All posts tagged: new york

Tina Ziegler Brings Moniker to Brooklyn (Interview)

Tina Ziegler Brings Moniker to Brooklyn (Interview)


BSA is welcoming a number of friends and honored peers to Brooklyn this May as a full circle event takes place in Greenpoint on the East River; the Moniker Art Fair. Our original romance with the streets in Brooklyn included neighborhoods like this one, which served as a laboratory for the Street Art scene that erupted in the mid-late 90s and early 00s.

To see this wild unfettered growth of largely anonymous art-on-the-streets, a truck-full of new art practices spilling into abandoned neighborhoods and neglected buildings, was a time of magic for us, especially after 9/11 forced us to walk the streets just to clear our minds, witnessing the art explosion that had begun in earnest.

Roughly two decades later, the commercial art world accepts Street Art on its own terms – sometimes with genuine appreciation and understanding, other times as part of a bandwagon of current trends.

Academia and institutions still study the movement at arms length in some ways, perhaps allowing elements of class and orthodoxy to cloud their vision, even while grappling with the earthquake of people-powered art that is reaching directly to art fans through social media.

Now more comfortable with a rebranding of graffiti/Street Art/urban art as something more akin to Contemporary, collectors see that this work is frequently able to address the modern world better than other movements – but we are getting ahead of ourselves.

Screenshot of some of the exhibitors at Moniker 2018 in Brooklyn (© Moniker Art Fair)

Art Fairs have allowed Street Art inroads in recent years; first a sort of sideshow, perhaps, more recently as a bonifide category. Moniker, founded by Tina Ziegler, began with this as its foundation. Deeply influenced by her own involvement and exposure as a youth to a uniquely 1990s Californian alchemy of skater, graffiti, surf and hippie subcultures, she wasn’t going to frame this new multi-pronged sub cultural practice of Street Art purely in terms of commerce. She respected it too much. Even as a gallerist for a brief period, she quickly realized it was the process of art making, its intersection with street culture globally, that was critical to its full appreciation.

Starting in London and now in its ninth year, with a small gap to regroup near the beginning, Moniker heads to one of Street Arts’ original home laboratories with her first international edition in an enormous industrial BK warehouse.

Right in the neighborhood, Greenpoint a decade ago. Artists Skewville, Chris Stain, Veng RWK, Logan Hicks. India Street Mural Project (photo ©Jaime Rojo)

The by-invitation-only event, with strict provisions concerning only original pieces, no overlapping of representation, sincere concentration on individual artists, and the inclusion of artist residencies/installations , Ziegler is firmly redefining your expectations of art fairs. It is very likely she is quietly influencing the model for others as well. Past Moniker events have included academic and educational conferences as well and BSA is ready to help direct that effort when Brooklyn’s second edition pops off in 2019.


BSA spoke with Tina about her choice of location, artists, and exhibitors and what she envisions for the Moniker BK 2018 edition.

BSA: You have chosen the neighborhood of Greenpoint, Brooklyn to site the fair this year. What significance does this location have for you?

Tina Ziegler: It’s been a very deliberate decision to make our international debut at Greenpoint specifically. It’s an area that’s still developing while being a part of of greater Brooklyn, and it’s changing fast enough that you have elements of rugged history and new developments stood side by side.

For obvious reasons that holds huge parallels with the art scenes we work within, and in that respect Greenpoint Terminal Warehouse and the streets around it feel like such a comfortable fit for Moniker.

Additionally it’s an unexpected choice, and I think that’ll help to keep people on their toes, taking in their wider surroundings and understanding the art in context. I fell in love with the venue for that reason – it’s so far away from the standard ‘white tent’ format you’d usually expect to see, and it forces more engagement from our guests.

BSA: Is there a general theme to the show and are there artists whose work exemplify the scene for you at the moment?

Tina Ziegler: Its hard to pinpoint just one or even a few that I feel are representing the breadth of movement all its glory and beauty. But if there’s one thing that binds them all together, it’s a sense of growth and progression within the scene.

By that I mean that I try to make sure I’m presenting work from artists not necessarily because they’re popular, but because they are or have been influential and/or fundamental to urban & contemporary art’s growth.

Screenshot of some of the exhibitors at Moniker 2018 in Brooklyn (© Moniker Art Fair)

You’ll see names on our lineup, therefore, who not many might know, but who have been around for longer than people might suspect, contributing to and building the scene in their own way.

Skewville are a part of Brooklyn – they’re a good example of the fun, energy and community engagement that street art allows

Specter will be having only a small role within the fair this year, but he’s always challenged our idea of the public space, and done it in a way that’s so unique, so inspiring and unafraid, that he’s one of my favourite artists creating site-specific public artworks.

The curated aspect of Moniker also means that you’ll see artists who have inspired me personally; those who hold relevance still, and continue to work on their craft while allowing space for younger artists, building a collaborative platform to speak from.

So you’ll see Egle Zvirblyte & Jose Miguel Mendez as an example of that: two artists who I love for their energy, dedication and passion in staying true to their message.

BSA: We’ve been calling this category Urban Contemporary for lack of a better term. Is there any way to categorize such a varied number of street practices which are professionalized here for commercial purposes? Is it even possible or necessary?

Tina Ziegler: When I started working in this space we didn’t even have an idea of where this movement was going – it was all thrown under the umbrella terms of ‘graffiti’ or ‘street art’.

Now, we’ve opened that out into numerous different words and phrases to try and incorporate rate the broad spread of mediums, disciplines and styles: ‘new contemporary’, ‘urban contemporary’ and so on.

