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2010-2020 : 10 Impactful Street Art & Graffiti Interventions & Events of the Decade

2010-2020 : 10 Impactful Street Art & Graffiti Interventions & Events of the Decade

BSA has been here with you for this entire decade – an honor and a privilege. Reviewing the many interventions and events we witnessed and shared with our readers, we realize that this grassroots people’s art movement is reflecting our society in fundamental ways and reaching deep as well as wide. Here in roughly chronological order we recount for you a Top 10 for BSA that have impacted our way of seeing art on the streets.


1.

The “Girl In The Blue Bra” – December 2011

Oppressive regimes worldwide have a few commonalities. One of them is patriarchy. Over the last decade we have seen many female artists rise powerfully to smash it, harnessing their rage and power and taking their voice to the street.

There were countless images that encapsulated the ferocity and the tenacity of the protesters during the Arab Spring uprisings in Cairo, Egypt in December of 2011. One image, in particular, captured the attention of the media and the public. The image is commonly referred to as the “Girl In The Blue Bra”. The image depicts a young woman, whose identity remains anonymous, being beaten and dragged by soldiers as she was taking part in the protests in Tahrir Square in Cairo, against Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. Her face is veiled and her jeans are still on but as she was being dragged by the soldiers her abaya came undone exposing her bare torso and revealing her blue bra as a soldier was about to kick her in her abdomen.

A young woman is being dragged and kicked, exposing her bare torso in the act by the military in Tahiri Square. Cairo, Egypt. December 17, 2011. (Stringer/Reuters/Landov)

While the image exposed the abusive practices and of power of the military in Egypt – it also swiftly sparked ferocious reactions around the globe, particularly with women who subsequently staged their own march in Tahrir Square in Cairo to demand the end of military rule.

Stencil work by Bahia Shebab “No to stripping/Long live a peaceful revolution” (image courtesy of the artist)

Among the artists who carried the Blue Bra theme to the streets was one artist, Bahia Shehab, whom BSA and its readers helped to get a movie made about Street Artists in the Arab Spring, called Nefertiti’s Daughters, directed by Mark Nicolas. Later we were the first to debut a scene from it at the Nuart Festival in Norway (“#Activism on the Street Now”), and years after that Nuart actually hosted professor Shehab. This is a small world, this Street Art community.

The actions of the young woman, the violent response of the military, and the overwhelming support of the public, in general, sparked a new wave of feminism in Egypt and inspired artists to create and display their artworks on the streets in protest.

Stencil work by Bahia Shebab “No to stripping/Long live a peaceful revolution” (image courtesy of the artist)
An unidentified artist in Cairo. (photo from Pinterest)

2.

“Art In The Streets” Opens at LA MOCA – April 2011

Art in the Streets was the first major U.S. museum survey of graffiti and street art, curated by MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch and Associate Curators Roger Gastman and Aaron Rose, an exhibition tracing the development of graffiti and street art from the 1970s to the global movement it had evolved to. BSA was there to capture and share some of what was happening.

Red Hot and Street: “Art in the Streets” Brings Fire to MOCA

From BSA

“Yes, Banksy is here. The giant ‘Art in the Streets’ show opening this weekend at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles gives a patch of real estate to the international man of mystery who has contributed greatly to the worldwide profile of what is soon to be, maybe already is, a mainstream phenomenon known as street art. A smattering of his pranksterism is an absolute must for any show staking claim to the mantle of comprehensive survey and an excellent way to garner attention. But “Streets” gets its momentum by presenting a multi-torch colorful and explosive people’s history that began way before Banksy was born and likely will continue for a while after.

The show is an audacious multi-platform, colorful endeavor; part history lesson and part theme park bringing about 50 years of graffiti and street art history, it’s influences and influencers, under one roof. Then there is the stuff outside. Engaging and educational, “Art in the Streets” makes sure visitors have the opportunity to learn how certain tributaries lead to this one river of swirling urban goo, mapping connections between cultural movements, communities, and relationships within it. When it does this, the museum system effectively differentiates its value apart from a mere gallery show. “

“Art In The Streets” Blade . Os Gemeos. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
“Art In The Streets” Invader’s invasion of Martha Cooper’s installation. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

3.

Banksy’s NYC Residency – “Better Out Than In” – October 2013

An unprecedented city-wide near daily installation of works in New York established a new high-water mark in the flood of Street Art that took many cities in the 2010s. The British Street Artist played to a media capital in such an effective campaign that even the least interested residents became familiar with the elusive prankster.

Banksy’s Final Trick

From BSA

A Genuine October Surprise for New York Street Art Friends and Foes Alike.

“In a series of communiqués beamed from his website, the global Street Artist Banksy gave graffiti and Street Art followers a near-daily jolt of mystery and mouse clicking that had people looking at every street scene as a possible Banksy by the time it ended. While few can confirm the exact level of involvement the actual artist had in the five boroughs, if any, none will deny that the Banksy brand underwent a major “refresh” this month that again put his name on the lips of those who had begun to forget him and many who had never heard of him.

Thanks to this masterful marketing campaign billed as a month-long ‘residency’ on New York’s streets, many thousands were talking about him daily on the street, on television, radio, social media, in galleries, studios, office cubicles, art parties, and the mayors’ office. By effectively combining the sport of treasure hunting with humor and populism, each new cryptic appearance of something-anything gradually conditioned some grand art doyennes and the plainer mongrels amongst us to drool on command and lift a leg in salute to the curiously still anonymous artist and the team who helped him pull it off.”

BANKSY “Better Out Than In” NYC Month Long Residency. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
BANKSY “Better Out Than In” NYC Month Long Residency. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

4.

The Brooklyn Museum’s Exhibitions with Swoon, Faile, BÄST, Haring, Basquiat, ESPO, JR Expand Knowledge, Appreciation

One cultural institution in New York City and indeed in the United States has been notable throughout the decade for its commitment to organizing exhibitions where graffiti, street art, and the artists whom have shaped it are given recognition for their contribution to the arts. The Brooklyn Museum’s leadership, including former director Arnold L. Lehman, current director Anne Pasternak, and Sharon Matt Atkins, Director of Exhibitions and Strategic Initiatives have been channeling resources and focus to the study, promotion, and exhibition of the works of important figures in the contemporary graffiti and Street Art movement. It notable that the museum has in its permanent collection the works of distinguished graffiti and Street Artists dating back to the dawn of the modern scene; something that other important cultural institutions in New York City that are dedicated to the preservation and promotion of modern, contemporary, and American art lack in their collections.

It’s for this reason that we have selected the Brooklyn Museum as one of the top ten graffiti and street art movers of the decade. Predated by 2006’s “Graffiti” exhibition the museum has mounted several important presentations during this decade that have not only been blockbusters but they have contributed to the cultural enrichment of all New Yorkers and the expanded discussion of the relevance of these art forms to established canons. Here are some highlights:

Keith Haring – March 2012

From BSA

Keith Haring 1978-1982 : Early Keith at The Brooklyn Museum

Keith Haring: 1978-1982, a traveling exhibition first shown in Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna and The Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, introduces a period of his work not often examined, taking you up to the edge of the seemingly sudden international fame he experienced as artist, activist and public figure through the rest of the 1980s.

… At a time when the small-town boy was developing his visual vocabulary as an artist, Haring was also discovering himself as a man in the world and in a city that he found endlessly fascinating and worthy of exploration. Capturing his spirit of hands-on experimentation, the show is almost entirely comprised of works on paper with one collaborative piece on plywood with his contemporary Jean Michel Basquiat, paper collage, video, and documentary photos.”

Keith Haring. Matrix, 1983. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Swoon – April 2014

From BSA

“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands”, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Museum

“Sharon brought me in here and said, ‘What is interesting to you in the building?’ and I really love that because the thing about working on the street is that you are always thinking site-specifically. And so that thinking has to translate into your work in all places. For me, if I make something in a museum I want it to be very site-specific and this is probably one of the most site-specific pieces I’ve ever done,” explains Swoon.

Under the advice and guidance of an engineer, the artist also modified her design process to allow for foundational considerations like truss sections and lift points. “I showed him an initial model and he showed me an engineered system and then I built another model based on the system that he engineered.”

It is probably unusual for a grand museum to be so amenable to the requests of an artist for a site-specific piece that literally inhabits the furthest reaches of space, and Swoon says she recognizes the leeway she received. “You know, they have been really adventurous in letting us create this. We’ve been sort of pushing a lot with the creation of this piece.”

