his signature letters looming high and bright – reaffirming to us that YES we are indeed in the right place at the right time here in Moscow.

Ben Eine. Moscow, Russia. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ben Eine. Moscow, Russia. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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60 Artists at a Moscow Street Art Biennale: “Artmossphere 2016”

60 Artists at a Moscow Street Art Biennale: “Artmossphere 2016”

The Moscow Manege Hosts International and Local Street Artists for a Biennale

Moscow presents a Street Artist’s exhibition, but the streets have almost none.

When Street Art and it’s associated cousins move inside the possible outcomes are many. With exhibitions like this you are seeing urban becoming very contemporary.brooklyn-street-art-sozyone-jaime-rojo-09-04-2016-web

Belgian artist SozyOne at Artmossphere Biennale 2016, Moscow. photo © Jaime Rojo

The Artmossphere Biennale jump-starts the debate for many about how to best present the work of Street Artists and organizers here in Moscow chose a broad selection of curators from across a spectrum of private, commercial, academic and civically-inspired perspectives to present a solid range of artists from the graffiti and Street Art world inside a formal hall.

To be clear, unless it is illegal and on the street, it is not graffiti nor Street Art. That is the prevailing opinion about these terms among experts and scholars of various stripes and it is one we’re comfortable with. But then there are the commercial and cultural influences of the art world and the design industries, with their power to reshape and loosen terms from their moorings. Probably because these associated art movements are happening and taking shape before our eyes and not ensconced in centuries of scholarship we can expect that we will continue to witness the morphing our language and terminologies, sometimes changing things in translation.

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A working carousel provides wildly waving optics for riders in this room by The London Police at the Artmossphere Biennale 2016, Moscow. photo © Jaime Rojo

Definitions aside, when you think of more organic Street Art scenes which are always re-generating themselves in the run-down abandoned sectors of cities like Sao Paulo, New York, Melbourne, Paris, Mexico City, London, and Berlin, it is interesting to consider that this event takes place nearly on the grounds of the Kremlin under museum like security.

An international capital that ensures cleanly buffed walls within hours of the appearance of any unapproved Street Art or graffiti, Moscow also boasts a growing contingent of art collectors who are young enough to appreciate the cultural currency of this continuously mutating hybrid of graffiti, hip hop, DIY, muralism, and art-school headiness. The night clubs and fashionable kids here are fans of events like hip-hop and graffiti jams, sometimes presented as theater and other times as “learning workshops” and the like.

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Madrid-based Paris born artist Remed at the Artmossphere Biennale 2016, Moscow. photo © Jaime Rojo

Plugging into this idea of street and youth culture is not a singular fascination – there is perhaps an association with the rebellious anti-authoritarian nature of unregulated art in the streets that fuels the interest of many. With graffiti and hip-hop culture adoption as a template, newer expressions of Street Art culture are attractive as well with high profile artists with rebel reputations are as familiar in name here as in many cities. New festivals and events sometimes leverage this renegade free-spirit currency for selling tourism and brands and real estate, but here there also appears to be an acute appreciation for its fine art expression – urban contemporary art.


MOSCOW’S MANEGE AND “DEGENERATE ART”

So ardent is the support for Artmossphere here that a combination of public and private endorsements and financial backing have brought it to be showcased in a place associated with high-culture and counter-culture known as the Moscow Manege (Мане́ж). The location somehow fits the rebellious spirit that launched these artists even if its appearance wouldn’t lead you to think that.

The 19th century neo-classical exhibition hall stands grandly adjacent to Red Square and was built as an indoor riding school large enough to house a battalion of 2,000 soldiers during the 1800s. It later became host to many art exhibitions in the 20th century including a famous avant-garde show in 1962 that Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev famously derided as displaying ‘degenerate’ art.

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Polish painter Sepe says his wall speaks to those who would pull the strings behind the scenes. He finished it within three days at the Artmossphere Biennale 2016, Moscow. photo © Jaime Rojo

One of the artists whose work was criticized, painter and sculptor Ernst Neizvestny, challenged the label defiantly and won accolades afterward during his five decade career that followed, including receiving many awards and his work being collected worldwide by museums. Russian President Vladimir Putin is quoted as calling him “a recognised master and one of the best contemporary sculptors”. In January of this year at the age of 90, Neizvestny’s return to Menage featured an extensive exhibition. He passed away August 9th (The Moscow Times), only weeks before Artmossphere opened.

In some kindred spirit many of these artists at Artmossphere have done actual illegal work on the streets around the world during their respective creative evolutions, and graffiti and Street Art as a practice have both at various times been demonized, derided, dismissed and labeled by critics in terms synonymous with “degenerate”.


A CLEAN CITY

“Moscow is mostly very clean,” says Artmossphere co-founder and Creative Director Sabine Chagina, who walks with guests during a sunny afternoon in a busy downtown area just after the opening. “But we do have some good graffiti crews,” she says as we round the corner from the famous Bolshoi Theater and soon pass Givenchy and Chanel and high-end luxury fashion stores. Shortly we see a mural nearby by French artist Nelio, who painted a lateral abstracted geometric, possibly cubist, piece on the side of a building here in 2013 as part of the LGZ Festival.

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Barcelona based Miss Van had one of her paintings translated into a woven wool rug with artisans in Siberia. Here is a detail at the Artmossphere Biennale 2016, Moscow. photo © Jaime Rojo.

