All posts tagged: Nika Kramer

Honoring Bravery on International Women’s Day 2021 in Germany and Spain with Amnesty International, Urban Nation

Honoring Bravery on International Women’s Day 2021 in Germany and Spain with Amnesty International, Urban Nation

An outspoken opponent of police brutality and impunity and an articulate advocate for those persons made invisible in the increasing feudal city of Rio de Janeiro, Marielle Franco’s shooting brought tens of thousands to the street after her death at 38 in 2018.

Katerina Veronina in collaboration with Urban Nation and Amnesty International “Brave Wall’ project to mark International Women’s Day in Berlin, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Over the last few spring-like days in Berlin, her portrait rose slowly about the streets, reminding us that her moral courage continues to have an impact today on International Women’s Day. It’s only been a recognized holiday in this German city for a year, says Urban Nation museum director Jan Sauerwald. Franco’s visage is the first to occupy what has been officially identified as the museums’ ‘Brave Wall.’

Katerina Veronina in collaboration with Urban Nation and Amnesty International “Brave Wall’ project to mark International Women’s Day in Berlin, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)

“Realizing this political mural on the theme of women’s rights together with artist Katerina Voronina is a special moment for the URBAN NATION Museum program,” he says, “To present the first ‘Brave Wall’ in Berlin and Germany on this day in cooperation with Amnesty International puts the project in a fitting context.”

Katerina Veronina in collaboration with Urban Nation and Amnesty International “Brave Wall’ project to mark International Women’s Day in Berlin, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)

The artist was chosen by a panel made of an equal number of Urban Nation and Amnesty International participants, along with journalist Miriam Davoudvandi. The joint goal on International Women’s Day is clear.

“Women’s rights are human rights and therefore an important part of our human rights work. I am very pleased that the first ‘Brave Wall’ in Germany was designed by a woman, Katerina Voronina, and honors the impressive commitment of human rights defender Marielle Franco,” says Dr. Julia Duchrow, Deputy Secretary-General of Amnesty International in Germany, in a press release.

An illustrationist and motion designer, Katerina Voronina successfully evokes the resolute spirit of fighting for human rights in the portrait of Franco, “With the realization of this ‘Brave Wall’ I had the opportunity to bring a special and courageous woman into focus.” she says.

Katerina Veronina in collaboration with Urban Nation and Amnesty International “Brave Wall’ project to mark International Women’s Day in Berlin, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Katerina Veronina in collaboration with Urban Nation and Amnesty International “Brave Wall’ project to mark International Women’s Day in Berlin, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Katerina Veronina in collaboration with Urban Nation and Amnesty International “Brave Wall’ project to mark International Women’s Day in Berlin, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Katerina Veronina in collaboration with Urban Nation and Amnesty International “Brave Wall’ project to mark International Women’s Day in Berlin, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Katerina Veronina in collaboration with Urban Nation and Amnesty International “Brave Wall’ project to mark International Women’s Day in Berlin, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Katerina Veronina in collaboration with Urban Nation and Amnesty International “Brave Wall’ project to mark International Women’s Day in Berlin, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Meanwhile, in Spain, artist and muralist Marina Capdevila identifies an obvious question about saving only one day to pay tribute to women in this new piece.

“Today, we still are fighting and working nearly every day to be listened to, to be taken seriously,” she laments, reflecting on the sly kind of dismissiveness she feels about her art practice sometimes. “I’m tired of receiving 8 million emails with proposals that offer to ‘give visibility to women,’ ” she says.

“If we continue like this, will we also eventually only work one day a year?”

Until such a day, she’s loving life as a painter and savors the sisterhood that brings her support and opportunity. “I am fortunate to have wonderful women in my life who inspire me, help me, and above all, make me laugh.”

