All posts tagged: Rammellzee

BSA Images Of The Week: 07.21.19

BSA Images Of The Week: 07.21.19

Dog days of summer be damned, the Street Art in all of its fabulous illegal varieties, the true Vox Populi (and self-advertisment) persists and insists through the streets this July.

On the topic of illegal, we’ll state it again for the many persons who have an incorrect impression – Street Art, by definition, is illegal. If it is not illegal, please do not call it Street Art. That work you are looking at is probably a mural. Unfortunately we’ve seen some recent flagrant misuses of the term by some folks who probably should know better.

Good to see “Hysterical Men” here in New York, after admiring the campaign from Philly. The artwork reminds us of Robbie Conal as well, who is reliably skewering public officials with his wilting depictions of them on posters on the street. This week we also were reminded of Chicago’s Dont Fret when we saw the work of Matt Starr, with his textual witticisms. Don’t get us wrong, its not a criticism to have similar work – it’s just an observation.

Finally, considering the treatment of immigrants, the mounting fascism, racism, misogyny, and rageful ignorance being modelled and engendered from the highest offices in the land, we’re shocked that, with a few notable exceptions, Street Artists are not taking those messages to the streets. So much for its reputation for being activist. Not so much.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring Benjamin’s Brother, Bones, Cammix Vx, Captain Eyeliner, Diva Dolga, Domingo Zapata, Dr. Nothing, Hysterical Men, Invisible Essence, Little Ricky, Matt Siren, Matt Starr, Mattew Wythe, Mr. Djoul, Obey, Praxis, Raddington Falls, Rammellzee, Sara Lynne Leo, Sinclair, Sunflower Soulz, The Postman Art, and You Go Girl!

Sara Lynne Leo (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Choose Love (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Mattew Hyte (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Obey (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Sunflower Soulz (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Hysterical Men…fighting for women’s rights…the wrong way… (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Hysterical Men (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Praxis (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Praxis (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Matt Starr (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Matt Starr (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Domingo Zapata (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Matt Siren (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dr. Nothing (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bones (photo © Jaime Rojo)
CammixVx (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Invisible Essence . The Postman Art. Captain Eyeliner (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Symbol…FYI (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Benjamin’s Brother (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Diva Dolga . Raddington Falls . Little Ricky (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Sinclair (photo © Jaime Rojo)
You Go Girl! (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Mr. Djoul (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Rammellzee looking dapper at Beyond the Streets exhibition in Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Untitled. Palimpsest in Manhattan. July 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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“Beyond The Streets” Comes To Brooklyn in June

“Beyond The Streets” Comes To Brooklyn in June

Gastman’s Massive Graffiti and Street Art Show Arrives at Epicenter.

“I’m really excited to bring this show to New York,” says curator, graffiti historian and urban anthropologist Roger Gastman, “because the city plays such a pivotal role in the origin and evolution of the culture. The iconic images of covered subway cars made graffiti famous worldwide.”

Style Wars Car by NOC 167 with Door Open, Man Reading Newspaper, 96th Street Station, New York, NY, 1981. (photo © Martha Cooper)

He’s talking of course about “Beyond The Streets” the hybrid exhibition that he mounted in LA last year featuring the work of 150 who have proved to be pivotal to the evolution of a fifty year global people’s art movement that includes graffiti, street art, and urban contemporary art. Filling over 100,000 square feet of new space in Brooklyn, this two-floor cross-section survey will feature artworks by many of the same vandals, graffiti writers, Street Artists, and art activists who hit NYC streets, created dialogue with passersby, and were sometimes chased by the authorities. To see them showcased here is to recognize that there is not just one route to take – in fact there are many.

Guerrilla Girls at Abrons Art Center, New York, 2015. (photo © Andrew Hindrake)

“We have an incredible roster of artists for New York,” Gastman tells us, “and a brand new space in Williamsburg that has a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline as our backdrop.” Notably the lineup includes artists whose work BSA has documented on the streets in this very same neighborhood over the past two decades, including Shepard Fairey, Faile, Swoon, Bast, Invader, Aiko, and others. Ironically the appearance of free-range Street Art in the neighborhood has been seriously diminished since that time.

The exhibition is one more verification that a significant portion of the scene is being widely recognized for its cultural contribution and value in the contemporary art canon – a significantly fluid scene fueled by discontent and a desire to short-circuit the established routes to audience appreciation. Like large survey shows elsewhere, the takeaway is the significant impact street culture and its tangential subcultures continues to have on the culture at large.

Lil’ Crazy Legs during shoot for Wild Style, Riverside Park, NY, 1983. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Gastman says the New York version of “Beyond The Streets” will take an additional interest at the role of music and art activism on the street, along with immersive installations, a tattoo parlor, a special Beastie Boys installation with artifacts and ephemera, a new 30th Anniversary Shepard Fairey project “Facing The Giant: 3 Decades of Dissent,” and large scale works by Gorilla Girls, Futura, Cleon Peterson, and Takashi Murakami. 

More news coming on programming and events, but the important opening date to know right now is June 21st.

“All in all, it will make for a really special show this Summer,” says Gastman.