For Matt Atkins, the opportunity to bring an internationally known street artist and neighbor into the museum has been the result of just over two years of planning. ‘It’s been so wonderful working with Swoon to realize her vision for this project. This is the first time we’ve really used the full height of the 72-foot dome, so it’s quite spectacular. I am thrilled to see her boats back in New York and for them to have this new life. The underlying ideas about climate change in the installation also make this project an appropriate tie into the Museum’s focus on activism with our other exhibitions and collections,’ she says.”

“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks – April 2015

From BSA

Basquiat’s Notebooks Open at The Brooklyn Museum

“In Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks, now running at The Brooklyn Museum until August 23rd, the genius of his fragmenting logic is revealed as a direct relationship between his private journals and his prolific and personally published aerosol missives on the streets of Manhattan’s Soho and Lower East Side neighborhoods in the late 1970s and 1980s.

These notebooks were for capturing ideas and concepts, preparing them, transmuting them, revising them, pounding them into refrains. In the same way his text (and glyphic) pieces on the street were not necessarily finished products each time; imparted on the run and often in haste, these unpolished missives didn’t require such preciousness.”

Famous. 1982. Basquiat:The Unknown Notebooks. Brooklyn Museum. April 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Faile & BÄST – July 2015

From BSA

Holy Faile ! “Savage/Sacred Young Minds” at Brooklyn Museum

“FAILE may be a religious experience this summer at the Brooklyn Museum, but only one of the hallowed installations is called Temple. The seedier, more dimly lit venue will surely have the larger number of congregants by far, bless their sacred hearts.

Celebrating the duality and appropriation of words, slogans, and images have been the bailiwick of the duo since they first began hitting Brooklyn streets at the turn of the century with their stencils and wheat-pastes on illegal spots and neglected spaces. In FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds, their new attention-commanding/refracting exhibit organized by Sharon Matt Atkins at the Brooklyn Museum, these guys pour it on, compelling you into a complex panoply of possible re-imaginings of meaning that reference pop, pulp, myth, art history, 50s sci-fi, 60s advertising, comics, punk zines, consumer culture and their own pure artistic and branded fiction.”

FAILE. Temple. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Stephen ESPO Powers – November 2015

From BSA

Coney Island Dreaming: Following the Signs to Stephen Powers

Stephen Powers: Coney Island Is Still Dreamland (To A Seagull) is one of 3 new exhibits inspired by the historic attractions of Brooklyn’s seaside.

“Graffiti artist-turned-sign painter Stephen Powers is dreaming of Coney Island and he is bringing a colorful collection of found and freshly produced signage that evokes a forgotten era to climb the columns of a Brooklyn Museum gallery.

Given the boisterous parade of brands and logos into museums that is happening as part of the institutional funding and programming mix, it’s fun to see the ninth episodic installation of this traveling ICY SIGNS shop here; its simplicity and guile recalling amusing persuasive techniques from the mid-century American advertising lexicon. Simultaneously, for those who have been lucky enough to sicken themselves on cotton candy and The Wonder Wheel, the new show imparts a rather reassuring and seedy nostalgia for Coney Island, complete with an inexplicable hankering for a thick beef hot dog.”

Steve Powers “Coney Island Is Still Dreamland (To A Seagull)” Brooklyn Museum. November 2015 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR – October 2019

From BSA

“JR: Chronicles” Revels in His Explorations at Brooklyn Museum

“A retrospective at Brooklyn Museum currently showcases the photographic works and public projects envisioned and created by French Street Artist JR. Covering roughly two decades of work, JR: Chronicles dedicates an in-depth examination into his practices and personal philosophies when creating – as evidenced by this collection of his murals, photographs, videos, films, dioramas, and archival materials.

Brooklyn Street Art: JR created a new digital collage for this exhibition featuring a thousand or so people individually interviewed and photographed. Can you tell us about what criterion he used for selecting his subjects?
Sharon Matt Atkins: JR’s main focus was on capturing the rich diversity of New York City. As such, he photographed people in all five boroughs of the city, including many neighborhoods that were new to him. While he did invite some guests to participate, most of the people were passersby or business owners and workers of local stores. “

JR. 28 Millimètres, Portrait d’une génération, Braquage (Holdup), Ladj Ly, 2004
JR: Chronicles. Brooklyn Museum. Brooklyn, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)

5

Blu and Street Art – Banksy & Co.

Curated by Christian Omodeo, Luca Cinacabilla, and Sean Corcoran. March 2016

BLU buffing his own works in Bologna took the news cycle, his legion of compatriots armed with rollers and bucket paint. But it was the show that he was reacting to that brought thousands to the museum space to discuss the rightful place of Street Art, graffiti, and the relevance of preserving it for posterity.

From BSA

BLU Allies : A Counter Exhibition to “Banksy & Co.” Launched in Bologna

“The contested Banksy and Co. exhibition contains, among many other works, walls removed from a privately owned abandoned building in Bologna that were painted by BLU. Displaying the walls and his artwork without his consent so angered the painter that he rallied artists and activists to help him snuff out all his remaining murals and paintings in this Northern Italian city last week. (See A BLU Buffer Talks About the Grey Action in Bologna)

The heavily attended Friday night opening of Street Art – Banksy & Co. at Palazzo Pepoli – Museo della Storia di Bologna was curated by Luca Ciancabilla, Christian Omodeo, and Sean Corcoran and features roughly 250 historical and contemporary works spanning about fifty years and highlighting a number of movements within the so-called Urban Art genre. On balance it appears that 90 percent of the works are studio works, paintings, sculpture, videos, original sketches, and ephermera and were probably collected in a more conventional way and the tagged posters, stickers, metal doors, and wall fragments are viewed in the context of the whole scene.”

About Ponny (photo © @around730)

A BLU Buffer Talks About the Grey Action in Bologna

From BSA

“Reality TV is usually completely devoid of reality. That isn’t the exact comparison Andreco said on his Facebook page but we thought it was a fitting analogy. Street Art in a museum or gallery can sometimes feel like taxidermy.

Andreco actually said ‘Deciding which wall to paint or not to paint has always been one of our free choices. This operation, to uncork the walls and move them elsewhere, oversteps this freedom.’ Fair enough.

Of course, that is not the primary reason why activists and Street Artists joined in to help BLU paint over the many murals that he completed on Bologna city walls over the last two decades or so. In an English titled press release on the Italian website Wumingfoundation the artist lays out a multi-layered justification for destroying his own murals, many of which have become beloved landmarks around the city and which have helped make him an art star in some circles.”

BLU action in Bologna. (photo © Andreco)

American conceptual, activist and street artist John Fekner, whose art and his art partner Don Leicht were represented in the exhibition Street Art: Bansky & Co weighs in the controversy by saying:

  • The bottom line is: what’s done in public-doesn’t remain in public. There’s no protection for artists who trespass. It’s the chance one takes outdoors.
  • If you create illegal art murals, street rules are always in effect:
  1. You can’t stop a drunk in the middle of the night from pissing on your wall.
  2. You can’t stop a bulldozer from razing your work.
  3. You can’t stop a neighborhood anti-graffiti squad from painting over your work.
  4. You can’t stop a well-dressed thief in a suit, or their hired slug with a chisel from removing your wall work and hauling it off to their laird, garage, museum or art market.

“Under any circumstances, don’t immediately and irrationally react. If your original aspirations were to be an artist- then just do what you were meant to do: be an artist. Don’t double shift and be a night watchman patrolling the streets to try and thwart thieves of your work. Unique temporary outdoor creations engender a public conversation that includes everyone: art lovers and art haters, lowbrow and highbrow, and everyone who interacts with your public work.”

John Fekner (© John Fekner)

6.

Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art Opens in Berlin – September 2017

We had the unique perspective of being two of the foundational curators who made this exhibition happen and made the doors fly open to thousands of visitors, so it only made sense that we covered the opening that brought much promise to the institutional recognition of Street Art, graffiti, and its move into Urban Contemporary.

From BSA

“Inundated!” Scenes from the Opening: UN – Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art in Berlin

“This week is Art Week in Berlin, and you just stole Art Week,” said a handsome and intensely opinionated German to us as we leaned on the arm rail of the M.C. Escher-inspired walkway before a Carlos Mare139 sculpture and above the capacity crowd on Saturday night at the Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art (UN).

