Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. SOFLES: Raw Brick 2. Conor Harrington: The Patriot. Video by Chop ’em Down Films 3. Sao Paulo Pinacoteca: Os Gemos Reopening
BSA Special Feature: SOFLES: Raw Brick
While much of the western world is waiting around to see who wins the presidential election and wonders where this much vaunted civil war is taking place (Rachel?), let’s have a mental vacation with SOFLES as he shows us a graffiti piece being painted on a raw brick wall. The rich green, the deep purplllleeee…… Ahhhhhh.
SOFLES: Raw Brick
Conor Harrington: The Patriot. Video by Chop ’em Down Films
The Irish immigrants were once treated as badly as the Mexicans are now in America. Now one of them is lecturing on blind patriotism in the US in this new video by Chop ’em Down Films.
Sao Paulo Pinacoteca: Os Gemeos Reopening
In a genuine shifting of fortunes, Brazilian twin graffiti writers OS GEMEOS were once on the run from authorities for their artworks in Sao Paulo. Here to welcome their massive exhibition, is a video sponsored by Sao Paulo’s State Government.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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. “
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.
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.”
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: 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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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.”
“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. “
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.
“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.”
“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.”
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:
You can’t stop a drunk in the middle of the night from pissing on your wall.
You can’t stop a bulldozer from razing your work.
You can’t stop a neighborhood anti-graffiti squad from painting over your work.
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.”
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.
“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.”
Five Pointz: A Legal Case For Urban Artists Shifts the Focus – February 2018
“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.”
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.
“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. “
Street Art and Activism Takes Larger Share of the Cultural Stage
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
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.
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:
“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.”
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’.”
” ‘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. “
“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
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.”
“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”
“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
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. Escif: Magic Piano 2. Adele Renault: St+Art India. Lodhi Art Festival 2019 3. Jeff Koons at the Ashmolean Museum 4. OS Gemeos: Flying Steps at Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin
BSA Special Feature: Escif: Magic Piano
Spanish Street Artist Escif creates a museum installation that uses irony, sarcasm, and deep truths that we’re not always ready to see.
By hi-jacking some of the current interactive nomenclature enabled by augmented/mixed realities and the normalizing of tablet use, he alerts viewers to the connection of age-old mineral mining that is just as contemporary as the hi-tech gadgetry many have embraced.
Since you can use the device to contemplate human suffering and make music, it is an indictment of modern attitudes that dehumanize and turn real stories into a video game.
From the artist:
“Coltan is a mineral, found specially in eastern Congo, used to make cells and computer chips. Violent rebel groups are exploiting coltan mining to help finance a bloody civil war which is now in its 12th year.
The link between the bloodshed and coltan is causing alarm among high-tec manufacturers slowly they are beginning to realise that their products may contain the tainted fruits of civil war. Since the outbreak of fighting in august 1998: an estimated 5.4 million people have died; 45.000 continue to die each month; Children account for 47% of these deaths.
Magic Piano is a music installation. With the help of a tablet (that obviously contains coltan) you will be able to play the piano. Use the device to navigate on the wall. When you pass on the screen over a charater, a sound will be activated. If you push the character with your finger a sound loop will be activated. You will also activate the animation of each character.”
Adele Renault: St+Art India. Lodhi Art Festival 2019
“It lacks all the give and the breath of fresh art,” the
bespectacled art critic intones with all the weight of a final damnation.
“We need haters out there. They are affirmations that we’re doing something right,” says the streetwise pop star with clever sunnies and sans big hat.
Taking a break from the Banksy beat, Doug appears to put forth that supposition that Jeff Koons is proving once again that as long as you are a white guy and you reference European art history you are 80% on your way as an artist whose work will be collected and exhibited.
OS Gemeos: Flying Steps at Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin
A splendid hybrid that sends heartbeats racing, even
involuntarily, here is a trailer for Flying Steps and Os Gemeos as they interpret
“Pictures at an Exhibition”, the famous piano composition that has become a
showpiece for virtuoso pianists. Good to see museums of contemporary art truly
stretching, redefining the street and Street Art.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. Borondo – Mites Terram Possident
2. OS Gemeos: Artists in Residence
3. JR x Time: Guns in America Video
4. PORK Extinguisher on the Houston/Bowery Wall
BSA Special Feature: Borondo – Mites Terram Possident
In the rumbling terrain of our minds and emotions the topography is marked by our experiences; cutting ravines that fill with water and craters to get stuck inside and caves to repair to and trees to scale and balance in and feel the breeze. So mark making in the physical world strikes us an opportunity to make new paths, new memories, new associations.
In this weeks first film we see Italian Street Artist and fine artist Borondo offering children the opportunity to carve into a building façade with forged metal tools here in the city of Malegno in the Province of Brecscia as part of his larger mural that references our pre-linguistic forms of communicating and story telling with images and symbols.
