All posts tagged: Pedro Alonzo

Geoff Hargadon & “Cash For Your Warhol” Store/ Exhibition/ Performance in Boston

Geoff Hargadon & “Cash For Your Warhol” Store/ Exhibition/ Performance in Boston

Pedro Alonzo is a Boston-based independent curator and art advisor who has charted an important trajectory on the Street Art-Contemporary Art continuum as it pertains to institutions, public/private organizations and emerging and recognized artists of related genres since the 1990s. We’re very pleased today that Pedro brings BSA readers insights from a unique one month performance/exhibition space just mounted in the Boston area by the fascinating pop-social satirist Geoff Hargadon, creator of CFYW (Cash For Your Warhol).

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A brick and mortar staged “store” offers Cash For Your Warhol (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

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~by Pedro Alonzo

The artist Geoff Hargadon is responsible for the street art campaign Cash for Your Warhol (CFYW). As part of CFYW Geoff opened a pop up store for 7 weeks in Inman Square in Cambridge, MA. The store was open from Wednesday through Sunday where Geoff could be found surrounded by props and Warhol paraphernalia that created the setting for the pseudo business. Fake checks made out to local collectors and institutions adorned the walls, empty crates sat on the floor. I went to visit him on the last day of business. Throughout the interview friends, fans and strangers visited the store, interacting with Geoff. Some people brought booze, others just wanted to chat with the artist.

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A folded vinyl billboard sign at the back of the store. Cash For Your Warhol (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Pedro Alonzo: What led you to do the pop-up store?
Geoff Hargadon: I wanted to do a physical store that would look like a pawnshop but would only buy and sell Warhols. I went by this space and it looked perfect because you don’t have to go inside to see everything that’s going on. It’s almost like a gigantic vitrine. However, it’s better to go inside and see the details. Like the “cease and desist” order, the crates, the note that came with the flowers from David Zwirner…..

Pedro Alonzo: What? David Zwirner sent you flowers? I didn’t know he sent you flowers. How did that happen?
Geoff Hargadon: No, I just sent myself flowers and had the note signed from David Zwirner.

Pedro Alonzo: Do people see that?
Geoff Hargadon: Very few, but I’m okay with that. I don’t think there’s a single person who’s seen everything that’s going on in the store. Which is okay. Most people come in and they want to know if the checks are real or ask, “Can I have a sign?” “How much are the signs?”

Pedro Alonzo: Are you selling anything?
Geoff Hargadon: That wasn’t the original intent but people have come in and bought a couple signs.

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A posted sign in the window describes the hottest pieces sought by Cash For Your Warhol (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Pedro Alonzo: What about the Shwag?
Geoff Hargadon: The reason schwag makes sense is that if we are pretending to be a real company, we have to have schwag to give away. It makes fun of the industry that makes things for companies that are trying to promote their product. That amuses me. I have a lot of stickers from the Cash for your Warhol campaign, pencils, and stress balls.

Pedro Alonzo: How do you get started with Cash for Your Warhol?
Geoff Hargadon: It started with signs in early 2009, during the peak of the financial crisis. I noticed that signs kept popping up “cash for your house”, “cash for your this and that” it made me think, this crisis is affecting everyone, so where are the signs for the 1%? Actually, that is probably not what I said because that was before the term 1% was used. The phrase, “Cash for your Warhol” popped into my head, it sounded funny.

I decided to make signs and put them up to see what would happen. However, I did it in a rush and I put my cell phone number on the first 100 signs. That was a mistake because even though I thought everyone would be in on the joke, that wasn’t the case. People were calling at all hours. I solved that problem by getting a Google voice number.

Pedro Alonzo: How many calls do you get on average?
Geoff Hargadon: I get a call every day but most of them hang up. I think the reason for that is that people want to know if this is real. When they hear the voice on the answering machine they hang up. Some people leave messages, a few people actually call because they have Warhol’s to sell.

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Artworks for shipping and receiving at the Cash For Your Warhol storefront. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Pedro Alonzo: Have you had legitimate offers?
Geoff Hargadon: I’ve been shown about 30 Warhols. It’s all done through the Internet, I have not met anyone in person. People send pictures, certificates of authenticity, proof of purchase, close-ups of the signature, etc. Some of the Warhol’s have been the real deal. I was shown a painting that was estimated at around $6 million. It seems kind of silly that someone would show me a $6 million Warhol. I’ve also been shown stuff that Andy Warhol supposedly autographed; programs, pictures, a napkin, a dress. The problem is that people who have Warhol’s seem to think that because it’s a Warhol it is worth 1 million bucks. I get a lot of bogus offers from people who are fishing around – which I’m okay with.

Pedro Alonzo: Is your intention to start a dialogue?
Geoff Hargadon: It’s a commentary on the art world that sees art as commodity. It’s part street art, it’s part performance art. Being here is kind of a performance. I’m performing as if this were a real store.