Not sure if that was the exact goal, but we get his larger point; the UN has just made a massive entry into a number of societally and culturally influential minds when it comes to the relevancy of Street Art and graffiti to visual culture and art history. This movement into so-called Contemporary began as early as the 1970s and has overcome and weathered cultural and market ebbs and flows – persisted, if you will – yet somehow institutions have been wary of this work and these artists and unable to fully embrace their importance, you decide why.”

Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Hot Tea’s installation. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

7.

Five Pointz: A Legal Case For Urban Artists Shifts the Focus – February 2018

From BSA

Tell It to The Judge ; Graffiti Artists Win in 5 Pointz Case

“In a ruling that many graffiti and Street Artists interpret as a validation of their artwork and which may spawn further legal claims by artists in the future, Brooklyn Judge Frederic Block, a United States Federal Judge for the Eastern District of New York, awarded $6.7 million in damages to a group of 21 artists in the high profile case of the former graffiti holy place in Queens called 5 Pointz.

Under the leadership of artist and organizer Jonathan “Meres One” Cohen, also a plaintiff, the award is in response to a suit that cried foul on the overnight destruction of multiple artworks on building walls without consultation or notification of the artists.

Citing provisions of the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act that grants artists certain “moral” rights, the artists claimed that their artworks on the 5 Pointz compound that was owned by real estate developer Jerry Wykoff were protected and should be afforded certain rights and considerations.

Arts and intellectual property lawyers and judges will now be examining the implications of the ruling and citing it as an example in arguments about art created on walls legally and possibly those created illegally as well. In a city that prides itself as being a birthplace of graffiti and Street Art, many artists and wall owners must ask themselves if there will need to be an additional layer of the agreement before an aerosol can is held aloft.”

5Pointz. LIC Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
5Pointz. LIC Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
5Pointz. LIC Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

8.

The New York Times Publishes DONDI’S Obituary – February 2019

In an unprecedented posthumous publication of an obituary, this year The Times acknowledged something that it had so far failed to do; the contribution of graffiti writers to the cultural and art canons deserves serious recognition. By publishing the iconic image of DONDI taken by Martha Cooper that burned “Subway Art” into the mind’s eye of many generations of graffiti writers, the “paper of record” caught up with one the the scene’s leaders and heroes.

Dondi White by Martha Cooper. (photo courtesy of NYT / Martha Cooper)

The NYT obituary of Dondi begins like this:

Donald Joseph White, considered a legend before “street art” became popular, turned New York City’s subways into rolling canvases of color, humor and social commentary.”

Dondi White by Martha Cooper. (photo courtesy of NYT / Martha Cooper)


9.

Martha Cooper: A Picture Story Premieres at TriBeCa. A film by Selina Miles. April 2019

From BSA

MARTHA: A Picture Story. Shots from the Premiere and Movie Review

“First things first – Full disclosure; we are featured in the movie and we are close friends with both the subject of the doc and the director and we first suggested to the director that she was the perfect candidate to make a film about Martha Cooper. Now that we have that out of the way here are a number of shots from the premiere and our review of the movie:

Martha: A Picture Story had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this Thursday to an enthusiastic crowd that included big graffiti, Street Art, international press and film industry names, to see the highly anticipated documentary about the venerable photographer Martha Cooper by the Sydney director Selina Miles.

The electricity was in the air as Director Miles and producer Daniel Joyce along with the just-arrived Australian members of the “Martha” crew looked for their seats in the Village East Cinema. After a brief introduction by Miles, who told the audience that the film had been a great pleasure to make, the curtain went up to reveal the mother of the superstar art twins Os Gemeos on the big screen. She is sitting at her kitchen table in São Paulo remarking how her boys used to draw on everything, including fruit, and how Cooper and Chalfant’s 1984 book “Subway Art” changed their lives forever. With their story as a backbone for the film, the theme of personal transformation is repeated in a hundred large and small ways for the next hour and twenty minutes. “

Martha Cooper “A Picture Story” TriBeCa Film Festival. April 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Director Selina Miles with Martha Cooper. Martha Cooper “A Picture Story” TriBeCa Film Festival. April 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper “A Picture Story” TriBeCa Film Festival. April 2019. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

10.

Street Art and Activism Takes Larger Share of the Cultural Stage

This decade that is coming to an end has seen its share of natural disasters, human rights violations, atrocities of large scale against humanity, corruption at the highest levels, the reversal of hard-fought policies to protect the planet and keep our air and water clean. We have witnessed with despair the renaissance of hatred based on people’s nationalities, their skin color, their religion, their choice of attire, their level of material affluence and their sexual preferences.

We have seen progress as well. Women around the world have been freer to speak their mind against oppression and abuse of power thanks to social movements that have flourished around the world in big cities and small towns. Our LGBT brothers and sisters have scored numerous legal battles in their favor thanks to enlightened lawmakers and judges who have searched deep inside their intellect to find the right answer to make sure everybody is treated equally. Likewise, our peers whom we need to advance our cause have taken seriously the responsibility at the ballot box to make the correct choice with policies that will bring relief to those who have less than we do.

Art and artists have often reflected back to us the world we live in, it is for this reason that we have chosen Street Art and Activism as an important action in this decade. We have always championed the work of artists who imbued their art with a strong sense of social urgency. It is with their art that they talk to us in the hopes to change one mind, one action, one concept, one attitude towards the goal creating a common good. There are many of them currently active on the streets. This wouldn’t be the appropriate space to list all of them but we would like to give you some highlights:

No Borders: Murs Contra el Murs (Walls Against Walls)

Barcelona, February 2019.

From BSA:

“This past Sunday, February 17 at La Plaza de las Tres Chimeneas (Three Smokestacks Square) in Barcelona an international group of artists participated in the first ‘No Borders Festival.’

NO BORDERS is a grassroots organization that was created to raise awareness about the refugees, to demand their acceptance, and to raise funds through debates, art, and documentaries.

They say they want to raise the uncomfortable questions – which will undoubtedly lead to uncomfortable answers as well. To paraphrase the text on their website:

‘Do we settle for a society that violates its moral and legal obligations to refugees? A refugee is a person who flees – Flees because he is on the losing side. Because he thinks, feels or prays differently than those who point him with their weapons.’

As usual, artists are bringing these matters to the street for the vox populi to debate.”

Enric Sant. No Borders Festival. Barcelona, Spain. February 2019. (photo © Lluís Olive)

Andreco: Reclaiming Air and Water for Delhi, India “Climate 05”

New Delhi, March 2019.

From BSA:

An Art, Science and Climate Action project by Andreco

“And the statement isn’t hyperbole, according to AIR-Ink, the company that made his ink, which is “the first ink made entirely out of air pollution,” they explain on their website.

The unique art-making material is part of the Italian Street Artist / Activist’s most recent installment of his Climate Art Project, which he orchestrated on the streets here in New Delhi for the St+Art Festival this year. Part of a global, multi-city installation and demonstration, ‘Climate 05 – Reclaiming Air and Water’.”

Andreco. Climate Art Project. In collaboration with St+ART India Foundation. Delhi, India. March 2019. (photo Akshat Nauriyal)

“Post-Posters” Puncture Public Discourse in Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg, May 2019.

From BSA:

” ‘Actions Speak Louder Than Ass Ads,’ says a new stencil-style printed poster by New York’s epic, if sometimes cryptic, street commentator of four decades, John Fekner. Anyway, who will argue with that?

Post-posters is a cooperative proposition about public billposting,” says French conceptual street anarchist Matthew Tremblin about his new project with hit-and-run situationist street posterer Antonio Gallego. Together they reclaim space with individually produced posters and they invite artists from around the world to do the same.

Over a two month period the creative place-makers are facilitating an international crew of artists to post posters on the occasion of the double exhibition by Banlieue-Banlieue group* (°1982, Poissy) taking place in Strasbourg, at both AEDAEN and the Syndicat Potentiel. “

John Fekner . Carole Douillard. Post-Posters Project. Strasbourg, France. April 2019. (photo courtesy of Syndicat Potentiel)

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh: When the Lion Roars Back, a small overview

Brooklyn, NY. July 2019.

From BSA:

“By putting these images of people of color, women, LGBTQ+ folks on the street with their blunt-force sentiments addressed to would-be harassers, she not only stands with them, but Tatyana has also used her work and vision to give them the courage to stand proud, assert their voice and to take public space.

After all, it belongs to the public.