Marina Capdevila. “365 Dias Luchando” (photo courtesy of the artist)
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Stadtmuseum Oldenburg Mounts “Neue Konturen” Outside – As Art Arrives in the Street

Stadtmuseum Oldenburg Mounts “Neue Konturen” Outside – As Art Arrives in the Street

“Literally, the art had to leave the museum and come out into the street, as art in public spaces is the only art on display during these strange times,” says photographer Nika Kramer about this new program at the Stadtmuseum Oldenburg here in northern Germany.

We concur of course because we have seen that the exhibitions mounted on the streets of cities everywhere since last March have superseded the impact of most formal openings.

Renke Harms and Sebastian Zeberg painting the façade of the Oldenburg City Museum for the mural “Neue Etikette (New etiquette)”. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Covid-19, the Coronavirus has changed everything.

And that is the main point of “Neue Konturen” (New Contours), a temporary outside installation during January and February by the artist collective “The Hidden Art Project” and the muralists “die Jungs”. As a public interaction that is meant to engage people in the public sphere, a total of twelve artists and cultural workers will present seven artworks – including installations, performances, and video installations – all of which deal with the Corona pandemic.

Renke Harms sprays hands on the façade of the Oldenburg City Museum for the mural “Neue Etikette” (New Etiquette) (photo © Nika Kramer)

“Corona and its effects are perceived differently by people. Our works address and interpret the experiences,” says Sven Müller, founder of The Hidden Art Project. “In this way, we hold up a mirror to the viewers and invite them to reflect on themselves and their own actions.”

Most museums have been struggling to get their doors open after many government restrictions closed them. Oldenburg City Museum will be closed when this exhibition closes for new construction as well as the renovation of the historic villas. But this has been a welcome program to say goodbye to the old and look forward to a new, positive future.

Sebastian von Zeberg sprays hands on the façade of the Oldenburg City Museum for the mural “Neue Etikette” (New Etiquette) (photo © Nika Kramer)

Dr. Steffen Wiegmann, director of the Oldenburg, says: “With the ‘New Contours’ program, we are bidding a temporary farewell to our location and offering artists the opportunity to use the museum building as a place and space for their art.”

We thank the artists for their dedication during the many challenges that are brought to creative endeavors these days. We also thank Ms. Kramer for sharing her shots of their work and preparations here with BSA readers.

The construction of the installation “Vortex”, which in its finished state shows an anaglyph of Real News & Fake News. Hauke Beck and Georgios Kolios attach battens for the wooden spiral, which are placed in alignment. (photo © Nika Kramer)

“I’d like to give a shout-out to the Stadtmuseum for giving those young artists a platform to play,” says Nika.

“And props go to everybody working on this great project out in the very challenging cold weather and for being so flexible and making it happen – even though you completely had to change your concepts! Congrats! You rock! And thanks for having me! I had a blast.”

Hemant Godara, Katharina Shakina, Nicholas Tamagna and Felipe Dias rehearsing their performance piece inside the “Vortex” installation. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Sven Müller works on the sculpture “Trashbox”, which shows consumer goods falling out of an oversized shipping box. In the middle, the original sculpture by Waldemar Otto “Mann aus der Enge heraustretend”. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Close up of the new interpretation of the sculpture „Mann aus der enge tretend“ by Waldemar Otto. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Renke Harms paints the wooden walls to transform them into an oversized shipping box. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Renke Harms paints the wooden walls to transform them into an oversized shipping box. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Sven Müller, who foils the installation Notausgang (Emergency Exit), which addresses positive aspects of the lock-down.(photo © Nika Kramer)
Detail of the 6m-high mirror installation “Fragmentation”, which depicts the splitting and multi-perspective nature of society in the pandemic. (photo © Nika Kramer)
On view is the mirror installation “Fragmentation” on the left and the colorful installation “Emergency Exit”. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Technical set-up of the video art installation. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Keep your distance folks! (photo © Nika Kramer)
Obey! (photo © Nika Kramer)
The complete mural “New Etiquette” that calls on us to be helpful and to symbolically join hands, even if not physically. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Overall view of the outdoor exhibition “New Contours“ (photo © Nika Kramer)
The organizers Sebastian von Zeberg, Hauke Beck, Renke Harms. and Sven Müller with the Director of the museum on the center Steffen Wiegmann. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Participants: back row: Angelique Huxol, Sebastian von Zeberg, Linda Bäppler, Hauke Beck, Felipe Dias, Renke Harms, Georgios Kolios
Front row: Lena Withot, Sven Müller, Katharina Shakina. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Night-time shot of the outdoor exhibition “New Contours“. (photo © Nika Kramer)
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“Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures”. Installation and Opening Night Shots.

“Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures”. Installation and Opening Night Shots.

Fully booked and fully celebrated, the weekend long celebration of the Martha Cooper career retrospective opened with great success and great reviews as it has been heavily covered by media in print, online, and radio. Because of Covid restrictions the museum can only accommodate a certain number of guests at a time but so far all tickets have been claimed each day. Please be sure if you are going to grab a free ticket online at Urban Nations’ website.

We wish to extend a heartfelt thank you to photographer and BSA collaborator Nika Kramer for sharing her photos with us.

Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. Mick La Rock and Falk. The Livestream hosts. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. Stiftung Berliner Leben President, Dr. Hans-Michael Brey, Urban Nation Museum Executive Director, Jan Sauerwald and, Gewobag CEO, Markus Terboven. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Artist and photographer Petra Branke. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. SETH Mural inspired by one of Martha’s Photos from her book Street Play. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. SETH Mural inspired by one of Martha’s Photos from her book Street Play. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
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BSA Film Friday: 10.02.20

BSA Film Friday: 10.02.20

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

Now screening :
1. “Martha Cooper : Taking Pictures” Opening Night in Berlin at UN
2. Behind the Scenes home video from Nika Kramer

BSA Special Feature: “Martha Cooper : Taking Pictures” Opening Night in Berlin at UN

The exhibition is open!

Our sincere gratitude to Martha Cooper and all of the team who worked so hard to make this event happen at Urban Nation Museum (UN) in Berlin during this difficult year of Covid. We will thank them more in detail soon, but for now please enjoy the official LiveStream of “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures”, directed by René Kaestner and his A-1 team at Red Tower Films, along with our eloquent hosts, Mick La Rock (Aileen Middel) and Falk Schacht .

“Martha Cooper : Taking Pictures” Opening Night in Berlin at UN. Behind the scenes footage via Nika Kramer

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“Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” – Sneak Peek at the Book

“Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” – Sneak Peek at the Book

As we prepare to open the Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures exhibition this weekend, we wanted to let you know that we are publishing a handsome catalogue with UN to accompany the show.

In addition to lush photo spreads of Martha’s documentation over 6 decades, we have essays written by art critic, curator and author Carlo McCormick, UN Executive Director Jan Sauerwald, author and photographer Nika Kramer, author, curator, and Hip Hop historian Akim Walta, National Geographic chief photo editor Susan Welchman, curator of prints and photographs at the Museum of the City of New York Sean Corcoran, and the curators of this exhibition Jaime Rojo and Steven P. Harrington.

The hefty hardcover, a richly illustrated and modernly designed book, is timed for release simultaneously with the exhibition opening this Friday, October 2. In addition to the essays, we have 40 quotes about Martha from her peers, artists, authorities in photography, folklore, graffiti, and Hip Hop, along with long-time friends and her family. The cover of the book features a photograph rarely seen of graffiti writer Skeme train surfing in NYC taken by Martha in 1982. The introductory texts to each of the 10 sections are written by author and curator Christian Omodeo.

At 230 pages, the new book is published by Urban Nation Museum For Urban And Contemporary Art, Berlin, and Steven P. Harrington / Jaime Rojo (BrooklynStreetArt.com). The book will be available for sale at the museum’s gift shop and on view for you to peruse in the Martha Cooper Special Projects room.

