All posts tagged: Rafael Schacter

BSA HOT LIST: Books For Your Gift Giving 2018

2018 has been a good year for Street Art books, and your interest in the ones we have highlighted continues to assure us that “Print” is not dead. There is no better way to document a moment in this evolving scene for posterity than with the bound volume, and sometimes there is no better way to appreciate an artists work than to sit by a lamp or window with a book on your lap.

We know that you appreciate our daily analysis and efforts to elucidate and illustrate a fluid global Street Art/ graffiti / urban art scene here in digital, but we’re thrilled to give you solid options in book form as well. If you’re looking for a good quality art book to give this year, consider one of these hits from 2018. Enjoy!


“Inti, Color, Carnaval y Resistencia”, INTI.

INTI Commands First Monograph : Color, Carnaval y Resistencia

From BSA:

“Certainties, simple explanations, last hopes, magic thoughts and fears. All of them confronted by what is evident.”

Thus describes the figure slung with bullets, holding a necklace with a cross and delicately balancing a small green apple on his index finger on a larger than life mural in Santiago, Chili. The visual language of this graffiti/Street Artist and muralist named Inti is his to wield, a cosmic folk expression that glows with celestial waves surrounding an other-worldly race of characters.

INTI. Éditions Albin Michel, 2017. Paris, France. Click HERE for more about this book.


Bordallo II: Bordallo II / 2011 –  2011

From BSA:

Such is the splendid stuff of dreams and discovery for Bordalo II, the Lisbon-based Street Artist and maker of garbage relief animal portraits in cities across the world.

These are the things that when arranged on shelves and placed in relation to a floor plan, within parameters and boundaries of our mundanity, will comprise a perfect environment of domesticity; full of memory, associative emotion, symmetry. Objects, materials melted and poured, carved and plain, screwed and snapped, polished and sprayed, emulsified, inset, extruded, coiled, soldiered, plated, woven. These dimensional collections of matter matter to us. Metal alloy. Plastic polymer. Blown glass. Rubber, copper, steel, bakelite, particle board, glue.

Disarrange. You create chaos, disruption, disunity, discontent. Arrange again and create a muskrat, a buck deer, a petulant parakeet, an undulant octopus.

Bordalo II 2011 – 2017. Editor & Publisher Bordalo II. In conjunction with ATTERO and exhibition by Bordalo II held in Lisbon. November, 2017. Lisbon, Portugal. Click HERE for more about this book.


Subvertising: The Piracy Of Outdoor Advertising

From BSA:

“The constant imposition of advertising in front of our eyes is an oppressive, dictatorial and violent act,” posits the artist, activist, and author Hogre in this new collection of works and words called Subvertising : The Piracy of Outdoor Advertising.

It sounds rather extreme when put this way, but perhaps that is the dulling power of advertising’s omnipresence in public space year after year. Each of us can certainly recall a time when there seemed like there was more open public space and fewer images and graphics and text telling us what to do, what to buy, who to hate, how to behave. Artists like Hogre are sounding the warning on our ability to recognize its power over our perceptions.

HOGRE. Subvertising: The Piracy Of Outdoor Advertising. Dog Section Press. London, 2017. Click HERE for more about this book.


“Add/Fuel -1- Monograph”, Diogo Machado AKA Add Fuel.

From BSA:

Add Fuel Reimagines Azulejo in His First Monograph

Via his own pop-culture interpretation of the interlocking curvilinear, geometric and graphic motifs, the Portuguese artist is firing new pieces daily in the kiln of his studio in Cascais. For a decade or so his interpretations of the tin-glazed ceramic tilework have been appearing on inordinate secondary city skins in the paths of pedestrians: visual illusions meant to appear as layers of urban bark peeling back from surfaces you take for granted to reveal heritage, history, artisanship.

While the interiors and exteriors of churches, palaces, schools and subway stations are covered with azulejos in Lisbon, thanks to Add Fuel (Diogo Machado) they have travelled to other cities and cultures as well. Each time he is attracted to the tile-making traditions locally, and he often incorporates his study of these new histories as well.

Add / Fuel – 1 – Monograph. Published by Diogo Machado. Portugal 2018. Click HERE for more about this book.


One Week With 1UP : Martha Cooper & Ninja K

From BSA:

A serendipitous meeting somewhere in Berlin set this project in motion, and the results unveil an adrenaline fueled ride that always pushes, often exceeds the boundaries of physical safety and social acceptance while simultaneously thrilling graffiti fans and pissing off some public officials and property owners.

A new book captures the nature of the actions and adds to our conversations about art, vandalism, branding, public/personal space and its radical visual disruption. It’s a story made all the more remarkable during an increasing level of surveillance in a city that has basically embraced the bohemian and rebellious types who have transformed large parts of its cityscape, making Berlin a de facto capital of subculture, especially among the young.

Martha Cooper & Ninja K. One Week With 1UP. (photo courtesy of the team) Click HERE for more about this book.


“Beyond The Streets” Exhibition : Gastman’s Train Pulls In to LA

From BSA:

A steel-wheeled graffiti train with Roger Gastman at the controls roars into LA’s Chinatown for a two-month stay at this station, a 40,000 square foot warehouse that houses “Beyond the Streets.” Originating at the streets and train yards of the 1960s and 70s, this express survey carries with it 100 or so artists and writers from across the last five decades as practitioners of graffiti, Street Art, and mural painting. Somehow, everyone gets represented.

Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper) Click HERE for more about this book.


“Canvas” Anders Gjennestad.

From BSA:

Anders Gjennestad: A Door as “Canvas”

A door as canvas. A door as canvas.

It sounds the same on the street as it does in the gallery space, and for Norwegian Street Artist Anders Gjennestad the two appear nearly identical, aside from context.

Whether he is discovering the neglected urban factory door long after the spirit of industry has roared its last turbine and reaching toward his backpack for a spray can, or he is hoisting a piece out from the pile of collected iron-bound wooded slabs in his Berlin studio, functionally each of these doors is a canvas.

Every urban explorer sees the potential of walls that are long abandoned and spoiled with rot and piss and pushed open by weeds, worn away by rain. The world is a temporary place anyway. I am only here temporarily.

Anders Gjennestad. “Canvas”. Published by Galerie Friedmann – Hahn. Berlin 2018. Click HERE for more about this book.

“FKDL” Frank Duval.

From BSA:

FKDL and the Collage of a Street Artists’ Life in a Book

As you look through this new slim volume about the Street Artist/fine artist FKDL it may strike you how much autobiography is the determinant of an artist’s path as well. It’s the tale of a teenager finding himself, finding his vocation, and eventually finding his voice on the street. When you reach the end you see that it takes a number of years and a lot of experimentation, this journey.

FKDL. Galiote Prenant. Choisy-le-Roi, France. 2017. Click HERE for more about this book.


“Street To Studio”, Rafael Schacter.

From BSA:

Rafael Schacter Investigates “Street To Studio”

“These are artists who are thus not slavishly reproducing their exterior practice within an interior realm but who are, rather, taking the essence of graffiti – its visual principles, its spatial structures, its technical methods, its entrenched ethics – and reinterpreting them with the studio domain,” says author Rafael Schacter in his introductory exposition for his book Street to Studio where he offers a unique assessment derived from his 10 years of researching the foundational, conceptual, methodological, and ethical considerations that impact the original graffiti/Street Art scene as well as where it is going.

Rafael Schacter. Street To Studio. Lund Humphries Publishers. London, 2018. Click HERE for more about this book.


“Feather and Faces”, Adele Renault.

From BSA:

Adele Renault Takes Flight With a Message of “Feathers and Faces”

Street Artist/fine artist Adele Renault understands our interdependence with the birds and with each other perhaps better than many, and “Feathers and Faces” carries the message powerfully by delivering these works she has done on city streets and galleries in New York, Berlin, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Singapore, Burkina Faso, Helsinki, Moscow…

We share this city with pigeons. We look to the same environment to supply us with what we need, including food, water, shelter – depending on physical factors like as soil, air, a temperate climate, other organisms. Adele studies our feathered friends and brings them full force to the streets, and we know that here only the scrappiest survive and get to display their colors.

Feathers And Faces by Adele Renault was published in 2018 and is distributed in the United States and Canada by SCB Distributors. Click HERE for more about this book.


“Ex Animo”, Faith XLVII.

From BSA:

“Ex Animo”, Eight Years of Poetry by Faith Forty Seven

Worn workers, wild beasts, a bloom in the rubble.

Prayers of supplication and longing, racing teams of stallions and master felines of fury, the exhausted figure of a dream barely still illuminated, a wistful stage in the plundered urban landscape, or a plundered life.

This is what she does to you. As Faith IXVII leaves her stolen stanza, her massive mural in washed hues, her tributes to a moment lost in a city that would leave you to die if it had its way, she makes you make poetry.

Faith XLVII. “EX ANIMO’ THE WORK OF FAITH FORTY SEVEN/ 2010-2018. Drago Publishing. Rome, Italy, 2018. Click HERE for more about this book.


“Perception”, eL Seed.