“Women are not outside for your entertainment”, a startling truth for some guys that pointedly highlights abusive behavior toward women on the streets of Brooklyn and many cities around the world. Brooklyn Street Artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh has been targeting daily oppressive experiences of marginalized people with her campaigns of art on the streets – and in the gallery.

Addressing themes of social justice, racism, LGBTQ+ rights, and sexist street harassment, her beautifully drawn campaigns on wheat-pasted posters and painted murals across the globe have brought attention to issues sorely in need of addressing during hostile rhetoric from some men in the highest offices.”

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jetsonorama Tells “Stories From Ground Zero”

Church Rock, New Mexico. August 2019.

From BSA:

“This spill and these events did not happen in San Diego or Palm Beach. The story doesn’t affect wealthy white families and cannot be used to sell shampoo or real estate. That’s probably why we don’t see it in the press and never on the talking-head news. Street Artist Jetsonorama is not only a photographer who has been wheat-pasting his stunning images of people and nature on desert buildings for over a decade, he is also a doctor on the Navajo reservation, a human-rights activist, and an erudite scholar of American history as it pertains to the poisoning of this land and these people. Today we’re pleased to bring you this long-form examination from Jetsonorama’s perspective on a complicated and tragic US story of environmental poisoning and blight that affects generations of native peoples, miners, military personnel, and everyday people – and has no end in sight.

Most alarming is the news the current White House administration is endeavoring to mine uranium here again.

‘Private companies hired thousands of Navajo men to work the uranium mines and disregarded recommendations to protect miners and mill workers. In 1950 the U.S. Public Health Service began a human testing experiment on Navajo miners without their informed consent during the federal government’s study of the long-term health effects from radiation poisoning.  This study followed the same violation of human rights protocol as the US Public Health Service study on the long-term effects of syphilis on humans by experimenting on non-consenting African American men in what is known as the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment from 1932 – 1972.’ ~ Jetsonorama”

JC with her younger sister, Gracie (who is a NBCS participant).  (photo © Jetsonorama)

BSA Special Feature: “REWILD” from Escif

Sumatra, Indonesia. September 2019.

From BSA:

“As part of our core commitment as a non-commercial platform that has helped hundreds of artists over the last decade+, BSA significantly helped Escif to raise money for his Indiegogo fundraiser in Spring 2017 when we promoted his “Breath-Time” horticultural project heavily as he planted trees to reforest Mount Olivella in Southern Italy.

Today BSA debuts REWILD, a new tree-related project by the Spanish Street Artists – just as the Global Climate March is spreading to cities around the world, including New York.

The concept of the short film is simple: can’t we just push the “Rewind” button?

‘The narrative runs in reverse, rewinding the clock on deforestation to undo the damage caused by the unsustainable production of one of the world’s most versatile commodities. Beyond the industrialisation of the land, we end at the beginning, a thriving ecosystem alive with wildlife. The concept mirrors the real world action of the Sumatran Orangutan Society and their partners in reclaiming land on the borders of the Leuser rainforests to rewild them with indigenous trees, expanding the boundaries of one of the most biodiverse places on earth.’  

Finally, a stunning custom soundtrack by Indonesian composer Nursalim Yadi Anugerah captures and carries this into another world, which is possible.

Shout out to the folks behind the project Splash and Burn: a cultural initiative curated by Ernest Zacharevic and coordinated by Charlotte Pyatt run in association with the Sumatran Orangutan Society and the Orangutan Information Centre.

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Selections from the URBAN NATION Biennale “ROBOTS AND RELICS: UN-MANNED”

Selections from the URBAN NATION Biennale “ROBOTS AND RELICS: UN-MANNED”

“What if…”

What If… UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)

That’s how curator Yasha Young began the UN Biennale in Berlin this month. A fantasy-infused ramble through a future jungle teeming with dark pop goth and an animated gorilla, the multi-featured installation by the outgoing Creative Director was meant to pose questions about a possible future, or many possible futures on an Earth deeply scarred, reclaiming itself from man/womankind’s folly.

Millenium FX Ltd. Gorilla Albert. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Spread along a 100-meter path and teeming with small surprise exhibits popping from the savage magic of two-day overgrowth, the installation appeared to take inspiration, at least in part, from the wildly successful Berlin exhibition two years ago called, “The Haus”, by a trio called Die Dixons. That one featured 175 artists creating immersive, site-specific futurist/fantasy installations on the five floors of a former bank – inviting dance troops and performances and thousands who cued for hours around the block.

INTI with Millenium FX Ltd. Gorilla Albert. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)

One of artists at UN’s “ROBOTS AND RELICS: UN-MANNED”, Herakut, was also in the Haus exhibition and here under the roaring U-Bahn on Bülowstraße produces one of the best synthesis of technology and fantasy. Their sculptural painted theatrical character of Mother Nature is straight from a childs’ imagination, blinking eyes forming a blue inquisitive aura around its visage.

Hera of Herakut. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Herakut. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)

No doubt many visitors winding through this late summer wildness were feeling quizzical to one another, confronting the various staged scenarios by 27 artists and asking “what if…”. Perhaps a  lush and greener version of the traveling “29 Rooms” selfie house we saw in Brooklyn a few years ago, this one blended themes of post-disaster with a glistening dark leafy future girded with idiosyncracies and Hans Ruedi Giger airbrushed human/machines locked in biomechanical reverie.

“They carry us off into barren deserts with relics of human existence,” says the press release,  “colorfully patterned animals in overgrown areas as well as spherical light worlds.”

Coderch Malavia Sculptors. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Plotbot Ken. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Frederique Morrel. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Dan Rawlings. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Vermibus. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Vermibus. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Pappas Parlor. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Ekow Nimako. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Ekow Nimako. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Vegan Flava. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Vegan Flava. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Goin Art. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Goin Art. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Urs Koller. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Urs Koller. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
NesPoon . Pedro Estrellas. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Filthy Luker . Pedro Estrellas. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Filthy Luker . Pedro Estrellas. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Quinte55enz . Pedro Estrellas. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Nomad Clan. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Nomad Clan. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Theater Anu. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Theater Anu. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Theater Anu . Gehard Demetz. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Outings Project. UN Biennale. Berlin September 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Participating artists include:

Coderch & Malavia // Cryptik // Dan Rawlings // David de la Mano // Dima Rebus // Ekow Nimako // Filthy Luker // Frédérique Morrel // Gerhard Demetz // Herakut // Inti // Julien de Casabianca // Louis Masai // Milenium FX // NeSpoon // Quintessenz // Nomad Clan // Rune Guneriussen // Sandra Chevrier // Theater Anu // Vermibus


Special shout out to Tobias Kunz, Annette Dooman, and the entire Studio Kunz team, Jens Rüberg and team and the YAP team.

We wish to express our gratitude to photographer and BSA contributor Nika Kramer for sharing her photos with us. Follow Nika on Instagram @nikakramer

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MARTHA: A Picture Story. Shots from the Premiere and Movie Review

MARTHA: A Picture Story. Shots from the Premiere and Movie Review

First things first – Full disclosure; we are featured in the movie and we are close friends with both the subject of the doc and the director and we first suggested to the director that she was the perfect candidate to make a film about Martha Cooper. Now that we have that out of the way here are a number of shots from the premiere and our review of the movie:

Martha Cooper. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Martha: A Picture Story had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this Thursday to an enthusiastic crowd that included big graffiti, Street Art, international press and film industry names, to see the highly anticipated documentary about the venerable photographer Martha Cooper by the Sydney director Selina Miles.

Selina Miles & Martha Cooper. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Included in the crowd were old-skool New Yorkers and a large international contingent of folks like Henry Chalfant, Doze Green, Skeme, Lee Quinones, Soten1, Carlos Mare 139, Terror 161, Kane, Dink (Baltimore), Okuda San Miguel (Spain), Faith47 (Los Angeles), Mantra (France), 1UP Crew (Germany), Nika Kramer (Germany), Roger Gastman, Lars Pederson (Denmark), Ian Cox (UK), Dean Moses… and many more. Those who didn’t attend this screening are having the opportunity to see it at three more sold-out evenings over the course of the festival.

