All posts tagged: Outlaw Arts

BSA Images Of The Week: 04.14.24 / “Return2Burn” in Hunts Point, Bronx

BSA Images Of The Week: 04.14.24 / “Return2Burn” in Hunts Point, Bronx

Welcome to BSA’s Images of the Week. We decided to dedicate this weekly survey to the artists of “Return 2 Burn”, its organizers, and the streets that brought us here.

The new “Return 2 Burn” exhibition at the old train station in Hunts Point, Bronx, serves as a modern continuum of pivotal artistic moments from New York’s vibrant past, echoing the groundbreaking energies of the Fun Gallery, The Times Square Show, and initiatives by Collaborative Projects Inc. (Colab) and Fashion Moda. These seminal venues and events of the early 1980s, such as the Fun Gallery (1981-1985) and The Times Square Show of 1980, were instrumental in merging the diverse cultural and artistic energies of “uptown” and “downtown” scenes. They featured artists whose names would become prominent, like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Futura, Rammelzee, Crash, Jenny Holzer, and many others whose work intertwined and intersected with the emergent graffiti and street art movements against a backdrop of punk, hip-hop, and an unprecedented cultural fusion that was happening across the city.

This week, the art world mourned the loss of Patti Astor, the trailblazing founder of the Fun Gallery and a pivotal character in Charlie Ahearn’s iconic film “Wild Style.” Her legacy, which has deeply influenced the intersection of hip-hop, graffiti, and urban culture, remains a testament to her visionary impact on New York City’s vibrant art scene.

Buff Monster. Return2Burn. Hunts Point, Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Return 2 Burn” builds upon this legacy by featuring contemporary and enduring artists from those earlier movements like Skeme, Tkid 170, Martha Cooper, John Fekner, and Al Diaz—who notably co-created SAMO tags and cryptic texts on the street with Basquiat—linking the historical narrative of New York’s street art from its inception to the present. These artists’ work stood alongside others such as Chris from Robots Will Kill, Indie, Buff Monster, UFO907, and Wane for the vibrant opening night, celebrating an ongoing narrative of experimentation and discovery in the street art/graffiti scene today across this city’s boroughs. The atmosphere was electric, charged with the energy of fans, collectors, storytellers, and historical figures of the graffiti and street art scene.

This collection of photos was shot while the exhibition was still being assembled—”work in process” shots. Their sometimes raw quality signals that the exhibition is a living entity produced by many hands; curator Robert Aloia says it is expected to evolve throughout the spring and summer.

Skeme. Return2Burn. Hunts Point, Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The opening night crowd underscored the exhibition’s role as more than just a collection of artworks but also a gathering place for the community and a hopeful signpost for our collective creative future as we enter such uncertain times. It is a testament to the evolution of graffiti, street art, conceptual art, sculpture, public art, and muralism and their enduring significance in urban culture and public dialogue. The installed pieces—captured before the doors officially opened—are a diverse and dynamic reflection of the art movement, a snapshot of this moment at this location that recognizes the hundreds of artists whose work is on New York streets at any moment.

Through the visionary efforts of curators like Robert Aloia and Jennifer Giraldo of Outlaw Arts, and their collaboration with Majora Carter and James Carter of Bronxlandia, “Return 2 Burn” reminds us how exhibitions can serve as cultural synthesizers. The dedication of independent curators and organizers ensures that the legacy of New York’s unique art scene not only persists but also adapts and thrives, engaging new generations of artists and audiences alike. Moreover, the vital role of those who document, write about, and archive these events is crucial; without their work, such exhibitions’ rich history and transformative impact would not be preserved.

New York City has consistently nurtured subcultures by providing ample space, resources, and an environment conducive to growth—a spirit deeply embedded in the Punk D.I.Y. tradition. This creation of spaces for artists truly captures the essence of the city. And while we appear to be losing gallery spaces, we always have the streets. In New York City, D.I.Y. isn’t just a concept—it’s synonymous with NYC itself.

Skeme creating his latest for “Return 2 Burn”. Skeme, known as “Skeme the 3 Yard King,” is a prominent graffiti artist, celebrated within the graffiti community for his work in New York City during the movement’s early days. He was featured in the documentary “Style Wars,” a seminal film directed by Tony Silver and produced in collaboration with Henry Chalfant. The film is significant because it was one of the first documentaries to capture the graffiti subculture of New York City in the early 1980s.