At that moment a group of young women walk by and read out loud, “Cash for you Warhol. This is supposed to be an art project or something.”

Geoff Hargadon: This project is a parody of the enterprises that are financial predators. They prey on people who get into difficult situations and are forced to sell their house to somebody who put a phone number on a telephone pole. This seems kind of crazy but people must do it or we wouldn’t see so many signs.

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Examples of huge payouts are posted for your perusal at the Cash For Your Warhol business. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Pedro Alonzo: Are there any influences?
Geoff Hargadon: A big influence was Banksy’s pet shop in New York. That was pretty epic. As well as Faile’s arcade, which I saw in Miami and in the lower East side. They are good examples. In many cases, pop-ups are about selling prints. Faile and Banksy’s pop ups were really about a concept.

Pedro Alonzo: You’re spending a lot of time here. What has been the pleasure of doing this?

Geoff Hargadon: The pleasure has come from a number of different sources. Friends and artists have been dropping by. Several artists have come to trade art works. Which is really great, I love to trade. I’ve also had a couple of people come in who want to wire money through Western Union. That was a little awkward because we have a Western Union sign but we are not set up to send wires.

I have also enjoyed the quiet of the store. Sitting in here reading, catching up on emails. Minding my own business, when out of the corner of my eye I see somebody walk by, pause and look completely confused. They will look at the store for a few seconds and then keep on walking. To me that really indicates the success of the design of the store. Because it looks real enough to possibly be a store were people might buy your Warhol. I like the fact that most people walk by and think it’s just a pawnshop and are not interested in coming in. Many people come in and say, “I’ve been following your project for years, this is so great, nice to see you.” Then they take some stickers and hang around. It’s kind of a lovefest. I have really enjoyed it.

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Cash For Your Warhol (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Ben: Sorry to interrupt. I have been a big fan of this.
Hargadon: Thanks. I’m Geoff.
Ben: I’m Ben. I have an Andy Warhol story to tell you. I was an usher at Radio City Music Hall in the 80’s. During the intermission of a Johnny Mathis concert I was sent to stand in front of the orchestra with my back to the stage facing the audience. 10 rows up on the isle was Andy Warhol slumped down in his chair with his hair sticking up. I noticed he was looking at me and we basically started playing peekaboo. Andy Warhol who would hide behind his program. That was so cool. I think what you’re doing is nuts and kind of funny and I’ve even bought some your signs.
Hargadon: Really? That is awesome.
Ben: Yeah, I’m one of those guys that buys your signs.
Hargadon: Do you want to take a sign?
Ben: My wife won’t let me put it up but I will take it.

Pedro Alonzo: Why did you pick this location?
Geoff Hargadon: I live about a mile down the road but I haven’t really explored Inman Square. It’s an interesting collection of people, that’s what makes Cambridge and Somerville so great. It is important that the pop up take place outside of an arts district. This needs to be a destination. It would not work if it had been next to a Gallery. It has to be ambiguous.

Geoff Hargadon: Did you hear that? That guys was explaining to his girlfriend that this is an art installation. I love that.

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Cash For Your Warhol (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Hargadon: Hey Man. How’s it going?
Keith: I brought a celebratory beverage, a final day thing.
Geoff Hargadon: Jesus! Wow, champagne.
Keith: You want to throw some down?
Geoff Hargadon: I tried to convince Pedro to have some beer earlier but champagne is actually better.

Keith was followed by a rush of more friends, fans and admirers. Some of whom brought beer and wine turning the Cash for Warhol store into an impromptu party. Once the booze was finished everyone went home and we continued the interview.

Pedro Alonzo: Watching today unfold with all of these people coming to see you and experience your store makes me think how insipid just looking at art inside a white box can be.
Geoff Hargadon: A museum has many advantages over the store but the advantage here is that people can engage with the store in many different ways. Like the guy who was just here, he’s not going to go to a museum with a bottle of wine. Even the people who came in to wire money, they weren’t pushed away. I tried to be as accommodating as possible even though I couldn’t send their wire.

Pedro Alonzo: It seems that your intention was to encourage gathering, socializing, and an exchange of ideas around your art.
Geoff Hargadon: It is an art project that poses as a business but actually has no commercial intent – which is kind of weird when you think of it. I’m not really here to sell stuff and I like that ambiguity about it. I opened this temporary store and whatever happens, happens. This project is subversive to the art establishment in that it raises the issue of art as commodity. Museums are some of my favorite places in the world, and they play a very valuable role. But I also feel that Street Art plays a very valuable role by working outside of the world.

Pedro Alonzo: What does your wife think about all of this?
Geoff Hargadon: She likes it but she will be happy when it’s over.