Steven P. Harrington, Martha Cooper, and Jaime Rojo. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)

The electricity was in the air as Director Miles and producer Daniel Joyce along with the just-arrived Australian members of the “Martha” crew looked for their seats in the Village East Cinema. After a brief introduction by Miles, who told the audience that the film had been a great pleasure to make, the curtain went up to reveal the mother of the superstar art twins Os Gemeos on the big screen. She is sitting at her kitchen table in São Paulo remarking how her boys used to draw on everything, including fruit, and how Cooper and Chalfant’s 1984 book “Subway Art” changed their lives forever. With their story as a backbone for the film, the theme of personal transformation is repeated in a hundred large and small ways for the next hour and twenty minutes.

Martha Cooper with Faith47. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Spanning nearly all of Ms. Cooper’s 75 years, including a photo at age 3 with a camera in hand from her father Ben and uncle Harry’s Baltimore camera store, “Martha” successfully identifies the underlying driving forces, the unique personality and intellectual traits, and the milestones that propelled the photographer across scenes, subcultures, cities, and continents.

While Cooper is most often identified as a crucial documentarian of the 1970s and early 1980s graffiti-writing scene in New York, with “Subway Art” considered a global holy book of preservation that inspired thousands of artists worldwide, the film is judiciously clear that the photographer has had an anthropologists’ zeal for documenting much more over her multi-decade career.

Okuda San Miguel being interviewed by Susanne Lingemann for German TV ZDF. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)

During and after the film you don’t know who you are most impressed with – the director, Martha, the communities touched, the history and stories that are preserved with such care and respect.

“Martha” captures important and character-molding biographical events  – like her work in the Peace Corps in Thailand, a subsequent motorcycle trip from there to the UK, her investigations of tattoo techniques in Tokyo, and her work as the first “girl” photographer at the New York Post. During the film’s nearly magical depiction of Cooper’s first meeting with New York graffiti king Dondi, those in the audience who knew this story broke out into spontaneous applause.

The film isn’t shy about the low points and struggles of Cooper, like her repeated attempts to work at National Geographic, the continuous rejections of “Subway Art” by publishers, her loss of money by its initial disappointing sales, and the high-sniffing artworld classism of a clueless gallerist who unsuccessfully tries to dash her hopes of being recognized for her truest and most human work.

Jaime Rojo being interviewed by Susanne Lingemann for German TV ZDF. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)

You are gently led to take that journey with great interest as well, finally arriving at the mid-2000s European promotional tour for her book Hip Hop Files where Cooper suddenly realizes the impact that “Subway Art” has had on graffiti artists worldwide. Building on that enthusiastic response from new-found fans of her work she jumps back into street photography just as the Street Art scene is exploding.

Despite such a complex story Miles is able to coax out many significant truths in character development along with their infinite shadings, facts and nuances of the story.

Susanne Lingemann from German TV ZDF with Martha Cooper. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)

With interviews, testimonials, unseen home footage from Cooper’s ex-husband and excerpts from soft-news TV stories of the 1980s, viewers may gain a greater understanding of the sacrifice, dogged determination, and her sixth sense for capturing images that the subject exhibits. Keeping a quick pace aided by a smart soundtrack, pertinent graphic elements, and sharp editing, Miles finds ingenious ways to educate us about the various milieu Cooper worked with and the vicissitudes she had to overcome.

The additional layers of visual language infuse so many aspects of the story – a collaging of words, music, precise editing, intuitive pairings and lyrical, witty storytelling that lands in a pitch-perfect way.

Featured subject in the film, former New York Post and National Geographic photo editor Susan Welchman displaying her ticket. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)

In the end you realize Coopers’ underlying credo of taking pictures is about shedding light on people, their lives, their amazing ingenuity in the face of difficulty, their ability to rise above their environment as well as the artists techniques of art-making.

Careful observers will also be struck by the scenes of quiet moments that remain still for a few seconds to reveal deeper feeling – a remarkable glimpse of the filmmaker’s intuitive grasp of the life path and its trials. It’s those in-between places of luminosity that are revelatory, and the human gestures she lets the camera linger upon allow the viewer to write small essays inside their head, bearing witness.

Susan Welchman, Martha Cooper, and Kathryn Mikesell at the after-party. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)

With gratitude and respect to Director Miles and her whole film crew whom have worked thousands of hours over the past 2 and half years, we know that the graffiti/Street Art/photography scenes have been given a huge gift; almost as big a gift as Martha herself.

Martha Cooper stands up to take a cell phone shot of Director Selina Miles as she introduces the premiere film about Cooper. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)
Kathryn Mikesell, Martha Cooper and Jaime Rojo. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)
DJ Jazzy Jay at the after-party performs in front a 1982 photo Ms. Cooper took of him with his audience. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Steven P. Harrington, Youri Mantra, Martha Cooper, and Jay Edlin (Terror 161) at the after-party. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha…where are you going next? MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Selina Miles and producer Daniel Joyce with the film’s crew along with artists, friends featured in the film. Red carpet photo call. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)
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Fanakapan Pays Tribute to His Dog in New UN “One Wall” in Berlin

Fanakapan Pays Tribute to His Dog in New UN “One Wall” in Berlin

It was a name used by my mother when I was growing up,” says the British Street Artist as he talks about his new mural for Urban Nation in Berlin. “She used to call my sister Fanny Fanakapan – it was just sort of a term of endearment,” he says.

Fanakapan. Urban Nation Museum Berlin. One Wall Project. (photo © Nika Kramer

It’s a cold/rainy/sunny/windy/calm Monday and we’re in the thick of Aprilwetter here at the end of March, and Fannakapan is stirring old memories to recall his entirely unusual name for Nika Kramer, the photographer who has captured these shots.

“I know there was this song made in wartime by a lady named Gracie Fields about a useless man named Fred Fanakapan, he says. “So it’s been stuck in my head from a very early age. I always had tag names that were sort of something to do with my family – like the name I had before this was TRIPE because my granddad used to say “that’s a load of tripe!” – which refers to a cow’s stomach.”

Fanakapan. Urban Nation Museum Berlin. One Wall Project. (photo © Nika Kramer)

The new mural, part of the ongoing “One Wall” program by UN, features his signature chrome texture – this time as a heart shaped balloon. He tells Nika why he’s positioned the cartoon character Snoopy, based on the Charles Schultz comic strip, looking quizzically at his own reflection in the balloon.

He says that with this mural he is actually giving a tribute to his own dog, which he credits with giving him love and support during a tough time in his life.

“It is kind of dedicated to her. At the time I was quite unhappy and she cheered me right up so basically I say that I believe in dog. I called the piece “Believe in Dog”.

Fanakapan. Urban Nation Museum Berlin. One Wall Project. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Fannakapan talks more about the two dimensional dog quizzically gazing up at the balloon and points out that the background is taken directly form the location. “I took the photographs next to the wall so it’s reflecting the trees and the buildings around it. When I do that I think it always makes the local people appreciate it more to see their street reflected in something.”

Our special thanks to Nika Kramer for sharing her talents with BSA readers here.

Fanakapan. Urban Nation Museum Berlin. One Wall Project. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Fanakapan. Urban Nation Museum Berlin. One Wall Project. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Fanakapan. Urban Nation Museum Berlin. One Wall Project. (photo © Nika Kramer)

And now lets sit down to the Victrola to listen to the original song about Fred Fannakapan by that inimitable Lancaster lassie, Ms. Gracie Fields.

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Nils Westergard Paints One of “The Unforgotten” with Urban Nation, Berlin

Nils Westergard Paints One of “The Unforgotten” with Urban Nation, Berlin


“endangering the morality and purity of the German race”, said §175 of the Criminal Code when referring to gay people.

Lies like that persist in other countries today, as does persecution of sexual minorities. The World Economic Forum in 2018 said that 73 countries still outlaw homosexuality, despite the move to legalize same-sex marriage in 26 others.

Nils Westergard. “The UNforgotten” Urban Nation Berlin. One Wall Project. Berlin, Germany. 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)

This Sunday was worldwide Holocaust Remembrance Day and the new portrait painted by Belgian-American Street Artist Nils Westergard for Urban Nation  museum is that of a victim of the Nazis who was made to wear the pink triangle sewn onto his concentration camp uniform.

“I was digging through images of camps and prisoners for a few days,” says Westergard of his search for the right image for this 2 meter wide, 6-story high wall in Berlin.

Nils Westergard. “The UNforgotten” Urban Nation Berlin. One Wall Project. Berlin, Germany. 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)

“There are only so many that are classified as homosexuals or for sex crimes in general,” he says as he describes needing to incorporate a pre-existing sculpture of 200 metal origami birds that form a triangle into the composition by artist Mademoiselle Maurice.