“I like that my murals have many interpretations, many layers of stratification,” says the artist and indeed this is one of the qualities that leads you to visit and revisit, to decode and to discover his work. He may be a mastermind creating many meanings for you to find, or he may be a providing a platform for discussion and interpretation, or he may be democratically inviting others to participate in this most public of art, this collective history. Seeing how the piece is embraced and surrounded here in the valley by these mountains, it returns us to the contemplation of our internal topography, while we contemplate the collaborative one.
OS Gemeos: Artists in Residence
Can you imagine such big artists as OS GEMEOS as artists in residence? At the Mattress Factory for the next year you can see the results and here the São Paulo brothers discuss their childhood, their processes of creation, their dream world, and their new installation called “Lyrical”.
JR x Time: Guns in America Video
Many have seen the mural on the Bowery Wall this week in New York and the 3 page fold-out on the cover of TIME, but not everyone is fully aware that the project is not in fact static – it is continuous movement. JR and his team captured hundreds, perhaps thousands of hours of video for this project and composited small videos together as one large live piece, which is currently on display at PACE gallery in Manhattan.
Read our coverage of the project and interview with the artiste here:
A Scholarly Eye On Artistic Interventions in Public Space
The excitement that pours from city walls in Lisbon is palpable, an animated mix of graffiti, Street Art, murals, sculpture, and the traditional artisan tiles. Like the famous Bacalhau dish of Portuguese cuisine, it all can be mixed together almost a thousand different ways and each surprising recombination can be loved for its unique character.
To appreciate the varied elements playing into the Street Art scene here, you won’t find greater insight than by touring with Pedro Soares-Neves, and he’ll make sure you won’t leave without understanding the forty years that have contributed to the scene up to this point.
Most visitors are overtaken by the sweeping views, the heart of the old city in the valley, the winding Bairro Alto streets full of colorful illegal artworks, the ancient bricks, traditional azulejos tiled buildings, tiny streets, sloping topography, endless staircases and retro-style cable cars that are climbing impossible inclines – each slaughtered with colorful graffiti tags.
Now an international destination for many Street Artists, the growing number of murals here is remarkable, if not outstanding. Soares-Neves can look at the huge variety of expressions on the street and explain why the art is here now and how it fits into a greater context of a historical city that has gradually embraced nearly all expressions of modern art-in-the-streets.
A self-described fan of urban history Pedro is one of the few scholars in the global urban art scene who calls graffiti writers “authors”, quite possibly because he was one himself in his early teens here during the city’s first stage of graffiti proliferation in the early 1990s.
“I am kind of an architectural urban history fanatic,” he says proudly but in a confessional tone. Completing his doctorate in Design and Urbanism this year he is also co-organizer of the Lisbon Street Art & Urban Creativity Conference and the Street Art & Urban Creativity Scientific Journal.
A lifelong Lisboan born at the same time the revolution from the dictatorship was born here in the mid 1970s, Soares-Neves tells the story of urban art as a progression of social movement, individual engagement, immigration, urban planning, importation of culture, commercial incursion and coalescing of local artists as a quasi-professional network.
As you ride in his 4-door family SUV-hybrid with kids toys and storybooks scattered across the back seat, you gaze along the historic spice trade waterfront and the Jerónimos monastery and museum row, swerving through the central “filet mignon” of the ornamented city to the outskirts, which he calls “the back-office”.
He gestures at the trains and wooded walls and areas where he once painted graffiti , to some of the current crop of throwups along the highway and to wall murals that have been commissioned by municipal, professional, and commercial interests. As the trip unfolds the story is not quite linear of course, and city history intertwines with personal history.
As is its personality, art-in-the-streets shape-shifts and redefines itself, creating new alliances, reconfiguring the balance. For example, currently Lisbon city leaders are working with former vandals and art school professionals to create programs of large colorful murals on soaring public housing towers.
The adjacent neighborhood of older single family houses laid out like suburbs features Soare-Neves’ own curated walls done by more conceptual artists who play with ideas about public space as well as aesthetics. The Portuguese +MaisMenos– directly intervenes with stenciled words here, creating quizzical conundrums for passersby and the French experimenter Matthew Tremblin who brings an online poll results via bar charts posing an existential question about Street Art.
A truly unique insight into the rather omnibus experience of this urban academic, we actually get to look at two eras of Pedro’s own personal history as an artist are here as well, only blocks away from one another.
One Soares painting is on a low wall encircling a park. Part of a graffiti wall of fame (which he helped organize), it shows his 1990s affinity for character illustration and experimentation with letter styles. His more recent installation is a mixed media paint/land art derivation that converts disused construction materials and a habit-formed footpath leading up a grassy knoll to a numerical wall.
