“It can’t be unity unless everyone is respected equally,” says contemporary artist and occasional muralist Nina Chanel Abney as she talks about her new four panelled installation in Northwest Arkansas.
In bold graphic style and unshaded color shapes Abney has to state the obvious – “Don’t Kill”, because, well, because you have to start somewhere. The peeling back of the initial layers of American racist history began in earnest in 2020 across the country and in the streets. Ground rules for meaningful exchange are slowly, intermittently, painfully, taking form.
“Mull it Over”. That’s the title she has given to the piece that she finished last month along the Bentonville Razorback greenway trail, opposite the recently inaugurated art space The Momentary. It’s a great way to end the year, this year, as the artist continues to find ways to present thorny topics ranging from race, politics, religion, sex, identity, justice, and history using a modern language – complete with its non-sequiturs and jump-cut story-telling.
Organizers include the women-led curator group Justkids with Charlotte Dutoit and the Bentonville art organization OZ Art.
Gastman’s Massive Graffiti and Street Art Show Arrives at Epicenter.
“I’m really excited to bring this show to New York,” says curator, graffiti historian and urban anthropologist Roger Gastman, “because the city plays such a pivotal role in the origin and evolution of the culture. The iconic images of covered subway cars made graffiti famous worldwide.”
He’s talking of course about “Beyond The Streets” the hybrid exhibition that he mounted in LA last year featuring the work of 150 who have proved to be pivotal to the evolution of a fifty year global people’s art movement that includes graffiti, street art, and urban contemporary art. Filling over 100,000 square feet of new space in Brooklyn, this two-floor cross-section survey will feature artworks by many of the same vandals, graffiti writers, Street Artists, and art activists who hit NYC streets, created dialogue with passersby, and were sometimes chased by the authorities. To see them showcased here is to recognize that there is not just one route to take – in fact there are many.
“We have an incredible roster of artists for New York,” Gastman tells us, “and a brand new space in Williamsburg that has a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline as our backdrop.” Notably the lineup includes artists whose work BSA has documented on the streets in this very same neighborhood over the past two decades, including Shepard Fairey, Faile, Swoon, Bast, Invader, Aiko, and others. Ironically the appearance of free-range Street Art in the neighborhood has been seriously diminished since that time.
The exhibition is one more verification that a significant portion of the scene is being widely recognized for its cultural contribution and value in the contemporary art canon – a significantly fluid scene fueled by discontent and a desire to short-circuit the established routes to audience appreciation. Like large survey shows elsewhere, the takeaway is the significant impact street culture and its tangential subcultures continues to have on the culture at large.
Gastman says the New York version of “Beyond The Streets” will take an
additional interest at the role of music and art activism on the street, along
with immersive installations, a tattoo parlor, a special Beastie Boys
installation with artifacts and ephemera, a new 30th Anniversary
Shepard Fairey project “Facing The Giant: 3 Decades of Dissent,” and large
scale works by Gorilla Girls, Futura, Cleon Peterson, and Takashi
More news coming on programming and events, but the important opening date to know right now is June 21st.
“All in all, it will make for a really special show this Summer,” says Gastman.