Maybe one day we will just call it ‘contemporary art’, but I’m not sure giving it a name is even possible anymore, it’s too big. Is it even necessary, in fact? Our little underground subculture isn’t so underground anymore and has made waves without needing to be properly defined.

But you can say that the defining characteristic of the art at Moniker is urban influence: I actually think the title for Roger Gastman’s new show, Beyond the Streets is really fitting. We came from the streets – from the urban environment – but we’ve gone very, very far beyond that, and have challenged ourselves to redefine what it is we’re doing at a level that’s practically left something as traditional as definitions behind altogether.


For more information please go to Moniker Art Fair HERE.

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DAZE: “Daily Commute”, Solo in NYC

DAZE: “Daily Commute”, Solo in NYC

Most people commute to and from work. Some spend hours caught in rush hour traffic, trapped in their cars. Others use their bikes or skateboards or a bobbing, roaring ferry. Some lucky ones just walk. In New York City most commuters use the subway and the buses to get to their offices, kitchens, stores, classrooms, campuses, and after a while, the commute disappears.

On trains and buses we are packed like sardines, avoiding eye contact, keeping to our phones and books or staring at our shoes or out a window. Maybe you get a seat, otherwise you sway back and forth tethered to a silver bar, banging into others, observing or zoning out.
On your commute you may have serendipity, a discovery, a newly germinated idea.

Chris DAZE Ellis. “Subway Interior” 2017. P.P. O. W. Gallery. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

You may feel ill, or fall asleep, or become riveted by an evesdropped conversation. Children’s faces pressed against windows, parents catching a catnap, helping with homework, putting on eyeliner. Actors practice lines, others rehearse standup routines. Lust is awakened, love blooms, loneliness aches.

The act of commuting in NYC is rarely solitary. Or quiet.

A lifelong New Yorker, artist Daze has found inspiration in the train lines the way many authors do, relishing and memorizing details. Since hitting up trains in the golden 70s-80s era, he has never lost his love of the daily commute and the millions of idiosyncracies. Now in his first ever solo exhibition in New York City, Daze returns to the subways and streets for inspiration, bringing vibrancy and color and a few ragged edges.

Chris DAZE Ellis. “242nd Street” Detail. P.P. O. W. Gallery. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For “Daily Commute” the artist revisits some familiar spots, paying tribute to known and unknown characters in a familiar way of someone who knows the city very well, without condescension or sentimentality but with the respect for a city that takes you and shakes you and throws you away and embraces you and comforts you and reads you a line from a play or a poem. If you’re lucky.

We spoke to the artist about his love for his city and his experience on its streets:

BSA: You have never lost your love for New York and its public spaces. Can you talk about something that stays true about the city decade after decade?

DAZE: I think of New York as always being a rather inclusive and diverse city. It has a long history of both that continues till this day. These are a couple of the ingredients that would make it difficult for me to live anywhere else.In choosing subject matter I am always searching for examples that represent these qualities.

BSA: The palette for many of these new works is bright and saturated with vibrant color, even though the actual city can be more subdued and grey. Is this emotion, or possibly imagination at work?

DAZE: I actually have two approaches to creating the “look” of my paintings. One is a more monochrome affect which is usually in greys,whites,and blacks. They are part of a series I call the” Grey Scale paintings” although because there are little bits of color they are not truly monochromatic. These paintings are based on black and white photo’s that I shoot on film.

The other approach is to use make work that is more color saturated. I begin with a color that will establish the overall look or mood of the painting and then work from there. I think that even though my paintings are very urban there can sometimes be something tropical about them.

Chris DAZE Ellis. “Midtown” 2016.  P.P. O. W. Gallery. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Chris DAZE Ellis. “Rush Hour Reflection” 2017. P.P. O. W. Gallery. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Chris DAZE Ellis. “Blue Portal” 2017. P.P. O. W. Gallery. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: When looking at many of the paintings it strikes the viewer that perhaps you are attracted to portals, small viewers that allow one to see further inside a situation.

DAZE: The use of portals is almost voyeuristic. It’s the old looking out at the contemporary. I got the idea for this from my memories as a child. The subways had these portal shaped windows on all of the doors. I really enjoyed looking out of them and watching the neighborhoods change as I rode by.

Chris DAZE Ellis. “Jackson Heights” 2017. P.P. O. W. Gallery. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Chris DAZE Ellis. “Masquerade, W.H. in Times Square” 2017. P.P. O. W. Gallery. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: One of your opus pieces in this show, which we had the pleasure of seeing at its genesis in studio a little while ago, features an iconic personality who creates his own splendid costumery, and has for years.

DAZE: The subject of the painting,” Masquerade” is Wendell Headley. He is an artist that I’ve known since my early days at Fashion Moda gallery in the Bronx circa 1982. When I first met him he would come into the gallery wearing these elaborate outfits that he made himself and just hang out. People would donate clothes and he would take the clothes apart, reconstruct them, and give them new life. He is not only a brilliant designer but truly a living sculpture.

Wendell is not someone that is trying to perform, his life is his art. I had wanted to do a portrait of him for a long time but I would only run into him sporadically in different areas of the city, usually highly populated areas.

One evening I ran into him in Times Square and I photographed him for a bit. It was really great because in the midst of all these people dressed up as Disney or Marvel comic book characters he was just being himself. He was embodying his art and that’s what defines him. I have a lot of respect for him as a creative.

Chris DAZE Ellis. “Generations” 2017. P.P. O. W. Gallery. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: Can you speak about P.P.O.W and its connection to the graffiti and Street Art scene and what it means to you to be having your solo show here?