Curator: Roger Gastman

Co-Curators: Sacha Jenkins SHR, Evan Pricco, David CHINO Villorente

Producer: Ian Mazie & Pressure Point Creative

Tickets and hours of operation can be found at: BEYONDTHESTREETS.COM


A-ONE, AIKO, Al Diaz, Alexis Ross, Alicia McCarthy, André ​Saraiva, Barry McGee, BAST, Beastie Boys, Bert Krak, Bill Barminski, Bill Daniel, BLADE, Broken Fingaz, Buddy Esquire, buZ blurr, Carlos Mare, Carl Weston, Cey Adams, C.R. Stecyk III, Charlie Ahearn, Chaz Bojórquez, Claudia Gold, Cleon Peterson, COCO 144, Conor Harrington, Corita Kent, Craig Costello, CRASH, DABSMYLA, Dan Witz, Dash Snow, DAZE, DEFER, Dennis Hopper, Dondi White, Doze Green, EARSNOT, Estevan Oriol, Fab 5 Freddy, FAILE, Faith XLVII, Felipe Pantone, FREEDOM, FUTURA 2000, Gajin Fujita, Glen E. Friedman, Gordon Matta-Clark, Guerrilla Girls, HAZE, Henry Chalfant, Herb Migdoll, Husk Mit Navn, INVADER, Jane Dickson, Jason REVOK, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jenny Holzer, Jim Prigoff, John Ahearn, John Fekner, John Tsombikos, Joe Conzo, José Parlá, KATS, KC Ortiz, Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, Kilroy Was Here, LADY PINK, LAZAR, LEE Quiñones, Lisa Kahane, MADSAKI, Maripol, Mark Gonzales, Mark Mothersbaugh, Martha Cooper, Matt Weber, Maya Hayuk, Michael Lawrence, MIKE 171, MISS 17, Mister CARTOON, Nina Chanel Abney, NOC 167, Pat Riot, Patrick Martinez, Paul Insect, POSE, PRAY, Rammellzee, Randall Harrington, RETNA, Richard Colman, Richard Hambleton, RIME, RISK, Ron English, Ruby Neri, SABER, Sam Friedman, SANESMITH, Sayre Gomez, Shepard Fairey, SJK 171, SLICK, SNAKE 1, SNIPE1, STAY HIGH 149, Stephen Powers, SWOON, Takashi Murakami, TAKI 183, TATS CRU, TENGAone, Tim Conlon, Timothy Curtis, Todd James, Trash Records, UGA, VHILS, and ZESER

The show is developed in partnership with Adidas and Perrier. Additional support provided by Modernica, Montana Colors, NPR, NTWRK, Twenty Five Kent and WNYC.

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Rammellzee: Graffiti Writer, Artist and Deity “Racing For Thunder”

Rammellzee: Graffiti Writer, Artist and Deity “Racing For Thunder”

We knew that Rammellzee deserved an intellect and artist operating on his wavelength to give a fair examination of his work and this exhibition, and very few can rise to the occasion the way that EKG does today for BSA readers. The exhibition is phenomenal in its scholarship and presentation without question thanks to its curators. EKG is naturally equipped to decode and help others appreciate the artist thanks to his exhaustively inquisitive nature, reverence for methods of applied science, brilliant data sequencing ability, and NYC streetwise intellect.


An article in two parts:
(1) A look at Rammellzee’s life and work.
(2) A review of the RAMMELLZEE: RACING FOR THUNDER exhibition

 by ( ( ( ekg ) ) )

Rammellzee (photo © Brian Williams. Courtesy of Red Bull Arts)

Part 1: The Rammellzee.

By the age of nineteen, a graffiti writer from Far Rockaway, Queens, NYC, had already come to the advanced aesthetic decision to legally abandon his family-bestowed and governmentally-designated name, and knight himself with a self-defined alpha-numeric neologism: THE RAMM:ΣLL:ZΣΣ. With this subversive act of mathe-poetic mutation, the prodigal prodigy ironically utilized the very machinations of power and control to re-code himself as an aesthetic bio-hack manifestation injection challenging the status quo system. Then, for the rest of his life, he steadfastly kept his original designation an absolute secret, thereby proving the seriousness and effectiveness of the manifest destiny of his semiotic transformation into a wraith of rebellion in the Aestherial Semiotosphere.

Rammellzee: Racing For Thunder. (photo © Red Bull Arts)

Rammellzee’s self-induced rebirth was the pinnacle of his aesthetic and theoretical development during his teens in the mid-to-late 1970s. Illustrating his natural visual gifts, Rammellzee’s early work was a combination of precise drafting techniques with an expressionistic use of spray paint. Revealing his intellectual depth and writing talents, he formulated a universal aesthetic philosophy called Gothic Futurism, as well as codifying the stylistic elements of Wild Style graffiti into an advanced set of militaristic semiotic forms that he dubbed Ikonoklast Panzerism. Displaying his charismatic leadership qualities, he formed the crew Tag Master Killers, consisting of the other graffiti writers A-One, Delta2, Kool Koor and Toxic, who had the talents to execute his exacting stylistic tenets. Also, due to his relentless social energy as a performer and rapper, he was quickly recognized as a significant presence in not only the graffiti and art communities, but the hip hop subculture as well.

Rammellzee: Racing For Thunder. (photo © Red Bull Arts)

As he passed into his twenties during the early 1980s, Rammellzee was featured in many of the seminal graffiti, hip hop, and fine art events and projects of the times. He worked as an MC with the legendary break dancer Crazy Legs. He was included in shows at significant galleries uptown and downtown in NYC, including Fashion Moda. Basquiat recorded him with K-Rob in one of the first avant-experimental hip hop singles called Beat Bop, in which Rammellzee introduced his “Gangster Duck” nasal vocal style, which later influenced The Beastie Boys’ AdRock and B-Real of Cypress Hill. He also was featured rhyming and performing in Charlie Ahearn’s classic graffiti film Wild Style, as well as playing a cameo in Jim Jarmusch’s first film Stranger Than Paradise. Through the 1980s, as his fame grew within these NYC subcultures, his notoriety also spread around the world, providing him with many opportunities to exhibit and perform in Europe and South America as well.