Again, the spirit of experimentation here is what is core to his art practice. Perhaps this is why his personal philosophies toward public space lean toward the organically Situationist act of creation, a practice that can be extended to all of the public and to the moment of inspiration.
Following are many images captured in Lisbon during our tour interspersed with this history of the last few decades courtesy Soares-Neves and our own research.
Speaking with Pedro about the early graffiti of the 90s you capture a perspective on two important cultural factors that steered its direction.
The first is that through the lense of the liberators of the Carnation Revolution in the 1970s the style of aerosol bubble tags and characters recalled the earlier people-powered community murals and represented “freedom” in their minds, whereas cities elsewhere in Europe would have thought this painting indicated vandalism or a breakdown of the social fabric.
Secondly, the fascination with graffiti was spurred by the children of African immigrants from former Portuguese territories of Angola, Mozambique and Capo Verde who moved to Lisbon after wars with them ended during the revolution. Now second generation teen immigrants from two cultures, they were looking for self-identity, according to Soares-Neves.
“They found resonance in this Afro-American and Latin American thing that was going on during the 80s so they connected with it and used it for language.”
Quite possibly they were reacting to class and race prejudice and they identified with brothers and sisters in the music videos of American commercial hip hop culture. Seeing the exciting growth and the implied power of graffiti writers, musicians, and bboy movies like “Wild Style” in the 1980s, the expression of graffiti was alluring – a welcome visual art and anti-establishment practice that created identity, community, and newfound respect among a select peer group of cool kids.
“Actually it started with bboying culture in the mid 80s and then in the early 90s it started with a visual language of it,” he says, explaining the progression.
His own teenage aestheticism extended to characters, and a fascination for punk or “rough” magazines and the illustration stylings of artists in the classic Chiclete com Banana magazines. “I had this relationship with drawing and cartoons and this kind of stuff – this popular culture sort of thing,” he says.
His talents as an artist were well prized among his peers until he was nearly outshone by a graffiti writer from Capo Verde, a classmate who threatened Pedro’s status as the school artist; a funny story he explains this way:
“At that time in my high school I was ‘The’ guy who was doing the best cartoons and all this kind of stuff,” he says, reflecting on his celebrity. “Suddenly he did a big piece on the wall! So I was the king of the ‘drawing thing’ and this motherf***er came here and did a big and colorful piece!”
BSA: ..and everyone knew about it of course. Pedro: Yeah of course it was much more visible than what I did. So I started to interact with the guy.
Pedro’s personal history with graffiti began there and never stopped. After starting on walls and greatly enlarging his own illustrations and experimenting with letter styles, he and his peers grew to about 10 or 12 writers and the graffiti scene appeared to blow up from there.
A community of writers from many backgrounds spread across the city practicing one-upsmanship in technical skill and logistical daring, operating singularly, in small groups, or the occasional Wall of Fame project. Because there wasn’t a strict evolutionary lineage of style, many young artists developed their own in the laboratory of the street, not necessarily related to the hip hop culture but adapting from their own culture.
By the late 90s and early 00s he feels that the scene suffered a sort of malaise when purely commercial murals began to take parts of the wall inventory and change the character of some areas. It was a development he deeply disliked for its perversion of a freer art practice yet he appreciated it for the employment it provided to professional artists. The city also borrowed the vernacular of graffiti for public service announcements painted as murals.
The mid 2000s began to reflect the influences of artists like Banksy and a new sort of community comprised of artists from old school graffiti writers and new generation Street Artist began to coalesce in Lisbon he says. Additionally the later 2000s began an increasing flow of international Street Artists and graffiti writers who began avoiding Barcelona after that city started cracking down on their famed urban art scene.
“They (artists) started to add a few other languages to try to surpass this previous period and also began dialoguing with the new things that were happening in Street Art,” he says of the witty skewering of pop culture iconography, introduction of fine art illustration styles and the use of newer art-making methods.
“It was starting to really have lots of people doing stencils and paste ups and this kind of stuff all around. It started to influence the younger generation and that put some pressure on the older generations, who started to do that themselves.”
Visual Street Performance and the Crono Project
A collective guild comprised of artists from both graffiti and Street Art like HBSR81, Hium, Klit, Mar, Ram, Time and Vhils joined together in the mid 2000s and called themselves Visual Street Performance (VSP). A professional/DIY effort, they began to organize large events and an annual exhibition through 2010 that expanded the vernacular to hybrids of fine art and elements of pop, character illustration, photo realism, surrealist fantasy, found object art, abstract expressionist, more traditional graffiti and graphic design.