From BSA:

El Seed Illuminates Ways to See Others with “Perception”

And el Seed is the first to tell you that in this deeply personal account of his art project across fifty buildings in Mashiyat Naser, a neighborhood of Cairo over two years ago. Born of his personal need to challenge himself and to add more to his career as a respected muralist, his original concept of working in this neighborhood of 70,000 recyclers was informed by his own assumptions, perhaps of helping a community known in the city as Zabbaleen, or “garbage people”.

Over the course of the project he and his team describe through interviews and with his own diary style how their own eyes were opened. It is an incremental revelatory experience that paralleled the quote that he stylized throughout the pattern of his piece, “Anyone who wants to see the sunlight clearly needs to wipe his eyes first,” from the writings of Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, a fourth century Coptic Bishop.

El Seed PERCEPTION Published by Point à la Ligne. Milan, Italy. 2018. Click HERE for more about this book.


“Invasion: Los Angeles”, Invader.

From BSA:

Invader: “Invasion Los Angeles” Book and “Into the White Cube” Exhibition

One thing that some Street Artists do when their work enters the white cube is drop the “street” from their official moniker, instead preferring to be known simply as an “artist”. The decision is possibly to rid themselves of any subtle class distinctions or otherwise negative connotations that a potential collector or curator may have with the “street artist” label.

Other artists formerly known as “Street Artists” feel limited by the title because it doesn’t include all of their new interests and their complete practice – or because the term itself has evolved in their mind and the mind of the public to mean something unfavorable that they do not like to be associated with.

When it comes to the internationally renowned Street Artist Invader, its not a consideration – the street is in his DNA. His cryptic tile-made street practice is so proliferate across the world and so much a part of the metropolis like in his hometown of Paris that his art is literally and psychically fused with the city.

Invasion Los Angeles 2.1 / Updated Edition 1999 – 2018. A Book By Invader. Published by Control P. Editions. France 2018. Click HERE for more about this book.


“Russian Urban Art: History and Conflicts”, Igor Ponosov.

From BSA:

Igor Ponosov Enlightens with “Russian Urban Art: History and Conflicts”

An academically sourced opinion-based essay in book form that looks to art, social, economic, and geopolitical movements during the start of the 20th century to better understand the evolution of Urban Art in post-Soviet Russia, Igor Ponosov delivers a welcome reconstruction of the timeline and movements that bring urban art to this day.

With the renewed interest in public art and muralism that has erupted over the last decade in many so-called Western cities it is good to learn how the public space in Russia has been catalyzed not-only by Hip Hop and new graffiti forms from Europe but also the history of Avant-garde art movements and Soviet Muralism in Russian Urban Art: History and Conflicts.

Igor Ponosov. Russian Urban Art: History And Conflicts. Moscow 2018. Published in collaboration with Street Art Museum, St Petersburg, Russia. Click HERE for more about this book.

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Rafael Schacter Investigates “Street To Studio”

Rafael Schacter Investigates “Street To Studio”

“These are artists who are thus not slavishly reproducing their exterior practice within an interior realm but who are, rather, taking the essence of graffiti – its visual principles, its spatial structures, its technical methods, its entrenched ethics – and reinterpreting them with the studio domain,” says author Rafael Schacter in his introductory exposition for his book Street to Studio where he offers a unique assessment derived from his 10 years of researching the foundational, conceptual, methodological, and ethical considerations that impact the original graffiti/Street Art scene as well as where it is going.

Rafael Schacter. Street To Studio. Lund Humphries Publishers. London, 2018.

The presentation is impressive in the craft and depth of field; the 40 artists whom he has chosen to profile have elements of each of these considerations to one degree or another as they move from street culture to more formalized ways of analyzing their works. Whether figurative, conceptual, performative, iterative, abstract, ephemeral, or purely digital, Schacter endeavors to find a common thread in a wide field of work and influences that have as their common denominator a regard for the practices of art in the streets.

It may be difficult for some readers to see the streets from here; perhaps it is not a measurement of relative biographies or works through storytelling as much as it is an examination of methods and practices. Often it could appear to be a name-checking of alliances with recognized contemporary artists, schools of art practice, and an anchoring to experiences as student of formalized institutional structures rather than the streets that help define the artists – criterion which ironically have been used to bar consideration of many early graffiti writers as relevant artists, with the effect of stigmatizing them.

Rafael Schacter. Street To Studio. Kaws. Lund Humphries Publishers. London, 2018.

There are not stories of economic or structural adversity here – although one can argue that these may be equally formative realities that affect one’s art practice. You won’t find many references to attending Public School 141 or the local community college or working as a bike messenger.

Instead there are many finely educated artists here with backgrounds in formal art theories – an MA in Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, an MFA at Universität der Künste Berlin, or London’s Central Saint Martins, Oslo’s National Academy of Art, Paris’ Saint Denis or Madrid’s Complutense. Being a part of the Mission School of 1990s San Francisco is what helps ratify a work as Fine Art, for example, even though switching the nameplates next to certain pieces may cause you to place the work in a number of possible categories or potential origin.

Rafael Schacter. Street To Studio. Stelios Faitakis. Lund Humphries Publishers. London, 2018.

The inclusion or exclusion of specific details in an artists journey or resume is the authors prerogative and is in service of supporting a view of the work.  As part of our daily discourse where we receive texts from artists, PR folks, and historians, we enjoy listening to how people and their art are described by themselves and others; what cultural signifiers are used, what associative “branding” is employed, and to note the differences that appear as they get closer to commercial or institutional success. Many of these artists here are nearly mid-career studio artists with connections to street practice, a substantial track record, and have taken great risks to challenge their work and their own perceptions.

Quoting McCormick again, “If we are to take graffiti and street art seriously, as not simply a method but a mandate, let us acknowledge studio practice as part of this process – but, equally importantly, understand the compatible, essential roles that action, observation and introspection play in progressive social art.”

Rafael Schacter. Street To Studio. Katsu. Lund Humphries Publishers. London, 2018.

Excuse the tangent: In our own discussions here online and offline for the last decade we’ve noticed a certain “whitening” of the landscape as we get closer to certain environments like fine art or contemporary art. In the ongoing class war that is human life on Earth, the assured divine nature of the resource winners is ever buffeted by a self-created system of rewards and penalties and cleverly clouded demerits – and you can see this at art fairs and galleries some times. While many advents of style and practice may emanate from more grassroots origins, those originators have not always successfully claimed authorship of those great ideas once they have permutated into textbooks that tell the history.

Graffiti and Street Art have often been maligned, marginalized, and dismissed rather openly and subtly by many of the current class of museums, press, academics, collectors, and those aspiring to be them during much of its evolution, even if its techniques and conventions are imitated and appropriated. Now less tentatively embraced by adventurous collectors and institutions, there is still the trouble of how to present the work; currently afoot is a rebranding as Contemporary Art that imparts a crisp veneer of coolness without the association with less desirable traits.

You know which traits.

Rafael Schacter. Street To Studio. Barry McGee. Lund Humphries Publishers. London, 2018.

We have even been asked by some artists to stop calling them “graffiti writer” or “Street Artist” because they no longer want to be associated with the label, preferring “painter” or “contemporary artist” instead. Part of this is self-marketing, yes, and the aging of the terms that doesn’t quite encompass their current work. We can’t help thinking that part of it smacks of classism and classic eurocentric racism.

In the broadest manner of description, it’s generally accepted today that the hallowed halls of academia have held centuries of Eurocentric art evolution in the highest regard and dispensed with the contributions of most everyone else not willing or able to stroke the narrative of white straight male supremacy – this is understandable tribe-like behavior meant to insure a narrative about relative importance and in furtherance of these guy’s power.

Sorrily, it has often also been a disabling and narrow view that has lead many to miss and mis-characterize absolutely amazing contributions to culture and the canons, and we are all poorer as a result. The original graffiti artists cared little about these institutional views and looked instead for opportunities to be seen and heard by their peers and the public.

Rafael Schacter. Street To Studio. MOMO. Lund Humphries Publishers. London, 2018.

These observations are not directly related to the author or artists presented in Street to Studio but you may safely surmise that some of this work would be so far removed in traditional associations with train bombing and b-boys that many would say the relationship is thin, or tenuous – and it is sort of remarkable how refracted the field becomes.

It has been a continuous peregrination over five decades of course – this movement between the street and the fine art world and the commercial interests – with graffiti writers spraying across canvas in the seventies, collectors like Wicked Gary gathering tagged stickers on cardboard; art school kids like Dan Witz arranging garbage across the sidewalk in New York’s East Village in between classes at Cooper Union.

“The reciprocal flow between studio and street continues today, with ever more complexity and mutual sway,” writes art critic and cultural observer Carlo McCormick in his introduction to Street to Studio, and Rafael Schacter has undertaken with a scholarly eye this unthinkable task of measuring that complexity. The results are a thoughtful and considered collection of individual histories and practices, supported by his own research on the evolving academic discussions that will define the era.

Rafael Schacter. Street To Studio. Evan Roth. Lund Humphries Publishers. London, 2018.

The graff-writing culture persisted; it evolved and nurtured and inspired a few generations and studio practices that followed. Street Artists work has spread across entire continents and into cities around the world without help from institutions, public programs, or academic approval. Now it merges with all our modern fashions in aesthetic and intellectual art-making yet it stands on its own – even as we grapple to document and describe it.

“The development of a distinct studio practice and institutional oeuvre is key to the text, even whilst this may disregard some important artists working today,” says Schacter regarding his methods of analysis for inclusion in this particular story.