Designed by Krimm Studios in Berlin, the project was greatly shepherded by Dr. Anne Schmedding, who edited with us along with Martha. The entire project was carefully managed by the brilliant Christiane Pietsch. Our sincere thanks to everyone who has worked studiously alongside us this year during many Covid-caused complications to produce a handsome tome we can all be proud of.

More about this project in a future posting.

Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures
Curated by Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo

Opening weekend

Opening:

Friday, October 2nd, 2020: 8 – 11 pm

Extended opening hours:

Saturday, October 3, 2020: 10 am – 10 pm

Sunday, October 4, 2020: 10 am – 8 pm

URBAN NATION Museum, Bülowstrasse 7, Berlin-Schöneberg

Livestream Opening Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures

Click HERE for more details about the exhibition.

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OKUDA Finds “Puppy Love” in Oldengburg, Germany

OKUDA Finds “Puppy Love” in Oldengburg, Germany

“It’s like performance art,” says film director Michael Maxxis, as he watches street artist Okuda painting a scene from Maxxis’ new film here in Oldenburg, Germany. It’s unusual for this city to have graffiti or street art, so this commercial painting by a street artist is pretty close to the real thing.

OKUDA. Puppy Love. Oldenburg, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)

According to the Spanish artist, he took a screenshot of one of his favorite scenes and the idea was to bring the main characters in the movie to his own world. With eye-popping color and unusual combinations of geometrics with organic forms, he succeeds in sparking your imagination into an alternative-world of play. For the director, the image that Okuda selected to paint is a representation of the paradise of childhood.

OKUDA. Puppy Love. Oldenburg, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)

The Filmmaker and writer and director has known Okuda for a few years and loves his work – Okuda even designed the film posters for the movie. Here in Olderburg, it appears to be love at first sight.

Our sincere thanks to photographer Nika Kramer who shares this story and her photographic documentation of this painting under the stunning September skies of northern Germany.

OKUDA. Puppy Love. Oldenburg, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)
OKUDA. Puppy Love. Oldenburg, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)
OKUDA. Puppy Love. Oldenburg, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)
OKUDA. Puppy Love. Oldenburg, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)
OKUDA. Puppy Love. Oldenburg, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)
OKUDA. Puppy Love. Oldenburg, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)
OKUDA. Puppy Love. Oldenburg, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)
OKUDA. Puppy Love. Oldenburg, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)
OKUDA. Puppy Love. Oldenburg, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)
OKUDA. Puppy Love. Oldenburg, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)
A scene from Puppy Love, the opening movie of Filmfest Oldenburg in Germany. This screen photo shows the scene that inspired Okuda’s mural. (photo © Nika Kramer)
OKUDA. Puppy Love. Oldenburg, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)
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Urku Abstractly / One Wall Project / Urban Nation Berlin

Urku Abstractly / One Wall Project / Urban Nation Berlin

A fresh face at Urban Nation, the abstract muralist URKU has just completed the façade across the train tracks from the museum on Bulowstrasse.

Urku. One Wall Project. Urban Nation Berlin. September 2020. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Originally from Quito, Ecuador, Urku says he began his true immersion into graffiti and street art when he lived in Sydney, Australia and he hooked up with the Higher Ground crew. His first attempts were painting in abandoned places, he tells us, but the big scale walls really caught his attention.

Urku. One Wall Project. Urban Nation Berlin. September 2020. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Living in Berlin since 2015, Urku brought his girlfriend, Gamze Yalçın who is also an artist in Berlin, along for this installation on the busy thoroughfare full of noise and distractions.  He says his style has evolved more into abstraction today and he likes to think his art as a visual diary – one where he re-interprets his daily visual experiences into abstract compositions.