Pedro had been studying abroad in the Czech Republic and Rome for a few years, “And when I came back I noticed a different panorama. There were lots of younger kids with totally different skills and with that approach of making money out of it,” he says with a mixture of admiration and possibly concern at the professionalism entering the equation.
“They managed to invent themselves,” he says, “and also within the exhibitions the kids like Vhils were born from these,” he says as he talks about the commercial aspects of the cultural scene with connections to an aerosol art brand, print makers, and related clothing projects.
A notable commercial and marketing milestone that married Street Art and urban culture with the image of Lisbon itself took place in 2010-11 when the year long Crono project, curated by Soares-Neves, Angelo Milano (of Fame Festival), and local Street Artist Vhils (Alexandre Farto), brought rising stars of the moment to a high profile block-long series of ornate Art Nouveau and shuttered buildings along a heavily traveled strip in the city, Avenida Fontes Pereira de Melo.
The Internet’s volleying of fresh images of pieces by the Italian anti-corporate BLU, the hallucinatory dream illustration style of Brazilian graffiti twins Os Gemeos, and the lyrical storytelling of Spanish 2-D SAM3 alerted the Street Art worlds’ knowledge of Lisbon, and the project quickly became a destination for travellers.
Soares-Neves sometimes speaks about the commercial appropriation of the street art vernacular in his academic work and in some ways it appears that the unexpected success of the Crono Project unsettled him as well. The curators had worked with the city to finance the project with an intention of giving opportunities to artists and fostering new aspects of the public art conversation, but according to Soares-Neves the high profile of the project undermined their own anti-establishment sentiments when city leaders recognized that a comparatively modest investment had ballooned into a successful city “branding” campaign.
Possibly this is a cautionary tale that underscores the incremental dangers present when subculture crosses the rubicon into simply “culture”. There is always the fear that the original philosophies encoded in a subculture will be irreparably transformed, candy-coated, cheapened, or worse, excised.
Recently closed London-based Street Art print pioneers “Pictures On Walls” lamented in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek way on their website in January when describing the evolution of their 15 year old business this way, “…inevitably disaster struck – and many of our artists became successful. Street Art was welcomed into mainstream culture with a benign shrug and the art we produced became another tradeable commodity.”
The city seems like it is absorbing all of these changes well, and the variety of faces and styles of public artistic intervention that you see scattered throughout it feel vibrant and necessary. The city continues its 25 year heritage of organic graffiti and entertains international writers and has the occasional Walls of Fame. Elements of unsanctioned Street Art exists as well and neighborhoods are accented by the new generation of muralists with mad skillz.
Then there are those who are a little harder to categorize, like the subtle reworkings of traditional Portugues tiles with modern icons and patterns by Add Fuel and the prized sculptural pieces across the city by the trash-recycling animal naturalist Bordalo II, who just had a massive solo exhibition in November.
The contemporary urban artist and international Street Art star Vhils is a company at this point: operating a studio in a few cities, here running a gallery, a studio laboratory program for young artists, a street art tour business, and partnering with city art programming initiatives as well as brands. Somehow he still finds time to create artworks in the streets, including a recent portrait collaboration with Shepard Fairey in Lisbon and LA.
At the end of our tour marathon Pedro Soares-Neves takes us to the Centro de Informação Urbana de Lisboa (Lisbon Urban Information Center) where we climb the stairs through the airy modernist foyer full of scholarly readers to discover a small scale maquette of the entire city that we have just been traversing.
Fanned out for you before the shiny blue Tagus River, perhaps 15 meters at its full expanse, the topographic features of the city are much less daunting when viewed from this perspective. As Pedro walks around the perimeter of the mini-city and points to neighborhoods, regions, the forest, the airport, the old city and the newly gentrifying areas of Lisboa he recounted stories of expansion, retrenchment, privatization, skullduggery and deliverance.
Thanks to him we appreciate graffiti/ Street Art/ urban art truly in its context of this city, its history, its people and the built environment like never before.
With gratitude to Pedro Soares Neves and to Raul Carvalho, General Manager of Underdogs Gallery for taking the time to talk to us, for sharing their knowledge and insights with us and for showing us around Lisbon.
BSA in Lisbon comes to you courtesy BSA in Partnership with Urban Nation (UN).
For about seven years (2007-14) the city of Stockholm practiced a so-called “zero tolerance” policy against graffiti and Street Art, following the exalted/derided ‘broken windows’ theory (Wilson and Kelling, 1982). As recently as 2011 the touring national theatre company named Riksteartern ran into serious trouble with city leaders when promoting an international Street Art convention called “Art of the Streets” because it violated the spirit of the policy.