Rammellzee: Racing For Thunder. (photo © Red Bull Arts)

At the turn of the 1990s, as for most graffiti artists, opportunities plateaued and dropped off, but Rammellzee continued to develop and live as an artist for the next twenty years, until he passed at age 50 in 2010. He dubbed his downtown Manhattan loft space “The Battlestation,” which was where he worked and lived in a creative petri dish of blackened illuminations. During this time period, he discovered new art forms as a writer, performer and sculptor, advancing his original aesthetic theories and styles to create some of his most unique series. He explored other textual formats for his ideas, such as a screenplay called Alpha’s Bet. He continued deeper into his obsession with three-dimensional collage combines, consisting of urban detritus, neon spray paint, and thick resins, making them darker and dirtier, best viewed under ultraviolet blacklight.

Rammellzee: Racing For Thunder. (photo © Red Bull Arts)

Sculpture became a significant form of expression, as evidenced by his Letter Racer series, which was a physical manifestation of the alphabet with skateboards as their base, designed following the aerodynamic ideals of his Ikonoklast Panzerism theories. Also, his life-size kabuki-transformer costume, which he had begun to construct in the early eighties to wear during his public appearances, schizophrenically mutated into an earthly Asgard of costumed deities dubbed The Garbage Gods, each with a fully conceived personality and narrative. He also explored a menagerie of new characters in the form of figurine-sized plastic sculptures that he called Monster Models. Beyond these Battlestation-based monastic divinations, Rammellzee also continued to explore a spacey hip hop style of music and costumed performance within art and music contexts. He released solo albums and collaborated with many new groups, such as New Flesh, Death Comet Crew, and Praxis.

Rammellzee: Racing For Thunder. (photo © Red Bull Arts)

After being such a strong voice and powerful creative force during his lifetime, it is especially sad that he passed away at only fifty years old in 2010. Although on par with Basquiat and Haring in terms of talent and intellect, Rammellzee remained somewhat of an outsider to the fine art world in terms of society, aesthetics, and market. Maybe his work was too rooted in true graffiti styles to appeal to the older moneyed class at that time, who were more interested in expressionism and minimalism. Maybe it was too challenging as a militaristic revolutionary expression, making the agents of the matrix nervous. Maybe it was too dark and quirky like Rammellzee himself. Or, maybe, like so many other visionary autodidact Outsider Artists, his work was just too out there for those to take it all in without quickly dismissing it as merely untrained gibberish. Although too late for Rammellzee himself to appreciate, it is gratifying to see an exhibition like RAMMELLZEE: RACING FOR THUNDER fully present and ultimately confirm Rammellzee’s brilliance, relevance and importance on all levels, in all subcultures, in all mediums, across a half century of promethean artistic creation.

Rammellzee: Racing For Thunder. (photo © Red Bull Arts)

Part 2: The Exhibition

In recognition of the breadth and depth of this artist, the RAMMELLZEE: RACING FOR THUNDER retrospective is a deeply researched, insightfully curated, and densely designed exhibition. It is an engaging experience presenting Rammellzee’s complete oeuvre in a two-floor chronological survey, which also contextualizes his output with a massive amount of historical interviews and documentation in all media formats. This is the first exhibition of its kind for Rammellzee, and, depending on one’s age, it may be a once in a lifetime exhibition for us.

Rammellzee: Racing For Thunder. (photo © Red Bull Arts)

So, if you have the time and the inclination, definitely allot at least an afternoon, if not a few days, in revelry to absorb it all. When many of us first come in contact with Rammellzee’s art and writing, we find it to be an exhilarating, but dizzying, elliptical swirl of crypto-poetic language and visionary ideas, combining concepts from all intellectual disciplines. So, this exhibition gives one a great opportunity to immerse oneself deeply in his world in order to connect the sparkling galactic astronomy of his cosmology and grasp his expansive vision. After reading and rereading his texts; researching his vocabulary and neologisms; becoming familiar with his unique sentence configurations; watching and rewatching his lectures and interviews; viewing and dissecting his art and graphics; then, the beautiful language and pregnant details of his art and philosophy tie together into a comprehensive mytho-ontological diagram of life, science, society, and aesthetics.

Rammellzee: Racing For Thunder. (photo © Red Bull Arts)

The lead curators Max Wolf and Carlo McCormick have a long history between them within the art world and graffiti communities. They were able to obtain significant paintings and sculptures, printed matter and photographs, videos and audio recordings from friends and collectors around the world in order to fully represent Rammellzee’s polymath output. Maybe most significantly, they also recorded new oral history interviews with friends and collaborators, such as Futura, Keo, Lee, Daze, Jim Jarmusch, Bill Laswell, Charlie Ahearn, Henry Chalfant, K-Rob, and dozens more. From these interviews, they culled short clips which are presented on nine iPads with headphones located throughout exhibition. As you listen, there are also extensive slideshows on the iPads to swipe through.