Pedro Alonzo: My wife just texted me. I gotta get home to dinner.
Geoff Hargadon: Yeah, me too.

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Cash For Your Warhol (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

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Pedro Alonzo is an independent curator whose unique understanding and appreciation for the Street Art scene has made him a strong and trusted advocate for artists such as Os Gêmeos, Shepard Fairey, Dr. Lakra, Faile, MOMO, and Swoon, among many others. His curatorial vision has brought new audiences a greater appreciation for these artists in solo and group shows at places like ICA/Boston, Dallas Contemporary, Pinchuk Arte Centre in Kiev, and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Most recently he curated a citywide exhibition titled Open Source: Engaging Audiences in Public Space for the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.

 

 

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“Hecho En Oaxaca” Indoors and On The Street

“Made in Oaxaca” Shifts Street Art Eyes to Historic Mexican City

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Oaxaca (MACO) Show Features Pedro Alonzo and Friends

Already a cultural capital of a quarter million, the city of Oaxaca itself is a World Heritage Site and sits six miles east of Monte Albán, the Zapotecs city that is traced back to 500 BC. For MACO to invite curator Pedro Alonzo to create a show inside and outside on the streets is a stroke of inspiration and the quality of the selection of artists for the exhibition only confirms the inspiration.

Swoon. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Today on BSA Roberto Shimizu, who owns and oparates MUJAM (Antique Toy Museum of Mexico), shares with us the images he took while checking out the installations last month on the street and in the museum. Roberto has invited a number of Street Artists to Mexico City in the past to create works and to participate in community-building projects so he was very excited to learn about this pretty remarkable event happening so near to him.

“We heard that great Street Artists from around the world were having an exhibition only two days before the opening so I made the six hour trip from Mexico City with my girlfriend and two other friends the following day. Some of the best artists in the world from México, Brazil, Germany, Italy, USA and the magical Oaxaca itself gathered in the streets of this beautiful colonial town to leave striking pieces of public art,” he says.

The list includes Date Farmers, Dr. Lakra, How & Nosm, Lapiztola, MOMO, Nunca, Retna, Saner, StenLex, Swoon, Vhils, and Yescka and represents a nice blend of local and international.  “To see the How & Nosm twins painting those perfect lines and then turn your head and look into Santo Domingo´s Cathedral is something that made this adventure worth it,” Roberto tells us. “Seeing Swoon posting over top some RETNA calligraphy was also an “historic” moment.”

Swoon. Installation in Progress. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Swoon. Installation in progress. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Swoon. Installation in progress in collaboration with RETNA. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

RETNA at work on his wall. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

How & Nosm. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Saner at work on his wall. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Dr. Lakra at work on his wall. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

MUSEUM INSTALLATIONS

La Piztola. Detail. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

La Piztola. Detail. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Date Farmers. Detail. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Dr. Lakra. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

RETNA. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

NUNCA. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

How & Nosm. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Sten & Lex. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Yescka. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Swoon. Detail. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Swoon. Detail. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Swoon. Detail. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Swoon. Detail. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Swoon. Detail. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

For further information regarding this exhibition click HERE.

With much gratitude with Roberto Shimizu, Director of Museo Del Juguete Antiguo De Mexico, MUJAM for his photos.

 

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Os Gêmeos and “The Giant of Boston”

The twins have left Boston, but not before they opened their first solo museum show in the U.S. and left behind a handful of public installations that have garnered major attention as people once again grapple with the concept of art in the streets. Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo have done large installations in large cities before, but few as visible and central to a city as their 70 x 70 foot mural on the side of a “Big Dig” ventilation building rising above the greenway with the shape of the character’s formed by the semi-circular façade.

Os Gemeos “The Giant of Boston” at the Rose Kennedy Greenway at Dewey Square, Boston. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Photographer and BSA contributor Geoff Hargadon says that the project received permission from a number of civic and private organizations before it could go up over ten days in July in this storied city that usually favors conservative historical themes in it’s public works. “Given the short amount of time organizers had to put the pieces together and get all the approvals,” says Hargadon while ticking off names of entities who green-lighted the project, “it was a small miracle it was able to get off the ground.”

Os Gemeos “The Giant of Boston” at the Rose Kennedy Greenway at Dewey Square, Boston. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

The internationally known Brazillian Street Artists had time to create a few pieces around town that reference their more graffiti-influenced roots, including one each on the side of a hotel, a pizza place, and a van. Not surprisingly it was the seven storey portrait of a seated barefoot boy rendered in signature Os Gêmeos yellow and wearing shrouded headgear that got the most attention on the Rose Kennedy Greenway at Dewey Square. Its bright colors and patterned pajama-like garb have a cheerful childlike appeal to some picnickers, while other townies and Internet commenters see something less attractive, even sinister, depicted here where much of the Occupy Boston protests took place in the last year.