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Miss Van at the Artmossphere Biennale 2016, Moscow. photo © Jaime Rojo

If there was graffiti here in Moscow, it was not on full display very readily in this part of town. In driving tours, rides on the extensive metro train system, and in street hikes across the city a visitor may find that much of the illegal street art and graffiti common to other global capitals is illusive due to a general distaste for it and a dedicated adherence to buffing it out quickly.

For a pedestrian tourist Moscow appears in many ways as fully contemporary and architecturally rich as any international world-class metropolis. One of the cleanest places you’ll visit, the metro is almost museum-like in some instances; the historic districts spotless, public fountains, famed statues of important historical figures. All is efficiently ordered and – a welcome surprise – most public space is free of advertisements interrupting your view and your thoughts.

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Chile-born, Berlin-based artist and sculptor Pablo Benzo curated by The Art Union at the Artmossphere Biennale 2016, Moscow. photo © Jaime Rojo

Come to think of it, the sense of commercial-celebrity media saturation that is present in other cities doesn’t appear to permeate the artists psyche here at the Biennale – so there’s not much of the ironic Disney-Marilyn-supermodel-Kardashian-skewering of consumerism and shallowness in this exhibition that you may find in other Urban Art events.

Also, unlike a Street Art-splattered show in London for example that may rudely mock Queen Elizabeth or art in New York streets that present Donald Trump styled as a pile of poo and Hillary Clinton as Heath Ledger’s Joker, we didn’t see over-the-top Putin satires either. So personality politics don’t seem directly addressed in this milieu. According to some residents there was an outcropping of huge festival murals by Street Artists here just a few years ago but more recently they have been painted over with patriotic or other inspiring murals, while others have been claimed for commercial interests.

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Brazilian Claudio Ethos at Artmossphere 2016. photo © Jaime Rojo


A REAL LIVE MURAL FROM L’ATLAS

Starved for some gritty street scenes, it is all the more interesting to see the one live mural painting that we were able to catch – a 6-story red-lined op-art tag by the French graffiti writer L’Atlas. Far from Manege, placed opposite a cineplex in what appears to be a shopping mall situated far from the city’s historical and modern centers, our guide tells us half-jokingly that he is not sure that we are still in Moscow.

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L’Atlas on a Moscow wall for Artmossphere 2016. photo © Jaime Rojo

Here L’Atlas says that he has painted his bar-code-like and cryptic nom-de-plume with an assistant on a cherry picker for a few days and he says that no one has stopped to ask him about it, neither to comment or criticize. Actually one man early one morning returning home from a disco did engage him briefly, but it was difficult to tell what he was talking about as he may have had a few drinks.

This lack of public commentary is mainly notable because in other cities the comments from passersby can be so ubiquitous that artists deliberately wear stereo headphones to prevent interruption and to be more productive. Sometimes the headphones are not actually playing music.

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The inside installation by L’Atlas for Artmossphere features multiple abstract iterations of his tag in day glo. photo © Jaime Rojo


WALKING THROUGH THE OPENING

This Street Art Biennale nonetheless is gaining a higher profile among Urban Art collectors and its associated art dealers and the opening and later auction reaches directly to this audience. Included this year with the primary “Invisible Walls” exhibition are satellite events in association with local RuArts Gallery, Tsekh Belogo at Winzavod, and the Optika Pavilion (No. 64) at VDNKh.

The opening night event itself is wide and welcoming, a mostly youthful and populist affair with celebratory speeches and loosely organized group photos and an open bar. Added together with a press conference, a live DJ, virtual reality headsets, interactive artworks, major private business sponsors, government grants, ministers of culture, gallerists, and quirkily fashionable art fans, this is a polished presentation of a global culture that is filtered through the wide lense of the street.

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Wes21 from Switzerland is a graffiti artist blending reality and fantasy in this lunar-like landscape for Artmossphere features multiple abstract iterations of his tag in day glo. photo © Jaime Rojo

Perhaps because the exhibition hall is a cavernous rectangle with exposed beams on the ceiling and many of the constructed white walls that mimic vendor booths, it has the air of an art fair. There are thankfully no salespeople pacing back and forth watching your level of interest. People tend to cluster before installations and talk, laugh, share a story, pose for a selfie.


INVISIBLE WALLS

Similar in theme to the multidisciplinary exhibit about borders and boundaries curated by Raphael Schacter this spring in St. Petersburg at the Street Art Museum, Artmossphere asked artists to think about and address the “invisible walls” in contemporary life and societies.

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Domo Collective present “Fair Play III” an enormous world map functioning ping pong table with a triple razor wire fence right down the middle. “We play an unhealthy game in which nobody believed to be responsible.” At Artmossphere 2016 in Moscow. Photo ©Jaime Rojo

The theme seems very appropriately topical as geopolitical, trade-related, social, digital, and actual walls appear to be falling down rapidly today while the foundations of new ones are taking shape. Catalyzed perhaps by the concept and practices of so-called “globalization” – with its easy flow of capital and restricted flow of humans, we are all examining the walls that are shaping our lives.

With 60+ international artists working simultaneously throughout this massive hall, newly built walls are the imperative for displaying art, supporting it, dividing it. These are the visible ones. With so many players and countries represented here, one can only imagine that there are a number of invisible walls present as well.