BEYOND THE STREETS TEAM
Curator: Roger Gastman
Co-Curators: Sacha Jenkins SHR, Evan Pricco, David CHINO Villorente
A-ONE, AIKO, Al Diaz, Alexis Ross, Alicia McCarthy, André Saraiva, Barry McGee, BAST, Beastie Boys, Bert Krak, Bill Barminski, Bill Daniel, BLADE, Broken Fingaz, Buddy Esquire, buZ blurr, Carlos Mare, Carl Weston, Cey Adams, C.R. Stecyk III, Charlie Ahearn, Chaz Bojórquez, Claudia Gold, Cleon Peterson, COCO 144, Conor Harrington, Corita Kent, Craig Costello, CRASH, DABSMYLA, Dan Witz, Dash Snow, DAZE, DEFER, Dennis Hopper, Dondi White, Doze Green, EARSNOT, Estevan Oriol, Fab 5 Freddy, FAILE, Faith XLVII, Felipe Pantone, FREEDOM, FUTURA 2000, Gajin Fujita, Glen E. Friedman, Gordon Matta-Clark, Guerrilla Girls, HAZE, Henry Chalfant, Herb Migdoll, Husk Mit Navn, INVADER, Jane Dickson, Jason REVOK, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jenny Holzer, Jim Prigoff, John Ahearn, John Fekner, John Tsombikos, Joe Conzo, José Parlá, KATS, KC Ortiz, Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, Kilroy Was Here, LADY PINK, LAZAR, LEE Quiñones, Lisa Kahane, MADSAKI, Maripol, Mark Gonzales, Mark Mothersbaugh, Martha Cooper, Matt Weber, Maya Hayuk, Michael Lawrence, MIKE 171, MISS 17, Mister CARTOON, Nina Chanel Abney, NOC 167, Pat Riot, Patrick Martinez, Paul Insect, POSE, PRAY, Rammellzee, Randall Harrington, RETNA, Richard Colman, Richard Hambleton, RIME, RISK, Ron English, Ruby Neri, SABER, Sam Friedman, SANESMITH, Sayre Gomez, Shepard Fairey, SJK 171, SLICK, SNAKE 1, SNIPE1, STAY HIGH 149, Stephen Powers, SWOON, Takashi Murakami, TAKI 183, TATS CRU, TENGAone, Tim Conlon, Timothy Curtis, Todd James, Trash Records, UGA, VHILS, and ZESER
The show is developed in partnership with Adidas and Perrier. Additional support provided by Modernica, Montana Colors, NPR, NTWRK, Twenty Five Kent and WNYC.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. RONE Wrecks a Mansion in Melbourne
2. Vegan Flava: The taste of fresh water
3. Vegan Flava: Foot prints in the snow
4. Nina Chanel Abney’s “Colorfully Seductive, Deceptively Simple” Art at ICA Boston
BSA Special Feature: RONE Wrecks a Mansion in Melbourne
You know that a Street Artist is heading toward serious consideration as a collectible artist, no, painter, when they begin invoking the imagery and trappings of European so-called classicism. Here Rone temperately unveils the sweeping view of an estate, the tinkling of grand ivories, the complex mourning of strings, the long veiled windows of the sitting room. It all serves as a set piece for a portrait of the light-skinned royal. This one takes the entire wall and has no gilded frame. But it does have drips, so you know we’re keeping it real, bro.
No candalabras, you ask? Hang in there, Whitaker, they’re coming.
A secret installation inside the Burnham Beeches mansion in Sherbrooke, Victoria, the artist has a velvet crush on the ghosts who may still live here. He sets the stage for their return, and invites you to tour the handsome estate just east of Mellbourne. Bring your gin and vermouth, darling, and enjoy the EMPIRE, while it lasts.
Fresh Water and Foot Prints from Vegan Flava
Switching hemispheres, we fly to lake Översjön in Stockholm
and find Vegan Flava writing in the snow, contemplating existence. First he sets the pristine stage of this two
chapter story. Or rather nature does.
Then he defiles the crystalline palette with aerosol
(biodegradeable black chalk), smudging matter together like a charcoal
portraitist. As the camera pulls away we see the portrait, or relic in the snow.
“How we produce food, consume, and the
burning of fossil fuels leaves the footprints of collapsed ecosystems,” he
says, “melting the worlds glaciers, dead ocean floors, logged and burned
forests, dirty air and waters.”
Vegan Flava: The taste of fresh water
Vegan Flava: Foot prints in the snow
Nina Chanel Abney’s “Colorfully Seductive, Deceptively Simple” Art
Sometimes the most impactful art is the kind that begins the conversation with you and can go deeper with you if you would like it to, but can stay on the surface if that is all you can countenance on that particular day.
Perhaps the rapid romance that fans have had with muralist Nina Chanel Abney is her self-described approach of creating “deceptively simple investigations of contemporary cultural issues.” Currently on exhibition at ICA Boston, her work is described by the organizer as “Deeply invested in creating imagery that is legible and accessible, Nina Chanel Abney (b. 1982, Chicago) is known for weaving colorful geometric shapes, cartoons, language, and symbols into chaotic and energetic compositions.”