By the time “The Giant of Boston” had been discovered by equally yellow media types, the barefoot boy had been transformed into a danger in this birthplace of democracy and a small media-generated dust bowl was kicked up. “Looks like one of the Simpsons dressed like a terrorist,” said a clever commenter on a local TV affiliate’s Facebook page, one of over 200 who offered their considered opinions on the mural’s appearance.

Os Gemeos never miss an opportunity to collaborate on a van or truck when in the USA. This side of the van was with Graffiti Artist Lead. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

As with most knee-jerk assessments, this one could be tempered with a few minutes of Googling the work of the artists, which would reveal that this figure fits quite neatly into the dreamscape tableaux of oddly costumed and funnily proportioned figures whom the Twins have been painting for a few decades. But who knows, each of those little kooky figures could have been bombers and no one realized it until now. Without adding credibility to that line of unthinking, Hargadon remarks about these aerosol bomber brothers, “Maybe Os Gêmeos have inadvertently done us all a favor by helping us understand how some people have come to see the world during the past ten years. In any case, like all noteworthy art, it is not meant to please everybody.” If that’s the case, “The Giant of Boston” is noteworthy.

Of more important note is the solo show by Os Gêmeos that has opened concurrently at The Institute of Contemporary Art Boston. Organized by Pedro Alonzo, who also curated the Swoon, Shepard Fairey, and Dr. Lakra shows for the ICA, it’s a somewhat intimate overview of their professional and personal journey as artists, peppered with a few surprises from inside the imagination of these in-the-moment creators who “depict their visions in surreal paintings, sculpture, and installations,” according to the shows official description. Reporting on the makeup of the pieces exhibited, Hargadon says, “Some of them are from the recent show at Prism LA, while others are older works. The VIP opening on Tuesday was packed, and was followed by a Brazilian themed party Friday night – which was sold out.”

Os Gemeos “The Giant of Boston” at the Rose Kennedy Greenway at Dewey Square, Boston. This side of the van was with Graffiti Artist Rize. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

If you get to Boston to see this show and this large mural, make time in your trip to see the brothers other works in less obvious locations to get a greater appreciation for their history growing up as teens in the mid 80s while pouring over books like “Subway Art” and seeing the hip-hop and graffiti scene from New York spreading around the globe. You’ll find a mural at the Revere Hotel on Stuart Street and a piece they did along with a handful of friends in Union Square in Somerville at Mama Gina’s Pizza. Among the other contributors to that piece were RIZE, Coyo, and Caleb Neelon.

Os Gemeos “The Giant of Boston” at the Rose Kennedy Greenway at Dewey Square, Boston. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Os Gemeos “The Giant of Boston” at the Rose Kennedy Greenway at Dewey Square, Boston. One of The Twins signing a memento for a fan. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Os Gemeos “The Giant of Boston” at the Rose Kennedy Greenway at Dewey Square, Boston. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Os Gemeos at the Revere Hotel on Stuart Street, Boston. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Os Gemeos with Rize, Coyo and Caleb Neelon at Mama Gina’s Pizza in Union Square, Somerville. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Os Gemeos with Rize, Coyo and Caleb Neelon at Mama Gina’s Pizza in Union Square, Somerville. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Os Gemeos Installation at Boston’s Institute for Contemporary Art. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Os Gemeos Installation at Boston’s Institute for Contemporary Art. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Os Gemeos Installation at Boston’s Institute for Contemporary Art. Detail. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Os Gemeos. General view of the Exhibition at Boston’s Institute for Contemporary Art. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

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The exhibit at the ICA will be up through Thanksgiving, 2012.  Click here for further information regarding this exhibition.

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“The Giant of Boston” mural at the Rose Kennedy Greenway at Dewey Square  will be up for 18 months.

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Our special thanks to BSA contributor and photographer Geoff Hargadon for capturing these amazing images of the walls going up and for the coverage of the installations inside the museum.

See our interview in August 2010: Futura Talks: Completion of the “Kid” at PS11 with Os Gemeos

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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ICA Boston Presents: Os Gemeos First Solo US Exhibition (Boston, MA)

Os Gemeos

Os Gemeos in Miami, 2005. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

OS GEMEOS

August 1–November 25, 2012 
The ICA presents the first solo U.S. exhibition of Brazilian  artists Os Gemeos. The ICA exhibition will include a selection of the artists’ paintings and sculptures, as well as a public mural outside the museum

Organized by Pedro Alonzo, ICA Adjunct Curator

This August the ICA will present the first solo exhibition in the United States of works by the Brazilian brothers Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo. Best known as Os Gêmeos, the twins are a major force in graffiti and urban art. The twins have a deep bond; they are tireless collaborators and say that they often experience the same dreams. In an effort to share their dreams with the world, they depict their visions in surreal paintings, sculpture, and installations: human figures with removable faces, exploding bursts of color, and room-size heads installed with shanty interiors.