“Overall, what was key was to provide a rounded selection of artists working in diverse formal and conceptual manners – artists pushing their practice with the realms of architecture and abstraction, performance and painting, digital art and new media, yet whose output provides a perfect exemplar of the dense possibilities that graffiti can provide.”

Today a generation of art students who grew up with the transgressive social politics of punk and hip-hop and wore wildstyle lettering and drips on their backpacks and clothing have their imaginations permanently sparked and have inherited an automatic expectation that their art could and should be staged on the street as well, illegally for extra points. Those practices expand and evolve and the current results are here. It appears to be a two-way street between outside and inside.

The spirit of graffiti is without doubt here. We just may not have realized how many forms it could take.

Rafael Schacter. Street To Studio. Swoon. Lund Humphries Publishers. London, 2018.

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Borders and Boundaries : A Multi-Disciplinary Exhibit at St. Petersburg’s Street Art Museum

Borders and Boundaries : A Multi-Disciplinary Exhibit at St. Petersburg’s Street Art Museum

Rafael Schacter Takes a More Nuanced Approach to the Migration Crisis

Commerce and technology have been eroding traditional constructs of the borders and boundaries, especially in the age of the Internet, satellites, transnational banking and trade agreements that create governing bodies that openly dismiss national sovereignty, integrity, identity, aspirations. Borders and boundaries are contested, guarded, or disregarded at will; open to international capital, porous to immigration, hardened by armies.

Daily they are in the headlines: Trump’s plans to build a wall along the US-Mexican border, Syrian war refugees immigrating across European borders, Israel and Palestine’s ongoing land and settlement disputes, even maritime territorial claims of China and the Phillipines in the South China Sea that were ruled upon yesterday  – all reveal clues to our historically complicated relationships and geo-political perspectives.

Art to the rescue!

A current show mounted by primarily urban artists under the direction and curatorial vision of Rafael Schacter in Saint Petersburg, Russia takes on a thin, rich slice of this story; a conceptual examination of borders and boundaries from the perspective of migration. With global forced displacement breaking all records in 2015 at 60 million people according to the UN we clearly need to re-examine these constructs and decide what purpose/ which people borders are serving.

Sorry, we’re using terms interchangeably, which Schacter will correct us on. Toward that end, we are pleased today to present Mr. Schacter, an anthropologist, researcher of street art, author, and lecturer, here on BSA to share observations and experiences from his most recent project, a fascinating show at the Street Art Museum (SAM) called Crossing Borders /Crossing Boundaries. Our thanks to the artists, only a small number of whom we are able to present here, as well as to the museum for sharing their talent and resources. A full list of the participating artists is at the end of the article.

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——————————–

~ from Rafael Schacter

In May of this year, I spent nearly four weeks in Saint Petersburg curating a large scale exhibition at the Street Art Museum (SAM). The Museum, set in a functioning factory on the edge of the city, is a mammoth site. The first plastics factory in the Soviet Union, the site became partially abandoned in the 1990s after the collapse of communism, and has since been taken over and partly given over to this new museum. Containing huge outdoor and indoor spaces, the museum is truly a dream location to work.

For the summer exhibition this year, we decided to focus on what has been termed the Migration Crisis. Rather than tackling this head on, however, something that I feel can often be crass and exploitative, something that I feel can often be seen to be utilizing peoples’ hardships for artistic ‘gain’, I sought to provide a concept that could explore the theme from a more nuanced angle.

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The title of the exhibition, Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries, thus attempted to explore the differences between these two terms; words which are often used interchangeably, but are in fact quite distinct.

Utilizing the work of renowned sociologist Richard Sennett, borders were hence posited as zones of high organic interactivity and development, engaged, permeable spaces such as the zones between the land and the sea in which different species thrive, intermix and exchange. In contrast however, boundaries were understood as guarded, impenetrable locations, locations, for example, like the territorial perimeters of creatures such as lions or wolves.

Focusing on these differences, on the fertility and vibrancy of the border compared to the sterility and aridity of the boundary, we then commissioned 20 artists from around the world to produce works on this theme.

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Working with artists from a background of street art as well as contemporary art, with video artists and photographers, muralists and artivists, the exhibition is thus truly multi-media and multidisciplinary. I was beyond impressed with the results, all the artists bringing an amazing set of ideas to the table and delivering them in the most fantastic of ways.

We had over 5,000 people come to our launch on May 14th, as well as a huge international conference on the topic of migration taking place in the museum on the same day. Living, working, eating and sleeping in the factory with all of the artists over the entire period of production was tough, to say the least. However the energy was unrelenting, with the artists and the whole team at SAM working without rest to deliver this incredible project.Brooklyn-Street-Art-5-Rafael-Schacter-740-VideoStill-Copyright-Street-Art-Museum-Crossing-Borders

I’m super proud of what we achieved, to both sensitively and critically explore this theme, to not just provide the traditional liberal consensus positionality but rather to challenge people’s thoughts and ideas on this topic. Who knows what effect it will have, if any. But I hope that the project can push people to think about the topic in a more nuanced rather than binary way.

Following the video are a few of the artists and their work for Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries

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SpY. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

SpY

Go Home / Crisis / Basket

  1. Printed banner on chimney / Acrylic paint on oil barrels / Basketball hoop and backboard on containers, acrylic paint on asphalt

SpY’s deceptively simple yet conceptually ingenious interventions focus on the upturning of spatial and societal norms. Using irony and humour to create a dialogue with the viewer, SpY attempts to impress multiple readings onto a space, re-presenting it as a “frame of endless possibilities”.

His set of works here follow this method precisely. In particular, his giant work Go Home, at first an apparently aggressive, deeply antagonistic phrase (to put it mildly), plays with the variety of meanings that this expression can contain: the very ability to go home, for example, to return back to the place of one’s family, one’s birth, one’s life, is the very thing that most immigrants desire but simply cannot undertake (whether due to war or famine, economic or ecological pressures). To be able to go home is thus a privilege that not all of us have.

As with his famous method of renegotiating the set rules of sporting activities, provoking, as he says “disorder and chaos through context and content”, SpY’s works do not simply invert or subvert their spaces but playfully distort them. They “misuse” their environments to show the latent possibilities that lie within.

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SpY. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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SpY. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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SpY. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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Filippo Minelli. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

FILIPPO MINELLI

Untitled / A Revolution Nobody Cares About

  1. Scaffold, laminate photographic prints, flags, and spray paint and acrylic on containers / Acrylic paint on wall

Fillipo’s installation for Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries explores different border zones throughout the globe. From the sea border of North and South Korea to that of Mexico and California; from Morocco and Mauritania to Cambodia and Vietnam; from the invisible border between Northern Mali and the disputed territories of the Azawad; to abandoned NATO bunkers at the Belgian Dutch border, these images present us with some of the most politically fraught locations on the planet which, somehow, contain a strangely alluring beauty. Alongside this, Filippo presents a series of Whatsapp conversations documenting his personal struggle to gain entry into Russia for this exhibition: a series of Kafkaesque scenarios in which he was sent from location to location in a seeming test of his resistance. The installation as a whole can be seen to bring together Filippo’s joint obsession with political, industrial and internet aesthetics.

His mural, A Revolution Nobody Cares About / Nobody Cares About a Revolution speaks, quite loudly, for itself.

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Filippo Minelli. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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Filippo Minelli. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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Filippo Minelli. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo Evgeniy Belikov)

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Kirill KTO. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

KIRILL KTO

Incomprehensible

  1. Acrylic and spray paint on wall

Kirill’s work for Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries arose through his correspondence with curator Rafael Schacter. Focusing on the barrier of language and the complexity of translation, the work is about the impossibility of understanding and the unwillingness to understand. As KIRILL says “I understood only a small percentage of what we discussed and so decided to make this the heart of the work”. It is thus the borders and boundaries of language that KIRILL takes aim. As he continues “there are two borders of misunderstanding: you see unfamiliar letters and you do not understand everything completely. Signifier and signified become equally incomprehensible. Or even it’s a familiar language, but still it is not clear”. Kirill’s work, although colourful and bright, is in fact the image of alienation. The image of the migratory and the incomprehensible.

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Gaia . Mata Ruda. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

GAIA & MATA RUDA

If Capital Can Move So Freely Why Can’t Bodies?

  1. Acrylic and spray paint on wall

Gaia and Mata Ruda have produced a monumental work for Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries, a work which functions in the classical tradition of political muralism. Using imagery from the filmmaker Marc Silver and photographers Jonathan Hollingsworth and Alex Kurunis (both of whom show other work within the exhibition itself), Gaia and Ruda present us with an assemblage of figures and artefacts which together convey a dense narrative about contemporary migration. Including individuals and stories from the borders of the USA and Latin America as well as Africa and Europe, the artists also produced a group portrait of three Uzbekistani employees at the factory who work and live in the very site where the mural exists.

The story Gaia and Mata tell is one of inequality and injustice, a story of the imbalance of our contemporary global system. Yet within this it contains hope and strength, the strength of the individuals who strive to fight these inequities on a daily basis.