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Domo Collective at Artmossphere 2016 in Moscow. Photo ©Jaime Rojo

The theme has opened countless interpretations in flat and sculptural ways, often expressed in the vernacular of fine art with arguable nods to mid-20th century modernists, folk art, fantasy, representational art, abstract, conceptual, computer/digital art, and good old traditional graffiti tagging. Effectively it appears that when Street Art and graffiti artists pass the precipice into a multi-disciplinary exhibition such as this, one can reframe Urban/Street as important tributaries to contemporary art – but will they re-direct the flow or be subsumed within it?

The work often can be so far removed from street practice that you don’t recognize it as related.

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Vitaly Sy created a visualization of “Fear” as the main causes of internal barriers. The pieces are built around a central axis with elements at right angle to one another, and the man’s head on a swivel. Artmossphere 2016 in Moscow. Photo ©Jaime Rojo

Aside from putting work up in contested public space without permission and under cover, an average visitor may not see a common thread. These works run aesthetic to the conceptual, painterly to the sculptural, pure joy and pure politics. But then, that is we began to see in the streets as well when the century turned to the 21st and art students in large numbers in cities like New York and London and Berlin skipped the gatekeepers, taking their art directly to the public.

Perhaps beneath the surface or just above it, there is a certain anarchistic defiance, a critique of social, economic, political issues, a healthy skepticism toward everyone and everything that reeks of hypocritical patriarchal power structures. Perhaps we’re just projecting.

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Moscow Manege exterior opening night of Artmossphere 2016 in Moscow. Photo courtesy of and © Artmossphere

Looking over the 60+ list of names, it may be striking to some that very few are people of color, especially in view of the origins of the graffiti scene. Similarly, the percentage of women represented is quite small. We are familiar with this observation about Urban Art in general today, and this show mirrors the European and American scene primarily, with notable exceptions such as Instagrafite’s home-based Brazilian crew of 4 artists. As only one such sampling of a wide and dispersed scene, it is not perhaps fair to judge it by artists race, gender, or background, but while we speak of invisible walls it is worth keeping our eyes on as this “scene” is adopted into galleries, museums, and private collections.

Following are some of the artists on view at Artmossphere:

ASKE

Certainly Moscow native ASKE is gently mocking our mutated modern practices of communicating with his outsized blocked abstraction of a close couple riveted to their respective electronic devices, even unaware of one another.

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Moscow Street Artist ASKE at Artmossphere 2016. photo © Jaime Rojo

NeSpoon

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“Precariat” by Polish Street Artist NeSpoon at Artmossphere 2016 with Urban Nation photo © Jaime Rojo

Warsaw based NeSpoon creates a sculpture of another couple. Heroically presenting her vision of what she calls the iconic “Graffiti Writer” and “Street Art Girl”, they face the future with art instruments in hand ready to make their respective marks. She says her work is emblematic of a permanent financial insecurity for a generation she calls the “PRECARIAT”.

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“Precariat” by Polish Street Artist NeSpoon at Artmossphere 2016 with Urban Nation photo © Jaime Rojo

“ ‘Precariat’ is the name of the new emerging social class,” says curator, organizer, and NeSpoon’s partner Marcin Rutkiewicz when talking about the piece during the press conference. “These are young people living without a predictable future, without good jobs, without social security. It’s a class in the making and probably these people don’t have any consciousness or global unity of interest. But they are the engines of protest for people all over the world – like Occupy Wall Street, Gezi Park in Turkey, or the Arab Spring.”

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“Precariat” by Polish Street Artist NeSpoon at Artmossphere 2016 with Urban Nation photo © Jaime Rojo

The artist developed the sculpture specifically for this exhibition and planned it over the course of a year or so. Born of a social movement in Poland by the same name, the sculpture and its sticker campaign on the street represent “a kind of protest against building walls between people who are under the same economical and social situation all over the world,” says Rutkiewicz.

 

LI-HILL

Artist Li-Hill says his piece “Guns, Germs, and Steel” directly relates to the divisions between civilizations due to a completely uneven playing field perpetuated through generations. Inspired by the 1997 trans-disciplinary non-fiction book by Jared Diamond, Li-Hill says the Russian sculptural group called “The Horse Tamers” represents mankind’s “ability to harness power of the natural world and to be able to manipulate it for its advantage.”

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“Guns, Germs, and Steel” by Li-Hill at Artmossphere 2016 with Urban Nation photo © Jaime Rojo

“The horse is one of the largest signifiers and is a catalyst for advancement in society because it has been for military use, for agriculture, for transportation,” he says. “It was the most versatile of the animals and the most powerful.” Here he painted a mirror image, balanced over a potential microbial disaster symbol, and he and the team are building a mirrored floor to “give it this kind of infinite emblem status.”

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The artist Li-Hill inside his piece at Artmossphere 2016. photo © Jaime Rojo

M-CITY

Afloat in the middle of some of these walled areas M-City from Poland is choosing to be more direct thematically in his three dimensional installation of plywood, plaster, aerosol and bucket paint, and machine blown insulation.

“It is an anti-war piece,” he says, and he speaks about the walls between nations and a losing battle of dominance that ensures everyone will be victim.”

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The artist M-City at Artmossphere 2016. photo © Jaime Rojo

“It’s kind of a monster who destroys arms,” he says of this temporary sculpture with a lording figure crushing tanks below.