How did he feel elevated alongside the famous yellow trains of Berlin watching the burners fly by? “Perhaps it would have been very nice to have appreciated the scene while painting the wall with the trains running behind me,” he says, “but the fact is I had to paint all the time and to complete the project. But I was in awe that this was actually happening and seeing the trains with graffiti passing by was very cool.”

Our special thanks to BSA contributor Nika Kramer for these images and to UN.

Urku. One Wall Project. Urban Nation Berlin. September 2020. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Urku. One Wall Project. Urban Nation Berlin. September 2020. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Urku. One Wall Project. Urban Nation Berlin. September 2020. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Urku. One Wall Project. Urban Nation Berlin. September 2020. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Urku. One Wall Project. Urban Nation Berlin. September 2020. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Urku. One Wall Project. Urban Nation Berlin. September 2020. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Urku. One Wall Project. Urban Nation Berlin. September 2020. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Urku. One Wall Project. Urban Nation Berlin. September 2020. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Urku. One Wall Project. Urban Nation Berlin. September 2020. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Urku. One Wall Project. Urban Nation Berlin. September 2020. (photo © Nika Kramer)
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European Month Of Photography 2020 in Berlin Features “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” Exhibition at UN

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

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

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

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

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

#emopberlin

We’re grateful for this recognition of the exhibition and look forward to participating in the EMOP 2020 this October and we hope you can join us at Urban Nation – if not in person then please join us ONLINE for our LIVESTREAM opening October 2 ! https://www.facebook.com/events/3400074053384213  All are welcome!

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

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Basel is “Home Sweet Home” for Bustart and 40 Friends at “Change of Colours” in Switzerland

Basel is “Home Sweet Home” for Bustart and 40 Friends at “Change of Colours” in Switzerland

The international art fair Art Basel announced today that this year’s flashy Miami event is cancelled, joining its two other high-profile annual fairs in Hong Kong and Basel, Switzerland, which had both already met this fate earlier – all due to the complication of COVID-19.

One of the best parts about graffiti, street art, mural, and hip hop culture events like Urbane Kunst here in the city of Basel is you don’t have to worry about air kissing on both cheeks.

BustArt. Urbane Kunst 2020. Basel, Switzerland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Graffiti jams are more interested in getting up on the wall, drinking beer, and having a barbecue – which 40 local and international artists did here from August 20-30, thanks to the event’s sponsor, Bell on Neudorfstrasse in Basel.

“The top criterion for artists was we have to know them: because we’re going to spend a lot of time together,” explains street artist BustArt, who has been working for about five years to make this wall happen. “You are together every day for about two weeks and so the main important thing is having a good time and for this, we just wanted to have cool people here with whom we’ve worked in the past and who we could trust that we were going to have a great outcome.”

BustArt. Urbane Kunst 2020. Basel, Switzerland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Not that “Change of Colours”, as this event is called, didn’t have a lot of complications from the worldwide virus. The artist list kept changing as certain countries were eventually banned from traveling here – First the US, later Spain.

BustArt and Mr. Cenz. Urbane Kunst 2020. Basel, Switzerland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

A final list of names was not available at press time but scheduled were artists like Boogie, Cole, Kesy, Kron, Tizer, Seyo, and Sonic. Photographer and journalist Nika Kramer caught a handful of the artists to ask a few questions, including Mr. Cenz (UK), Chromeo and Bane (CH), and event organizer BustArt (CH).

Street artist Julian Phethean aka Mr. Cenz is internationally known for his unique, expressive portraits of women. He tells us “I created one of my futuristic female portraits that I’ve been doing for a few years now and I paint a lot of black women as well because I think they are under-represented in the street art world. It’s very important to me, coming from a multicultural city like London.

Mr. Cenz. Urbane Kunst 2020. Basel, Switzerland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Also for me, hip-hop is a black culture that’s why I paint mainly black power for women,” he says. “If you look at it, it’s quite spiritual as well. My style is kind of something transcendent. It’s for people to look at and to get lost in. That’s just what I do, and it’s amazing to do it on a big scale in such a prominent place and I hope people enjoy it.”