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Gaia . Mata Ruda. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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Nano4814. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

Nano4814

Untitled

  1. Acrylic and spray paint on wall

Nano4814’s half-abstract, half-figurative mural for Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries demonstrates the strangely discomforting yet visually arresting style which we can now instantly recognize as his own. Frequently focusing upon the apprehension he has with his own work, Nano’s characters can often be seen to be in states of tension or strain (both literally and metaphorically), an angst reinforced by their compressed captivity within their sites. Moreover, his use of brick-walls, barriers, and wooden shards, symbols that act as leitmotifs throughout his work, play with the idea of boundaries as objects that encourage intrusion and trespass: Like masks, these borders both suggest and occlude a veiled truth, hinting whilst hiding, implying yet escaping. It is thus the very limitation that enables us to venture beyond.

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Brad Downey . Igor Posonov. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

BRAD DOWNEY & IGOR PONOSOV

Double Yippie Hollow Super Power

  1. Slides, DIA projector, flags, photographs, socks, coins, drawings in collaboration with Clemens Behr, SPY, Paco, and Fillipo Minelli, computer guts, digital prints, plastic, wood, plexi-glass, mounting hardware, sound installation, radio, headphones, cables, paint, chess set, soviet fabric, and industrial  spools.

Double Yippie Hollow Super Power is a joint project between artists Brad Downey from the USA and Igor Ponosov from Russia. Taking inspiration from the parlor game “cadavre exquis” or “exquisite corpse” (a method by which a collection of words or images is collaboratively assembled), the pair have sought to combine the varying national symbols of their home nations into a new, exquisite set of iconic forms. The “unity of the opposites” that they have created – utilizing objects such as flags, coins, and anthems – plays with the sacrality of these national symbols, the almost divine status that they contain. Moreover, it alludes to the strangely intimate relationship that the two countries are entwined in. Whilst apparent opposites, common enemies, both locations create their identity through their connection with the other: the objects Downey and Ponosov have thus created contain both a critical and playful edge. They ridicule the stereotypes of both themselves and each other in the same moment.

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Brad Downey . Igor Posonov. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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Brad Downey . Igor Posonov. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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Brad Downey . Igor Posonov. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

 

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Jazoo Yang. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

JAZOO YANG

Dots / Painting Blocks

2016, Korean ink on wall / Found objects, cement, and acrylic paint on wooden palletes

Jazoo Yang’s Dots series originates from her work in her native Korea, in particular within areas of the city going through the process of redevelopment. Using traditional Korean ink, and solely using her thumbprint (a marking used as a signature on important documents), Yang’s work sought to bring focus on the increasing amount of “redevelopment refugees” in the city

For Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries, Yang has expanded her Dots Series to incorporate the issue of refugees and migrants in Europe and further beyond. Working mainly on her own but also with immigrant workers from the factory itself, Yang discusses their stories, their histories, their existence with these individuals as they mark the wall together. These imprints act as a record of this moment whilst remaining entirely silent.

In Yang’s Painting Block Works, this theme of memory and regeneration continues. Exploring the violent so central to the contemporary city, Yang wants to ask how much we perceive our lives and make independent decisions within these oppressive environments. She aims to bring these problems to the surface through rebuilding them with the materials we so readily abandon, in Korea using objects from deserted houses and buildings, here in Russia using the detritus and ephemera of the factory itself.

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Jazoo Yang. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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Jazoo Yang. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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Clemens Behr. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

CLEMENS BEHR

The Final Frontier (Space) / Our House (In the Middle of the Street)

  1. Laminate doors, wooden pallets, wooden battons, hinges, and acrylic paint / Acrylic and spray paint on wall

Mimicking and playing with their settings through a process of transformative deconstruction, Clemens Behr’s geometric shapes and abstract forms come to distort the viewers’ perspective, merging two and three dimensional spaces in a single plane.

His installation for Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries acts as what he terms a “social maze”. Utilising one of the most classic example of borders/boundaries, the common doorway, the work explores the potentially empowering or inhibiting abilities of these structures: as one door opens, another closes, enabling some and disabling others in the same moment. As a participatory sculpture, its visual possibilities become endless. However conceptually it demonstrates how every decision we take effects those around us. Like many of Behr’s installations, this work was produced with what was at hand, in this case the products and detritus of the factory site itself.

Behr’s mural tackles another question however. Playing with the shadows and design of the adjacent fence, with the actuality of space (and time) versus the potentiality of painting, he questions the boundaries of art itself: Can it go beyond reflection to truly generate the new?

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Clemens Behr. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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Clemens Behr. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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Eltono. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

Eltono

Random Geopolitical Map / Upside-down Fence

  1. Acrylic paint on wall / Barbed wire, steel poles, metal fence, laminate warning signs

Eltono’s mural is a reaction to the absurd rationality of national boundaries. As opposed to the natural flow of borders (as can be seen in perhaps the world’s only natural country, Chile), the carving up of the planet’s boundaries happens at right angles: diagonal, horizontal, and vertical lines cutting up the planet into a perfectly linear patchwork.

As such, Eltono has created his own world map using a generative art technique; using a basic randomizer to choose a digit between 1 and 7, the numbers which emerge then come to define both the color of the country and its borders, indicating the direction that each color, and each boundary will thus take.

Unlike his mural, for his fence installation, Eltono presents us with the opposite of the rationality as seen within maps. Rather, he displays a perfectly irrational object, an upside-down fence. For Eltono, however, the inversion of the fence makes it something lighter, not an object that prevents our movement, but a compact object that can be upended “as if the wind had blown it upside down”. As he continues, “it’s not a massive obstacle anymore. A fence that can be flipped is a territory that can be freed.”

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Eltono. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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Merijn Hos. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

Merijn Hos

Lost in a Dream

  1. Acrylic and spray paint on wall

Merijn’s mural has a simple, yet vitally important message. His five globes show us the development from a basic binary of black and white to a densely colored, intricate, heterogeneous space. The final image thus shows us a planet in which, as Merijn says, “everything harmonizes. All the colors are there together and they all work and flow seamlessly with each other. Of course borders exist in many ways, but if we take it a step further and forget about the rules and just go with our feeling this is what I think can be understood as the ideal. That we should not be limited by the rationality of borders. Probably a bit of a cliché. But that’s how I see it and feel it”.

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Superproject. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

SUPERPROJECT (JASPER NIENS AND THIJS EWALTS)

Four Zero

2016, High Pressure Laminate installation

SUPERPROJECT, a two-man design operation spearheaded by visual artist Jasper Niens and industrial designer Thijs Ewalts, focus on computational design and digital fabrication, embracing art, architecture, engineering and technology. For Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries, they have created Four Zero, a space within a space, a location only accessible through four, tunnel-like entrances. Due to the curvature of the entrances, the visitor is not immediately sure where they will end up. As such, the work is about revealing and concealing, possibility and difficulty; once people enter the space they can either feel locked up and exposed or protected and safe within its embrace.

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Tita Salina. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

Tita Salina

1001th Island: The Most Sustainable Island in Archipelago

2015/2016. Video, trash, fishing net and wood

Tita Salina’s 1001st Island is a work exploring the changing borders and boundaries of Jakarta. A city which is currently sinking between 2.9 and 6.7 inches per year, and which exists mainly below sea level, Jakarta is currently undertaking a huge land reclamation and producing a 32 kilometer sea wall to try and protect its boundaries, a project that will construct 17 new islands and take an estimated 30 years to complete. The installation presented here, a reproduction of an artificial island built by Salina and local fisherman using marine debris and litter, aims to highlight the negative impacts of the project, in particular the fact that the city refuses to fix the causes of its problems — namely, excessive groundwater extraction and inefficient waste management. Salina thus connects the reclamation and land issue with the human waste that plagues the ocean and the future of the traditional fishermen who live and work within this now perilous space.

 

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ARTISTS Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries.

Alex Kurunis, Brad Downey, Igor Posonov, Clemens Behr, El Tono, Filippo Minelli, Gaia, Mata Ruda, James Bridle, Superproject ( Jasper Niens & Thijs Ewalts, Jazoo Yang, Jonathan Hollingworth, Kirill KTO, Martha Atienza, Merijn Hos, Nano4814, Rob Pinney, SpY, Tita Salina

For more information please go to The Street Art Museum (SAM)

Additional images at beginning of article are stills from video and are ©The Street Art Museum

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Rafael Schacter and Filippo Minelli : 15 for 2015

Rafael Schacter and Filippo Minelli : 15 for 2015

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What are you celebrating this season? We’re celebrating BSA readers and fans with a holiday assorted chocolate box of 15 of the smartest and tastiest people we know. Each day until the new year we ask a guest to take a moment to reflect on 2015 and to tell us about one photograph that best captures the year for him or her. It’s our way of sharing the sweetness of the season and saying ‘thank you’ for inspiring us throughout the year.

Rafael Schacter is an anthropologist, curator, and the author of The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti and Order and Ornament: Graffiti, Street Art and the Parergon. He is also a researcher of graffiti and Street Art in the Department of Anthropology, University College London and is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow 2014-2017 also at University College London. Among other topics discussed at lectures and conferences around the world Dr. Schacter argues that graffiti and Street Art produce “insurgent images” that should be seen to reface, rather than deface, the city.