The lineup includes: Aiko, Al Diaz, Austin Pinon, Basie Allen, BlusterOne, Buff Monster, Camella Ehlke, Cassandra Mayela, Chris RWK, Dr. Revolt, Faust, Ghost, Giz, Indie 184, JJ Veronis, John Fekner, Jon Burgerman, Judith Supine, Kade198, Lamour Supreme, Martha Cooper, Matt Siren, Modus, Peter Paid, Pork, Queen Andrea, Roycer, Saman & Sasan Oskouei, Sheryo & Yok, Skeme, Tkid, Totem, UF0907, VFR, and Wane One

Skeme. Return2Burn. Hunts Point, Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Skeme. Return2Burn. Hunts Point, Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Faust. Return2Burn. Hunts Point, Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
“With it being an old train station I wanted to acknowledge the history of the space and honor the Bronx and one of the pioneers. Especially when it came to characters and Tracy168”, says Chris from Robots Will Kill. Chris / RWK. Return2Burn. Hunts Point, Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
John Fekner and Don Leicht. Return2Burn. Hunts Point, Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
John Fekner and Don Leicht. Return2Burn. Hunts Point, Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Al Diaz. Return2Burn. Hunts Point, Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
WANE. Return2Burn. Hunts Point, Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
TKid170. Return2Burn. Hunts Point, Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Skeme. Return2Burn. Hunts Point, Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Indie 184. Return2Burn. Hunts Point, Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Lamour Supreme. Return2Burn. Hunts Point, Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Lamour Supreme. Return2Burn. Hunts Point, Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
PORK. Return2Burn. Hunts Point, Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Pork did this fire hydrant message on the ceiling. He says, ‘Pa’lante’ – a Spanish slang word loosely translated as ‘onward,’ ‘go ahead,’ or ‘go for it’.”
JJ Veronis. Return2Burn. Hunts Point, Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dr. Revolt. Return2Burn. Hunts Point, Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dr. Revolt. Return2Burn. Hunts Point, Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Roycer. Matt Siren. Return2Burn. Hunts Point, Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
VFR. Return2Burn. Hunts Point, Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Saman and Sassan Oskouei above, Pork below. Return2Burn. Hunts Point, Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martha Cooper. Casitas Project. Return2Burn. Hunts Point, Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
UFO907. Return2Burn. Hunts Point, Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
UFO907. Return2Burn. Hunts Point, Bronx. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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Graffiti and Street Art Lock Up “21st Precinct” in New York

Graffiti and Street Art Lock Up “21st Precinct” in New York

This weekend the NYPD police precinct is hosting a graffiti and street art show, and the public is welcome to see every floor completely swimming in aerosol and plastered in wheat-paste.

Admit it, it is not often you receive an invite like that.


Pesu (center), Pixote (left) and Bill Claps Morse code writing the history of the building on the walls. (right) (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“When this precinct was built it was a very bad, very poor neighborhood. When the cops came in there was a lot of brutality and there was a lot of corruption,” says curator Robert Aloia of this building architected for the NYPD in 1863 and closed down fifty years later. A quick search on the web shows a history of thuggery born of Dickens. Records at the time of closure indicated there were 9,500 arrests annually and this tiny slice of Manhattan alone had 37 brothels.

So why not have a graffiti show here before tearing it down, right?.


Savior, El Mundo, Ben Angotti, Depoe, Esteban Del Valle and Chris Soria. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: So you literally could hit every wall here and it wouldn’t matter because it is coming down at the end of the month?
Robert Aloia: Yeah the inside walls. The outside walls they don’t want us to touch.

In a twist of events pulled from a satire, one of the artists on display this weekend was arrested this month in Brooklyn and spent the night in jail before seeing a judge. The following day he came to this precinct and hit up some walls with impunity.


Savior, El Mundo, Ben Angotti, Depoe, Esteban Del Valle and Chris Soria. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“It’s just amazing that these artists can put their time, their money, and their talent into something that is just coming down,” says Aloia while touring us through rooms and stairways during one of the four visits we made for these exclusive first images, “ and it is only going to be seen for a certain amount of time.”

Hellbent has his own room. So does Rambo. Cash4 and Matt Siren are sharing one together, as are Sheryo and the Yok. Elle spent an entire night in hers watching her black wax sculpture melting away with the candles she planted in it. An unconfirmed story says it is a sculpture cast of the elusive Judith Supine.

“She painted it black, melted it and filmed it,” says Aloia.