Also; systemic racism, police violence, unjust incarceration, white privilege.
When you are ready to go there, she will too. Ready? Let’s go!
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. One Minute of Dance Per Day : Nadia Vadori-Gauthier
2. Nina Chanel Abney Talks About New Work with Pace Prints
3. Color Trips – Austria
BSA Special Feature: One Minute of Dance Per Day : Nadia Vadori-Gauthier
“And lost be the day to us in which a measure hath not been danced.”
~ from Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra
Every day since the shootings of artists and journalists at the Charlie Hebdo offices on January 14, 2015, dancer Nadia Vadori-Gauthier has made sure to dance for a minute or more. It sounds like a good idea.
“Without editing or effects, in the place and state of mind I find myself that day, with no special technique, staging, clothing, or makeup, nothing but what is there,” she says on her website.
“I dance inside or outside, in public or private places, alone or with others, strangers or people I know, sometimes friends.
I dance as protesters demonstrate, to effect a living poetry, to act through sensitivity against the violence of certain aspects of the world.
This is the solution I found: an action to my own measure, a concrete, repeated action that may redraw lines, disrupt the design, shake up the norms.”
Here she is in Paris on Esperance Street in front of a mural by Street Artist Seth.
Nina Chanel Abney Talks About New Work with Pace Prints
Opening last night at Pace Prints, artists Nina Chanel Abney talks about her work, her colors, characters, content, and the experience of making her first body of prints. She says she’s hooked, and with the large-scale unique prints she creates in the printshop with a great team, you can see why.
Color Trips – Austria
First of all, how did all of this beauty occur this summer and why don’t we live in Austria? Secondly, how is it possible that a town is so small that the train literally has one car? And how does it have big graffiti burners on it? This is the most clean, wild, classic graffiti porn with a good beat that we’ve seen in a while.
New York is resting pleasantly under a nice blanket of our first snow this morning. Your moaning Uncle Norman is lying on the living room rug next to the radiator with an icepack on his back from shoveling the sidewalk. “Just keep the dog away from him for a few minutes please,” says your cousin Hedda as she pulls a roast out of the oven. “At least until the Flexeril kicks in.”
Yo! Check out the new fence piece Icy & Sot did at the top of this weeks BSA Images of the Week! It’s in the same style as the piece they did for the Urban Nation Museum opening with us this September – that one featured a silhouette of an immigrant family running. Instead of participating in the Ambivalence Festival called Miami Basel/Wynwood this week, the brothers decided to throw their own party this weekend to unveil the piece and at The LOT radio station in Williamsburg, BK. Brothers and sisters, check out this station afloat on a little slip of land that generates some killer sets!
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Adam Fujita, Ai WeiWei, Appleton Pictures, Dede, Icy & Sot, Keyatama, LMNOPI, Nina Chanel Abney, Vladimir Gluten, and Xavi Cerre.
Just in time for this weekend’s Mermaid Parade, London’s D*Face is finishing up “Live Fast Die Young,” his beauty-and-the-zombie comic couple sipping an ice cream float at the soda counter. Austrian surrealist slicer Nychos has completed his dissection of a Ronald McDonald-ish character without a sketch; running, jumping, nearly flying through the air with aerosol in hand, flinging the spent cans over his shoulder blindly to skitter across the pavement. Baltimore-based freeform anthropologist Gaia is cavorting with passersby who want to take cellphone selfies in front of his painted wall that depicts exactly that; selfies taken in Coney Island.
This is a modern version of the multi-mirror funhouse in mural form, and Coney Art Walls is bringing it again.
22 new murals on standing slabs of concrete join a dozen or so that were retained from last summer to present an eclectic and savory selection from the old-school and the new. When it comes to art in the streets, a salty luncheonette of city-style treats is on a large public platter these days, with names like graffiti, street art, urban art, installation art, public art, fine art, even contemporary art. For some of those hapless gatekeepers of any of these respective categories, this show in this location presents degrees of discomfort and anger as many subcultural roots are now brought into the light in tandem with one another in a public display – funded by a real estate firm. For the artists and majority of fans, however, the trend is more toward delight and gratitude.