DAZE: PPOW is an amazing gallery that is very much like a family to me. I was close friends with many of the artists that they show and represent so it feels very natural to be there. I’ve watch them grow over the years from The east village scene in the 80’s until now and always respected what they do and how they present exhibitions, no matter how difficult.

Being represented by them continues the dialogue I’ve had with people like Martin Wong and Charlie Ahearn. I don’t think they see my work as “graffiti”. I’m not trying to do graffiti paintings. There are elements of it that appear within the layering of my paintings but my work is more about the the urban diaspora of New York and what I have lived here.

 

Chris DAZE Ellis. “Times Square blizzard” 2016 P.P. O. W. Gallery. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Chris DAZE Ellis. “Interior of an IND Subway Car” 2017.  P.P. O. W. Gallery. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Chris DAZE Ellis. P.P. O. W. Gallery. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Chris DAZE Ellis (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 


DAZE “Daily Commute” is currently open to the general public at P.P.O.W. Gallery at 535 West 22nd Street in NYC. Show closes on March 17th.

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BAST: “New Works” Are Vital, Animated at Allouche Gallery

BAST: “New Works” Are Vital, Animated at Allouche Gallery

Bast. Untitled Paper and Stuff 1, 2016. Allouche Gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The first full show of studio work by Brooklyn Street Artist Bäst in a gallery in about four years declares that the artist is currently running loose with an intoxicating freedom of gesture and brush strokes and character that reaches back to a creamy pastel abstractionist block party from mid-century, catching the eye of a neon neo-folk parade en route.

Bast. Untitled Paper and Stuff 2, 2016. Allouche Gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Insiders tell us that the brainy Coney chanticleer who blends many voices into one was not looking for a new exhibition, per se, but that he’s been prodigious in traversing new artistic neighborhoods and is glad to get the stuff out for people to see. You’ll be glad too.

In much the way that early-mid 2000s Street Art watchers became acquainted with his collaged pop-contorted figures and grocery store banner ad mocks, you’ll appreciate the opening up of space for new dialogue in his large canvasses, nearly balanced and reliably off kilter.

Bast. Nike-a-Tron, 2016. Allouche Gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With new sculptural inventions, misplaced punctuations, rhapsodic vibrations and materials that hit the jackpot with plain joy and tactility, there is always a feeling that nothing is off limits; it’s just a matter of scrappily side-eye capturing an unwinding story or furry element as it flies by and attaching it with purpose. This is the street, a happy chaos full of character and wit.

Bast. Farragut Fresh, 2016. Allouche Gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As if breathing air into the tight smaller pieces that are always densely rewarding, these newer larger roomy compositions allow him to stretch, and you think he’s going somewhere new, taking chances to discover. Of note for us is his technique of masking out the elements he decides are not necessary, a milky veiling that recalls “the buff” that wipes out graffiti and Street Art on city walls. In this case, it defines the composition and focuses the scene and feels like the artist is speaking directly to you.

While elements still peak through the partial opacity, these deliberate strokes are blotting out and re-defining with the resulting compositions as much a product of subtraction as addition and recombination – clarifying of what is vital and necessary.

Bast. Untitled 4, 2016. Allouche Gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bast. Bubbledub, 2016. Allouche Gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bast. Bubble La Rue, 2016. Allouche Gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bast. Signora Alla Stazione Ferroviara, 2016. Allouche Gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bast. Untitled 1, 2016. Allouche Gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bast. Babooshka. Detail. Untitled 1, 2016. Allouche Gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bast. Ceneri Tropico. Detail, 2016. Allouche Gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Bast New Works Solo Exhibition is currently on view at the Allouche Gallery

 

 

 

 

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Clément Martin : Wishes & Hopes for 2017

Clément Martin : Wishes & Hopes for 2017

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As we near the new year we’ve asked a special guest every day to take a moment to reflect on 2016 and to tell us about one photograph that best captures the year for him or her. It’s an assortment of treats for you to enjoy and contemplate as we all reflect on the year that has passed and conjure our hopes and wishes for the new year to come. It’s our way of sharing the sweetness of the season and of saying ‘Thank You’ for inspiring us throughout the year.

The self-possessed savoir faire of a Frenchman in New York is not so surprising, but try keeping up with photographer Clément Martin who literally slept on the streets of New York for a month and see how elegant you will remain. As the official photographer for conceptual street performance artists Boijeot & Renauld, Clément has been traveling and shooting on the street for the last three years in Tokyo, Brussels, Berlin, Venice, Paris, Zurich, Dresden, Basel, and of course New York. Since Times Square is such a famous place to be for New Year’s Eve Clément shares with BSA readers this scene of repose suitable for enjoying the spectacular view with opera singer Dan Cory singing Carmen classics in bed.


Artists: Boijeot & Renauld
Location: Times Square, New York
Photograph by Clément Martin

Each “performance” is unique, and for the New York one called “Hotel Empire” we used living units (a furniture assortment that includes beds, tables and chairs) to occupy public space in the city, setting up camp in various neighborhoods, regularly moving from one street to another.

The artists (and I) regularly move the furniture by hand from one stop to another and we offer all pieces of furniture- available to anyone who wants to take a nap, have a coffee or simply to chat. The performance brings intimacy in the public space, since the furniture can be (and really is) used by everyone.

You get to interrupt the city rhythm by sitting or laying down, but on a social interaction level, it also offers a chance to the people involved to create a shared memory

“Mental graffiti” some will call this.

What I’m sure of is that on this October day in Times Square we offered the opportunity to the man in this picture to live in this place that never sleeps for a few minutes- part of the 732 continuous hours we lived on New York City streets for this performance.