Mr. Cenz. Urbane Kunst 2020. Basel, Switzerland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Two Swiss artists Fabian Florin aka Bane and David Kümin aka Chromeo, have worked together on smaller walls in the past, but the two masters of photorealism have never truly collaborated on something new together, and they say that they’re very satisfied with the result.

For Chromeo, Basel holds a special meaning to him in the development of his career as a graffiti writer and an artist.

Bane and Chromeo. Urbane Kunst 2020. Basel, Switzerland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

“Basel is history. Back in the days when I started graffiti it was like a duty: you have to go to Basel!” he says. “Because it was considered state of the art. No disrespect to other places in Switzerland but… The graffiti history is here and it is the most important, I would have to say – even though I’m not from Basel.”

Bane and Chromeo. Urbane Kunst 2020. Basel, Switzerland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

In the opinion of Bane, Basel left a major impression as well, but it is much more personal. “I came here with completely fresh eyes. I was drug addicted during the time that Chromeo’s referring to,” he explains. “I’ve just been painting for about 10 years so Basel for me is a very fresh place, like new. What I enjoy here is the community. There’re so many people. It’s a community I’m stepping inside of – kind of a small family already. It was heartwarming and I felt very welcomed and for me, that is the best thing about Basel.”

For organizer and hometown boy BustArt, who just completed his largest wall to date for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin a couple of months ago, this wall has been beckoning to him and the event is the result of persistence in pursuing it. “I’ve been wanting to paint this wall for 20 years so we are happy that the company actually paid for it,” he says. He calls his new piece, “Home Sweet Home” because it symbolizes the place and the city he loves more than any other.

CRBZ. Urbane Kunst 2020. Basel, Switzerland. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Need A Pencil. Urbane Kunst 2020. Basel, Switzerland. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Tizer. Urbane Kunst 2020. Basel, Switzerland. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Tizer. Urbane Kunst 2020. Basel, Switzerland. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Sonic. Urbane Kunst 2020. Basel, Switzerland. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Urbane Kunst 2020. Basel, Switzerland. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Urbane Kunst 2020. Basel, Switzerland. (photo © Nika Kramer)
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Stohead Sends De-Constructed Letterforms Across a Structure : UN “One Wall” Project

Stohead Sends De-Constructed Letterforms Across a Structure : UN “One Wall” Project

Stohead (Christoph Häßler) started writing graffiti at 14 in southern Germany, where he was born, and last month he completed his largest mural in Berlin for UN, three decades after he began.  

Stohead paints a One Wall for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. (Photo © Nika Kramer)

Exhibiting on canvas for the last two decades in galleries and art fairs, he is an innovator with custom tools and he has mastered his own techniques of deconstructing the letterform, repeating and rolling them in layers behind translucence, complementary waves of motion cascading across, over, and down the wall of this eight-story residential building.

Part of the “One Wall” program at the Urban Nation Museum, Stohead is a calligraffitist of the newer international order, not afraid to experiment and grow, borrow and synthesize in untypical directions. Perhaps its this 6th sense that is causing this new work to slow motorists along Delpzeile 14 in Berlin-Charlottenburg.

Stohead paints a One Wall for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. (Photo © Nika Kramer)
Stohead paints a One Wall for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. (Photo © Nika Kramer)
Stohead paints a One Wall for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. (Photo © Nika Kramer)
Stohead paints a One Wall for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. (Photo © Nika Kramer)
Stohead paints a One Wall for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. (Photo © Nika Kramer)
Stohead paints a One Wall for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. (Photo © Nika Kramer)
Stohead paints a One Wall for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. (Photo © Nika Kramer)
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BSA Film Friday 07.24.20

BSA Film Friday 07.24.20

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

Now screening :
1. BustArt Says Goodbye to Berlin-Tegel
2. Transform the Tram Wait by MurOne in Barcelona

BSA Special Feature: BustArt Says Goodbye to Berlin-Tegel

A museum curating in public space is not necessarily new. Many eyes are watching with great interest as this museum in Berlin begins an academic approach toward selecting artists and artworks in public space in Berlin as Urban Nation Museum grounds its projects in its community and local history. The new work by street artist and graffiti writer Bustart is a direct reference to the nearby Berlin-Tegel airport, which will be decommissioned later this year.