Rammellzee: Racing For Thunder. (photo © Red Bull Arts)

There is never a wasted opportunity to pack some more content into all the nooks and crannies of this exhibition. In addition to the iPads, there are also six video stations, four sound installations, a full-size film-screening theater, and one computer station. In total, there is at least a full day of interviews, performances, lectures, and other historical media to listen to or watch. There are even recordings playing in the bathrooms, and one speaker installed outside in front of the gallery under a sidewalk grate, playing a recording of Rammellzee acting as a subway conductor announcing train arrivals and departures. They also programmed a series of in-person gallery tours and presentations held in the gallery once or twice a week, by artists and historians, such as Carlo McCormick, Kool Koor, Delta2, Crazy Legs, Charlie Ahearn, Seth Tillett, Enrico Oyama Isamu, The Death Comet Crew, and more.

Rammellzee: Racing For Thunder. (photo © Red Bull Arts)

Then to top it off, they designed a free printed exhibition piece available at the front desk. On one side it has a poster of The Garbage Gods pantheon with descriptions; but then it is also folded up to display the other side as an accordion-style zine, consisting of a brilliant introductory essay, specific details about the exhibition, and many crucial outtakes from Rammellzee’s writing. Even if you don’t have time to walk through the exhibition, this pamphlet alone makes the trip to the gallery worthwhile for any fan or scholar because it is such a great piece of historical ephemera to bag-up as a collectible or to use as reference material.

Finally, as the grand denouement to this wonderfully extravagant exhibition, a book-length catalog will be published this fall. So, if you can’t see the exhibition or pick up the zine, this book will be the next best thing.

Rammellzee (photo © Keetja Allard. Courtesy of Red Bull Arts)


by ( ( ( ekg ) ) )

July 2018, NYC

Artist page:

Instagram: @ekglabs

RAMMELLZEE: RACING FOR THUNDER retrospective at the Red Bull Art Space, 220 West 18th Street in Manhattan, through August 26th, Wednesdays thru Sundays, 12pm – 7pm.


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BSA Film Friday: 06.22.18

BSA Film Friday: 06.22.18


Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. Rammellzee: It’s Not Who But What
2. JANZ Artist in Time – Joanna Kiernan – Trailer
3. Frida Kahlo at V&A on FWTV
4. Sonner’s Sonnet by Resoborg


BSA Special Feature: Rammellzee: It’s Not Who But What

At first the cult of Rammellzee only consisted of the artist and the characters in his mind. That was a universe.

Less than 10 minutes, this crush of visuals, words, and graphics and storylines converged under the guidance of Oscar Boyson to begin to represent the New York artist. As he would have told you himself, Rammellzee is an equation, as is history, as is hiphop and theater, as is every aspect of your life, your character, your ability to fantasize about a parallel life. He was many things at once.

The grand wizard of Gothic Futurism and Ikonoklast Panzerism from Far Rockaway sprung from the underground and the streets at a time in New York when the city was bankrupt and artists could afford to live and make work there. Here. He made Gods out of garbage and weapons out of skateboards, a full immersion dive into the in-between world with fresh terminology and multiple variations.

After all its not who but what.

JANZ Artist in Time – Joanna Kiernan – Trailer

In production for five years, a feature documentary about the somewhat unappreciated New York Street Artist Robert Janz shows Janz working in different mediums and environments, primarily the streets of the city. It reveals some of Janz’s history and stays with him, revealing his philosophy of presence in the world as he acts upon it, within it.


Frida Kahlo at V&A on FWTV

London’s V&A Museum has a Frida Kahlo show up until November and Doug Gillen takes a break from the Street Art world to delve into the biography and psychological drama that formed the life and work of this great Mexican artist.


Sonner’s Sonnet by Resoborg

A small Virginia town of 6500 looks for a mural program to boost its community and revitalize it with Street Artists from the city like Gilf!, Alice Mizrachi, NDA, and OverUnder and todays featured artist, the South African graphic designer, illustrator, art director and muralist Resoborg.



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Rammellzee, Racing For Thunder, and Interview with Carlo McCormick

Rammellzee, Racing For Thunder, and Interview with Carlo McCormick

Intergalactic Godhead and one of New York’s lost sons, the multidimensional Rammellzee is here, at least his pyramidic urn is. The train writer, performance artist, plastic artist, language master, mathematics interpolator, hip-hop pioneer and one of the original “Wild Style” and “Style Wars” alumni brings the big guns to Red Bull Arts.

Rammellzee. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Rewarded the instant you enter, the flying intergalactic battleships greet you at the door, leading you into the blissful blacklit abyss below, provoking a humorous inner sense of a warring gothic future. But first you can explore the brighter white-box gallery above with a small theater behind for video and various listening stations, photography, augmented with vitrines of emphemera and original texts from the audacious imagineer.

The largest survey of its kind of work by the artist, who passed away in 2010, this is a considered collection of images, writings, sculpture and costume that give you the idea that it only approximates the vast galaxy of histories and characters that the iconoklast panzerist stored in his imagination.

Rammellzee. “Evolution Of The World 1979” Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“These costumes remind me of George Clinton,” says experimental filmmaker and writer Tessa Hughes-Freeland maker and writer at the opening Thursday night for “Racing for Thunder”. She was one of many New York royalty from the “Downtown” and graffiti scenes of 80s-90s New York who were attending the flooded opening this week, including artists like Lee Quinones, Futura, Torrick Ablack aka Toxic, and John Fekner.

“I don’t remember him wearing all of these costumes,” says painter Jane Dickson as she looks at the mythical deities glowing and raging in the smoky haze.