“He is destroying the tanks but at the same time he is also a destroyer – so it’s a big circle. Nothing is positive that can come out of this. There is always someone bigger.” He says the piece is inspired by the political situations in Europe today and the world at large.

HOTTEA

Minneapolis based HOTTEA usually does very colorful yarn installations transforming a huge public space, but for Artmossphere he is taking the conceptual route. The walk-in room based on the Whack-A-Mole game presents holes which a visitor can walk under and rise above.

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The artist Hot Tea at Artmossphere 2016. photo © Jaime Rojo

Visitors/participants will experience the physical separation of space, and perhaps contemplate facing one another and interacting or ignoring one another. It is something he says he hopes will draw attention to how many walls we have allowed ourselves to distract from human interactions.

 

SICK BOY

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Climb over a wall to slide into Sick Boy’s “The Rewards System”. photo © Jaime Rojo

Englands’ Sick Boy calls his project The Rewards System, where guests are invited to climb a ladder over a brick wall and descend down a slide into a darkened house, setting off a series of sensors that activate a variety of multisensory lights and tantalizing patterns. After landing and being rewarded the visitor is forced to exit on hands and knees through a too-small square door.

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A young visitor exits Sick Boy’s “The Rewards System”. photo © Jaime Rojo

“The concept of the show is about invisible walls so I was thinking about there being barriers in your life and I thought about the reward of endorphins one experiences for achieving a task – a small amount of endorphins. So I thought I would build a house that signifies the reward system,” he explains.

DEREK BRUNO

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Temporary installations : Slab Fence PO-2. Derek Bruno. photo © Jaime Rojo

Atlanta/Seattle based Derek Bruno reached back to the Leonid Brezhnev years and into Moscow’s Gorky Park for his series of site specific installations based on Soviet Cement Fence type PO-2. The iconic fence was re-created in a nearby studio and Bruno shot photographs of his 10-15 minute “interventions” in the park itself, revisiting a field of design called “technical aesthetics.”

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A photo on display for his installation from Derek Bruno “MOSCOW PO2 Escalator” for Artmossphere. Photo ©Derek Bruno

In a statement Bruno explains “Since the end of the Soviet Union, the iconic fence has become a persistent and ever present reminder of former delineations of space; while new forms of boundaries shape the digital and sociopolitical landscapes. “

REMI ROUGH

Remi Rough is known for his smartly soaring abstract geometry in painted murals and smaller scale works, and for Moscow he wanted to strip it back to the basics, approaching a white box with one undulating graphic composition.

“My idea was that Moscow’s a bit ‘over the top’,” he says, and he decided to strip back the audacity and go for simplicity, which actually takes courage.

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Remi Rough, “Fold”. photo © Jaime Rojo

“I said ‘you know what?’ – I want to do something with the cheapest materials you can possibly get. These two pieces literally cost 3000 rubles ($50). It’s made of felt, it’s like a lambs wool. I think they use it for flooring for construction.” Depending on the angle, the pink blotted material may translate as a swath of otherworldly terrain or a metaphorical bold vision with all the hot air let out.

“I wanted to do something peaceful and calming and use natural materials – something that’s different from what I usually do – but I use the folds in the fabric and the pink color – two things that I usually use a lot.”

ALEXEY LUKA

Moscow’s Alexey Luka is also challenging himself to stretch creatively by taking his wall collage installations of found wood and converting them into free-standing sculptures.

“For this biennale I tried to make something different so now I am going from the assemblages to 3-D.” The constructed media is warm and ordered, reserved but not without whimsy.

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Alexey Luka at Artmossphere Biennale 2016 photo © Jaime Rojo

“My work is made from found wood – I use it with what I found on the street and my shapes and my graphics – so it’s kind of an experiment with three dimensions,” and he confirms that most of this wood is sourced here in Moscow.

We ask him about the number of eyes that peer out from his installation. Perhaps these eyes are those of Muscovites? “They are just like observers,” he says.

MIMMO RUBINO AKA RUB KANDY

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Mimmo aka Rub Kandy at Artmossphere 2016. photo © Jaime Rojo

Torino’s Mimmo recreated the Moscow Olympic Village from the 1980 games in miniature presented as on a plainly brutalist platform. The sculpture is austere in detail on the hulking towers save for the tiny graffiti tags, throwies, rollers, extinguisher tags, and the like at the bases and on the roofs.

Curator Christian Omodeo tells us that Mimmo recreated the massive village based on his direct study of the site as it stands today; a housing project that has hundreds of families — and a hip-hop / graffiti scene as well.

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Mimmo aka Rub Kandy at Artmossphere 2016. photo © Jaime Rojo

It is striking that the scale reduces the impact of the graffiti – yet when experienced at eye-level it retains a potency. Even so, by recasting the relationship between viewer and mark-making, this graffiti actually seems “cute” because of its relative size to the viewer.

BRAD DOWNEY

Brad Downey and Alexander Petrelli hi-jacked the opening of the Biennale by circulating within the exhibit as a gallery with artworks for sale. With Downey performing as a street-huckster pushing his own art products, Mr. Patrelli showcased new Downey photo collages and drawings inside his mobile “Overcoat Gallery”

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Alexander Petrelli exhibits work by Brad Downey at Artmossphere 2016. photo © Jaime Rojo

A charming Moscow art star / gallerist / performance artist, Mr. Patrelli is also a perennial character at openings and events in the city, by one account having appeared at 460 or so events since 1992 with his flashing overcoat. The artworks also feature Patrelli, completing a self-referential meta cycle that continued to circle the guests at the exhibition.