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Lilliputian Art on Electric Poles: Patrick Picou Harrington in Albany

Lilliputian Art on Electric Poles: Patrick Picou Harrington in Albany

These quiet bits of visual punctuation on telephone poles in Albany caught our eye recently and we thought immediately of fairies, pixies, and sprites. Who else would care enough to adorn wooden telephone poles along a non-descript strip of sidewalk in the Delaware Avenue section of the New York State capital?

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Patrick Picou Harrington. Albany, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Each assembly is a collage, an individually drilled collection of wood pieces painted and glued and arranged according to its own eclectic sense of order. Some are geometric, others organic in form, they strike you as a form of city folk art because of their handmade and idiosyncratic nature, but they not quite “crafty”.

Themes are surreal and unfixed, or scientifically diagrammatic, or campy reassemblies of 60s pop sci-fi and hair-salon motifs. Certainly the pieces are outside – You may not refer to them “outsider art” however.

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Patrick Picou Harrington. Albany, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Friends Barb and Bobbie, who have lived in the neighborhood for years, tell us that these are the work of artist Patrick Picou Harrington and that the neighbors have grown attached to them since they started attaching themselves to power poles.

Each installation is a sort silent surprise that catches you off guard, Bobbie says as she points to another a few yards away. You may walk past them many times without noticing them and once you do, their tiny scale requires a certain amount of intimacy between viewer and the art, says Barb.

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Patrick Picou Harrington. Albany, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

A little Internet digging reveals that these are part of a planned 365 day installation on these utility poles by Harrington last year that was cut short at 107 days when company officials discovered the project and firmly asked him to stop. Many street artists don’t ask for permission, preferring to apologize if caught, and he had already been identified. Still these pieces remain.

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Patrick Picou Harrington. Albany, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As you can see, many of the poles are heavily pocked and addled by nails, screws and staples from myriad commercial and political signage that regularly gets posted here and  presumably those protuberances are approved or at least not troublesome enough to remove.

Either way, Picou Harrington’s half-pint interventions, some small enough to fit in your hand, may alter your strolling experience when they wink at you from their perch; a piece of the personal and the imaginative in the public sphere, studied before they are worn away by the elements.

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Patrick Picou Harrington. Albany, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Patrick Picou Harrington. Albany, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Patrick Picou Harrington. Albany, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Patrick Picou Harrington. Albany, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Patrick Picou Harrington. Albany, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Patrick Picou Harrington. Albany, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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This article is also posted on The Huffington Post.

Brooklyn-Street-Art-Albany-Patrick-Picou-Harrington-Huffpost-740-Screen-Shot-2016-02-17-at-5.31.32-PM

 

 

 

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Queens Hit “Top To Bottom” by New Mural Project in L.I.C.

Queens Hit “Top To Bottom” by New Mural Project in L.I.C.

The spirit of New Yorks’ 5 Pointz graffiti/Street Art holy place has popped up in the same Queens neighborhood where it was demolished in 2014, and since last summer more than 50 local and international aerosol artists have been hitting a new project “Top to Bottom”.

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Icy & Sot (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The choice of “Top to Bottom”, a graffiti term that recalls 1970s trains painted their entire height, is no mistake as creative director James P. Quinn reveres the classic style and histories of those original writers like internationally and institutionally celebrated artists Crash and Daze, who have collaborated on a mural here.

Additionally, in yet another sign that the celebration of art on the streets is ever more ecumenical, Quinn and his project lead Geoff Kuffner are bringing the newer Street Artists who are expanding and  defining the current era for art in the streets like Case Ma’Claim and Rubin 415. Not surprisingly, both of these artists started in graffiti, as did nearly every name here.

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Case MaClaim (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I felt like a comfortable amount of space should be allocated to certain styles,” says Quinn as he describes the process of parceling out spots for the façade and roof of  the 124,000-square-foot former warehouse. Truthfully, he tells us, not all the surfaces and shapes are attractive to graffiti artists, so a variety of styles is best.

“I tried to fit them in where I felt that graff writers could enjoy themselves and do something expansive. There are only a couple of spaces here that fit the epic, horizontally spaced forms of style writing. There are a lot of strange shapes to navigate as a painter here, rather than easy space to develop style as a writer.”

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Cern (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Quinn and Kuffner give a couple of visitors a tour around the entire block on a gray day where heavy fog hangs in the air obscuring the top half of Manhattan and they excitedly recall stories about the many installations in this first project of their newly formed Arts Org NYC. Using the word “garden” often, Quinn reiterates that this project for them is a “proof of concept” for bigger projects that will spread further through the city. “Ultimately I’m approaching it as a mural project,” says Quinn, who has organized mural programs a number of times since the 1990s. “It’s just a beginning.”

Street Art has evolved into districts of murals in cities as a gentrification device in the last five years and despite the critique that it is often used for economic development, many urban art watchers would also agree that we’re in the middle of a renaissance of public/private art. Quinn says he wants to capture part of the public’s new interest and make it grow. “I’d like to leverage the current hype and acceptance of mural painting to open up doors to people – old women, young kids, everybody.”

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Cern (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The neighborhood itself feels like it is in transition but it is not clear where it is heading. With Silvercup Studios and the number 7 subway line nearby and MoMA PS1 within a 10 minute walk, a quick survey reveals mixed light industry, sweatshops, corner delis, and the occasional strip club. Below the off-ramp of the Queensboro Bridge, which sweeps past the “Top to Bottom” exhibition, you will see first and second generation immigrants from the areas’ latin and African communities walking by, and Quinn reminds you that the Queensbridge Projects where Hip-Hop storyteller NAS grew up is just a short walk from here.