“Actually I do remember him in that one at an event,” she says motioning to an intimidating fluorescent grill-faced figure in a stylize kimono. Her husband Charlie Ahearn, who directed Rammellzee in Style Wars, was interested in creating a movie solely about the artists many characters and his fully immersive commitment to the environments he built in his loft in the 80s and 90s.

Rammellzee. “Maestro 1979“. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The crowd coursing through the exhibit listens to recordings, watches raw video, drinks champagne, and wishes for decoder rings in the vain hope of peering into the mind of this child of the Rockaways who painted the A train and recorded music that influenced musicians as diverse as the Beastie Boys and Big Audio Dynamite, who dedicated a song to him.

The extensive collection, much of it never before seen, took more than a year to assemble and curate for Chief Curator Max Wolf and cultural critic Carlo McCormick, who created the exhibition with Associate Curators Christian Omodeo, Jeff Mao, and Candice Strongwater.

Rammellzee. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We captured a few details from the show during installation which we show here to whet your appetite and spoke with McCormick, who also knew the artist personally and took decisions about the exhibit with a precise appreciation for Rammellzee’s place in the canon of graffiti, post-graffiti, hip-hop, mathematics, and performance.

BSA: Part of Rammellzee’s story lies in the environments that he created to share with artists and friends – and to use as a laboratory. How can an exhibition achieve some of that same unique atmosphere?
Carlo McCormick: The most tempting thing to do as a curator was to re-create “The Battle Station”, which was his home studio, and it was kind of a “life’s work” installation that way. But it just seemed that this was also Max Wolf’s project as well, who co-curated it, and it is also a focus to make these things be engaged and discreet.

Rammellzee. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

You’ve got the whole thing: the Garbage Gods, Gassolear, and the Letter Racers. It’s kind of like his final showdown of good versus evil. But we wanted to allow it to be in a fine art space so you could register as much of “the gaze” as you could looking at any other art.

It’s still black light illuminated; Rammellzee liked to paint all of his walls black. I know he did it at Barbara Braathen and Fashion Moda. One time he did this at this one gallery – the gallery owner left him the keys to the gallery to prepare the space. She came back the next day and really what he had done was he had painted all the walls black. She’s was like, “What?”

So we didn’t do that, we tried to give it a little bit of the privilege of the white space because now he is dead and it is better to be in conversation with that whole history with Western art.

Rammellzee. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: Can you talk about going through the artwork and costumes that Rammellzzee and Carmela had stored away? What kind of thoughts and feelings were you experiencing?
Carlo McCormick: Everything looked kind of squalid when it had just been pulled out of storage and from this other storage facility that Sotheby’s had.

It was sort of underwhelming because he was sort of working with bits of garbage and rags. And the costumes are really fly fashion but it’s really made on the cheap – its like “costume” instead of “clothing” right? It was all scattered about.

And there was someone who went all of the old performance photos and basically re-assembled all of these personalities – because they were not stored in a bag separated for each character. There were just racks of costumes and boxes of masks and things like that.

Rammellzee. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

They had to put all of these elements together – so that was really amazing. But once it is all put together it is so much more magical. That’s kind of the way he collaged everything – he had an amazing ability to put things together.

This is just the first show so it has that honor but it is a dubious one because it is just a start and now there is the hope that more scholarship and more curatorial work and more work all around can go into Rammellzee’s estate and his legacy.

Considering that this was all done in a year with a pretty small team here at Red Bull, its amazing the amount of resources they pulled. How cool it is to think, “There is no way we can go through all of the ephemera” and then to be able to say, “Hey get Christian Omodeo in here to do the archives for this.” So it has been a really cool thing to make all of this happen because they allow you to entertain pretty elaborate schemes.

Rammellzee. Treatise On The Luxturnomere. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: Was he thinking in terms of posterity and about having a great show in the future. Did he care?
Carlo McCormick: I think, like a lot of people at that time, he had a really ambivalent relationship to ‘the market’ and ‘the art world’ and the gallery system and all that stuff for a moment there. He was very ambitious and he saw how friends of his were beginning to paint and people were paying attention and he goes, “Shit I can do that”.

So I think he didn’t always like the art world. I think he kind of really hated it in some ways but he attached himself to it for 10 years with the paintings and continued a collector base through his death in 2010. I’m sure, in his mind, he never would be forgotten. He was so important.

Rammellzee. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: The artist had such a unique fantasy world in his imagination with galactic battles and love of the letters and projections into the future. Would you say he was acting as a character – or maybe that he became that character?
Carlo McCormick: He was many characters. I think that one of the things that people are going to start paying more attention to outside of the obvious place in Hip-Hop and in graffiti art and what was going on in 1980s painting is the performance work. In that he is adopting so many fluid identities.

Also, as we were noting before when we were walking through it, he was crossing gender and doing a lot of things that are not typical for the work of that vernacular. He was doing a lot of it. With identity politics and performances now I think that a lot of people are going to look at that work with a different eye.

BSA: What influenced his mind? Why did he do what he did?
Carlo McCormick: That’s the basic thing you know. When you read that first treatise – and he kept on doing these manifesto type things – even from the first one at this really early age, he was an incredible autodidact, all self-taught. There was just massive amounts of information of all sorts of theory and math and science and military. I mean it’s all over.

He’s an autodidactic and a polymath. So I don’t really know where all of it came from. Sometimes you just have to think “maybe he watched a lot of Transformers on TV!” Who knows.