London, UK
January 23, 2015
Artist: Filippo Minelli
Photograph by Rafa Suñen

This image, by the photographer Rafa Suñen, is taken from an action by the artist Filippo Minelli entitled ‘Bold Statements’. It was performed on the Somerset House River Terrace on January 23, 2015, as part of the Mapping the City exhibition which I curated for Approved by Pablo.

I picked this image because it was an amazing start to the year for me, at once the most stressful and the most exciting project I have ever been a part of. Whilst I was immensely proud of the exhibition and what we as a team accomplished, the cultural programme and ephemeral actions we organised alongside the exhibit itself were the things I personally enjoyed the most.

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Filippo’s performance was a beautiful moment that I will always remember. A perfect London winter’s day, a magical, ephemeral moment in which a group of people – a group from different backgrounds, different ages, different places – all  came together to take part in something equally personal as political. Something equally absurd as affective. Something capturing everything I love about public art in one condensed instant.

~ Rafael Schacter

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Mapping the City was covered by BSA along with an interview with Raphael in The Huffington Post HERE.

 

 

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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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NYC Subway Cars: From Rolling Canvasses to Rolling Billboards

NYC Subway Cars: From Rolling Canvasses to Rolling Billboards

“If I had my way, I wouldn’t put in dogs, but wolves,” New York mayor Ed Koch suggested famously as a facetious proposal for loosing ferocious animals on graffiti writers in the train yards in the early 1980s.  For Koch and his two predecessors the graffiti on trains was a searingly hot focal point, a visual affront to citizens, an aesthetic plague upon the populous. It created a discomforting atmosphere described by the New York Times editorial board as evidence of “criminality and contempt for the public”.[note]Ed Koch and the Rebuilding of New York City, Jonathan M. Soffer.[/note] The fight against this particular blight began in earnest and by decade’s end all 5,000 or so subway cars had become clean and the famed era of graffiti on trains was terminated.

Twenty-five years later, whole-car graffiti trains are back in New York. Visually bombed with color and stylized typography top to bottom, inside and outside, and the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) is pocketing some handsome fees for it. It is not aerosol anymore, rather the eye popping subway skin is made from enormous adhesive printed sheets that are laser cut to perfectly fit every single surface of a train car. Naturally, you won’t have to pay the newly hiked subway fare to see these whole-car creations – you can see them on elevated tracks all over the city.

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 Photo © Jaime Rojo

The irony doesn’t stop there; Right now the MTA is running a full-car advertisement for a “Street Art” series that appears on cable, featuring images of fleet-footed youth with art supplies in hand running down a Brooklyn sidewalk as if escaping from the police. “Run. Paint.”

“Of course I chuckle every time I see those ad-covered cars,” says Martha Cooper, the ethnographer and photographer perhaps best known for shooting images of artists like Lee Quinones and Dondi as they painted huge pieces in the train yards in the 1970s and 80s.  Together with Henry Chalfant, Cooper published what became a photographic holy book for generations of graff writers and Street Artists worldwide, a compendium of full-car aerosol painted pieces from New York’s graffiti train era entitled Subway Art.  When it comes to using trains for advertising, Cooper doesn’t appear offended, but rather gives credit for the idea to the youth who pioneered the technique of using trains as a self-promotional method, and she’s only puzzled about why this didn’t happen earlier.

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Art vs. Transit (the “vs.” already scrubbed off the window), by Duro, Shy and Kos 207. 1982. © Martha Cooper

“Graffiti writers instinctively understood how advertising could reach the most people in NYC,” she says, “It’s taken 45 years for the MTA and ad agencies to realize what a good idea top-to-bottom rolling ads are, on trucks as well as on the subway. They are finally catching on and catching up but they would probably be the last to admit it. The rest of us can just stand back and shake our heads in amusement.”

But some others are less ready to accept the irony of a Street Art program being promoted on train cars, including guys who were those same vilified/celebrated teens painting trains at a time when penalties were harsh and the dogs were real.

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 Photo © Jaime Rojo

“What a complete bite and contradiction on the MTA’s part,” says artist Lee Quiñones, perhaps best known for having painted as many as 125 entire cars by hand in the 1970s, as well as a more formal art career that followed. His fully painted cars as canvases included characters, scenes, and narratives addressing topical subjects like the crime rate, the cold war, poverty, and environmentalism – as well as more existential teen poetry about love and family. For Quiñones, who once called the #5 subway line the “Rolling MoMA” and who today is a fine artist with a successful studio practice, the paradox is obvious. “It exposes how certain things under the guidance of capital can be blatantly suggested and ingested within the same context.”

Jayson Edlin, author of Graffiti 365, is considered by many as a go-to source of New York graffiti and its history, and was himself a train writer under the names J.Son and Terror 161. “The advertising versus art argument regarding graffiti and street art speaks to money, power and control. Societal hypocrisy is nothing new. As a former subway painter, I am not surprised by seeing an ad for a Street Art TV show plastered across a NYC subway car,” he says. Then he pitches us a vision that would undoubtedly make many people’s brain hurt. “I’m certain that the MTA would sanction an ad for Subway Art with the Marty Cooper photo of Dondi painting a train for the right sum.” Imagine what that might look like.

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Not so fast, the MTA would not wish you to think they are endorsing illegal graffiti or street art, according to an MTA spokesperson recently interviewed by Bucky Turco for the website Animal. The MTA walked a thin line when determining whether they should accept advertising for a show celebrating Street Art, however contrived, and decided that it was okay to take the money this time. “On the one hand,” says the spokesman, “our ad standards prohibit anything that could be construed as actual graffiti, and we also prohibit promoting illegal activity. On the other hand, the typeface of the ad itself was not graffiti-style, and our research concluded that everything the show depicts is done legally with permission.” So we’ll take the MTA at it’s word, the show doesn’t explicitly violate standards for advertising, so the campaign was approved.

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 Photo © Jaime Rojo

It’s true, not all Street Art is illegal per se, but by definition most people would say that real graffiti must be. However it may take a lawyer to explain how this rationalization of advertising a show like this works, or at least to help sort the legalities from the ethics and perceptions. So, to recap, decades ago it was a crime to write graffiti on the subways. Today if you have enough money and the right hand-style with your lettering you can use your creativity to mark up as many cars as you like.  If not, your art-making efforts will be swiftly eradicated. This past year photographer Jaime Rojo just happened to catch some non-commercial art on trains that pulled into stations and he said it was just as surprising to see the real stuff as it is the commercial facsimile of it. Of course the D.I.Y. never made it out of the train yards again.

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Actual graffiti on a New York train from DVONE, circa 2014. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Alison Young, Professor of Criminology at the University of Melbourne in Australia and author of Law, Crime and the Urban Imagination has studied the interaction of art, advertising, and the law specifically as it pertains to Street Art around the world. She points to a radical difference in how these two forms of visual communication are regarded and approached. “The full-car advertisement for the television program is certainly the most obvious demonstration of how companies (such as the MTA) respond differently to advertising than to street art/graffiti.

“In some ways,” Young continues, “the MTA may not even have noticed the irony of covering a train car with an advert for an activity related to graffiti, given the time and money spent on eradicating images from train cars. Or, if I was being really cynical, it’s also possible to speculate that the MTA sees that irony all too clearly and is using this as an opportunity to tell graffiti writers that unsanctioned art is never acceptable, but sanctioned art (in the form of an advert or in the form of the art featured on the show) is all that we are permitted to see. Is that too unlikely? I don’t know.”

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DVONE. Graffiti circa 2014. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A number of folks whom we talked to mentioned that this is not the first time a graffiti artist has completely covered subway cars with advertisements, as the artist KAWS was treated to a full campaign when he partnered with Macy’s a couple of years ago. While he has had a successful commercial career with fine art, toys and a variety of products, his roots are as a graffiti writer, has done some freight painting of his own, and his style still reflects it. Not every impressionable disaffected youth would necessarily make that association nor interpret it as an encouragement to hit up a train with your own aerosol bubble tag. Still, those KAWS cars looked a lot like graffiti trains, with logos as tags, as in seen in this video from Fresh Paint NYC.

We leave the last observations to the witty and insightful Dr. Rafael Schacter, anthropologist, curator, and author of The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti, who says the obvious story is, well, obvious, but don’t miss the elephant in the subway car.

“The irony and incongruity of it though? Of course. It is ridiculous. It is absurd. A graffiti-banning MTA promoting a graffiti TV show and allowing a second-rate aping of the original whole-trains of the ‘70s,” he says derisively. But then he turns frank and even wistful in his final summary.

“But, in actual fact, I LOVE these moments. I love them as they so perfectly illustrate the public secret of our public sphere: That consumption wins. That the highest bidder is the true King. It’s nothing new. It’s nothing surprising but it is the revelation of the public secret that can actually come to raise awareness of that secret itself – That the public sphere has come to be a space not for conversation but for commerce. That the public sphere has become a place not for interpersonal communication but for capital and consumption,” says Schacter.

“These moments can, I hope, make us sit up and realize this revelation because it is thrown so directly in our faces. Then, hopefully, this can make us make a change. Perhaps a tiny bit of a rose-tinted position to take, but I really do hope so.”

Rose-tinted views will probably overruled by the green-tinted ones in this case, but we understand the sentiment. But many New York subway riders will not likely soon get over the irony.