The loosening of the strict approach in 2014 coincided with the dawn of Snösätra, a bastion of urban art practice in a rough and industrial part of southern Stockholm. Landowners there gave permission for the painting of pieces, burners, productions, and murals by graffiti writers and Street Artists all along the streets of this sector in the suburb of Rågsved where about 30 businesses cater to construction, recycling, and mechanics. A new annual festival has popped up there with DJs and live painting and various shows and celebrations throughout the summer.
Magic City, the traveling exhibition celebrating 50+ years of a wide swath of urban art practice globally, has been successfully drawing audiences here down in the industrial docks of Stockholm since last year as well, a sign of the evolving perspective on the topic. We’ve had the honor of being in both of these venues inside and outside this week and can tell you that the results in many cases are spectacular.
In addition to exploring the current works in Snösätra with local artist Vegan Flava, we hit some of the larger commissioned murals in the more bohemian streets of Stockholm and helped celebrate Magic City’s HUGE weekend, named after the local graffiti writer who specializes in photorealistic lettering in the style of helium balloons.
Both of our BSA Film Weekend programs Friday and Saturday night were a lot of fun – complete with families and kids and a few scholars and graff historians sprinkled in for flavor. We thank everyone who came up to introduce themselves and even the shy ones whom we saw from a distance.
Our sincere thanks to Vegan Flava, whose work is on the streets and in Magic City, all of the artists, curators Carlo McCormick and Ethel Seno, and director Christoph Scholz with the whole Magic City team.
Here are some of the images from our travels during this quick visit to Stockholm.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring 1Up, Alkie,Amara Por Dios, Arrow, Biesk, Disk, BrasilSuecia, Frankie Strand, Holem, Hop Louie, Mark Bode, Mnek, Os Gemeos, Peter Birk, RCW, Sweet Toof, Sibylla Nohrborh, Tear, Tonk, Vegan Flava, Vickan Art, Yash, CAS Crew,Cheat,Poker One,Kiss, and Ziggy.
Two versions of the catalogue, one by Felipe Pantone, the other by Futura, are available on the Magda Danysz website .
But she also brings an eclectic mix of others on her roster and possibly lent from some private collections. Collectively they span many of the high profile, the saleable and known over the past 5 decades from various disciplines and philosophical practices; In the case of Jacques Villeglé, whose practice of lacerating posters in the 1960s predates Failes’ by 4 decades, a lineage can be drawn. Other connections are not as easy.
Ultimately the collection gives a sense of the vast number of personalities and techniques that have characterized the street practice in Europe and North America primarily without focusing on any one specialty too greatly. Here are the revered names along with mid-career folks and current darlings who are sure to leave a mark. There is also a small inclusion of more regional favorites like Eko Nugroho from Indonesia, and Singapore’s Speak Cryptic, who each were on hand this weekend with many of the artists for the opening.
Giving tours with microphone in hand during the opening days, the energetic Ms. Danysz educates new fans and potential buyers about an organic artists scene that grew from the streets and is now more frequently being offered for sale in places such as her three gallery locations in London, Paris, and Shanghai. Today it is slowly appearing more often in museums as well.
“Conscious that promotion of the emerging scene is necessary, Magda Danysz took part in many fairs,” says a press release, “such as for example Art Brussels, Arte Fiera in Bologna, Artissima in Torino, Fiac in Paris or Pulse in New York, and is one of the four galleries at the origin of the Show Off Paris art fair.”
This weekend’s activities included short presentations panel discussions and a screen of Wild Style.
Of the thousands of images he took this year in places like New York, Berlin, Scotland, Hong Kong, Sweden, French Polynesia, Barcelona, and Mexico City, photographer Jaime Rojo found that Street Art and graffiti are more alive than every before. From aerosol to brush to wheat-paste to sculpture and installations, the individual acts of art on the street can be uniquely powerful – even if you don’t personally know where or who it is coming from. As you look at the faces and expressions it is significant to see a sense of unrest, anger, fear. We also see hope and determination.
Every Sunday on BrooklynStreetArt.com, we present “Images Of The Week”, our weekly interview with the street. Primarily New York based, BSA interviewed, shot, and displayed images from Street Artists from more than 100 cities over the last year, making the site a truly global resource for artists, fans, collectors, gallerists, museums, curators, academics, and others in the creative ecosystem. We are proud of the help we have given and thankful to the community for what you give back to us and we hope you enjoy this collection – some of the best from 2017.