Faust (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Have you thought of the irony behind the fact that this is a former police precinct and many of the artists would have been running away from this place instead of trying to get into it?
Robert Aloia: That is true, I didn’t think of that aspect of it really, but the gallery area was the actual holding cell.

Brooklyn Street Art: So how did you draw these people together?
Robert Aloia: Every show I’ve done I start with my friends, and then it’s friends of friends, and that’s it. It’s just about one degree of separation.

In the last three years the New York native has curated a number of shows heavily weighted with graffiti artists and Street Artists, primarily on Manhattan’s Lower East Side at bars, event spaces, and venues with downtown history like Fuse, White Box, and La Mama.


Vexta (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A bartender and DJ who has mixed with a lot of New York nightlife and street life without becoming hardened, Aloia and co-curators like Erik Foss and Ricky Powell have been doing sometimes star-studded yet unassuming one-off shows the past few years with Street Art names like Bast, Supine, and Aiko and some of the newer kids like N’DA and Icy & Sot.

“I am from New York and I always knew a lot of graffiti artists, that’s how I ended up getting into it. I was just lucky enough to have access to some venues to do stuff.”

Brooklyn born, Aloia’s been on the LES since the 80s, which explains his devotion to the memory of “outlaw parties” where people would set up an illegal bar and a pumping sound system in improvised celebrations at unsanctioned locations. Outlaw parties and pop-up speakeasies still exist of course, but more often they are in Brooklyn now as Manhattan is shoving artists out by the truckload.


Vexta (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For “21st Precinct” he’s called in nearly 50 artists from as far away as Japan, Australia, California, and nearby New Jersey. The mix of artists is eclectic and sometimes quite powerful like the tribute to SAMO (Basquiat) in the gallery by his co-conspirator Al Diaz, and the dark room built by Swedish photographer Jesper Haynes which features images from the downtown New York in the Reagan era.

“I definitely always have a mix with fine art, photography, installation, but you know I always have old-school graffiti artists and street artists,” he says as he looks over the four floors of thickly gritty splendor by renowned and unknown.

For those lucky enough to see the show in this venue this weekend or next, “21st Precinct” is a quintessential New York minute, a steamy grimy melting pot of authentic attitude that begs to differ and perhaps stick a finger in your chest just before the wrecking ball hits. Thank Aloia while you’re there. Not surprisingly, the new building that replaces this one will be for…..wait for it…. luxury residences.


Jesper Haynes (photo © Jaime Rojo)


KET (photo © Jaime Rojo)


N Carlos J (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Li-Hill (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Li-Hill (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Rambo (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Rambo (photo © Jaime Rojo)


URNew Yrok (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Rae (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Shiro (photo © Jaime Rojo)


bunny M (photo © Jaime Rojo)


ASVP (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Chris RWK (center) URNew York (left) ASVP (right). (photo © Jaime Rojo)


NEPO (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Mr. Toll (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Never (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Matt Siren . Cash4 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Al Diaz (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Amanda Marie (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Nick Tengri (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Joseph Meloy (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Hellbent (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Bishop203 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


The Yok and Sheryo (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Iena Cruz (photo © Jaime Rojo)


X-O (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Pixote in action. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Justin Carty (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Curb Your Ego (photo © Jaime Rojo)


OUTLAW ARTS Presents: “The 21st Precinct”
Curated by Robert Aloia & VNA Mag

The show will be in the old 21st Precinct located on 327 East 22nd Street. More information HERE.

Contributing Artists:

Adam Dare, Al Diaz, Amanda Marie, ASVP, Bad Pedestrian, Ben Angotti , Bill Claps, Bishop203, Bunny M., Cash4, Chris RWK, Chris Soria, Coby Kennedy, Curtis Kulig, D. Gaja, Danielle Mastrion, Dasic, Dizmology, Duel, ELLE, Erasmo, Esteban del Valle, Faust, Ghost, GIZ, Hellbent, Hue, Icy & Sot, Iena Cruz, Jesper Haynes, Justin Carty, Ket, Lexi Bella, Li-Hall, Lorenzo Masnah, Matt Siren, Mr. Toll, N. Carlos Jay, Nepo, Nick Tengri, Pesu, Phil, Pixote, RAE, Rambo, Ricardo Cabret, SAE, Savior Elmundo, Shery-o & The Yok, Shiro, Tone Tank, URNY, Vexta, X-O.

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