BSA: Many people will be learning about this multi-dimensional artist for the first time. What do you want them to know about him and his brilliance?
Carlo McCormick: I really hope the work can speak for itself. He was as conceptual as he was urban. I hate to poison the well. He is so open to so many readings. He is being grabbed now by other forces that are in the market and those are being brought to bear.

So for me one of the things here was to bring this from out of the community and from all of the artists he worked with and was friends with. One of the things was I didn’t want to be the only person speaking for Ram when there were all of these other people still around.

I would say “Come in with and open mind and expect it to be blown.”

Rammellzee. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

RAMMΣLLZΣΣ: Racing for Thunder is organized by Max Wolf and Carlo McCormick, with Candice Strongwater, Jeff Mao, and Christian Omodeo.

RAMMΣLLZΣΣ: Racing for Thunder is now open to the general public. Click HERE for more details.

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Magda Danysz Brings “Art From The Streets” to Singapore Art Science Museum

Magda Danysz Brings “Art From The Streets” to Singapore Art Science Museum

“Art From the Streets”, an exhibition at the Art Science Museum in Singapore opened this weekend to coordinate with Singapore Art Week that runs from tomorrow until the end of the month with fairs, festivals and art exhibitions. Commercial art dealer and writer Magda Danysz curated the show with names she represents and whom you will be familiar with – Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Faile, and Futura, for example.

Two versions of the catalogue, one by Felipe Pantone, the other by Futura, are available on the Magda Danysz website .

But she also brings an eclectic mix of others on her roster and possibly lent from some private collections. Collectively they span many of the high profile, the saleable and known over the past 5 decades from various disciplines and philosophical practices; In the case of Jacques Villeglé, whose practice of lacerating posters in the 1960s predates Failes’ by 4 decades, a lineage can be drawn. Other connections are not as easy.

Ultimately the collection gives a sense of the vast number of personalities and techniques that have characterized the street practice in Europe and North America primarily without focusing on any one specialty too greatly. Here are the revered names along with mid-career folks and current darlings who are sure to leave a mark. There is also a small inclusion of more regional favorites like Eko Nugroho from Indonesia, and Singapore’s Speak Cryptic, who each were on hand this weekend with many of the artists for the opening.

Giving tours with microphone in hand during the opening days, the energetic Ms. Danysz educates new fans and potential buyers about an organic artists scene that grew from the streets and is now more frequently being offered for sale in places such as her three gallery locations in London, Paris, and Shanghai. Today it is slowly appearing more often in museums as well.

“Conscious that promotion of the emerging scene is necessary, Magda Danysz took part in many fairs,” says a press release, “such as for example Art Brussels, Arte Fiera in Bologna, Artissima in Torino, Fiac in Paris or Pulse in New York, and is one of the four galleries at the origin of the Show Off Paris art fair.”

This weekend’s activities included short presentations panel discussions and a screen of Wild Style.

Art from the Streets tickets are $17.00 on the Marina Bay Sands website.

A complete list of artists varies online with artists listed on the museum website including:

Banksy, Tarek Benaoum, Stéphane Bisseuil, Blade, Crash, Speak Cryptic, D*face, Fab 5 Freddy, FAILE, Shepard Fairey (aka Obey), Futura, Invader, JR, L’Atlas, Ludo, M-City, Nasty, Eko Nugroho, Nunca, Felipe Pantone, Quik, Lee Quinones, Blek le Rat, Rero, Remi Rough, André Saraiva, Seen, Seth, Sten Lex, Tanc, Hua Tunan, Yok & Sheryo, YZ, Zevs “and many more“.

Elsewhere online the roster is said to include 2Koa, Jef Aérosol, Ash, André, A-One, Aplickone, Banksy, Benjamin Duquenne, Tarek Benaoum, Stephane Bisseuil, Blek Le Rat, Boulaone, C215, Crash, Dface, Dondi, Dran, Eror729, Shepard Fairey, Faile, Futura, Keith Haring, Isham, Jayone, Jonone, Jr, Katre, Kaws, L’atlas, Lem, Ludo, Barry Mc Gee, Mikostic, Miss.Tic, Mode 2, Steve More, Nasty, Nord, Yoshi Omori, Os Gemeos, Psyckoze, Quik, Rammellzee, Recidivism, Rero, Remi Rough, Seen, Seth, Skki, Sore, Space Invader, Spazm, Spécio, Swoon, Tanc, Toxick, Vhils, Jacques Villeglé, Nick Walker, West, Yz, Zevs, Zhang Dali, Zlotykamien and Zuba.


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“Art Silos” Rise in the Harbor of Catania, Sicily

“Art Silos” Rise in the Harbor of Catania, Sicily

They’ve been here since the 1950s, these silos for wheat and corn on the harbor of Catania on the east coast of the island of Sicily at the foot of Mount Etna. 28 meters tall and facing the Ionian Sea, they are now some of the largest canvasses in Italy by a small group of international and local Street Artists.


Interesni Kazki. Detail. (photo © VladyArt)

The “Art Silos” project includes works completed during an eight month installation begun in June 2015 as part of Festival “I-ART” organized by “Emergence”, thanks to Angelo Bacchelli, curated by Giuseppe Stagnitta. The artists taking part in the project were Okuda (Spain), ROSH333 (Spain), Microbo (Italy), BO130 (Italy), VladyArt (Italy), Danilo Bucchi (Italy) and the duo Interesni Kaxki (Ukraine), mostly all from the graffiti/Street Art world. A separately organized but related project on the harbor-facing row of eight silos was completed by one artist alone, the Lisbon-based Vhils.