Os Gêmeos draw not only from dreams, but also from their surroundings, incorporating these elements to forge a unique visual style. Their narrative work is a visual synthesis of their everyday lives: the color and chaos of Brazil—particularly in their neighborhood in São Paulo, Cambuci—or yellow-skinned youth in red hoodies breaking into train yards and painting in subway tunnels. A common motif depicts several graffiti taggers garbed in brightly patterned clothes stacked atop one another to reach an impossibly high spot. In contrast to the more contemporary urban themes, rural Brazil has an equally significant presence in their work. Carnivals, music, and folk art fascinate the twins and inspire fantastical portraits of musicians and paintings of processions and festivals—all of which are based on their own photographs.

Os Gêmeos date their artistic beginnings to 1987 when hip-hop invaded Brazil. The music and images of youth dancing and painting graffiti, transmitted via photo books and films, left an indelible mark on the twins. But in the late 1980s, the lack of information about art and art-making materials—Brazilian spray paint was expensive and inferior in quality—forced the artists to improvise and create their own visual style. They began painting New York graffiti–style murals with house paint, brushes, and rollers instead of spray paint. In 1993 while in Brazil, Os Gêmeos met then emerging artist Barry McGee. He provided magazines, materials, and information and began to paint with the twins. McGee was making a living as an artist, a fact that inspired the twins to quit their banking jobs and focus entirely on working as artists. Today they are two of the most prominent figures in public art, having succeeded in creating large-scale murals and painting public transportation throughout Brazil.

To Os Gêmeos labels—as well as reality—are not important. They do not consider themselves street artists, they “just want to paint.” Their art in public spaces, which they refer to simply as graffiti, is a means to share their work with a broad audience. This exhibition will highlight the multiple influences and recurring visual themes found in the artists’ paintings and sculptures, and allow audiences an opportunity to experience their richly fantastical work. As part of the exhibition, the artists will visit Boston in August 2012 to paint a large-scale, site-specific mural.

The Institute of Contemporary Art
100 Northern Avenue
Boston, MA 02210 General Information
617-478-3100
info@icaboston.org

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Peek at Swoon’s “Anthropocene Extinction” Opening at Boston’s ICA

brooklyn-street-art-swoon-geoff-hargadon-ica-boston-2-webSwoon (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Opening tonight at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, is an exhibition of new work by Brooklyn Street Artist SWOON, called Anthropocene Extinction.

“The title addresses humanity’s impact on the environment,” says Pedro Alonzo, the Adjunct Curator of the show and the guy who brought the very successful Street Art exhibition “Viva La Revolucion” to San Diego last year.

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Swoon (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Kind hearted and focused powerhouse SWOON continues her efforts to engage viewers at ICA with her hand cut wheat pasted installations of real people and mythical ones, symbolically telling a tale that brings responsibility for the environment directly to our feet. Wholistic in many respects, we find familiar recurring themes in the subject matter, the construction techniques, even the manner of fruition of the installations; The localized environment in which Swoon’s work evolves mirrors the collaborative vision and processes that will be necessary to address the very real issue of sustainability and disaster more populations are facing.

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Swoon (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

For the politically charged time we’re in, a show like this could open itself to charges of smug liberal self satisfaction if the artists’ body of work and projects to create shelter from the storm were not so consistent and authentic. A person entirely engaged in every process, Swoon facilitates others’ stories and incorporates them along with more material considerations, like the 400-pound bamboo temple structure hanging from the ceiling here that uses traditional Chinese construction methods the artist has been studying (It’s excellent when viewed while riding the elevator). Balancing the durability of reinforced joints with the fragility of cut paper species floating through air, the exhibit calls to mind the range of responses we will need to employ if the march toward planetary destruction is to reverse, and if SWOON’s characters are going to survive.

Our thanks to photographer and BSA contributor Geoff Hargadon, who has been documenting Swoon’s installation for the show and who shares images with you here.

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Swoon and assistant Alyssa Dennis work on a linocut print (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

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An assistant helps Swoon with final touches on this wall. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

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Swoon (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

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Swoon (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

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An assistant helps Swoon with this portion of the installation. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

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An assistant helps Swoon with final touches on this wall. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Support for the Swoon installation is provided by Fotene Demoulas and Tom Coté, Geoff Hargadon and Patricia La Valley, Tim Phillips, and Connie Coburn and James Houghton.

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Learn more about the exhibition Anthropocene Extinction at the ICA website HERE:

Read BSA’s interview with Pedro Alonzo here about his curatorial experiences on Viva La Revolución at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego last year.

Listen to an interview with Swoon and Pedro Alonzo on Boston’s WBUR.