Conversation turns to plans for more focused programming on the walls in Phase II, possible fine art shows with local gallery spaces, and ultimately a city-wide mural project that offers art and art-making to greater audiences, including school kids.

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DMOTE (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I do feel like murals get focused in certain locations but I feel like the entire city as a whole is still suffering. Huge demographics aren’t getting the painting,” he says, invoking the civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. “I feel like my ‘I Have a Dream’ speech about this project is that I hope it gets to the point where 10 year-olds can have as much access to a neighborhood as developers.”

Does he think that projects like this are pawns for business interests to draw investments into the neighborhood and push poorer populations out? “You can debate whether or not we are opening the way for more shiny condos… but that shit is happening whether we do this or not. For me the importance is keeping us here; So we’re not totally pushed out 30-45 minutes away from here”

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DMOTE (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Because of its proximity to the now destroyed 5 Pointz, where hundreds, perhaps thousands, of urban artists painted a much larger block repeatedly for two decades, we ask Quinn if he’s concerned with comparisons.

“I’ve always managed other projects like this in my own style and my own way. There are comparable aspects and I have nothing but a huge sensitivity and respect for Meres and 5 Pointz,” he says, referring to the artist and de facto director of the hallowed spot. “It’s comparable only because it’s a building and it’s in Long Island City. But this is only a jump-off. I want to do way more projects like this across the city.”

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DMOTE (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As the business partners walk past new pieces by DMote, Li-Hill, Icy & Sot, and Jick, the topic of the historically strained relationship between graffiti writers and Street Artists appears to be addressed head-on by the project by the inclusion of all manner of painter. The guys say that it is less of an issue than some people would have you think. As a long-time artist and muralist and curator of projects like this, Quinn says he’s over the supposed rivalry of the two camps, and sees mainly just one camp these days.

“I don’t know what the fans of graffiti or Street Art have any problem with. To me it’s all awesome.”

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DMOTE (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Alexandre Keto (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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EGS (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Binho (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Binho (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Cekis (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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NEVER and Dirty Bandits (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sean9Lugo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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LMNOPI (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Zumi (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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PORK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Rubin415 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Rubin415 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Key Details (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Li Hill (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Li Hill (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Yes Two (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Pixote (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kans115 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Daze . Crash (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Erasmo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

For more about ArtsOrg please go to www.artsorg.nyc.
#ArtsOrgNYC and @artsorg on Instagram
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This article is also published on The Huffington Post 

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Lee Quinones : The NYC Graffiti Train Storyteller Tells His Own Story

Lee Quinones : The NYC Graffiti Train Storyteller Tells His Own Story

Never Seen Notebook Drawings and Recent Paintings Span 1975-2015

“It was an identity crisis for youth in NYC in the 1970s,” explains Lee Quinones, the whole subway car “bomber” who claims the mantel of aerosol story teller for NYC’s rolling gallery of public art during that nearly dystopian decade. He is sitting on a folding chair before a small crowd of gallery visitors with Glenn O’Brien talking about his youthful creative process during a time when New York was seething with raw emotion, roiling in an identity crisis of its own with social, political, and economic issues all contributing to a perception of pending anarchy.

The occasion is the end of his current show that includes work from two distinct periods: now and 40 years ago. Witnessing one clearly informs your understanding of the other.

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Lee Quinones (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I’m a recovering graffiti artist,” the dynamo LEE likes to say with a wink, and signs of his addiction are framed around the unpolished Chinatown pop-up space to help you see how deep the scars are. Pulled directly from home sketchbooks done in 1975 at the age of 15, these original drawings, some nearly four feet across, belie the level of manic dedication and wizardry his illegal storytelling required in those rusted screeching halcyon days when graffiti tags began to metamorphose into the representational and a certain wilder style.

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Lee Quinones (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With personal graffiti influencers on the street like the expressionistic Cliff 159 and the pop-painting Blade lighting his way, LEE says he was searching for a way to break out of the “alphabet soup” of the prevailing lettering and tagging that was enveloping trains and subway stations and burning city walls.

“The small umbrella we were under was too small,” he says as he describes the way he tapped into a superheroes’ courage to fly from the housing projects of Lower Manhattan into social and political themes that took him up and down the number 5 subway line; his own publishing platform that reached thousands, probably millions.

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Lee Quinones. Silent Thunder. Whole Car. Detail. 1984 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I wanted to create storytelling on the subway. Why not address the civil rights movement?,” he asks and you think immediately of the photos and film you’ve seen of the hand sprayed images and text addressing the Vietnam War, economic inequality, environmental degradation, nuclear annihilation, love, death, longing, community, brotherhood, and Donald Duck. A ninja in the train yards, LEE also was a conscience on the rails.

“I wanted to sarcastically address the doctrine that was being thrown at me,” and he did, often collaboratively with four other writers, forming The Fabulous Five. Over that time he estimates he painted many more than a hundred complete subway cars with characters, scenes and public speeches questioning accepted truths and advocating at least a reexamination of them.

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Lee Quinones (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The show is a rare opportunity to see these works in person, an illuminating collection of detailed sketches, marker drawings, possible titles, poetry, crossed out ideas, musings, and paint lists. Even in his youth LEE was showing his undying commitment to his art and it’s expression, wherever it lead.

“I feel comfortable being uncomfortable,” he says of the winding route over four decades that now includes a very strong studio practice and shows in major institutions and work in significant collections. He says it has brought a desire to simplify. “On canvasses now I want to say more with less.”