He says that he ultimately discovered the image of this individual, a 32-year old locksmith named Walter Degen who was born January 4, 1909. While it is known that he was at Auschwitz and transferred to Mauthausen, it is not known if he survived the Holocaust.

Nils Westergard. “The UNforgotten” Urban Nation Berlin. One Wall Project. Berlin, Germany. 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Today we shout Walter Degen’s name from the rooftops and from this new wall to remind us how wrong we humans have historically been and how much we have learned, how much we still have to learn. We’re proud of Mr. Degen’s memory and honor his right to have loved another Mr.

Our thanks to photographer Nika Kramer for sharing her excellent images of this wall with BSA readers.

Nils Westergard. “The UNforgotten” Urban Nation Berlin. One Wall Project. Berlin, Germany. 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Nils Westergard. “The UNforgotten” Urban Nation Berlin. One Wall Project. Berlin, Germany. 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Nils Westergard. “The UNforgotten” Urban Nation Berlin. One Wall Project. Berlin, Germany. 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Nils Westergard. “The UNforgotten” Urban Nation Berlin. One Wall Project. Berlin, Germany. 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Nils Westergard. “The UNforgotten” Urban Nation Berlin. One Wall Project. Berlin, Germany. 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Nils Westergard. “The UNforgotten” Urban Nation Berlin. One Wall Project. Berlin, Germany. 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Nils Westergard. “The UNforgotten” Urban Nation Berlin. One Wall Project. Berlin, Germany. 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)

URBAN NATION x Nils Westergard:
The UNforgotten – Edition 1


Thanks to Yasha Young, Urban Nation Director.

URBAN NATION MUSEUM FOR URBAN CONTEMPORARY ART.

With support of “Faces of Auschwitz” project.

About “The Unforgotten”
The wall at Bülowstraße 94 follows a very special leitmotif: it is a memorial for the victims of the Nazi regime, who were persecuted, abducted, imprisoned and murdered for homosexuality. This memorial wall in the LGBTQI-influenced neighborhood of Berlin-Schöneberg will over time transform again and again, as a reminder.

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Denis Leo Hegic, Wishes And Hopes For 2019

Denis Leo Hegic, Wishes And Hopes For 2019

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


Today’s special guest:

Denis Leo Hegic, Curator, cultural manager, architect, Co-Founder of Monumenta in Leipzig, Wandelism in Berlin. Big talker, bigger doer.


You wake up one morning and snow has fallen on all the roofs – how can you not be happy?

This sharp rooftop bombing was created during my last exhibition “Monumenta” in Leipzig by SNOW21, an iconic writer known for his impressive large scale works.

I wish that SNOW21 will not remain the only snow in Germany this year and that we take responsible action for our planet in 2019.

 

Denis Leo Hegic

Location: Leipzig, Germany

Date: September 2018

Artist: Snow21

Photographer: Nika Kramer

 

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“Points De Vue” Festival 2018 Spans Styles and the Basque Region in Bayonne, France.

“Points De Vue” Festival 2018 Spans Styles and the Basque Region in Bayonne, France.

“Today there are nearly 80 works – paintings and installations,” says Alban Morlot, “to discover in the inner city and its periphery.”

Mantra. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

The founder and curator of Points de Vue is speaking about his city, Bayonne in the south of France, which straddles the Basque region and boasts the language throughout this region and neighboring Spain. Here on both sides of the the Adour river running through the small city, you will find new installations from this years invited 20 or so artists from the urban art scene including folks like the Portuguese Pantonio, Italian Pixel Pancho, French Mantra, French Koralie, Venezuelan Koz Dox, German 1UP Crew, and the American graffiti and Street Art documentarian Martha Cooper.

Spawned a few years ago from Morlot and his team at Spacejunk, the community/privately funded festival has produced a range of large public works throughout the city. Similarly, the storefront Spacejunk space on rue Sainte Catherine in the Saint-Esprit district of Bayonne had hosted a cultural and artistic association that spans genres and disciplines; hosting classes, talks, performances and exhibitions of modern artists drawn from the worlds of of Street Art, LowBrow, and Pop Surrealism. After a great number of group and solo shows Spacejunk is now entering their 11 year celebrating counter-culture.

Mantra. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Bayonne is stitched together geographically and socially with nearby Biarritz and Anglet, so the Basque area of about 130,000 has enough fans and practioners to support this five day festival. Alban tells us that the usual staff of 3 who run Spacejunk couldn’t do the festival without the generous enthusiasm and efforts of 40 volunteers, 10 interns and 1 senior technician.

An eclectic mix of artists invited to create new works in the public space reflect the alternative environments that have been showcased at Spacejunk: influences from a number of subcultural narratives including comics, punk, tattoo, skater culture, graffiti, and of course, Street Art.

Mantra. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

With very special thanks to Ms. Cooper and Ms. Kramer we have today new images to share with BSA readers from this autumns’ edition of Points de Vue. We also had an opportunity to speak with Mr. Morlot about his approach to the festival.

BSA: How did you conceive of Points de Vue?
Alban Morlot:
I have work for Spacejunk art center for almost 15 years and have run the art center of Bayonne – Basque Country – since 2007. During this time I’ve met many artists from all over the world who have work in public space previously. At that time, French public authorities were under-informed about street art mutations so it was difficult to organize outside projects with street artists – who many people automatically associated to vandalism.

I was frustrated at not being able to take advantage of their presence and their talent to develop their aesthetics in situ. It was during that time that the idea of a festival sprouted in my mind – but it was only later that the planets were aligned!

Equipped with years of experiences, I wanted to set up an event that could represent the variety of the creative styles being used in public space and to provide an educational approach in the same time. The underlying idea is to show the multiplicity of artistic points of view, to confront them, and to offer to the wider audience the opportunity to enrich themselves with others’ eyes.

Mantra. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BSA: What’s your criteria as an organizer when inviting the artists to participate?
Alban Morlot: First, I make sure that the artistic selection is consistent with the purpose of the festival: to discover the extent of the current creations happening in public space. Then it’s the walls that guide me in my research. The context, the format, the situation… are all criteria that I integrate before launching a personalized invitation to an artist.

Most of the time, I invite artists whom I have already met because I like building relationships that go beyond the “one shot”. I know that it could be possible to pass up several editions before I can propose an invitation to such and such artist, but I prefer to wait the right moment, try to gather the best conditions and do a serious proposal so that from the artworks there emerges the pleasure of painting.

Anonymouse. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Then I try to build a singular identity for the festival “Points of View”. The Basque Country is located between France and Spain. It is important in this context to boost cross-border artistic exchanges between the northern Basque Country (Iparralde) and the south (Hegoalde).

Last but not least, I try to encourage the presence of female artists because they remain largely underrepresented in this artistic scene.

Anonymouse. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BSA: Bayonne is also known for its political murals. Do you encourage the artists to be political with their work as well?
Alban Morlot: Generally, I do not allow myself to intervene in the process of artistic creation. I give my opinion if necessary but for me, once the selection is complete, I trust them. I want to allow everyone to practice his or her job with good conditions and it can happen if each part knows his appropriate place.

That said, I do not hesitate to convey the history of the region that welcomes them, because here as elsewhere, there is a story, a people and a language. It is political in a sense, but in the noble meaning!

Anonymouse. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

BSA: Do you see Points de Vue purely as a beautification of the city or do you see it to make a social impact within the community?
Alban Morlot:
In no way should our action be seen as decoration. Otherwise, I would not give carte blanche to the artists. No, I undertake a cultural project that aims to promote the meeting between artists and the public, generates exchanges, curiosity, in order to support everyone to be emancipated as a citizen.

Of course, I am not unaware of the social, economic, touristic considerations nor the impact of the festival on urban renewal programs. Culture is transversal and this is its strength, but I do not want to be polluted by other considerations that could divert me from the basics of the festival. I want to give artists the opportunity to work on a wall as they would in their studios and give them the opportunity to meet each other.

Anonymouse. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

BSA: How do you see the arts in public space making a difference to society? Should that be the mission or art in public space?
Alban Morlot: Art in the private space or in the public space plays the same role. The unprecedented recognition of urban art is one of all manifestations of social upheaval that we go through in modern societies. I think there’s a break with previous artistic movements because it more closely allies with the aspirations of today’s people – with think tanks who want to reinvest public spaces, etcetera. Art has always been an indicator of the evolution of society.