While you are unpacking that, consider that lead curator Jeffrey Deitch has often proved very adept at plumbing the aesthetic margins of our culture while rearranging and intermingling the parties, helping the viewer to appreciate their differences. This outdoor exhibit co-curated with Joseph Sitt provides a venue for a wide audience to contemplate the range of expression that New York streets have had over the last few decades, including a few artists who are trying this manner of expression for the first time.
As the Thunderbolt, Steeplechase, Cyclone and Wonder Wheel spin and swerve nearby and overhead, sending screams and personal projectiles into the ocean breeze, you have this paved lot full of paintings to peruse, lemonade in one hand and the cotton-candy-sticky hand of a sunscreen-slathered child in the other. Here you’ll see a large two-walled corner smashed with Coney Island themes by Bronx graffiti masters Tats Cru (Bio, BG183, and Nicer), a selection of hand-drawn wheat pasted portraits of Coney Island youth by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, and 4 full-form sculptures by John Ahearn creating a modernist view of divers on the beach .
Tooling elsewhere through the loose labyrinth you come upon a monochromatic cryptically patterned tribute to Brooklyn-born Beastie Boys vocalist Adam “MCA” Yauch by Brooklyn tagger/train writer/artist Haze and a seemingly lighthearted abstractly collaged wall of mermaids by fine artist Nina Chanel Abney, whose work is currently on the cover of Juxtapoz. There is also a spectacular underwater-themed symmetrical fantasy topped by pylons bearing the likenesses of characters from “The Warriors” film by artist duo The London Police, and a stenciled “Last Supper” featuring heads of world currency playing the disciples and George Washington as Jesus sprayed across the face of a huge dollar bill by Iranian brothers Icy & Sot.
We often travel streets and neglected spaces in cities looking for signs of freewill artistic expression and often the creative spirit surprises us as it can be expressed in so many ways with emotion, agenda, and idiosyncratic point of view. It may be the plurality of voices one experiences surfing the Internet or the multi-cultural nature of living in New York with a continuous river of fresh arrivals mixing in with established and old-timers every day, but one comes to expect this variety of viewpoints and rather naturally creates accommodation for inclusion that celebrates without negating – and in many ways Coney Art Walls does that as well.
Oppositional viewpoints are present if you look: There are coded messages and obvious ones, critiques of corporate hegemony, issues of race, commentary on police relations, sexuality, religion, capitalism, community, the languages of advertising, movies, music, entertainment, local history, and examination of roles and power structures.
When tooling around this collection, you may wonder what, then, are the commonalities of this survey. Certainly there are the recurring references to Coney Island lore and aspects of performance and flimflam, oddity, fantasy, even the erotic. Naturally, there are elements of natural wonder as well, perhaps expected with the proximity to the beach and the ocean and the history of this place as a vacation getaway.
Aside from this, the connective tissue is what we frequently identify as what is distinctly New York – the plurality of voices. Arguing, making fun, praising, preening, bragging, lambasting, mocking, singing. Despite the continuous attempts by others to divide us, we’re strangely (very strangely), beautifully united.
Originally from Japan, Brooklyn’s AIKO has a double sided stencil sonnet to the romance of the sea. With “Tale of the Dragon King and Mermaids in Water Castle” Aiko tells a new version of Urashima Tarō, an old Japanese legend about a fisherman who rescues a turtle and is rewarded for this with a visit to Ryūgū-jō, the palace of Ryūjin. Says Aiko, “This piece speaks to my and all women’s fantasies; chilling hard super sexy in the beautiful ocean with friendly dragon who is super powerful and a smart guy – they are about going to water castle having good time.”
Coney Art Walls
2016 New Artists: Nina Chanel Abney, John Ahearn, Timothy Curtis, D*Face, Jessica Diamond, Tristan Eaton, Gaia, Eric Haze, Icy & Sot, London Police, Nychos, Pose, Stephen Powers, Tats Cru, and Sam Vernon. Returning artists who created new works: Lady Aiko, Mister Cartoon, Crash, Daze, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, and Marie Roberts. 2015 Murals on display: by Buff Monster, Eine, Ron English, How & Nosm, IRAK, Kashink, Lady Pink, Miss Van, RETNA, eL Seed and Sheryo & Yok. There are also three community walls.