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Lee Quinones. Subway Car Montage. Study #2 1980-1983. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Coupled with a smaller collection of recent works, one large monochrome stylized wall tag, and his newest painting, Golpe de Suerte that includes his mother’s hand-written recipe cards and lists collaged and spelling out “amor”, this is a personal show not likely to be seen again.

Including his mother and her lettering style completes a cycle; that’s the same ‘mom’ to whom he dedicated in aerosol many of his trains in the late 1970s and early 80s. Considered as a whole, this show captures a passionate imagination that is still on fire, tempered by experience. Looking at it all, free from the hype, this is the kid who you hoped you would find.

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Lee Quinones (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lee Quinones. Crossing Delancy (Basquiat at the Clarinet). 2014. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lee Quinones. The Fabulous 5. 1976. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lee Quinones. In The Yards. Color palette list. 1982. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lee Quinones. Untitled. 1980 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lee Quinones. Golpe de Suerte. 2013-2014 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lee Quinones. Golpe de Suerte. Detail. 2013-2014 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lee Quinones. Golpe de Suerte. Detail. 2013-2014 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

For more information please contact Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery.

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!
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Don Rimx and John A. Roebling  – “Persons of Interest”

Don Rimx and John A. Roebling – “Persons of Interest”

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BSA is in Berlin this month to present a new show of 12 important Brooklyn Street Artists at the Urban Nation haus as part of Project M/7. PERSONS OF INTEREST brings to our sister city a diverse collection of artists who use many mediums and styles in the street art scene of Brooklyn. By way of tribute to the special relationship that artist communities in both cities have shared for decades, each artist has chosen to create a portrait of a Germany-based cultural influencer from the past or present, highlighting someone who has played a role in inspiring the artist in a meaningful way.
 
Today we talk to Don Rimx and ask him why he chose his person of interest, John A. Roebling.

What better symbol of connectedness than the symbol of the bridge? For PERSONS OF INTEREST we wanted to draw attention to the bonds we share with our creative communities and Brooklyn mural artist Don Rimx chose the German civil engineer who designed the Brooklyn Bridge, a feat that joined Brooklyn and Manhattan in the late 1800s and became an iconic symbol of New York.

Rimx was born in Puerto Rico and moved to Brooklyn as a young man to paint many of his architecturally inspired aerosol murals during the last decade. Inspired by the portraits of Rembrandt and paintings of Joaquin Sorolla as well as the work of Puerto Rican graphic artist Lorenzo Homar, Don Rimx is developing his own vocabulary of portraiture that often includes rough-hewn architectural elements like wooden supports, trussing, cables and limestone brick to form the contours and details of faces and features.

Born in Mühlhausen, Germany (Prussia at the time), Roebling was an immigrant to Brooklyn along with a huge number of his countrymen in the mid 1800s. It is reported that Brooklyn had a population of 200,000 in 1855 and about 30,000 of those were a new wave of immigrants from Germany. In many ways the very diverse culture of Brooklyn and its millions of immigrant stories are told as well in this portrait of a bridge maker.

“For me, Roebling fits perfectly into the line of work I’ve been developing lately. Roebling’s design aesthetic provides me with the inspiration for how to play with structure to connect and make links. I love the concept of the bridge, which reminds me how in art we carry culture and send ideas from one side of the world to the other,” says Rimx.

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Don Rimx in Brooklyn (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Don Rimx in Manhattan for a mural program called Los Murales Hablan. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Check out the Facebook page for PERSONS OF INTEREST

See Full Press Release HERE

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Sneak Peek “Concrete to Data” at Steinberg Museum

Sneak Peek “Concrete to Data” at Steinberg Museum

Curator and artist Ryan Seslow has pulled off an overview of art on the streets and the practices employed, minus the drama. So much discussion of graffiti, Street Art, and public art practice can concentrate on lore and turf war, intersections with illegality, the nature of the “scene”, shades of xenophobia and class structures; all crucial for one’s understanding from a sociological/anthropological perspective.

“Concrete to Data”, opening this week at the Steinberg Museum of Art on Long Island, gives more of the spotlight to the historical methods and media that are used to disseminate a message, attempting to forecast about future ways of communicating that may effectively bridge the gap between the physical and the virtual.

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Joe Iurato. Detail. Concrete To Data. Steinberg Museum of Art. LIU (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Seslow has assembled an impressive cross section of artists, practitioners, photographers, academics, theorists, and street culture observers over a five-decade span. Rather than overreaching to exhaustion, it can give a representative overview of how each are adding to this conversation, quickly presenting this genre’s complexity by primarily discussing its methods alone.

Here is a sneak peek of the the concrete (now transmitted digitally); a few of the pieces for the group exhibition that have gone up in the last week in the museum as the show is being installed.

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Chris Stain. Detail. Concrete To Data. Steinberg Museum of Art. LIU (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Cake. Detail. Concrete To Data. Steinberg Museum of Art. LIU (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lady Pink at work on her mural. Concrete To Data. Steinberg Museum of Art. LIU (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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John Fekner. Detail of his stencils in place and ready to be sprayed on. Concrete To Data. Steinberg Museum of Art. LIU (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Henry Chalfant. Detail. Concrete To Data. Steinberg Museum of Art. LIU (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Billy Mode. Detail. Concrete To Data. Steinberg Museum of Art. LIU (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Oyama Enrico. Detail. Concrete To Data. Steinberg Museum of Art. LIU (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Col Wallnuts. Detail. Concrete To Data. Steinberg Museum of Art. LIU (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

CONCRETE to DATA will be exhibited at the Steinberg Museum of Art, Brookville, NY January 26th 2015 – March 21st 2015.