Anonymouse. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BSA: What sort of support do you get from the city’s government for the implementation of the festival?
Alban Morlot: Since the Spacejunk art center is already identified by public authorities, we also receive support from these partners for the festival; This is a form of financial and logistical support. In addition, the festival is also supported by private companies and, thanks to all of these contributors, we manage to present a festival that is both qualitative and open to all.

Lorcolors. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BSA: What’s the reaction of the residents of Bayonne when they see the artists at work and the completed murals?
Alban Morlot:
I must say that I was surprised by the reception that the Bayonne’s inhabitants (and vistors from nearby) have reserved for the festival. I spent almost 6 years defending this project with people who were ultimately quite afraid of the reaction of the public. But the reactions of the population were immediately enthusiastic! Martha (Cooper) even told me that it was quite unusual to see so many people on the streets coming to see the artists work. It is true that I strongly emphasized that it was a chance to see the artists in creation residencies!

Additionally, different from other events, an urban art festival leaves traces on the city which gain a certain value in time, and we are pleased that so many artists have come to the Basque country.

Lorcolors. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Lorcolors. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Remy Uno. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Remy Uno. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Taroe. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Pixel Pancho. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Pixel Pancho. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Pixel Pancho. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Pantonio. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Pantonio. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Pantonio. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Pantonio. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Koralie. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

 

Fermin Moreno. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Fermin Moreno. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Fermin Moreno. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Deuz. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Deuz. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Deuz. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Deuz. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Petite Poissone. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Petite Poissone. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Reskate Studio. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Reskate Studio. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Reskate Studio. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Koz Dos. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

KOZ DOS
“Punto y flecha sobre el plano”

“Dreams and the subconscious have been the genesis of my work lately. I do try not to put limits on myself or to follow a pattern when I create. The elements that are in my subconscious are the sketches to draw information from. At the same time it’s also the beginning of something that exists and that might be real and logic in our minds. It is the treatment of color, composition and form that unify all the elements and symbols, creating fantastic characters that in turn shed light to a parallel universe.

A central theme in my research for quite a while now, is the confrontation of the human versus the beast and nature. I look for harmony and coexistence through the treatment of images and the plastic arts.

In this project, titled “Punto y flecha sobre el plano” I wanted to work with the construction of the elements within the piece as something tangible, like our dreams, using lines and points on the plane or the wall in this case. Most of everything in our universe is composed of circles and lines so in this piece I wanted to give importance to the geometric form but imbued with a dreamlike quality.

When we are able to verbally communicate with each other we are able to arrive to important accords. Reaching an agreement means that we can coexist with each other. We have the tools at our disposal to do so but very often we put our focus on damaging ourselves by rejecting our origins, destroying our cultures and traditions and mowing over everything as we march on.”

Koz Dos. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Udatxo. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Landroid. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Landroid. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Landroid. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Flow . Deza. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Untay. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Untay. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. Photo of Martha Cooper by Nika Kramer.

Vintage political mural in Bayonne, France written in the Basque language, translated as “The People Must Live”. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Vintage political mural in Bayonne. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Vintage political mural in Bayonne, France written in the Basque language. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Discovering “The Kaos Factory” in Leipzig

Discovering “The Kaos Factory” in Leipzig

The Industrial Revolution ushered in miracles of production, mechanics, engineering, speed, ease of global distribution – possibly the most important event in human history. It also killed cultures, decimated families, poisoned the Earth, air, water, radically changed civil society, enslaved people in dangerous conditions and caused workers to unite as never before.

The flight of industry has now given us incredible relics to explore and create art inside of or upon.

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As industrial production migrated away from so-called Western societies in the last four decades we have been gifted the glorious and treacherous legacy of the factories in our cities. Urban explorers are now nearly legion on some cities, graffiti writers and Street Artist part of the mix. While the goals are often at odds – with explorers wishing only to preserve and archive and urban artists interested in finding new canvasses or installation environments – no one denies the sense of wonder and discovery wandering these carcasses of production in preservation or dilapidation.

If you have the luck to explore the steel and broken glass and possibly toxic materials sprayed with names and characters and patterns or adorned with sculptures of found materials spotlighted by natural beams of luminous fine matter, it can all present itself as a splendid chaos.

Or KAOS.

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Whenever we travel to a new city as guests for academic talks on Street Art, art curating, or just seeing festivals and exhibitions we make it our priority to visit the forgotten margins of the industrial environs; spots where creativity and loose talk can happen uncensored, without permission and absent considerations of financial gain. The abandoned, decaying buildings like this one serve as a laboratory for many artists around the world, presenting an unintended studio environment and university function for artists who are experimenting, discovering, refining their skills.

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We had the good fortune to visit one such place during our most recent trip to Leipzig, Germany on the occasion of our participation in the first edition of Monumenta Art. With our friend and colleague, photographer Nika Kramer we visited the KAOS Factory, colloquially named because the German graffiti artist by the same name has slowly taken it over with his work during the last few years, by default converting the former steam factory into his de facto “residency”.

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

He gave us a tour of the sprawling compound and told us about how much he loves coming here to paint. He told us stories about how young writers come to the factory to paint and due to their lack of experience or knowledge of “street rules” go over his work or his friends work and how he has to confront them and inform them that it may look like chaos to some, but there is actually an unwritten set of guidelines of respect that graff writers show for one anothers’ work – usually.

Similarly these young, inexperience writers take unnecessary risks while walking through the occasionally dangerous factory ruins, he says, with sometimes disastrous results. Today we share with BSA readers some of the many KAOS rooms here where the hospitable graffiti writer has done installations, finding a certain joy when he sees people who have managed to break in to enjoy the works – or to add their own.

Our thanks to KAOS for sharing with us the glorious chaos.

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Plotbot Ken. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Atomic Ant. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ixus. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Reve. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Benuz. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Benuz. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KAOS. The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


The video shows the attempt to implode the smokestack in the factory in 1995. While the implosion was somewhat successful it didn’t go as planned and it could have been a fatal disaster for the community around the factory. The photo below the video shows the very bottom part of the smokestack as it currently is and to the left it shows the potential damage to property and most likely fatalities as well should the stack have fallen to the left.

The Kaos Factory. Leipzig, Germany. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Urban Nation Museum. Art Mile: Installations In Progress. Dispatch 5

Urban Nation Museum. Art Mile: Installations In Progress. Dispatch 5

Today some progress shots – these projects were not completed while we were shooting so you’ll want to go to the Museum Mile today along Bülowstraße (Berlin U-Bahn). The Urban Nation Art Mile (Artmeile) is in full effect this weekend day and night and it will be difficult to pass up on this funhouse performance-packed interactive exhibition that includes single installations in pop-up spaces along the street and in one large car-free area beneath the trains, which roar appropriately over your head.

Icy & Sot at work at their installation for the Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Also overhead for those who are observant, Isaac Cordal’s small concrete businessmen watch over the proceedings below with guilt, ennui and existential worries . You have to check out Faith XLVII’s multi-disciplinary piece in a pop-up space with powerful video imagery of the sexy uniformity of marching soldiers and the panicked distraught migratory movements of people created in its wake – with fierce and expressive dance performer Manthe Ribane and sound/set direction by Inka Kendzia with Faith. Migration, or immigration, is also directly addressed by an unbending and heavy steel sculpture of a family who are just like yours, and different from yours, facing a wall topped by razorwire.

Sheryo at work at her installation for the Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Evan Pricco and Juxtapoz bring the famous newsstand that has been displayed in 6 locations, including Times Square, now moving into the UN collection. Make sure to look at the independent zines and tags from its many travels. HOTTEA has a splendidly sharp and effervescent takeover of a corner first floor space that illuminates the white box, here comprised of hundreds of hanging yarns in a multiverse of color.

Sheryo. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This series of outdoor components feels more like a fair than a museum show, a cross section of works that you may associate with post-graffiti/graffiti/Street Art or any number of related influences without a timeline – cobbling together a hodgepodge illustration of the wide range of influences at play on the street today – attempting to channel the asymmetric energy that it generates.

It is possible that this collection represents a catalyzing of interest in sculpture, as a number of interpreters including Cranio, Ben Frost, and Anthony Lister, are blurring lines with these 3 dimensional expressions of work they’ve done in 2D. How will a general community audience interactive with these – the possibilities seem limitless. Considering the sheer number of authors and performers and documentors and artists and academics and critics on the street right now, you are garunteed to find some intellectual and/or visual stimulation.