Interesni Kazki. Detail. (photo © VladyArt)

The project’s completion at the turn of the year culminated in one of the largest Street Art/Graffiti artists’ collective shows in Italy held in the city’s main public gallery Palazzo Platamone, entitled “Codici Sorgenti” (Source Code), which was curated by Stefano S. Antonelli and Francesca Mezzano from Rome’s 999 Contemporary Gallery.

There is talk about the possibility that this exhibition of about 60 artists work will tour throughout Europe with its message of the historic roots of modern graffiti and Street Art along with many of its most impactful practitioners pushing into the contemporary art world.


Interesni Kazki. Detail. (photo © VladyArt)

According to Arianna Ascione in, the gallery exhibition was “divided into three sections that tell the birth, interactive development and consecration of the (graffiti/street art) phenomenon” Indeed, the list contains works by 108, A One, Augustine Iacurci, Alexis Diaz, Alexone, Bo 130, Boris Tellegen (aka Delta), Brad Downey, C215, Clemens Behr, Conor Harrington, Crash, Delta 2, Dondi White, Doze Green, El Seed, Ericailcane, Eron, Escif, Evol, Faile, Feitakis, Gaia, Herbert Baglione, Horfee, Interesni Kazki, Invader, Jaz, Jeff Aerosol, Mark Jenkins, Jonone, JR, Judith Supine, Kool Poor, The Atlas, Lek & Sowat, Lucy McLauchlan, Matt Small, Maya Hayuk, Mensanger, Miss Van, Momo, Moneyless, Peeta, Rammellzee, Retna, Roa, Seth, Philippe Baudelocque, Sharp, Shepard Fairey, StenLex, Swoon, The London Police, Todd James,Toxic, and the aforementioned Vhils.


Interesni Kazki. Detail. (photo © VladyArt)

Ironically the genre-melting inclination of so-called “urban art” has eroded the silo mentality of many who follow these art forms as they become known, followed, collected, and exhibited; As a metaphor “Art Silos” may more accurately refer to the past and the dogmatic separation of genres such as graffiti, tattoo, illustration, ad jamming, and Street Art for example.

Although not strictly what you might call public art either, the scale of “Art Silos”, with its major artworks that typically may take years to be approved in large cities elsewhere, is an occurrence routinely happening in cities around the world.


Vlady Art and BO130. Detail. (photo © VladyArt)

For us this is one more example of the “New Muralism” that is enabling Street Artists to do major works in public spaces via non-traditional routes. On par with a public art works of other committee-approved sorts, this silo project was a private/public collaboration that made selections, secured funding and permissions from the harbor authorities, city figures, politicians and the manager of the silos themselves, according to VladyArt, who along with Microbo is one of the artists and a resident of Catania.


Vlady Art (photo © VladyArt)

He says the size of the project and the power of the imagery combined with the process of watching them go up has drawn a lot of attention to the area lately. “The people here were amazed by our speed and the large scale operation. Catania had no large murals like this… this was the very first time for Sicily. They can be seen from far away and even from taking off from and landing at the airport – or coming by cruise line on the sea. It seems that nobody really paid that much attention to this spot before, and everyone is talking about it now.”


BO130 and Vlady Art. Detail. (photo © VladyArt)

To understand why a project of this nature can happen so quickly these days, look no further than the location. As we have recounted numerous times, often these efforts are deliberately programmed to draw attention to economically challenged areas as a way of encouraging tourism and investment.

In fact VladyArt says that this historic region and city that dates back many centuries before Christ is having a very challenging time economically and socially and could use positive attention from a crowd that appreciates art. “Catania is somehow the most dynamic city of Sicily, because of its industrial and commercial features,” he says.


Lucamaleonte. Work in progress. (photo © VladyArt)

“Having said that, please be aware that the south of Italy is no way wealthy or an easy place, despite its beauty and lucky location in the sun. Almost the whole city is rough, I can name a many neighborhoods where this is the case.”

So it is all the more remarkable that a multi-artist iconic installation can happen here in Catania and people are exposed to a grassroots-fueled art scene that is currently galloping across the globe.


Lucamaleonte. Work in progress. (photo © VladyArt)

“Regular people around here don’t know much about the whole thing, street art and stuff,” says Vlady Art. “So, quite frankly they wouldn’t care much about Okuda, Vhils or Interesni. They never heard of them before and probably people will find hard to spell their names. They cannot catch the meaning or the purpose of this. They simply like what they see – they like this energy. They do get the ‘message’, the power of art.”


Danilo Bucchi (photo © VladyArt)


Okuda (photo © VladyArt)


Microbo (photo © VladyArt)


ROSH333 (photo © VladyArt)


The Silos facing the city. (photo © VladyArt)


Vhils on the side of the silos facing the water. (photo © VladyArt)


Please note: All content including images and text are ©, 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!


This article is also published in The Huffington Post.


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15 Murals and a Submarine: Amsterdam’s Urban Art Scene Now

15 Murals and a Submarine: Amsterdam’s Urban Art Scene Now

We’re very pleased today to take BSA readers to Amsterdam, where the graff/Street Art continuum reaches back more than three decades and where the vibrant scene still remains fresh and relevant right now. We’re very thankful to Ed Little and Alex Pope for taking the initiative to present the scene here for us and to give us valuable context about Amsterdam’s Urban Art Scene. If you don’t know, now you know.