Opening Reception – Friday, February 6th  2015 6PM -9 PM 

Follow the news and events via – http://concretetodata.com

Follow @concretetodata on Instagram – #concretetodata

Curated by Ryan Seslow@ryanseslow

Museum Director – Barbara Appelgate

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BSA’s Piece on “Submerged Motherlands” Acclaimed for Year

BSA’s Piece on “Submerged Motherlands” Acclaimed for Year

BSA with Swoon at Brooklyn Museum Sited by Huff Post Editors as Proud Moment of 2014

We’re very pleased and thankful to be included in this short list chosen by the editors of Huffington Post Arts & Culture as a story they are most proud of publishing last year.

In her introduction to the list, editor Katherine Brooks writes:

“It turns out, 365 days is hard to summarize in anything but a laundry list of seemingly disparate phenomena, filled with the good — woman-centric street art, rising Detroit art scenes, spotlights on unseen American art– and the bad less than good — holiday butt plugs, punching bags by Monet, Koonsmania. But, as a New Year dawns, we found ourselves just wanting to focus on the things that made us beam with pride in 2014. So we made a list of those things, a list of the pieces we’re proud of.”

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Describing why we thought this was an important story for us we wrote:

“We loved a lot of stories this year, but this hometown Brooklyn one about a street artist with humanity mounting her first solo major museum exhibition was a special turning point — and an astounding success. For us street art is a conversation, a continuum of expression, and Swoon is always a part of it. From following her street career to her transition to international fame to witnessing this exhibition coming to fruition in person in the months leading up to the Brooklyn Museum show, it is easy to understand why Swoon still remains a crucial part of the amazing street art scene and continues to set a standard.”

-Jaime Rojo & Steven Harrington, HuffPost Arts&Culture bloggers and co-founders of Brooklyn Street Art

In fact, we wrote 48 articles that were published on the Huffington Post in 2014, and as a collection we hope they further elucidate the vast and meaningful impact that the Street Art / graffiti / urban art movement continues to have on our culture, our public space, and our arts institutions.

Together that collection of articles published by BSA on Huffpost in ’14 spanned the globe including stories from Malaysia, Poland, Spain, France, Norway, Switzerland, Germany, New York, Arizona, The Navajo Nation, Philadelphia, Sweden, Istanbul, New Jersey, Lisbon, The Gambia, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Rome, India, Italy, Delhi (India), Montreal, San Francisco, London, Coachella, Chicago, Kabul (Afghanistan), and Kiev (Ukraine).

Here on BSA we published another 320 postings (more or less).

We thank you for allowing us to share these inspirational and educational stories with you and we are honored to be able to continue the conversation with artists, art fans, collectors, curators, academics, gallerists, museums, and arts institutions. Our passion for Street Art and related movements is only superceded by our love for the creative spirit, and we are happy whenever we encounter it.

Our published articles on HuffPost in 2014, beginning with the most recent:

 

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31 Days of Mystery: “Banksy Does New York”

31 Days of Mystery: “Banksy Does New York”

The Director and Producers Talk About Their New Street Art Documentary.

The Banksy show is about to begin again. For those who are not familiar with what that statement implies, you’ll definitely be surprised.

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Capturing Banksy. Police stuffing B-A-N-K-S-Y balloons in the back of a van on Day 31 of the street artists month-long residency on the streets of New York. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Banksy Does New York”, a new documentary by director Chris Moukarbel, meticulously culls and artfully arranges the play and the actors for you in just over an hour with new revelations popping up every few minutes – and you may not believe what you actually missed. But don’t feel bad; everyone missed something during the one-month “Better Out Than In” residency of the Brisol-based street artist during October, 2013. Luckily Moukarbel has done the hard work of sifting through the thousands of Instagram posts, Tweets, YouTube videos, and Banksy’s own digital clues to deftly tell you the story, or rather, stories.

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Banksy (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The latest HBO documentary, which airs November 17th, confronts the conventions of typical documentary making by compiling user-generated digital content, or crowd-sourcing the thousands of individual perspectives that occurred in tandem as the new works were unveiled on the streets of New York’s five boroughs. (Full disclosure: We are both interviewed in it.)

“There’s no way we could have gotten cameras everywhere even if we were trying and if we wanted to,” said Moukarbel at a special screening in Manhattan at HBO’s offices last week for many of the “content creators” whose work is woven together to reveal the larger narratives arising from the events.

“No one really knew what Banksy was doing. No one had put a frame around it,” says Chris as he describes the process of allowing the stories to tell him and producer Jack Turner what actually happened. “I mean he so expertly used social media,” says Turner, “Having an Instagram account from the first day — he invented a way for communicating his work and created a following for it and created an event that is a work itself.”

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Banksy (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Aside from the mechanics of the unfolding dramas, “Banksy Does New York” attempts to give many of the actors center stage here where other film makers would have relegated them to the roles of extras. Out of town vloggers drive into the city to record their daily discoveries, bonafide Banksy hunters who pool their clues in real time virtually and race to discover the new piece before it is stolen or vandalized, neighborhood entrepreneurs who charge a fee to onlookers for peeking at the paintings, and even the human stories behind the public heist and subsequent art sale that is arranged for one of the sculptures.

Somehow the elusive street artist pulling strings behind the scenes comes off as a sardonic populist everyman although he probably really is just a flagrant [insert your personal projection here]. By removing himself from the show, everyone else is revealed.

And they are nearly all here too. Like the fictional nightlife doyen Stefon Zolesky on Saturday Night Live might say, “This club has everything”; artists, fans, intellectuals, court jesters, minstrels, charlatans, sideshows, soldiers, police, politicians, a priest, dogs, passion, sweetness, sarcasm, irony, jealousy, chicanery, a Greek chorus, car chases, a few fights, a couple of heartfelt speeches, some arrests, bleating lambs being lead to slaughter.