Isaac Cordal at work at his installation for the Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Isaac Cordal. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Isaac Cordal. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Olek. Getting ready for her Art Mile performance on Sunday. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Herakut moment of levity and humor while at work on their installation for the Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bordalo II work in progress for his installation at the Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Evan Pricco fastidiously arranges the magazines at the Juxtapoz Newsstand for the Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Juxtapoz Newsstand for the Art Mile is almost completed. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Seth Globetrotter work in progress for the Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Zezao work in progress for the Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Women Power: A group of strong individuals who capture, enable dialogue and work, some daily, on the street art/graffiti scenes. From left to right. Nika Kramer, Karolina Pajak, Olek, Martha Cooper and Selina Miles. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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A “Secret Dinner” at the Nascent UN in Berlin

A “Secret Dinner” at the Nascent UN in Berlin

Since its explosion of pigment and hue on subway cars and in the streets of New York and Philadelphia a half century ago to its spread to the hundreds of cities worldwide, the truly grassroots movement of Urban Art refuses to be owned by any one city or one people, insisting upon making its own rules and traveling wherever the creative spirit leads.

As if to underscore that global nature of the Graffiti/Street Art/ Urban Art movements, Urban Nation (UN) Director Yasha Young named the origins of the guests who were attending last weeks “Secret Dinner” at the under-construction site of the museum that opens this fall.

Yasha Young, Director of Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art (UN) delivers her welcoming remarks to the invited guests. A painting by Word To Mother hangs in the background. The painting was originally created for Project M/8 and curated by Stolen Space Gallery in 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“You came from Spain, England, Los Angeles, New York City, China, France, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, every neighborhood in Berlin, from Leipzig, Munich, all across Germany, France, Switzerland, the UK, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, and last but not least, Russia,” she said as she stood before a large canvas by the London-based artist Word To Mother and next to Hendrik Jellema, the Chairman of Berliner Leben.

After recounting the three years of accomplishments and aspirations of the new museum to date, Young showed an animated video tour, a somewhat flying birds-eye view of the new museum projected on the wall.

Yasha Young, Director of Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art being introduced by Mr. Hendrik Jellema Chairman at Berliner Leben. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

In two dimly lit street-level raw and cavernous rooms were mounted a number of selected canvasses from the 10 Project M shows that have been curated in the last 3 years announcing the coming museum, each directed and refined by gallerists and cultural experts of various stripes and featuring the work of over 200 artists.

Across the street and Bülowstraße here in the Schöneberg district at the temporary UN headquarters was the grand opening of PM/11. Featuring 16 German artists curated by 3 experts in their respective scenes from Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg, “Radius” points to the vast and diverse urban art community here in a this famous street scene and artists and fans overflowed onto the sidewalk swelling even further when post-dinner guests arrived.

Celebrated photographer and ethnographer Martha Cooper attended the dinner. The library at Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art will bear Ms. Cooper’s name and will house items and books from Ms. Cooper’s personal collection. In this photo Ms. Cooper is wearing a skirt created by the American Street Artist Buff Monster. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

With graffiti artists and street artists spread among the 4 long dinner tables a colorful mix of politicians, cultural ministers, academics, collectors, press, curators, ambassadors, philosophers, photographers, and friends shared dinner, drinks, opinions, and their respective knowledge about the scene and the aspirations of the nascent institution.

We don’t know what everybody said to each other, but we did talk about cooking for a family of five with one guest and the trade routes between South Africa and Cairo during the last century and the importance of fish in the Icelandic diet with another.

Case Maclaim dinner plate. Each invited guest went back home with a gift of a special edition of one plate created exclusively for the occasion by an impressive roster of international artists. One hundred plates were created by almost one hundred artists. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Young burst in the room mid-dinner, as she’s wont to do, with a microphone to show a video series of 4 street art projects showcasing artists engaged with community projects, rather dispersing the often-indulged perception that all graffiti and Street Art is transgressive and illegal. Of course a lot of the good stuff is, but most artists possess additional dimensions outside these stereotypical descriptors, including an interest in helping others.

Artists featured included Norwegian Martin Watson, the German duo Herakut, the Polish crochet artist OLEK, and the German born Brooklyn-based twins HowNosm. The projects highlighted were not necessarily UN sponsored but instead drew attention to overall goals of the museum to be engaged with communities outside the typical art-going crowd.

A Daleast dinner plate. Each invited guest went back home with a gift of a special edition of one plate created exclusively for the occasion by an impressive rooster of international artists. One hundred plates were created by almost one hundred artists. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

And so now the UN buzz has begun in earnest, with a steady run toward the opening doors of the Museum and significant involvement of international and local contingents of participants in the new institution. If anyone pretends to know how it will all look inside and outside on opening day or the months that follow, they are brave and fantastic in their willingness to prophesy. We say that because despite the much-heralded organizational skills of this land, and they are amazing, you can be sure that a vibrant and alive contemporary scene like this will continue to surprise us.

During the dinner a few films were presented to introduce a new series still under development. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

A general view of one of the two rooms where guests sat for dinner. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Icelandic Murals, Northern Lights, “Wall Poetry 2016” in Reykjavik

Icelandic Murals, Northern Lights, “Wall Poetry 2016” in Reykjavik

The concept album was born in the Stoned Age when TV was black and white, back when disaffected teens had to trudge for blocks and blocks outside on the sidewalk to the record store and carry their rock and roll home on large heavy vinyl platters called albums, sometimes double albums.

In the snow. Barefoot.

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Heather Mclean collaborated on her wall with Minor Victories and the song “A Hundred Ropes”. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Rewarded for their hard work and sacrifice, these pioneering music fans opened those two record concept albums and used the big flat surface to pick the seeds out from their marijuana stash and roll a reefer.

Then they dropped the needle, turned up the dial, and lied on their back on their single beds surrounded by the two speaker stereophonic sound that gently vibrated their black-light posters on the wall, reading the song lyrics and metaphorically taking a wild and magical trip inside the cover art of the album.

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Heather Mclean. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

“We paint the music you love to hear,” says Yasha Young in Reykavik, Iceland, as she imagines the thousands of music fans who will inundate this city in a few weeks for “Iceland Airwaves”.

For the second year Urban Nation, the Berlin-based arts organization working primarily within the Urban Contemporary Art scene, brings the musicians a powerful visual partner called “Wall Poetry”.

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Heather Mclean. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

By pairing one musician/group with one visual artist/group, Young, the director of UN, wants to re-create the concept album where the eyes have a newly created entryway into the music. Of course its only one interpretation but countless stories can be evoked from this intercultural exchange.

It’s the second year for the program, and we are very lucky to have these exclusive shots from Nikka Kramer of some of the first walls going up in advance of the festival, which this year features over 200 bands. Check out the stunning atmospheric images featuring northern lights; a poetry of their own.

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Heather Mclean. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Strøk collaborated on his wall with MAMMÚT and the song “I Pray For Air In The Water”. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Strøk. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Phlegm collaborated on his wall with MÚM The Band. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Phlegm. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Phlegm. Detail. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Lora Zombie. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Lora Zombie was inspired by the songs of L.A. based band War Paint for her wall. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Lora Zombie. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Lora Zombie. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Herakut collaborated on their wall with Kronos Quartet. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Herakut. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Herakut. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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INO. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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INO. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Don John. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Don John collaborated on his wall with Swedish musician Silvana Imam’s “Naturkraft”. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Don John. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Wes21 and Onur. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Wes21 and Onur. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Wes21 and Onur collaborated on their wall with the Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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DotDotDot publicly collaborated on his wall with all the volunteers, locals, strangers and passers by using the word “perfection” as officially described on Google/dictionary. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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DotDotDot. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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DotDotDot. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016 artists in no particular order: Don John, Onur, Wes21, Ino, Heather Mclean, Herakut, Lora Zombie,Phlegm and Strok. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves is presented in partnership between Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art (UN Berlin) and Iceland Airwaves. For for about Wall Poetry read here.

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BSA Images Of The Week: 09.11.16

BSA Images Of The Week: 09.11.16

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

We hope.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Unidentified artist. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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

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

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BAST (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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

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Зачем in Moscow. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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MCA toying around in Chelsea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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

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

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Mundano (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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SAYER in Moscow. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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

 

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