Part of the inspiration is from Otto Lilienthal, the German pioneer of aviation who became known as the “flying man”, now cast through a 1960s comic strip version of the modern hero gazing upward to witness the post-war middle class flying the friendly skies. In a twist of irony, most people in this neighborhood will probably enjoy their daily lives more now that the airport won’t be filling the air with the sound of roaring planes overhead, allowing them to listen instead to birds in the trees.

Art al TRAM by MurOne

“Cities have these rough and rigid spaces whose only purpose is to walk through,” says Marc Garcia, founder and director of Rebobinart, a Barcelona organization that brings artists to the urban environment – developing projects with social and cultural context considerations in public space.

MurOne’s new mural takes on the space where people wait for the tram – a nondescript netherworld, a metropolitan purgatory where you are nowhere, only between. The Cornellà Centre TRAM stop is transformed by the Spanish artist (Iker Muro) who has been making murals for almost two decades, combining figurative and abstract, fiction, oblique narrative and vivid color. It’s the city, and its yours while you wait to go to your next destination

Iker Muro is a Spanish artist and graphic designer who has been making murals in Spain and abroad since 2002. His work combines figurative and abstract art, conveying both tangible and fictional elements through vivid colours and figures influenced by the visual imagery in the cities where the artist paints.

“I believe that arriving in a place like this and finding a kind of art gallery is a reason for attraction,” says MurOne, “I feel motivated by these kinds of actions.”

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“Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” : Retrospective Opens This October at Urban Nation Museum in Berlin

“Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” : Retrospective Opens This October at Urban Nation Museum in Berlin


The URBAN NATION MUSEUM FOR URBAN CONTEMPORARY ART
presents a six-decade retrospective of Martha Cooper’s photographs.



MARTHA COOPER: TAKING PICTURES

October 2nd 2020 – August 1st 2021

Curated by Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo



Skeme, the Bronx, 1982. Copyright Martha Cooper. 

Combining photographs and personal artifacts, MARTHA COOPER: TAKING PICTURES traces her life from her first camera in nursery school in 1946 to her reputation today as a world-renowned photographer.

This retrospective is the first documentary exhibition to be presented at the URBAN NATION Museum and it ushers in a new era for the museum under its new director Mr. Jan Sauerwald.

MARTHA COOPER: TAKING PICTURES presents the photographer’s versatile vision of the world, with creativity found on every corner. The exhibition opens with the images from Subway Art, her landmark 1984 book with Henry Chalfant, now credited with jump-starting the worldwide urban art movement. Martha’s photographs documented the secret subculture of writers and the coded artworks they created illegally on thousands of New York City trains.

Martha’s photographs are distinguished by their frank human vitality, with an eye to preserving details and traditions of cultural significance. Many of her photographs have become iconic representations of a time, place or culture. The exhibition will offer a rare insight into Martha’s archives through previously unpublished photographs, drawings, journals, articles, letters, and artifacts. As a lifelong and avid collector, her private trove of black books, stickers, Kodak film wallets and child-made toys will also be on display. Emphasis is placed on Martha’s extensive travels and the artistic friendships that she has fostered internationally.

180th Street Station Platform, the Bronx, 1980. Copyright Martha Cooper. 