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Happy New Year! BSA Highlights of 2010

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As we start a new year, we say thank you for the last one.

And Thank You to the artists who shared their 11 Wishes for 2011 with Brooklyn Street Art; Conor Harrington, Eli Cook, Indigo, Gilf, Todd Mazer, Vasco Mucci, Kimberly Brooks, Rusty Rehl, Tip Toe, Samson, and Ludo. You each contributed a very cool gift to the BSA family, and we’re grateful.

We looked over the last year to take in all the great projects we were in and fascinating people we had the pleasure to work with. It was a helluva year, and please take a look at the highlights to get an idea what a rich cultural explosion we are all a part of at this moment.

The new year already has some amazing new opportunities to celebrate Street Art and artists. We are looking forward to meeting you and playing with you and working with you in 2011.

Specter does “Gentrification Series” © Jaime Rojo
NohJ Coley and Gaia © Jaime Rojo
Jef Aerosol’s tribute to Basquiat © Jaime Rojo
***

January

Imminent Disaster © Steven P. Harrington
Fauxreel (photo courtesy the artist)
Chris Stain at Brooklyn Bowl © Jaime Rojo

February

Various & Gould © Jaime Rojo
Anthony Lister on the street © Jaime Rojo
Trusto Corp was lovin it.

March

Martha Cooper, Shepard Fairey © Jaime Rojo
BSA’s Auction for Free Arts NYC
Crotched objects began appearing on the street this year. © Jaime Rojo

April

BSA gets some walls for ROA © Jaime Rojo
Dolk at Brooklynite © Steven P. Harrington
BSA gets Ludo some action “Pretty Malevolence” © Jaime Rojo

May

The Crest Hardware Art Show © Jaime Rojo
NohJ Coley © Jaime Rojo
The Phun Phactory Reboot in Williamsburg © Steven P. Harrington

June

Sarah Palin by Billi Kid
Nick Walker with BSA in Brooklyn © Jaime Rojo
Judith Supine at “Shred” © Jaime Rojo

July

Interview with legend Futura © Jaime Rojo
Os Gemeos and Martha Cooper © Jaime Rojo
Skewville at Electric Windows © Jaime Rojo

August

Specter Spot-Jocks Shepard Fairey © Jaime Rojo
“Bienvenidos” campaign
Faile studio visit © Jaime Rojo

September

BSA participates and sponsors New York’s first “Nuit Blanche” © Jaime Rojo
JC2 © Jaime Rojo
How, Nosm, R. Robots © Jaime Rojo

October

Faile “Bedtime Stories” © Jaime Rojo
Judith Supine © Jaime Rojo
Photo © Roswitha Guillemin courtesy Galerie Itinerrance

November

H. Veng Smith © Jaime Rojo
Sure. Photo courtesy Faust
Kid Zoom © Jaime Rojo

December

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Interview With Pedro Alonzo, Street Art and Gen Net go to the Museum

Interview With Pedro Alonzo, Street Art and Gen Net go to the Museum

As art institutions gear themselves continually to remain (or become) relevant to Gen Net patrons, all manner of incarnations will likely continue to parade before you. Yes, Picasso still draws a crowd but in the last decade, as Boomers began retiring and their media-drenched progeny grew more distracted by one million apps of eye candy, even blue chip and gray ladies of the art world started hosting DJ’s, indie bands, and endless jazz cocktails to get the booties in the house and the eyeballs off the little blue screens, if only for a second.

The size and span of the opening night crowd at Viva La Revolucion at MOCASD was a clear indicator of a much wider interest in Street Art as contemporary art than has been seen in US. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

The size of the opening night crowd as well as it’s relative youth at Viva La Revolución at MCASD was a clear indicator of a much wider interest in Street Art as contemporary art than has been seen before in the US. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

One way to make sure you are grabbing the attention of Millenials is to embrace that which they have already identified as culturally important and begin to make sense of it as it evolves.  Pedro Alonzo, guest curator of Viva La Revolución at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (running until January 2) understands that a wide embrace of an evolving movement is important right now until the field winnows itself. More importantly, he recognizes that “high-minded” culturally no longer requires the confines of a museum and, along with associate curator Lucía Sanromán, he leaves the door ajar to acknowledge the continuum between street and museum in this largest exhibition of the modern global Street Art movement yet in the US.

Curator Pedro Alonzo show's Jeffrey Dietch the indoor exhibition of the newly opened show. (© Geoff Hargadon)

Curator Pedro Alonzo shows Jeffrey Deitch the indoor exhibition of the newly opened show. (© Geoff Hargadon)

The truth is that buck-wild artists have been making the streets a gallery in earnest for a little while now, preferring to take the more direct route to admirers and detractors alike. Billed as “a Dialogue With the Urban Landscape”, Viva goes beyond the initial infatuation with graffiti and so-called “Urban” art that institutional interests expressed in 1980s and 1990s. For some reason that new-found love eventually turned tepid and measured in the embrace.  Maybe that’s why nervous nellies in academia shuddered when the New York impresario, art dealer and gallerist Jeffrey Deitch, a champion of selected Street Artists among other vocations, was named director of Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art this year. Indeed a revolution of some sort is afoot.