Brooklyn Street Art 2017 Images of the Year by Jaime Rojo includes the following artists;
Artists included in the video are: Suitswon, Curiot, Okuda, Astro, Sixe Paredes, Felipe Pantone, Hot Tea, Add Fuel, Hosh, Miss Van, Paola Delfin, Pantonio, Base23, R1, Jaune, Revok, Nick Walker, 1UP Crew, SotenOne, Phat1, Rime MSK, Martin Whatson, Alanis, Smells, UFO907, Kai, Tuts, Rambo, Martha Cooper, Lee Quinoes, Buster, Adam Fujita, Dirty Bandits, American Puppet, Disordered, Watchavato, Shepard Fairey, David Kramer, Yoko Ono, Dave The Chimp, Icy & Sot, Damien Mitchell, Molly Crabapple, Jerkface, Isaac Cordal, SacSix, Raf Urban, ATM Street Art, Stray Ones, Sony Sundancer, ROA, Telmo & Miel, Alexis Diaz, Space Invader, Nasca, BK Foxx, BordaloII, The Yok & Sheryo, Arty & Chikle, Daniel Buchsbaum, RIS Crew, Pichi & Avo, Lonac, Size Two, Cleon Peterson, Miquel Wert, Pyramid Oracle, Axe Colours, Swoon, Outings Project, Various & Gould, Alina Kiliwa, Tatiana Fazalalizadeh, Herakut, Jamal Shabaz, Seth, Vhils, KWets1, FinDac, Vinz Feel Free, Milamores & El Flaco, Alice Pasquini, Os Gemeos, Pixel Pancho, Kano Kid, Gutti Barrios, 3 x 3 x 3, Anonymouse, NeSpoon, Trashbird, M-city, ZoerOne, James Bullowgh, and 2501.
Cover image of Suits Won piece with Manhattan in the background, photo by Jaime Rojo.
Every Friday we invite you to stop by and take a look at new videos that have been submitted or recommended or we just tripped over in the alleyway.
We call it BSA Film Friday and it doesn’t exist only online these days – we take the show to lectures in classrooms and museums and festivals to show people what kind of dope, strange, illuminating, elevating, soaring, and pedestrian films are being made about artists working in the public sphere.
Today we’re giving you the BSA Top 15 Videos from 2016 – the ones that garnered the most traffic and conversation online. We are never quite sure what you will find interesting, so to see this collection of videos all together gives us a good idea that we have some of the smartest and savviest readers !
Included with each one is an excerpt of what we said for the original posting.
“Selina Miles has just directed an epic excursion through the pleasant looking Collingwood and Fitroy areas of Melbourne and the graffiti culture there. The prolific and talented writer Sofles rides and runs center screen on this guided tour of his aerosol stomping ground and this (nearly) one continuous shot drone film is a revelation. Again Miles pushes the documentation category forward, going beyond merely recording toward capturing, creating a sense of drama, certainly poetry.
Omar Musa grabs you with his words before you even know where you are and holds your heart tethered to a string and pulling you along these streets and alleys and back lots. Many times this piece is soaring in its singularity and its sense of collaboration.”
No. 14 Chump for Trump. Ron English x The Sutcliffes
“Seeing the new Ron English mural of Donald Trump in Bushwick, Brooklyn last week we were reminded of the video he released in April with a soundtrack by The Sutcliffes, a Beatles tribute band. It uses footage from Trump rallies and commercials interspersed with illustration and animation in an approachable folky way. Once you go down the rabbit hole of Trump satire and parody videos that have been made in the last year, you’ll find enough to begin a film festival.”
“Risk talks about his evolution from a kid in New Orleans sketching in his notebook at school to getting up with a crew in LA, painting all over public space and property to gain a higher profile and retain the thrill of hit-and-run, and some highlights of his professional career. In route from illegal to legal he developed a reverence for color, form, and technical experimentation and aspirations for museum quality work and large scale public sculpture. Just don’t tag his stuff please.”
“Some simple stencil activism well placed can be very effective. Vulgar, absurd, playful. Call it what you want, but Mathieu Roquigny is the first one we have seen do it. Do not view during your morning donut and coffee.”
“A gorgeously ambient tribute to New York through the eyes of a visitor who takes some alternate routes through the city along with the more obvious ones to capture vignettes of mundanity and of wonder. Rowan Pybus shoots this city poetry as a series of visual stanzas stacked unevenly, accompanied by the occasional Faith47 mural (she has accumulated a few in NYC now) as well as the wistful sound recordings of lemurs by Alexia Webster that melt into the gentle audio cacophony of the street as designed by Jonathan Arnold.
The combined passages allow you to slow down and contemplate the whirring city and a handful of its moments as sweet parenthesis in this run-on sentence called New York. Okay, that’s enough, move along now, no standing.”
“It is funny to see this video stamped with the name “Street Art, Utsira ” because Utsira is an island with about 200 inhabitants off the coast of Norway, and there not many streets. Also, this piece is not on a street.
Regardless, french roof painting couple Ella & Pitr made a trip there recently and squeezed in one of there cuddly characters, who looks like he is on the lamb from the huge childrens story book that he escaped from. Stay tuned for some exclusive shots and reportage on the making of this piece and their upcoming show at the local pub!”