… And a winking wizard somewhere behind the curtain.

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Banksy (photo via iPhone © Jaime Rojo)

Like we said last year as the month drew to a close in an article entitled Banksy’s Final Trick, “No longer asking, ‘Who is Banksy’, many strolling New Yorkers this October were only half-kidding when they would point to nearly any scene or object on the street and ask each other, ‘Is that a Banksy?’”

We turned the interview tables on director Chris Moukarbel and producer Jack Turner to see how they developed their story for “Banksy Does New York”.

Brooklyn Street Art: They say that a documentary filmmaker can’t really have a story in mind going in to the project – because the story reveals itself as you go. Did you see the story developing as you met people and looked at video?
Chris Moukarbel: No one had really looked at the residency in its entirety so we felt like archeologists piecing together all these bits of information and trying to create a complete vision of what went down that month. Certain themes began to emerge and it was interesting to find where the work was actually pointing. The locations of each piece appeared random and actually were incredibly important to how you were supposed to see the work. Sometimes you realized that the work itself only served to bring peoples attention to the significance of the location.

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Banksy (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: There are so many moving parts in this story – the enigmatic artist, the illegal nature of the work, the intersection with social media, the unpredictable nature of the responses. Was this a story that was difficult to get your hands around?
Jack Turner: Good question…the basic idea from the start was simply to relive that month-long circus for those people who were not aware, not in NYC or just missed it. To be honest, we originally thought that a sequential catalogue of the work would feel repetitive – but as we did more research, we found that each of the works created vastly different reactions from the public and they helped us explore all of these themes. We can only draw our own meaning from some of the work but that is when the public reaction becomes part of the work itself – which is why public art, street art and graffiti exist.

Brooklyn Street Art: Had you had much exposure to the Street Art and graffiti worlds previous to taking on this project? What surprised you about it that you wouldn’t have expected?
Chris Moukarbel: I was never a part of the street art world but I have an art background and a lot of my work was site specific. I would create pieces that were meant to live online or on public access TV, as well as street pieces. It was interesting to get to know more about an art world with its own language – available in plain view of New Yorkers.

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Banksy (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: What element first attracted your interest in the Banksy story when you heard that he had executed this residency in New York?
Chris Moukarbel: When HBO approached us about making the film I felt like it could be a great archive of an artists work and also a snapshot of the Internet for one month. I love public art and I was interested in the way that Banksy was using the Internet and social media as if it were the street.

Brooklyn Street Art: After seeing “Exit Through the Gift Shop” many people reported feeling like they were more confused than before about Banksy and his story. How would you like people to feel after “Banksy Does New York?”
Jack Turner: Banksy is an incredibly prolific artist and this film covers only one of the many chapters in his career. By remaining anonymous, Banksy takes the focus away from the artist or the source and he puts the focus on the statement and the work. There is a reason that he is the most infamous artist working today, he represents an idea that many people identify with…and he is really funny! I think this film, more than anything, highlights how well he uses social media to his disposal.

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Banksy. Still from “Banksy Does New York” (courtesy © HBO Films)

Brooklyn Street Art: You must have imagined what a response might be from Banksy to your film. What do you think he will think of this piece?
Jack Turner: It is extremely important in any project that Chris or I do to make sure that we present the whole story in a truthful way. That is why we have had such success accessing user-generated footage. We went from having a one camera crew, as documentaries are often made, to having a thousand cameras throughout the city – each giving us footage that reflects what really happened. Maybe Banksy will love it, maybe he will hate it – but the most important thing to us is that he feels like it is a true reflection of what happened over the course of that month.

Brooklyn Street Art: As producers and the director, do you think of yourselves as artists, reporters, sociologists, detectives?
Jack Turner: A couple years ago a friend of mine said that making a documentary is like getting paid (very little) to learn an enormous amount about something. I’ll take that.
Chris Moukarbel: I think of myself as a storyteller. In a way, I was still a storyteller when I was making fine art but now I’m using a popular medium that reaches a wider audience.

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Banksy. Still from “Banksy Does New York” (courtesy © HBO Films)

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Banksy. Still from “Banksy Does New York” (courtesy © HBO Films)

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Banksy. Still from “Banksy Does New York” (courtesy © HBO Films)

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Banksy. Still from “Banksy Does New York” (courtesy © HBO Films)

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Banksy. Still from “Banksy Does New York” (courtesy © HBO Films)

Banksy Does New York airs November 17 on HBO and is available now on HBO GO.

Director: Chris Moukarbel
Producers: Chris Moukarbel, Jack Turner
Executive producer: Sheila Nevins
Directors of photography: Mai Iskander, Karim Raoul
Editor: Jennifer Harrington
Production companies: Matador Content, Permanent Wave, Home Box Office

No rating, 70 minutes

 

 

 

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!
 
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BOO-tilicious Wolverine does Beyoncé : Halloween Street Theater

BOO-tilicious Wolverine does Beyoncé : Halloween Street Theater

This is why you live in New York and also why you troll around the streets after the Halloween Parade looking for tricks and treats. After all that live communal street theater and the pressure is off to be a Wolverine you are at liberty to set your “Single Ladies” performance free on the sidewalk.  BOO-tilicious!

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Thanks to The Dusty Rebel for this tip, and thank you to Matt Weiss, who says,  “Best part of my night. The end. This is why I call this man my brother and will be with me till my dying day. You’re welcome.”

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