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Marvel graffiti circa 2014. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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This article is also published on The Huffington Post

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50 Ways to Map The City, Per Street and Graffiti Artists

D.I.Y. Cartography in the Rawest Section of Somerset

Street Art is intrinsically bound with its neighborhood and location in a city. Context and placement are key, establishing its relation to a place. So when a Street Artist is asked to create art about mapping a place, it is fascinating to see how they perceive it and with what manner and medium they present it.

In a new exhibition opening in London this month, the time honored study and practice of cartography ventures into the conceptual as well as the physical, and we find that for many artists the street is as much about poetry and perception as it is about aerosol and wheat-pasted paper.

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Petro’s sculpture on the left with Gasisus sculpture on the right.  Aryz, Ron English, Malarko, Augustine Kofie, on the background wall. Filippo Minelli on the right wall. “Mapping The City” Somerset House. London, UK. (photo © Rafa Suñen)

“Mapping the City”, now going up at the Somerset House presents the work of 50 artists whose roots lie in creating work for the urban space, one defined by paved streets configured by planners and traversed by citizenry. More than this the artists here broaden the job description of cartographer to one who captures energy, movement, emotion, imagined storylines and life paths.

With ubiquitous smart phones at the ready we increasingly find that mapping the world has become a given, removing some of its mystery. The tracking of GPS is joined by the physically surveying Google machine and countless public/private war/profit apparatus that have been loosed across and above the skin of the globe to trace all roads and streets, quantify topography, measure depths – even gauge the volume of rivers and density of forests.

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Installation process shot. Gasius sculpture on the foreground. Installers working on Petros’ sculpture. Aryz, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Malarko, Augustine Kofie, Shantell Martin, Husk MitNavn on the background wall. “Mapping The City” Somerset House. London, UK. (photo © courtesy A(by)P)

And then there are the people. “The city is a living entity,” says Rafael Schacter, curator of the show from the arts organization A(by)P, who sees the city as something far more than a clever configuration of lines. “The city changes every day, every hour of the day. It is constantly modifying itself. And it is fully alive in the way it reacts and responds to our actions. It is endlessly fascinating in the same way humans are. They can be exhausting, they can be destructive. But they contain endless possibilities too.”

It’s this same immersion into street life that draws artists to create in public, and knowing how to accept and embrace its evolution is what brings the veterans back. MOMO literally painted many streets in one continuous line that formed the letters of his nom de la rue in a 2006 tag that spread across the bottom of New York’s central island and it is presented as a map in this show.

Brooklyn Street Art: One of the artists in your show, MOMO, created an enormous tag in Manhattan – although it was only legible when the route was retraced upon a map. Is he crazy?
Rafael Schacter: He is crazy. A crazy genius. Although you still can see the marks he made on the streets of Manhattan years after he painted it! He recently re-walked the route and re-mapped the existing line. As I said; Crazy. Genius.

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MOMO “Tag Manhattan” (photo © courtesy of A(by)P)

“Retracing the tag line was cool,” MOMO tells us. “What I noticed is how much new sidewalk cement has gone in a lot of the line was eaten up by that,” he says, observing that a city is anything but static and often regenerative. “It is interesting how quickly a city replaces all of its cells,” he remarks about the ongoing repaving that characterizes the city. Were there more changes MOMO noticed in the 7 years between tagging? Yes. “Other stuff, like all the shiny new developments that are making Manhattan look like a mall.”

While there are some commonalities among the selected artists who are participating in this project, there is quite a variety of approaches to the street, as Schacter invited Street Artists, graffiti artists, public artists, designers, painters, illustrators, and billboard jammers. He says the multiplicity of interpretation was an intentional decision.

“For us, the most important thing was to have the whole range of artists we love and who are producing work in the public sphere included in the exhibition. As such, and as you say, it really is a very wide variety of artists, from graffiti bombers to conceptual artists, from muralists to urban explorers. With all of them, however, the crucial element within their practice is the public sphere, the richness of the city and urban space. This is the line that goes through all of their work, even if they may at first seem widely different.”

 

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 Chu. “Mapping The City” Somerset House. London, UK. (photo © courtesy A(by)P)

Chu, an Argentine Street Artist and muralist whose colorfully painted four paneled abstraction remixes and jumbles the lines and shapes and removes all text, his map is meant to communicate the kinetic nature of street life. “I tried to create a map of Buenos Aires marking my usual movements around the city. I am used to moving around it a lot, from one side to other, and sometimes it is really chaotic and stressful. However it is also really where I get a lot of inspiration.”

A viewer of Chu’s graphic representation may be reminded of map making software and apps – possibly because of his graphic design training and his work as an animation director and illustrator in the digital sphere. He says that his digital art experience has grafted onto his vision of the physical street, “especially because I am working with layers and some of my choices of shapes come from that experience.”

Even as a painter, you can see the influence of the digital design world in Chu’s map. He says that when he thinks of city streets, he does see in his mind an aerial view of them from up above, but there is much more.

“My artwork for the exhibition is a kind of aerial abstract view of the city,” says Chu, “When trying to understand the city street more mentally, I believe today, it is something more complex than it was before. It is like some kind of constellation or hypertext thing that grows up in all directions, with axis and tons of layers.”

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CHU “Buenos Aires” (photo © courtesy of A(by)P)

Housed in a section of Somerset House that has been closed off from the public for 150 years, the new exhibit is also its first and most visitors will never have hiked through the still unpolished space. It seems like the perfectly shabby cream-colored raw environment that graff writers and Street Artists might feel comfortable making art for. “It’s in the process of happening,” says Schacter as the team moves around him and up ladders to place the maps and straddle patches of exposed wall. According to Rafael, even the ceilings of the 18th century rooms are being restored to their original splendor, “with Yak Hair in the plaster!”

Brooklyn Street Art: Will people need to follow a map to find this show in the new wing of the Somerset House?
Rafael Schacter: Ha! Kind of. Our space hasn’t currently even got a name as it’s so new – and so old at the same time. We’re going to make big wooden arrows to make it clear but we kind of hope people get lost too, and then eventually find us!

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Detail of Gasius sculpture on the foreground. LA artist Cali Thornhill De Witt displays his flag pieces in the background. “Mapping The City” Somerset House. London, UK. (photo © Rafa Suñen)

Brooklyn Street Art: Not all participants strictly adhered to the realm of cartography in the conception or execution of their map. Brad Downey appears to have drawn a face. Imagine what you would have gotten if this was a show about clouds.
Rafael Schacter: You’re right – the responses to our call for work has been super super varied. But that’s exactly what we wanted – that variety of work. We didn’t want just one understanding of the call, which was simply “map your space”.  Brad’s work is about finding visuals within maps, whilst others have tried to find maps within visuals! It is all simply about a different appreciation of space from the one we see in the top down, topographic, scientific standard.

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Brad Downey. Face (photo © courtesy of A(by)P)

The Brooklyn Street Artist Swoon contributed one of her iconic images of a woman whose entire form is filled with what appears to be kutis and stilt houses along winding streets from top to bottom. Based on the Thai capital Bangkok, it is an example of the inner world Swoon is known for creating, reflective of a character’s history.

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Installation process shot. Swoon. “Mapping The City” Somerset House. London, UK. (photo © courtesy A(by)P)

Brooklyn Street Art: It is always interesting to see a Swoon portrait that contains the city and the streets within the body of the subject, isn’t it?
Rafael Schacter: There’s a great quote from Swoon about her work being about the desire to more carefully examine the “relationship of people to their built environment”. Her work here is a prime example of this, a work in which the body and the city become inexorably intertwined – the experience, as she says, “of becoming part of the fabric of the city” visually mapped out.

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Installation process shot. Chu, Isaurao Huizar, Swoon and Mike Ballard. “Mapping The City” Somerset House. London, UK. (photo © courtesy A(by)P)

Brooklyn Street Art: Can you talk about the film/s you have discovered and will be showing that fall in with the theme of map-making?
Rafael Schacter: The films we’re going to be showing are by a filmmaker named Marc Isaacs. They’re both set in London, both exploring the lives of “ordinary” Londoners. It is a very bottom-up, grass roots understanding of people’s lives.  That is exactly what we’re looking to do in the show – to explore the subjective and the hidden nature of the city.

Brooklyn Street Art: Who will be doing an artist talk about the project?
Rafael Schacter: We’re really excited about this. Our artist talk will be featuring Eltono, Filippo Minelli and Caleb Neelon. Again, a real diversity of artists and a diversity of backgrounds. Each of them have a great understanding of the public sphere and we’re excited to see what they will present.

Brooklyn Street Art: Given worldwide mapping and its ubiquity on devices we must ask this: In the future, will it be possible to get lost?
Rafael Schacter: I hope so! As the artist Itso said, and I paraphrase, true places can never be mapped.