International artists participating in the Artmossphere Biennale 2016 include: Akacorleone, Alex Senna, Brad Downey, Chu (Doma), Orilo (Doma), Claudio Ethos, Demsky, Christopher Derek Bruno, Filippo Minelli, Finok, Galo, Gola Hundun, Hot Tea, Jaz, Jessie and Katey, Johannes Mundinger, L’Atlas, LiHill, LX One, M-city, TC, Mario Mankey, Martha Cooper, Miss Van, Nespoon, Millo, Pablo Benzo, Pastel, Paulo Ito, Proembrion, Remed, Remi Rough, Rub Kandy, Run, Sepe, Sickboy, Smash 137, Sozyone Gonsales, SpY, The London Police, Trek Matthews, Wes 21.


This article is a result of a Brooklyn Street Art partnership with Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art in Berlin and was originally published at Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art


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BSA Images Of The Week: 09.11.16

BSA Images Of The Week: 09.11.16

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BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

It’s the 15th Anniversary of 9/11 in New York. It will be a quiet day for us.

We hope.

So, here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Bast, Elian, EQC, Hama Woods, MCA, Mundano, Robert Montgomery, SacSix, Sayer, Shok1, TomBob, Zachem, and Зачем.

Our top image: Elian in Moscow for the first edition of Artmossphere 2014. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Plastic Jesus does his bit to stop this mean, selfish, racist, dishonest, greedy little man to become king. If he succeeds we’ll all lose – Even those who think they support him. The stench will reach us all. World War II didn’t just happen from one day to the other. It built up. It simmered. It took shape while people were distracted. Yo, this is surreeeus. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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EQC fashions a Loteria Card with an image of you-know-who. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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TomBob take on the proverbial See No Evil. Hear No Evil. Speak No Evil. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Robert Montgomery’s installation for NUART 2016 Tou Scene indoor exhibition. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

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Unidentified artist. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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And now a little of the old soft-shoe shuffle. Hama Woods in conjunction with NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

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Shok1 for  Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art (UN) at Lollapalooza. Berlin 2016. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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BAST (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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A filthy piggy by an unidentified artist. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Зачем in Moscow. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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MCA toying around in Chelsea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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A tribute to Gene Wilder as the original Willy Wonka. SACSIX (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Mundano giving a shout out to recycling and recyclers in NYC.(photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Mundano (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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SAYER in Moscow. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Untitled. Manhattan, NYC. September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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BSA Images Of The Week: 09.04.16

BSA Images Of The Week: 09.04.16

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The walls are speaking. Unless they have been silenced.

We regularly conject that a graffiti or Street Art piece rides only as long as it is allowed. Subject to immediate and daily perusal, illegal and legal artworks on the streets bear the scrutiny of society and can be singularly or collectively accepted or censored. In this respect, it is a reasonable assertion that our Street Art reflects societal views and tastes to a certain extent.  In one city nudity is quickly crossed over while an anti-imperialist rant may run for weeks for example, while another city may invert that equation.

This week’s images draw heavily from Berlin and Moscow, two cities that we’ve been in recently. While the images we have do not necessarily depict the range of visual conversation topics (this is more of a mini travelog) it is fresh on our mind the distinct differences of voices on the street – or the absense of. Expand the speech definition to advertising messages in the public sphere and to use a back-to-school metaphor, you’ll find that Moscow and Marrakech are quiet as a library while cities like New York and Berlin are the boys gymnasium during recess. This topic can be expanded into an essay, but alas, our Images of the Week are a small collection of artworks published in the public sphere just to help you keep somewhat current.

So, here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Appleton Pictures, Aske, ASKE, August, Dumb Saint, DXTRXN, Mongolz, Nasca Uno, Nelio, Ore, Plotbot Ken, Sophie Lambda, Tobo, Tuyu, and Zimad.

Tobo trolls Banksy and his “CND Soldiers” at Teufelsberg mountain in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tobo dispensing sage advise at Teufelsberg mountain in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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ASKE depicts an attractive female figure holding the key to a hopeful future in Moscow. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nelio in Moscow. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Indonesian Graffiti writer Tuyu mixes it up in Moscow. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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August in Moscow. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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BSA, Martha Cooper, Kostya August and Tuyu in Moscow. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Graffiti with Dog still life on the Berlin Metro. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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ORE in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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German angst in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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DXTRXN in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Plotbot Ken at Teufelsberg mountain in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Plotbot Ken at Teufelsberg mountain in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nasca Uno at Teufelsberg mountain in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The shadow of Blu. Mongolz and company at the old BLU wall in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dumb Saint (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Zimad (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Appleton Pictures (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sophie Lambda (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Untitled. Moscow, Russia. August 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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Artmossphere Dispatch 4 : The Opening

Artmossphere Dispatch 4 : The Opening

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This week BSA is in Moscow with you and Urban Nation for Artmossphere 2016, the 2nd Street Art Biennale, a group exposition introducing 26 Russian and 42 foreign artists who were shaped by street art in some way. Also present are international curators, museums and galleries who have significantly intersected with urban art in recent years.