Woo hoo! Dip your toe in the ocean and the official beginning of summer in NYC. It’s Memorial Day Weekend and it is hot outside and Coney Island is already crowded and has new works this week from John Ahearn, Nina Chanel Abney, Tristan Eaton and more to come. Also you can hear that ice cream truck jingle in some neighborhoods, a welcome sound that will cause batty-ness in the brain after hearing it the 300th time.
Prospect Park and Central Park and hundreds of smaller parks around the city have barbecues and frisbees and refreshments and naps under trees. There is even the smell of marijuana wafting through the streets again. Also there’s a new Strokes album projected on the wall above Futura’s on Houston (soon to be refreshed), there’s a Ramones exhibit at the Queens Museum, and international artists are showing up to paint at the Bushwick Collective street party next weekend. Until then, let’s go up on the roof – you may see Duke Riley’s LED lit birds over Wallabout Channel at dusk. It all kind of feels like the 1980’s, minus the hair spray.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Aiko, Jins, John Ahearn, Lapiz, Nether, Nick Walker, Nina Chanel Abney, Pose, TurtleCaps, Saone, Sipros, Stavro, Stikman, Stu, Such and Turtle Caps.
“Sigmar Gabriel (the German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy) is riding a Leopard 2 tank. The tank is for sale (a little price tag is showing a €) and is painted in the colors of the German Flag (black, red, yellow). Gabriel is holding up a sign that reads ‘Nie wieder Krieg *’ (‘No more war *’). Running away from the tank is a family of refugees.” – Lapiz
“A woman stands in water, half submerged, holding a withering lotus flower as the sky, lit by a rising sun and a setting moon, pans from darkness to light. The lotus in this setting symbolizes strength and courage when getting through life’s hardest obstacles such as addiction. The character is trying to save the lotus, which reflects her beauty and strength, as it is losing its pedals into the darkness. Her half-hidden face is slightly turned towards the light showing that she is turning towards help to revive her inner beauty and spirit. The obscured face speaks to the recovering addict’s battle with shame, anonymity, and pride for overcoming addiction due to public stigma. The 303 stars painted into the sky pay homage to the 303 people that died from overdoses in the last recorded year in Baltimore including a friend of mine.” – Nether
May 19 – June 18, 2011
Opening Reception – Thursday May, 19 2011, 6 – 8pm
The Kravets/Wehby Gallery is pleased to announce Paperwork, a group exhibition curated by Nina Chanel Abney including work by Njideka Akunyili, Firelei Baez, Cake, Sydney Chastain-Chapman, Caitlin Cherry, Oasa DuVerney, Langdon Graves, Yashua Klos, Michelle Matson, Aaron Romine, Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum, Aya Uekawa, Nick van Woert and Saya Woolfalk, opening on Thursday, May 19, 2011 and running through June 18, 2011.
The exhibition Paperwork, curated by Nina Chanel Abney, is comprised of young and upcoming artists whose work explores the manipulation of paper in all forms. Traditional pencil on paper drawings are accompanied by 3 dimensional sculpture and collage, all flowing in a seamless cohesion and showing the ways that a simple medium can inspire a new generation of artists. In Nick Van Woert’s historically charged sculpture, paper spitballs mask the identity of a plaster bust while making oblique historic references. The candy colored spiritual worlds in the work of Saya Woolfalk, are whimsical and playful, also veiling societies more ominous side. Street artist Cake moves her public art in-doors, her delicately painted figures describe the way in which people disconnect and how the emotion inevitably shows up in their faces. Figures appear in many of the pieces, providing an inviting glimpse into the fresh thoughts in their minds. Still, each artist utilizes paper in a unique form of expression.
Nina Chanel Abney is an artist working in New York. Her work can be seen at the Brooklyn Museum as well as in the 30 Americans exhibition at the North Carolina Museum of Art, which will travel to the Corcoran Museum in September. She was recently included in The Incomplete Paris exhibition curated by Hubert Neumann. This is Nina’s first curatorial project.