Fans will recognize images from her books Hip Hop Files (with Akim Walta, 2004), Street Play (2005), We B*Girlz (with Nika Kramer, 2005), New York State of Mind (2007), Name Tagging (2010), and Tokyo Tattoo 1970 (2011). As an exhibition highlight, the original mock-up of her legendary book Subway Art (with Henry Chalfant, 1984) will be on display, as well as artworks from her personal collection including a pair of original paintings by graffiti king, Dondi.

A multi-channel video installation called “The Rushes” will debut in the exhibition by filmmaker Selina Miles, who directed the documentary Martha: A Picture Story and premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in NYC.

An extensive section called “Martha Remixed” showcases the work of over 35 artists who have reinterpreted Cooper’s photographs or paid personal tribute with portraits in an array of styles and mediums and locations. Unique to the exhibition, visitors will see the new collaboration between Martha and multidisciplinary Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic who will create a two-story mural onsite inside the museum.

“We were immediately excited to be given the opportunity to present the world’s first major retrospective of photographer Martha Cooper and to introduce her body of work to URBAN NATION Museum visitors. We are interested in focusing on Cooper’s photographic work and expounding on her working methods. In addition, we will present her worldwide collaborations with artists and protagonists of the street art and graffiti movement and provide audiences the opportunity to delve deeply into the cosmos of Martha Cooper’s work. We are delighted to be able to present and convey a unique compilation of photographs and artifacts from her personal collections.” – Jan Sauerwald, Director of the URBAN NATION Museum.   

Lower East Side, Manhattan. NYC, 1978. Copyright Martha Cooper.

Martha’s specialty is documenting artistic process in public space. Her formal training in art and ethnology set a unique template to better understand cultural practices and techniques and her friendships with artists gave her close and personal access to show materials, tools and techniques in detail as they evolve over several generations. As part of this larger practice, Cooper’s iconic photos of clandestine graffiti activities have proven to be a valuable record and an important key to understanding the story of the movement’s proliferation around the world.

Martha’s curiosity has always driven her documentation. Her black and white photographs from her book Tokyo Tattoo 1970 (2011), represent her first foray into an underground art world and hidden practices. In Street Play she concentrated on the invincible spirit of city kids who are creatively rising above their bleak environment. Her photographs of 1980s breakers are the earliest published images of an unknown dance form at the time that became known as central to the definition of Hip Hop culture. As the first female staff photographer on the New York Post, Cooper sought out subjects to pursue independently. Her intrepid and sometimes risky pursuit of taking pictures has inspired many young people to pursue their own artwork and career paths. 

Exhibition curators Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo (New York) have been curators and co-curators for the URBAN NATION Museum since 2015 (Project M/7 Persons of Interest, 2015, URBAN NATION opening exhibition UNique. UNited. UNstoppable., 2017). They are also founders and editors of the influential art site Brooklyn Street Art (BSA) since 2008, a respected daily clearinghouse of the global street art scene.

1UP Crew Mural. Detail. Urban Spree, Berlin, 2017. Copyright Nika Kramer. 

Martha’s style is to dive in and be fearless, immersing herself in the moment – and she’s been documenting what she finds around the world for six decades. That’s the attitude we took curating this exhibition, knowing that each element captured in her work is genuine and transient. It is our goal for visitors to be transformed by her unique eye for a historic preservation of the ordinary that is often exceptional – whether it is documenting the verboten process of making 1970s graffiti, capturing youths performing moves that were later called “breaking”, the inking processes of Japanese tattoo culture, or the ingenious games kids devised for play in New York’s abandoned neighborhoods,” say Harrington and Rojo about MARTHA COOPER: TAKING PICTURES.

MARTHA COOPER: TAKING PICTURES
Exhibition Opening
Friday, October 2nd, 2020, 8 pm

URBAN NATION MUSEUM FOR URBAN CONTEMPORARY ART
Bülowstraße 7, 10783 Berlin-Schöneberg

Interviews will be offered in prior with Martha Cooper, Curators Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo, and Director of the URBAN NATION Museum, Jan Sauerwald. Requests can be send to pr@urban-nation.com

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