Artmossphere co-founder and curator Sabina Chagina pulled off a second edition of this biennale last night in Moscow – not an easy feat. But with 11 curators and nearly 70 artists from here and around the world, the multi-discipline show unveiled on time and was well attended – with a steady stream of curious fans coming through the space today as well.

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Sick Boy’s installation found a number of kids to climb the ladder and take the slide (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With the air of an art fair (minus the sales associates and plus the soaring arched windows) and work often so far removed from street practice that you may refer to it simply as Urban Contemporary, there is a palpable enthusiasm and curiosity here about what this “movement” might be bringing.

Most if not all of the international artists have intersected with illegal Street Art in cities around the world and this work has often evolved from the practice. Perhaps beneath the surface or just above it, there is a certain defiance and a critique of social, economic, political issues and systems.

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A child exits the Sick Boy “The Rewards System” installation. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Elsewhere the presentation is primarily aesthetic, very muted or so similar to previous mid-20th-century art schools as to appear separate from what one may recognize as the urban art of the last two decades. Similarly, the inclusion of graffiti is only occasional and is presented as part of the greater whole today rather than its genesis role.

Adding together a press conference, a Moscow superstar DJ, virtual reality headsets, interactive displays (otherwise known as selfie-with-art opportunities), major private business sponsors, cultural ministers, government grants, and official accreditation, this is a professional and polished presentation of a global culture that has filtered through the lense of the street.

Here are a few select shots to give you an idea of the feeling during the opening of Artmossphere 2.

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Brad Downey and Alexander Petrelli performed Brad’s huckster mobile art-selling installation on the floor of the bienalle, where Brad used his laser-like sales skills to sell his own work. Mr. Patrelli is known for his unannounced appearances at Moscow openings wearing his “Overcoat Gallery”. This was reportedly his 461st such appearance since 1992 and his flashing overcoat contained original Brad Downey artworks for your perusal.

If you missed those pieces, Brad was also drawing portraits of guests with a thin white posca marker on clear plastic at the afterparty. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Brad Downey and Alexander Petrelli (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Canadian-via-Brooklyn Li-Hill reflecting on his newest painting/installation. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jaz (Franco Fasoli) completed this emerging subterranean power horse and rider in a Moscow studio days before the opening. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Galo stood among his characters in his paint splashed installation. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Minneapolis based Hot Tea’s whack-a-mole inspired interactive piece drew many wiley participants popping up and down within it. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Katie & Jesse created this batik fabric here in Moscow and stretched it on a frame, illuminated from within. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Steve Harrington chats with the contingent from Museum of Street Art who took the train from their city of Saint Petersburg to see how Artmossphere interpreted the idea of ‘invisible walls’. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artmossphere curators at the press conference. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sepe, Denis Leo Hegic and M-City at the afterparty. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Coincidentally, or not, fireworks filled the night sky over Red Square as artists and curators and organizers all headed to the afterparty at a club a few blocks away. Um, completely magical. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artmossphere Dispatch 3: Remi, Luka, Ito and the Move Toward Contemporary

Artmossphere Dispatch 3: Remi, Luka, Ito and the Move Toward Contemporary

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This week BSA is in Moscow with you and Urban Nation for Artmossphere 2016, the 2nd Street Art Biennale, a group exposition introducing 26 Russian and 42 foreign artists who were shaped by street art in some way. Also present are international curators, museums and galleries who have significantly intersected with urban art in recent years.

A few more hours until the opening of the Artmossphere Biennale and we have seen many very successful installations – from the aesthetic to the conceptual, painterly to the sculptural, pure joy and pure politics.

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Brazil’s Paulo Ito recreated a comedic industrial-looking street scene over come by the mythical powers of the can-wielding graffiti writer. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In a word, when Street Art and graffiti artists pass the precipice into a multi-disciplinary exhibition such as this, one realizes that this scene has become an important tributary to contemporary art – and one with staying power that very well may re-direct the flow.

Perhaps the street practice is just a training ground for some or these artistss, a formative touchstone for others. It’s up to you to divine what the through-line is among these pieces, as diverse as the collection is. We think that there is a certain defiance present in many works, and a healthy skepticism toward existing hierarchical structures, but that’s just us projecting perhaps.

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Alex Sena. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Claudio Ethos. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Remi Rough is known for his smartly soaring abstract geometry in painted murals and smaller scale works, and for Artmossphere he wanted to strip his typical practice back to the basics, approaching a white box with one undulating graphic composition.

“My idea was that Moscow’s a bit ‘over the top’,” he says, and he decided to pare the audacity and go for simplicity, which actually takes courage.

“I said ‘you know what?’ – I want to do something with the cheapest materials that you can possibly get. These two pieces literally cost about 3,000 rubles ($50). It’s felt material, it’s like lambs wool. I think they use it for flooring for construction.”

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Remi Rough. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I wanted to do something peaceful and calming and to use natural materials – something that’s different from what I usually do – but I use the folds in the fabric and the pink color – two things that I usually use a lot.”

And the crisply painted pink dot? “The circle takes it back to the wall and takes it back to the kind of perfection that I like to get. I love the imperfection of the fabric as well – I love the rough edges – a kind of counter-perfection. For me this interpretation of my own work was quite freestyle.”