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Installation process shot. El Tono working on his sculpture. “Mapping The City” Somerset House. London, UK. (photo © courtesy A(by)P)

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El Tono. “Mapping The City” Somerset House. London, UK. (photo © Rafa Suñen)

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Installation process shot. Herbert Baglione on the right. El Tono on the left with EGS on the background room. “Mapping The City” Somerset House. London, UK. (photo © courtesy A(by)P)

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Installation process shot. Remed. “Mapping The City” Somerset House. London, UK. (photo © courtesy A(by)P)

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Installation process shot. Sixe Paredes on the left. Filippo Minelli on Center. Remed and OX on the right background room. “Mapping The City” Somerset House. London, UK. (photo © courtesy A(by)P)

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Installation process shot. Detail of Filippo Minelli’s map. “Mapping The City” Somerset House. London, UK. (photo © courtesy A(by)P)

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Sixe Paredes with Detail of Filippo Minelli’s map. “Mapping The City” Somerset House. London, UK. (photo © Rafa Suñen)

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Detail of Cleo Peterson map. “Mapping The City” Somerset House. London, UK. (photo © Rafa Suñen)

 

“Mapping The City” Opens tomorrow for the general public at Somerset House in London, UK. Click HERE for schedule of events, hours, directions and other details.

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS

108 (Italy) Aryz (Spain)
Augustine Kofie (USA) Boris Tellegen (The Netherlands)
Caleb Neelon (USA) Cali Thornhill Dewitt (USA)
Chu (Argentina) Cleon Peterson (USA)
Daniel K. Sparkes (UK) Egs (Finland)
Ekta [Daniel Götesson] (Sweden) Eltono (France)
Erosie (The Netherlands) Filippo Minelli (Italy)
Gold Peg (UK) Graphic Surgery (The Netherlands)
Herbert Baglione (Brazil) Honet (France)
Horfee (France) HuskMitNavn (Denmark)
Ian Strange [Kid Zoom] (Australia) Interesni Kazki (Ukraine)
Isauro Huizar (Mexico) Isaac Tin Wei Lin (USA)
James Jarvis (UK) Jurne (USA)
Ken Sortais [Cony] (France) Les Frères Ripoulain (France)
Lucas Cantu (Mexico) Lush (Australia)
Malarko (UK) Martin Tibabuzo (Argentina)
Mike Ballard (UK) MOMO (USA)
Nano4814 (Spain) Nug (Sweden)
OX (France) Pablo Limon (Spain)
Petro (UK) Remed (France)
Remio (USA) Roids (UK)
Ron English (USA) Russell Maurice (UK
Shantell Martin (UK) Shepard Fairey (USA)
Sixe Paredes (Spain) Susumu Mukai (Japan)
Swoon (USA) Tim Head (UK)
Vova Vorotniov (Ukraine) Will Sweeney (UK)

 

Mapping the City
22 January – 15 February 2015
Somerset House, New Wing
Admission: Free

Contemporary cartographic art by international street and graffiti artists to be the first exhibition in Somerset House’s recently opened New Wing

 

 

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A Preview Of “Mapping The City” at Somerset House (LONDON)

A Preview Of “Mapping The City” at Somerset House (LONDON)

Until you get lost in a city, you really do not know its true nature. And possibly your own.

Only at the moment of realization that you really have lost your way, your bearings, your inner compass, however temporarily, do you get a genuine sense of a place and your place in it.  What are these buildings, who are these people, what is that smell, why is that horn honking, is there a bathroom nearby, do I have any money, what do I do? Perhaps even “who am I?”.  No, you’re too confident and self assured for that.

 

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MOMO “Tag Manhattan” (photo © courtesy of A(by)P)

We’ve trekked through New York City thousands of miles by now, worn out many shoes, taken countless wrong turns, and been lost numerous times. It’s part of the adventure really. Especially in the 80s when it was all new to us; cacophonic and crazy and perplexing, unnerving, and seemingly neverending. Now, even with GPS on the phone it is completely possible to get lost.  And if you are not lost, you know it is your responsibility to keep your eyes open for someone who is.  It’ll happen.

This week we’re excited for London folks who get to look at a map, fifty of them actually. Curated by Rafael Schacter and his collaborative arts organization named A(by)P, Mapping the City is an ingenious little bit of inspiration and conceptualizing of our sense of place.

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Augustine Kofie “Overcast Angeles” (photo © courtesy of A(by)P)

Who are these maps created by? Street Artists of course, as well as others from the graffiti art scene.

And these wildcats have taken many liberties with the assignment of “please make a map”. So many in fact that some of these maps would get you lost even further if you were to consult them. But there is plenty to be learned from them nonetheless. These maps may provide valuable insights into the highways and byways of some of these artist’s brains, now that you think of it, you beguiling detective.

The inaugural exhibition opens the New Wing of Somerset House – a wing that has been closed to the public for a century and a half, or roughly the time you have to wait for a cable repair person to come to your apartment. Rafael and his team are busy installing maps right now for the January 22nd opening, and we will have great “install” images and an interview with him next week for you to enjoy. But for right now, have a look at these examples of cartographic excellence from an international array of established and emerging artists for Mapping the City.

(full list of artists at the end of this posting)

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CHU “Buenos Aires” (photo © courtesy of A(by)P)

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Will Sweeney “Cabott Square” (photo © courtesy of A(by)P)

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Brad Downey. Face (photo © courtesy of A(by)P)

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Caleb Neelon “Pickerville” (photo © courtesy of A(by)P)

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Shepard Fairey “Berlin Tower” (photo © courtesy of A(by)P)

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Jurne “Covalence” (photo © courtesy of A(by)P)

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Mike Ballard “The Ultra Poet” (photo © courtesy of A(by)P)

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Goldpeg “London is Burning” (photo © courtesy of A(by)P)

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Cleon Peterson “The Return” (photo © courtesy of A(by)P)

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Aryz “Map” (photo © courtesy of A(by)P)

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OX “Paris” (photo © courtesy of A(by)P)

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS

108 (Italy) Aryz (Spain)
Augustine Kofie (USA) Boris Tellegen (The Netherlands)
Caleb Neelon (USA) Cali Thornhill Dewitt (USA)
Chu (Argentina) Cleon Peterson (USA)
Daniel K. Sparkes (UK) Egs (Finland)
Ekta [Daniel Götesson] (Sweden) Eltono (France)
Erosie (The Netherlands) Filippo Minelli (Italy)
Gold Peg (UK) Graphic Surgery (The Netherlands)
Herbert Baglione (Brazil) Honet (France)
Horfee (France) HuskMitNavn (Denmark)
Ian Strange [Kid Zoom] (Australia) Interesni Kazki (Ukraine)
Isauro Huizar (Mexico) Isaac Tin Wei Lin (USA)
James Jarvis (UK) Jurne (USA)
Ken Sortais [Cony] (France) Les Frères Ripoulain (France)
Lucas Cantu (Mexico) Lush (Australia)
Malarko (UK) Martin Tibabuzo (Argentina)
Mike Ballard (UK) MOMO (USA)
Nano4814 (Spain) Nug (Sweden)
OX (France) Pablo Limon (Spain)
Petro (UK) Remed (France)
Remio (USA) Roids (UK)
Ron English (USA) Russell Maurice (UK
Shantell Martin (UK) Shepard Fairey (USA)
Sixe Paredes (Spain) Susumu Mukai (Japan)
Swoon (USA) Tim Head (UK)
Vova Vorotniov (Ukraine) Will Sweeney (UK)

 

Mapping the City
22 January – 15 February 2015
Somerset House, New Wing
Admission: Free

Contemporary cartographic art by international street and graffiti artists to be the first exhibition in Somerset House’s recently opened New Wing

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Sixe Paredes ‘Futurismo Ancestral’ Opens at Somerset House in London

Sixe Paredes ‘Futurismo Ancestral’ Opens at Somerset House in London

Starting today, for one week only, the Andes will be inside the Somerset House.

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Rafa Suñen)

London’s spectacular neo-classical home of arts and culture along the River Thames will play host to an all-encompassing exhibition experience mounted by the Barcelona-born graffiti artist Six Paredes in his tribute to Peruvian and Andean culture. Futurismo Ancestral: An Offering to Peru by Sixe Paredes has been inspired by the traditional and the modern, and aims to meld the two together surreally, and really.

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Rafa Suñen)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

For weeks we have been seeing the progress of a loosely banded consortium of brother street artists laying plans and constructing exhibition elements beneath the fountained public courtyard. Today the public can experience a series of walkways leading to large-scale and smaller works evoking the rich color and symbols of the region; tapestries, totem sculptures, ceramics and quipus (a system of knotted cords known as ‘talking knots’), masks and fluorescent chichas (posters).

“We are taking over three spaces at Somerset House, essentially the whole of the lower floor of the building,” explains Rafael Schacter of A(by)P, an organization that enables artists to produce events and exhibit work and who organized the installation with his partners and the Somerset House. Built and installed by a “dream team” of urban and street artists and students from University College London, where Schacter teaches, the exhibition is complemented with daily interactive events including Peruvian and Andean food, music, film, and performance.

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Rafa Suñen)

Futurismo Ancestral is born from the travels of Sixe Paredes to Peru beginning in 2009 and his adoration of the richness he experienced in the culture compelled him to bring it back to share. One of the six street artists featured on the river façade of the Tate Modern six years ago along with Faile, JR, Blu, Os Gemeos, and Nunca for it’s pivotal street art exhibition, Six Paredes completed his most recent large scale wall just last month at the Biennale D’Art Urbain in Charleroi, Belgium.  Schacter, who co-curated the Street Art expo at that Tate show and who authored The World Atlas of Street Art & Graffiti with Yale in 2013, says that this return is Paredes first major solo show in the UK .