“HERA + AKUT=HERAKUT – a back-to-basics introduction to Herakut today, since new fans are joining the fold and need to become acquainted with a duo that has been on the street around the world for years and has been moving into galleries for a while also.
Here at the white box Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles for their “Masters of Wrong” show it is a different view entirely from the street surely, including paintings evenly spaced across white walls as well as an area for a more immersive environment.
Outside, “The wolf that wins is the one you feed” is the Cherokee wisdom they paint on the side of the local high school, and in the commercialization of the Street Art world, we see this enmeshed dichotomy more daily.
Let the softly kinetic paddling of the marimba escort you through their political and social commentary, now more overt and obvious and satirical than ever, as they show you their new show and their new works for exhibition and for sale.”
“Directed by Julia Cave and originally shown on the BBC documentary series OMNIBUS in December of 1976, this was actually the second half of a program that followed a tour through the art gallery scene of Soho.
A hidden gem that surveys the variety of opinions held by citizens, historians, police and front stoop sociologists about the graffiti scene on trains and the streets, the story is measured and inquisitive. It’s without glamour, although there may be guile.”
“Graffiti writers and assorted urban artists have a romantic fixation with the steel monsters that snake through our cities and across the backyards and fields of entire countries. For the urban art culture subways and freights have distinct but overlapping associations with freedom, wanderlust, a daredevil mentality, … and Brazilian brothers Os Gemeos have just created their latest ode to the subway train in Milan – almost as big as any writer’s dream.”
Artist David Choe writes “This trip to Cambodia was not a news trip, we were there strictly to spread the message of love, light, beauty, joy, free expression and creativity. I didn’t realize how many millions of musicians, artists, writers and creative people had been murdered in the Cambodian genocide, so I wanted to bring the best artists in the world to Cambodia, a country that has virtually no murals or street art. Our goal, working through the #IglooHong Foundation, was simple: to spread some light, joy and beauty to a country with such a dark past.”
The Restoration of Blu for “Street Art Banksy & Co”
“Part II of a behind the scenes look by Good Guy Boris at the controversial show in Bologna that features art works by BLU and others that were originally not intended to appear in a museum, like most things in museums.
Here we learn about less sexy topics like copyright law and one lawyers interpretation of the realistic expectations of artists when painting illegally and legally as it applies to copyright in Italy and France. We also receive a quick education about traditional and modern techniques for the restoration of works for archival purposes, which is why people will be looking at these things long after you and we are gone.”
“On the occasion of his show last fall at New Image Art in Los Angeles, artist/street artist Anthony Lister had an emotional meltdown. Told with the help of top name graffiti writer RISK, gallery owner Marsea Goldberg, and the artist himself we learn about a tumultuous personal backstory that informs his experience while creating new works on the street and for the show. Especially rewarding in this new short directed by Mark Simpson is an unobtrusive examination of the artists gestural technique, a revelation in itself.
Additionally, the performance artist Ariel Brickman on stage at the show opening is the personification of Lister’s fantasic/heroic/treacherous figures; a spot-on example of his work come to life.”
Pixel Pancho: “Teseo e il Minotauro” in Rome
“In a city steeped in art history where every camera shot looks like a classic movie scene you have to be cognizant of the critical analysis that will be directed at your new mural from every Giovanni, Adriana, and Luca who are walking by or hanging out of the window.
These are the countrymen and women of Pixel Pancho so he takes it all into consideration and presents a classic of his own, merged with a steam-punked futurism of robots who are rather romantic in their own way.”
“Narcelio Grud has a track record of transforming public space in an unassuming manner that actually engages people directly. Here is his latest urban intervention – a music box for pedestrians to listen to while waiting for the light to change.”
“Murals have an entirely different function in the urban environment than Street Art and graffiti, although some folks use the terms interchangeably. One of the time-honored functions of a public mural in many cities has been the “memorial mural,” the one that recalls a person or people or a significant event that has impacted a neighborhood, even a nation. Because it is artwork mounted publicly, it can be used as a meeting point for people in a community to gather and talk about it, trading stories and impressions and gaining understanding. At its’ worst, a memorial mural can be superficial or overwrought, moralizing, even stunningly unartful.
Sometimes however, it can provide to a community a sense of pride or history, and it can be empowering. Other times there is a mental, emotional catharsis that takes place with the artwork providing a forum, a safe space to discuss the undiscussible in a public forum or simply to share in a common sense of loss, or experience some sense of healing.