Art collective Date Farmers followed the newly typical route to the gallery and museum by collectively showing and hosting their own shows until someone recognized the work. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Mexican-American artists Date Farmers combine pop, folk, and political in this charged raw screed. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Admittedly museums must be followers as well as leaders (Guggenheim/YouTube anyone?) and the grassroots nature of this new surge of Street Artists circumvents the structures and curatorial practices of the established gallery and museum world. It also cuts across race, class and socioeconomic lines and maybe that’s part of the slow uptake. But like so many aspects of our current era, the foundations are melting before our eyes.  When you consider the democratizing force of internet/social networking communications and the fact that many of these artists come with a built-in fanbase as a result, it is a no-brainer that major and minor institutions are taking a fresh look at the new Street Art scene.

French Street Artist JR and his assistan Youssef doing a bit of Skyping before the show (© Geoff Hargadon)

French Street Artist JR and his assistant Youssef doing a bit of Skyping before the show (© Geoff Hargadon)

That said, Viva La Revolución is a bold undertaking that presents some of the biggest names on the scene right now and a variety of them. Under Mr. Alonzo’s guidance and audacity, it also thoroughly involves the street in the exhibition, making the city of San Diego quite literally part of the show. To pull this off and keep the respect of the artists intact is an accomplishment itself. By all accounts, he has. Having curated shows successfully including iconic street artists like Faile and last year’s Supply and Demand show by Shepard Fairey at ICA in Boston, Alonzo has easily established a rapport with a scene that is rapidly evolving.

Brooklyn Street Art: How has the response since the show opened?
Pedro Alonzo:
The response has been great. The museum has had tons of calls about the exhibit and many visitors. The age of the average visitor also appears to have dropped. We are getting a younger crowd.

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Spencer Elden, (with Shepard Fairey’s crew and famous for a nude photo in your CD collection) and Ben Logan, a volunteer who flew out from Boston to help set up the show. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

BSA: You have a number of installations all around the city.  Was it easier to work with private owners rather than the city to secure building walls?
Pedro Alonzo:
Although there have been people who work for the city who have been very supportive and instrumental in securing walls, all of the walls we used are privately owned. It was way too complicated and bureaucratic to secure city or state owned walls.

Brazillian twins Os Gemeos in front of two of their pieces (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Brazillian Street Artists Os Gemeos in front of two of their pieces (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

BSA: Can you talk about the name “Viva la Revolución” and it’s significance to you historically?
Pedro Alonzo: The title of the exhibition is significant on many levels, from the fact that this year marks the 100th anniversary of Mexico’s revolution to the street in Tijuana, “Avenida Revolucion” where many under age southern Californians, like myself back in high school, spent the weekends drinking and dancing. The title also refers to street art’s defiant posture towards the arts establishment in being an art that is populist, intended to be understood by most people, not just the art world elites, as well as being a form of expression that references popular and/or urban culture. This show is about an artistic revolution, art that appeals to a wider audience.

Dzine (© Geoff Hargadon)

Calma on the ladder doing last minute touch ups. (© Geoff Hargadon)

BSA: Experts, particularly the jaded ones, have been forecasting the death of Street Art periodically for years, yet we feel like New York has an ongoing explosion of it. Do you feel like street art is experiencing a revolution?
Pedro Alonzo:
There are those who have stated that painting is dead and they were wrong. From my perspective, street art is finally being looked at by the art world. If anything the hoards of people who want to see street art are a clear indication of the vibrancy of the genre.Shepard Fairey entertaining the guests at the opening (© Geoff Hargadon)

Shepard Fairey entertaining the guests at the opening (© Geoff Hargadon)

BSA: Can you talk about the street artist you have from Mexico?  Is there a Street Art movement south of the border?
Pedro Alonzo:
There is definitely street art in Mexico. Stenciling and graffiti are visible in many cities. The most vibrant examples I have seen are in Oaxaca, where the art often responds to social and political issues.

Mexican tattoo and street artist Dr. Lakra is a blur (© Geoff Hargadon)

Mexican tattoo and street artist Dr. Lakra is a blur (© Geoff Hargadon)

BSA: What has been the most surprising part of this experience for you?
Pedro Alonzo: More than surprised, I am amazed at how quickly these artists work and adapt to the environment. Both inside the museum and on the street, the artists created amazing works for the exhibition in a very short period of time. Some of them even had time to go to the beach. We had a lot of fun. I am very proud and grateful to all of the artists for their hard work and stunning achievements. The city is responding accordingly.