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Rafa Suñen)

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Sixe Paredes spotting the future on the horizon. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

During the preparation for this much anticipated and lively show, BSA had the opportunity to speak with both Six Paredes and Rafael Schacter about the origins, inspirations, and preparations for Futurismo Ancestral.

Brooklyn Street Art: After touring Peru and being exposed to such eye-popping color, isn’t it surprising to be in such a grey northern city like London?
Sixe Paredes: It was not surprising for me to come here and find myself in a grey city because this color predominates in so many cities in Europe and so many European cities prohibit murals and even have specialized brigades set up to clean and remove color. Throughout my journey in different regions of Peru I’ve seen a lot of color but color can be found in all the different cultures of the world, when they maintain their primordial essence.

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Sandra Butterfly)

Brooklyn Street Art: Rafael, can you tell us about Futurismo Ancestral and how it came about?
Rafael Schacter: Futurismo Ancestral is all about the connection between the traditional and the contemporary, the fusion of the Peruvian visual culture and craft tradition with the visual palette so unique to Sixe Paredes himself. Since I last worked with Sixe in the UK, he has been living in between Peru and his hometown of Barcelona, he has become obsessed with the visual culture of the region and has learned the techniques of ceramic and textile production with famous artisans and artists throughout the region. This exhibition is about bringing together the deep history and heritage of Peruvian visual culture, and his love for this tradition with his unique, colorful, distinct style in an all embracing, multifaceted manner.

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Rafa Suñen)

Brooklyn Street Art: Sixe Paredes, you have already been incorporating a certain minimalism into your aesthetics over the past ten years. Is it difficult to merge that understated quality with the vibrant enthusiasm of Peruvian and Andean folk?
Sixe Paredes: My art has always been characterized by the agglomeration of shapes and colors. Throughout different periods I started introducing more elements, such as the circuits, which led my paintings towards another dimension – this dimension enhanced my painting, allowing for other interpretations of my work. In recent years I have been synthesizing some of my series. I like to play with this idea because it leaves more room for reflection and I don’t need as many elements to express myself. Some of these elements are iconic to my work, such as crests or beaks which have always been in my compositions and can be found there today.

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Rafa Suñen)

Brooklyn Street Art: The work here is simultaneously modern and folk – with the bold colors and raw patterning and symbols combined with a certain minimalism. Rafael, can you walk us through the spaces in a way that helps translate this convivial duality in an exhibition space.
Rafael Schacter: Somerset House is really an amazing location for us to be working in, we are both proud and excited to be working here! After you have exited our introductory area, our visitors will go outside into the Lighwells, an amazing outside space which has been used for films such as Sherlock Holmes among others; within this arched space, we have built a series of 3 meter high trapezoidal arches – shapes which are highly significant in Inca culture. Acting as a rite of passage, as a journey from one sacred space to another, visitors well make their way into what is called the Deadhouse, an underground catacomb which exists directly below the famous Somerset House courtyard. This space, aptly, will function as a sacred temple space, within which Sixe’s ceramics, quipus and tapestries will be housed.

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Rafa Suñen)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Rafa Suñen)

Brooklyn Street Art: Not only are the color palettes from the traditional Peruvian culture warm, so too are the materials. Can you talk about the warmer, more earthen properties of wood, of yarn, and hand made masks – and how they affect your work?
Sixe Paredes: Peru has had a considerable influence on my painting palette, bringing more color to it and motivating me to use new mediums, materials and techniques, some of which have endured since ancient times. I always wanted to move towards a new path, a more ancestral path, revalidating primal techniques through a contemporary perspective.

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

Brooklyn Street Art: You have a stellar group supporting this one week event – some of these folks have had big shows of their own so it’s good to see them supporting another artist.
Rafael Schacter: One of the key things about A(by)P is that we want to be for artists by artists. We don’t want to simply get in a bunch of contractors to assist in bringing the project to life but want rather to recreate the group dynamic and energy that is so crucial to these artists’ worlds. As such, for every project, we want to bring the artist’s family together to help bring it to life; in that way, the creative juices and creative possibilities can flow in a much more organic manner. And not only that, but all these artists on the team are people who we will  continue to work with in the future on solo shows of their own.

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

For Sixe’s show for example, we really have got a dream team working together, a group who like you say are all artists of massive acclaim themselves. Both Eltono and Nano4814 are two of my favourite artists in the world; Eltono has just had a superb solo homecoming show in Madrid at Slowtrack and Nano4814 and insane solo show at the Delimbo Gallery in Sevilla. Pablo Limon, our exhibition designer is one of the most amazing makers I have ever come across, a creative genius. And Lucas Cantu, who is working on our graphics, branding and exhibition production, is the director of the Savvy Studios as well as the founder of the Nrmal Festival in Mexico.  As I said, the dream team! And then alongside this we have had amazing support from the students of University College London, who have all been absolutely incredible.

 

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

Brooklyn Street Art: Many Street Artists are bringing the animal world into their work today and sometimes artists will say they are giving the animals a voice to speak to us. How have animals been important in your compositions?
Six Paredes: In my case, the animal theme has been present in my work for many years, and this partly because of the admiration I feel for them. For me, among the most fascinating creatures of the animal kingdom are birds, mainly because of the wide variety of species, thousands of colours and silhouettes – and their relationship to the celestial and to flight. In terms of my compositions, this theme is important to me because it reminds us that we are also animals within the same world.

Brooklyn Street Art: In what way do you think of your work as something that evokes the future?
Six Paredes: I think my work evokes the future because it merges two different visions, the ancient and the contemporary and the bond between them which leads us to reflect about many of the things that humans have left on their way and some of them I think would be important to remember.

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Sandra Butterfly)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Sandra Butterfly)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © A(by)P)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Sandra Butterfly)

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Sixe Paredes. “Futurismo Ancestral” Somerset House. April 2014. London, UK (photo © Sandra Butterfly)

Sixe Paredes Futurismo Ancestral: An Offering To Peru at Somerset House in London, UK.  Click HERE for more information on this exhibition.

 

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Rafael Schacter and His “World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti”

Rafael Schacter and His “World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti”

As we endure our one billionth snowstorm this winter we continue to paw through the stack of beautiful Street Art, graffiti, public art, and urban art books that we are honored to receive through the mail, and today we’re taken by The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti by Rafael Schacter, with foreword by John Fekner.

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Rafael Schacter “The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti”

The substantial hardcover from Yale University Press is a very solid survey of largely undisputed practitioners of Street Art world wide as well as a number of lesser known names, accompanied by succinct and accurate overviews of their individual influences and styles. With contributors that include a good balance of graffiti artists, street artists, academics, authors, graphic designers, writers, and aestheticians of various stripes, Rafael Schacter has done his research; presenting 113 artists from 25 countries with illustrative photography and examples.

Aside from the thankless task of the editing of candidates that will necessarily leave out hundreds of great artists, Schacter endeavors to present a good cross-section, something that represents the scope of the “independent public art” that has now lifted the oeuvre to global recognition along with historical context and without the narrowly pinched European academic need to effect sanctimonious pronouncements or subtly derisive classist views upon it.

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Rafael Schacter “The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti”

“Indeed, there are as many different motivations, styles, and approaches within this artistic arena as there are practitioners themselves – a ‘street art’ for every street artist, a ‘graffiti’ for every graffiti writer,” says Schacter in his introduction, and his appreciation for the fundamentals of a self-determination philosophy toward the act of creative expression permeates the descriptions and analysis while gaining your respect for his adept characterizations.

We gratefully acknowledge his help in trying to categorize and describe the enormous varieties of styles, practices and influences at play today, a quickly sampling of which includes for example abstractionist, absurdist, anti-aestheticism, character based, classic graffiti lettering, collage, conceptual, contemporary, culture jamming, decontextualization, decorative, digital/geek, figurative, folk, geometric, graphic design, illustration, indigenous, installation based, interventionist, naïve, performance, photo realistic, photographic, sculptural, surrealist, symbolic, and typographic.

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Rafael Schacter “The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti”

With a brilliant and personal foreword by conceptual text-based and multimedia artist John Fekner, a veteran of the art-in-the-streets practice that predates the birth of many of the artists in the book, we get a scene-setting update on what collectively is evolving as well as an insight into what is feeding the explosive growth. “For the first time in history, artists who are creating art away from the major centers of art and culture are no longer at a disadvantage. The Internet has increased accessibility through the proliferation of blogs and social media, which has fueled hordes of dedicated fan bases using cell phones and cameras to instantly record, document, and post their interpretations of life, culture, and art online,” Fekner writes.

With a well-rounded atlas like this at hand the student, scholar, and fan can gain a greater understanding of the guys and girls that paint messages in the street as well as an appreciation for their minds and craft.

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Rafael Schacter “The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti”

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Rafael Schacter “The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti”

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Rafael Schacter “The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti”

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Rafael Schacter “The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti”

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Rafael Schacter “The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti”

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Rafael Schacter “The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti”

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Rafael Schacter “The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti”

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Rafael Schacter “The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti”

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Rafael Schacter “The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti”

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Rafael Schacter “The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti”

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Rafael Schacter “The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti”

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Rafael Schacter “The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti”

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Rafael Schacter “The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti”

 

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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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