‘It’s not mere decoration, but deals with ethics,’ says Giulio Vesprini as he paints this mural remembering Camp No.70 Monte Urano, a WWII prison camp a mile or two from the sea and Porto San Georgio, in Italy. ‘So it has been very important to me that I could give my contribution.’ “
We dedicate this compilation to the filmmakers who bring so much joy, knowledge and awareness with their artistry and technical wizardry every day and especially every Friday from BSA Film Friday to all of us here at BSA and to our readers. Cheers for a wonderful 2017…
An ongoing lucid travelogue of sorts, the Brazilian twins Otavio and Gustavo have been recording their dual citizenship of this world and a surreal one for their fans for at least a couple of decades. In these site-specific rooms you find multiple characters intersecting with graffiti culture, hip-hop culture, pattern, illustration, fantasy, the sky.
With imaginations captured as boys by the tales and adventures of 1970s and 80s streetwise graffiti kids the brothers’ Brazilian folk homages are stirred in sweetly with escapist fantasies of evading the law, creating your own community, making a famous name for yourself.
“Silence of the Music”, just opened at Lehmann Maupin gallery in New York last Thursday and attended by a thousand or fans, gives you five rooms of eye candy colored in autumn hues and sea foam washes, and periodic carnival-steampunk mechanical movement that surprises and triggers memory.
Everywhere are humorously attenuated yellow figures caught mid-mischief or mid-thought, posing with a stylish guile, completely aware of their surroundings. There are some painted collaborations with Doze Green and atop Martha Cooper photos and shout outs to Ken Swift and whole train writers like LEE and Futura. Beatboxes and bboys and spraycans are here, as are lighthouses and ocean storms and rowboats and animals and a sliver of moon for you to sit upon.
Also a sharper depiction of geometric forms.
For Os Gemeos in life and in art, there is little separation between external and internal worlds. For a few weeks this fall you can traverse both with them in New York.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening :
1. Os Gemeos Mural: Hangar Bicocca Building (Milan)
2. Tilt: Voyage – Aller Biennale Marrakech
3. Ugo Rondinone: Seven Magic Mountains
4. Ryan Campbell Profile
BSA Special Feature: Os Gemeos Mural: Hangar Bicocca Building
Graffiti writers and assorted urban artists have a romantic fixation with the steel monsters that snake through our cities and across the backyards and fields of entire countries. For the urban art culture subways and freights have distinct but overlapping associations with freedom, wanderlust, a daredevil mentality, … and Brazilian brothers Os Gemeos have just created their latest ode to the subway train in Milan – almost as big as any writer’s dream.
Tilt: Voyage – Aller Biennale Marrakech
We had the honor of seeing this sawed in half car with luggage stacked on top in Jardin Rouge with French graffiti artist TILT in February and to hear the stories about how it was made. The first part of a 2 part story about migration, families, city fok, country folk, and the stories we tell – this amazing sculpture stands on its own.
Ugo Rondinone: Seven Magic Mountains
An astounding large scale “earth work” by Ugo Rondinone is taking place outside of Las Vegas in the desert. This informational video lays out the scope of the two year installation produced by Art Production Fund, New York and the Nevada Museum of art in Reno. Curiously, the artist himself does not appear in the video.
Ryan Campbell Profile
A quick short on Ryan Campbell and his mural Special Project: Line Segments number 40 (2016) . It is shot on location at Royale Projects : Contemporary Art in Los Angeles
Exactly a year ago we were in Berlin as invited guest curators by Urban Nation Museum’s Director Yasha Young to curate the 7th Edition of Project M. Our exhibition, “Persons Of Interest” was aesthetically rich and culturally relevant in the windows and on the facade of the under-renovation UN haus, and the positive feedback we received lasted a number of months. Each artist had dug deep in their research and were inspired to bring a Brooklyn-Berlin historical and contemporary story to the street in a meaningful way.
The indoor exhibition at the museum’s headquarters overflowed onto the streets on opening night as well; with artists, fans, curators, honored cultural muses, and officials from Berlin’s formal arts infrastructure all abuzz with the exchange happening in Kreuzberg.
As Ms. Young and her teams continue to build the cultural foundation of UN with a dizzying array of programs, initiatives, and artists this year leading to the official opening next spring, we remark on her singular vision as a cornerstone of the museum.
With a finger on the pulse of many movements within the current Urban/Contemporary scene Young has made some bold and sharp choices to get an institution like this underway. With a clear sense of the potential that this global scene has always shown, Young has harnessed goodwill and top talents in the urban arts community and is gradually attracting the eye of more formal institutions. Undoubtedly in many ways UN has already made history.
So to mark a year since our first show with UN we’re looking at a treasure trove of photos of works on the streets that we didn’t publish at that time. This city is singular in it’s permissiveness to graffiti and street art – a tacit but undeniable appreciation for its eclectic contribution to contemporary art, the life of the culture. Berlin also somehow understands the intrinsic value of supporting artist communities. A laboratory on the streets, Berlin continues to afford art space to take shape before your eyes.