In fact, the biggest surprise about the show was the response from many San Diegans of sincere gratitude at having this type of exhibition in their city. Some loved the fact that they did not have to drive to LA or fly to NYC to see it. Others felt that their interest in art was finally being acknowledged. It is a wonderful experience to have this kind of feedback in my home town.

Pedro Alonzo and Lucía Sanromán at the opening (© Geoff Hargadon)

Lucía Sanromán and Pedro Alonzo at the opening of Viva (© Geoff Hargadon)

Learn more about the exhibition HERE.

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Geoff Hargadon on the Scene (and behind it) for la Revolución

Unprecedented Access to an Unprecedented Street Art Show

The Street Art photographer gives us a personal look with some of his favorite shots in a photo essay on “Viva La Revolucion”

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Shepard Fairey in action on Kettner Street not far from the museum (© Geoff Hargadon)

It’s very exciting to be a part of a growing and ever-evolving art movement comprised of so many diverse artists and talents.  Among them of course are the photographers who enable us to see what is happening without leaving our computers. Sometimes they are simply documenting pieces so you have the opportunity to see what the street artist created.  Other times a photographer will open other doors of understanding, write a bit of poetry with the moment.

We are so impressed with Geoff Hargadon and his deft positioning of the frame and his storytelling ability.  During the installation of the city-wide street art show “Viva la Revolución” that is running right now in San Diego, Hargadon was given unprecedented access to the artists as they immersed themselves in their work. We asked Geoff to tell us a story with his images of that exceptional experience.

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Two team members of French large-scale Street Artist JR helping with his installation on 5th-Ave (© Geoff Hargadon)

Geoff explains:

” ‘Viva la Revolución,’ curated by my good friend, Pedro Alonzo, opened last week at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Pedro and I got to know each other well during Shepard Fairey’s museum show in Boston at the Institute of Contemporary Art, which he also curated, and through that show he became acquainted with the photography I had done on Shepard’s work in Boston and Miami. When I heard he was putting this show together, with 20 of the best artists in the world, I urged him to document the outdoor work well, and offered to spend 10 days following the artists around.

My proposal was to be everywhere at once, and to get as close to them as possible without getting in the way. Without exception, the artists were gracious and welcoming. The result was 45GB of photographs, from which the museum will select a bunch for inclusion in the show’s catalog, media coverage, and potentially some commemorative prints. Here I have selected, with some difficulty, a handful that attempt to capture the diversity of the work, the varied processes the artists used, the wide range of locations in San Diego, and the spirit of street art itself.”

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Brazilian brothers Os Gemeos piece on a parking garage (© Geoff Hargadon)

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French tile wizard Invader did a number of well placed pieces in the city (© Geoff Hargadon)

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The preparation of a piece by Stephan Doitschinoff, also known as Calma (© Geoff Hargadon)
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The finished Calma piece (© Geoff Hargadon) Brooklyn-Street-Art-copyright-Geoff-Hargadon-Os-Gemeos-creating-one-of-their-museum-pieces-D3S_7988

Os Gemeos in the studio space (© Geoff Hargadon)
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Brooklyn  Street Artist Swoon’s piece being installed with help by her team. (© Geoff Hargadon) Brooklyn-Street-Art-copyright-Geoff-Hargadon-JR-installation-at-the-museum-DSC_8313
A JR installation in progress with the help of an intern at the museum.”It’s the left wall of a mini theatre in which he shows
one of his recent video works – a brilliant and moving piece.”(© Geoff Hargadon)
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Mexican tattoo artist Dr. Lakra installed a mural in a lot next to this low rider, which continued to beckon him during his work.  (© Geoff Hargadon)

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San Diego’s Streets Alive as “Viva la Revolución” Opens at MCASD

Opening night at MCASD's first Street Art Exhibition - a crushing crowd in two lines which formed an hour before the doors opened. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)
Opening night at MCASD’s first Street Art exhibition this weekend – a crushing crowd in two lines which formed an hour before the doors opened. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

“Never Trust Your Own Eyes. Believe What You Are Told,” says the ironic slogan in the freshly wheat-pasted graphic piece by street artist Shepard Fairey on the side of a clothing store in San Diego, the town that chased him out for doing street art. One may believe Fairey’s politics to be Orwellian reference. Just as easily it could be applied to the academics, historians and would-be art critics struggling daily to describe with any authority what street art is and how it should be regarded. Luckily, we have been able to trust our eyes to make this analysis so far.

Read more (and leave your comments) on The Huffington Post

Invader and friends in San Diego (image © Geoff Hargadon)
Invader and friends in San Diego (image © Geoff Hargadon)

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