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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
We’re in the thick sticky summer of it now -with Street Artists flooding the walls with many new unpermissioned illegal works. From small scale and new kids on the block to large legal/commercial murals by more established names- the public space in New York is teeming again with new ideas.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street (or boardwalk), this time featuring Adreian Wilson, Bert MTA, Bia Ferrer, Blaze, Captain Eyeliner, El Sol 25, Faust, Gatos a Gatas, H Lucatelli, Homoriot, Jason Naylor, Jilly Ballistic, Libranos, Movimiento Petrushaus, My 2 Cents, Nomad Clan, Novy, Pork, Shin Shin, Subdude, and Tatyana Fazlilazadeh.
Joy Gilleard and Hayley Garner are up on the lift, their buddy Samo the Artist cheering them on. They’ve committed themselves to a huge mural during Pride Week and they really could be having more fun socializing right now.
However, the UK based mural duo known on the street as Cbloxx and Aylo back in Manchester, are taking on a heavier job here – paying tribute to the million or more people buried on New York’s potter’s field, called Hart Island.
A stylistic blend photorealism and fantasy, both artists have had the opportunity to travel to many cities in the last five years – often creating works that are directly tied into the history of the location. Warm and direct, you can see that both artists are dedicated to social justice and often consider their work to be an important component in catalyzing positive change through awareness. Known variously as the home for a Union Civil War prison camp, a psychiatric institution, a tuberculosis sanatorium, a potter’s field, a homeless shelter, a boys’ reformatory, a jail, and a drug rehabilitation center, if you had forgotten the folks buried on Hart Island, Nomad Clan will help make sure that you remember.
To the lost, to the forgotten
To the beaten and trodden
To the oppressed, the brave
To the anonymous who lay in mass graves
We see you!
To the numbers and the names
To the battles and the gains
To the quiet, the unseen
The kings and queens
We see you!!!”
In honor of the 50th
Anniversary of the Stonewall Inn uprising in the West Village in Manhattan, we
are giving the spotlight this Sunday to the many artworks that have been
created by dozens of artists from all over the world in the city over the past
weeks. Some of them are commissioned works and others are illegally placed on
the streets, regardless of who made them or under whose sponsorship they were
created or if they were placed illegally the important thing is to realize that
the struggle for recognition, acceptance, and justice didn’t just happen
because somebody was willing to give that to us.
It happened because a lot of people before us dared to challenged the establishment and fought to change the cultural norms, the laws in the books and ultimately the perception from the society at large. People suffered unspeakable evil and pain at the hands of unmoved gatekeepers and power brokers. People died rather than living a lie. People took to the streets to point fingers at those who stood silent when many others were dying and were deemed untouchable.
People marched to vociferate and yelled the truth and were arrested and marked undesirable. Many brothers and sisters who were much more courageous than we’ll ever be, defied a system that was designed to fail them and condemn them. Restless souls confronted our political, business, media and religious leaders right in their front yards with the truth and never backed down.
So we must pay homage to
them. We have what we have because of them. We owe it to them and we need to
understand that it was because of their vision, intelligence and fearless
actions that the majority began to understand that without them and their help
we would never get equal treatment. Equal rights. Equal opportunities.
So yes let’s celebrate,
dance and sing together but let’s feel the pain of those who can’t join in on
the celebrations because today still they are on the margins, hiding in the
shadows, being cast out from their families and communities and even killed and
tortured. Let’s remember that the job isn’t done, indeed far from it. Many
countries still have in their laws harsh punishment for those that don’t
conform to their established norms. Let’s keep the fight on, the light on, the
courage on, the voices loud and the minds open. Happy Pride.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street (or boardwalk), this time featuring Aloha, Buff Monster, David Puck, Divine, Fox Fisher, Homo Riot, IronClad, Jason Naylor, Joe Caslin, JPO, Meres One, Nomad Clan, Ori Carino, Royce Bannon, Sam Kirk, SAMO, SeeTf, and Tatyana Fazlalizadeh.
From Tatyana about this piece: “Some of Us Did Not Die. We’re Still Here. – June Jordan, Black, bi-sexual, activist, poet and writer. .
Last fall I met with members of @griotcircle, a community of LGBTQ+ Black and brown elders for my residency with @nycchr. I got to speak with them about their lives and some things that came up were the challenges of being Black and gay in New York years ago, like having to travel in groups because queer folks would be attacked for walking alone. Or not being served at restaurants because they were also black. “
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening :
1. GRAFSTRACT: The Bronx Street Art Renaissance
2. Nomad Clan: “Athenas Rising” in the UK 3. DERMA TAPE// Tape Art Installation by TAPE OVER in Berlin 4. The Vanderbilt Republic x Ashton Worthington “RESIST”
BSA Special Feature: GRAFSTRACT: The Bronx Street Art Renaissance
“It’s happening here and now. It’s in the Bronx,” says Sinxero, born and raised Bronx native, artist and entrepreneur in this short documentary about his TAG Public Arts Project. The film captures some of the artists he has worked with, names that many will recognize including James “Sexer” Rodriguez, Luis “Zimad” Lamboy, the Baltimore-based street art duo of Chris Stain and Billy Mode and legendary NYC graffiti artist John “Crash” Matos.
Local Pride, Yo! Respect to Sinxero for taking his work and his community so seriously – shout out to his wife and daughter on the camera tip and of course to Dan Perez, who wrote, directed, shot and edited.
Nomad Clan: “Athenas Rising” in the UK
Nomad Clan says they’ve just created the tallest mural in the UK, with an owls’ watchful eye keeping track of the citizenry below. At 46 meters above street level, who can argue?
DERMA TAPE// Tape Art Installation by TAPE OVER
Tape artist collective TAPE OVER just completed this installation in Berlin which they are claiming also sets a world record as the” largest transportable tape artwork”. With 50 panels covered with dynamic geometric patterning in this lobby you’ll agree that it certainly is impressive.
The Vanderbilt Republic x Ashton Worthington “RESIST”
A great reverse projection mapping project in Brooklyn and easily visible from street level and the subway platform overhead, the art space called Gowanus Loft is hosting artist Ashton Worthington with the written word in collaboration with George Del Barrio. They refer to this digital projection as an evolving, purposeful lamp “in the darkness of xenophobic fearmongering and kakistocratic greed.”