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Misha Buryj. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Moscow’s Alexey Luka is also challenging himself  to stretch creatively by taking his wall collage installations of found wood and converting them into free-standing sculptures.

“For this biennale I tried to make something different so now I am going from the assemblages to 3-D.”

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Alexey Luka. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“My work is made from found wood – I use what I find on the street and with my shapes and my graphics –  so it’s kind of an experiment with three dimensions,” and he says most of this wood is sourced here in Moscow. We watch him completing his singular wall piece and notice that he has painted many eyes into the composition.

“In the 2-D piece I try to combine very simple geometric shapes with the eyes and make a huge composition on the wall.” Perhaps these eyes are Muscovites?

“They are just like observers,” he says.

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Hot Tea. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Minneapolis-based artist Hot Tea usually does huge colorful yarn installations that transform public space, but for the biennale he is taking the conceptual route. The walk-in room is based on the Whack-A-Mole game. With white fabric stretched wall to wall at chest level within the cube, meter-wide holes are cut which a visitor can crouch under and rise above.

Visitors/participants will experience the physical separation of space, and perhaps contemplate facing one another or ignoring each other – with absolutely no other visual distraction. It is something he says he hopes will draw attention to how many walls we have allowed ourselves to distract us from human interactions.

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Gola. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Spiritual, scientific, and environmental topics are often intertwined in the works of Italy’s Gola, who has bundled Moscow branches and buried something glowing and golden within them.

These days, he’s being a bit more formal in his approach. “Now I’m trying to go in a kind of didactic way always – a little bit more more environmental stuff. Yes, I think it’s important.”

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Finok. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Mimmo RubKandy. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Torino’s Mimmo RubKandy recreated the Moscow Olympic village from 1980, now a home for hundreds of families, and a hip-hop graffiti scene as well. The soaring towers are painted in scale with tiny graffiti tags, throwies, extinguisher tags, and the like – at the base and on the the roofs.

Curator Christian Omodeo tells us that these are taken directly from the artists investigations of the site as it exists today. It is striking that the scale reduces the impact of the graffiti – yet when experienced at eye-level it has a potency. Accompanying the towers are framed photos of the current site via Google images, including blurred faces and logos.

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Mimmo RubKandy. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Mimmo RubKandy. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artmossphere Dispatch 1 : L’Atlas, Sepe, Martha, and All Female Graffiti Jam

Artmossphere Dispatch 1 : L’Atlas, Sepe, Martha, and All Female Graffiti Jam

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This week BSA is in Moscow with you and Urban Nation for Artmossphere 2016, the 2nd Street Art Biennale, a group exposition introducing 26 Russian and 42 foreign artists who were shaped by street art in some way. Also present are international curators, museums and galleries who have significantly intersected with urban art in recent years.

August is the month and August is the name of the driver and Russian graffiti/Street artist who is taking us through Moscow in his car with Martha Cooper to discover fresh new work by L’Atlas on a tall wall in a parking lot.

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L’Atlas. Artmossphere. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As you ride the scissor lift on hydraulic legs higher to get the right shot in the late summer sun and see the final strokes of L’Atlas’ bar coded geometry, you may find it purely abstract. It’s actually his name.

The French graffiti writer explains that his linear roller piece is an evolution from his first days spraying tags in more traditional ways.

“You know my idea is always to write my name in the same manner that I used to do in graffiti,” he explains, “It’s not so easy to see my name – like you cannot read it the first time. It’s about form, it’s about color, geometry in relation to the architecture.” Here the color is red, because we’re in Moscow, he says.

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L’Atlas. Artmossphere. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It is not unusual for passerby in other cities to stop and take photos and ask questions about the art or the artist.

Do passersby stop and ask questions about his work here? “No they have not asked me anything. Really nobody has asked me anything. I don’t know why. Normally everyone wants to know what I am doing.”

Many people were asking questions at the all-girl graffiti jam named “Code Red” at an artist compound/mini-mall/exhibition space we stopped at. Of course most of them were questions to Martha Cooper, who was stopped every few meters and asked to sign a black book or pose for a photo, which she happily and gamely did.

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Code Red. All Girls Graffiti Jam in Moscow posing with Martha Cooper. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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A Code Red participant selfie with Martha Cooper. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This was her second time here today; she had checked in earlier on the progress of the female writers, many of whom are a bit shy when approaching her. One young buck, however, nearly demands that she write exactly the name of his crew as she dedicates something in his book and asks that she pose in one picture with a t-shirt and one holding her camera.

As ever, Martha is gracious to the last fan.

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Sepe. Artmossphere. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Back at the Manege – the massive neoclassical building west of Alexander Garden that once held horses from the Kremlin and is now being built inside to house the Artmossphere Biennale. We show our passports and go through the metal detector and see Sepe, a Warsaw-based artist here with Urban Nation, atop a ladder rolling out a multilayered structured chaos across a huge wall.

His sketch taped on the canvas indicates that there will be forms arranged across this bed of color as the composition progresses. We’re intrigued by his description that is based on this year’s theme of invisible walls and the boundaries of personal freedom.

“It is more like my interpretation,” Sepe tells us. “It is just about the people who are behind everything – who are using others as puppets to do whatever they want.”

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Sepe. Artmossphere. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Of course, rewards are sought by everyone, and Britains’ Sick Boy is on a ladder of his own painting the outside of what will be a rewarding interactive pleasure house. He calls the project The Rewards System and he shows you where people will climb a ladder and descend down a slide into the darkened house where they will set off a series of sensors that activate a variety of multisensory lights and tantalizing patterns – then you exit on your hands and knees through a too small square door.

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ETHOS. Installation in progress. Artmossphere. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“The concept of the show is about invisible walls so I was thinking about there being barriers in your life and I thought about the reward of endorphins one experiences for achieving a task – a small amount of endorphins. So I thought I would build a house that signifies the reward system,” he explains with that wry smile you’ve come to expect from an artist who calls himself “sick”.

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Miss Van. Artmossphere. Moscow International Biennale of Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The rest of the show production is well underway and many artists are busy painting, sculpting, papering, suspending, or otherwise plotting. Miss Van has brought a carpet to hang, and is going through a brand new set of pieces on paper that she’ll be hanging for the show.

It’s a lot of activity and people will be working late into the night to prepare for Tuesday’s opening. We even get the chance at revealing to the world our non-existent command of the can inside a newly erected metal shed. Yes, Brooklyn is in the дом !

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August with Martha Cooper. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The full piece by Kostya August. Moscow. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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BSA Images Of The Week: 08.28.16

BSA Images Of The Week: 08.28.16

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“Back in the USSR” comes to mind as we touched down in Moscow yesterday to see and speak with the 60+ Street Artists who are creating this impressive 2nd Street Art biennale “Artmossphere” just a stone’s throw away from the Kremlin, Red Square and The International Military Music Festival that runs all week as well. We’ll be bringing you new stuff all week as part of our partnership with Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art (UN), investigating the creative process with artists, curators, and the organizing force behind all of this event.

In the mean time, we bring you work from New York and elsewhere in this week’s fine edition of BSA Images of the Week.

So, here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Aduk, Buff Monster, Crisp, Hiss, Lena Shu, Logan Hicks, Olek, and Wolfe Work.

Above: Logan Hicks. Detail of his mural “Story of My Life” on the Houston/Bowery wall,  which pays tribute to the personal and professional friends and family who have helped him in the last 10 years in NYC. New York City. August 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Logan Hicks at work on his Houston Wall mural. New York City. August 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Logan Hicks. Detail. Houston Wall. New York City. August 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Logan Hicks. Houston Wall. New York City. August 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Olek Our Pink House for Kerava Art Museum. Finland. August 2016. (photo © Olek)

Our Pink House is a new crocheted covering for a house (the second) by Street Artist OLEK – this one associated with Kerava Art Museum’s upcoming exhibition Yarn Visions, which will place the spotlight on knitted, crocheted, tufted and embroidered works.

Drawing an analogy of protection and safety in these pink crocheting patterns that stretch from the top of the chimney to the foundation of stone, this building in Kereva in southern Finland, where many bombs fell during The Winter War of 1939-40. Olek says she is concerned about the 21 million people worldwide who lost their homes due to war and conflicts in 2015 and she wants to create community based projects like this one to draw attention to the topic, and to provide some healing as well.

This particular project enlisted the help of a large group of volunteers, immigrants and women from a reception centre for asylum seekers who she brought together to crochet this covering. “Our Pink House” is about the journey, not just about the artwork itself.  It’s about us coming together as a community.  It’s about helping each other. We can show everybody that women can build houses, women can make homes,”she says. – OLEK

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Nailed it! Hiss is caught up in the Pokemon Go craze that has captured the attention of children, teens, and a certain photographer we know who is a perennial child at heart. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Buff Monster (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Buff Monster (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Buff Monster (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Wolfe Work (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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CRISP (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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ADUK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lena Shu in progress for Artmossphere – Moscow International Biennale of Street Art 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Unintended collaboration on the streets of Moscow.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Untitled. Moscow, Russia. August 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Maximiliano Ruiz Peels Back Layers : 14 From 2014

Maximiliano Ruiz Peels Back Layers : 14 From 2014

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Happy Holidays to all of you charming and sparkling BSA readers!
It’s been a raucous sleigh ride with you and we thank everyone most sincerely for your support and participation this year. A sort of tradition for us at the end of this December we are marking the year with “14 from 2014”. We asked photographers and curators from various perspectives of street culture to share a gem with all of us that means something to them. Join us as we collectively say goodbye and thank you to ’14.
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Maximiliano-Ruiz-Curator
Author and editor of Graffiti Argentina, Nuevo Mundo: Latin American Street Art, and Walls & Frames: Fine Art from the Streets, Maximiliano Ruiz can tell you about the intersection of the street with the gallery and fine art collections with a great deal of acumen. This year he shared with BSA readers a story that intersected Street Artist Pejac, a ship, and the exact time Monet completed a painting. Here he takes a step back to share with us the profane and profound: the elements involved in the Street Art scene wherever you are – in this case Moscow.
 

“Urban art can take endless forms and is constantly bringing surprises with its evolution.

But no matter what, it has always been and will always be just a very thin layer of paint on a wall.”

~ Maximiliano Ruiz

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Layers in Moscow, Russia. (photo © @ches_ches)

 

See Maximiliano’s photos in our posting >>Monet Rising: Spanish Street Artist Pejac Impressionist Tribute on Ship

 

 

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