By Ed Little and Alex Pope

Amsterdam has always been progressive in welcoming Urban Art. This March, artwork by Banksy was projected on the Dutch National Museum (the Rijksmuseum), in support of Syrian refugees. More than thirty years earlier, New York graffiti artists such as Seen, Dondi, Blade, Quik, Rammellzee and Futura 2000 were given their first taste of success in the high brow art world by Amsterdam gallery owner Yaki Kornblit. In 1986, Keith Haring did a commissioned mural for the Museum depot. Even before the arrival of the Americans, Amsterdam had a uniquely homegrown punk graffiti scene.


Fefe Talavera (photo © Ed Little)

By being exposed to the New York artists so early on, Amsterdam graffiti ignited and burned on well into the nineties. Amsterdam writers like Shoe and Delta, along with foreign partners Bando and Mode 2, spread the Crime Time style throughout Europe. In 1992, the city temporarily stopped cleaning subways because of toxic chemicals in the cleaning material. The writers completely took over the subways, creating a scene reminiscent of 1970s New York, as Amsterdam bathed in graffiti euphoria.

Today’s street art and graffiti scene is relatively small, and not pushing the envelope as much as it once was. That is not the say Amsterdam doesn ́t get down anymore. Feast your eyes on a selection of commissioned murals, illegal burners and creative get ups that Amsterdam has to offer.


Fefe Talavera (photo © Ed Little)

Here is a double header by Brazilian female artist Fefe Talavera, painted as part of the 2012 RUA Festival. The RUA Festival aims to show urban and contemporary Brazilian art next to institutionalized art of museums and galleries. According to the artist, the two heads represent two Indians wearing animal masks. The vibrant tribal color scheme really stands out against the dull grey backdrop, and is a good reminder of what a little bit of paint can do for a building.


Zed1 (photo © Ed Little)

This is a mural by Italian artist Zed1 at creative hotspot café Roest, home of Max Zorn ́s Stick Together festival. Awesome incorporation of the building window into the depicted scene, which reads as a critique of the current cost of living.


ETHOS (photo © Ed Little)

Here is another Brazilian mural in Amsterdam, painted by Ethos for the 2011 edition of the RUA Festival. Once again, masks are a big part of the artwork, which fits well with Ethos’ surrealist style. The mural itself functions as an awesome mask for an otherwise pretty shabby looking squat.


Adnate x Andersen (photo © Ed Little)

Here is Australian artist Adnate along with Morten Andersen from Denmark. Nice clash of Adnate ́s photorealist style of characters and Andersen ́s abstract geometrics. Painted for the Kosmopolite Art Tour, next to an insane burner by Dems UB which unfortunately is no longer there to be seen.


Vrankrijk (photo © Ed Little)

The legal squat Vrankrijk is one of the focal points of Amsterdam ́s squat scene. The Lichtenstein type BOOM! is a clear representation of Pop Art, which was also used as a vehicle by Fab 5 Freddy to push graffiti into the American higher art sphere in the late seventies.


Inkie (photo © Ed Little)

Here is a commissioned work by Englishman Inkie from 2012. Painted on what was once an always tagged up parking entrance. The wall on the right was painted later on, as the original was reclaimed by street bombers, who tagged it again within no time, even crossing out the artist ́s website with the word ́toy ́. The Inkie was left untouched, probably out of respect.


Niels “SHOE” Mulman and Adele Renault (photo © Ed Little)

A good example of calligraffiti here by Amsterdam graffiti legend Shoe. Brushstroked fill in, outlined by black spraypaint. Though Shoe ́s calligraffiti style is so uniquely his, it reminds us of that Amsterdam ́s 1970s punk graffiti feel. Pigeon portrait by Adele Renault, who went on to have a pigeon inspired exhibit at Shoe ́s Unruly Gallery.


Rammellzee Memorial Wall (photo © Ed Little)

Above is a Rammellzee memorial wall by Shoe and friends from 2010, paying homage to the evo griller. Rammellzee was one of the twelve New York graffiti artists who each had a one month solo exhibit at Yaki Kornblit ́s gallery in the early 1980s and who would inspire Shoe and eventually many other writers worldwide to pursue a career in the streets and the fine arts world.


The London Police (photo © Ed Little)

Here’s a large London Police commissioned mural on the Prinsengracht canal. Adopted Amsterdammers The London Police paid for their first stay in Amsterdam with t-shirts and art, and have made a comfortable living off their art ever since. The mural is located next to the street oriented Go Gallery, which has an original London Police mural from their earlier Amsterdam days.


C215 (photo © Ed Little)


C215 shown here with Kid Acne (photo © Ed Little)

Above are two subtle works by regular French visitor C215. The first one was painted with permission from the same Dutch family that first gave the London Police a roof over their heads. The second one is located near Amsterdam’s NDSM werf hall of fame. C215’s romantic works seem to make icons out of regular folks, which is probably why they are at their best when they are visible in the streets for everyone to see.


Jorit. Vincent Van Gogh (photo © Ed Little)

Italian-Dutch artist Jorit did this Vincent Van Gogh portrait. The technically very impressive photorealist depiction of Van Gogh didn’t fair well with everybody, as someone gave his 2 cents by writing “Vincent wouldn ́t approve” in the bottom corner. While Jorit’s photorealistic Van Gogh may be very opposite to the subject’s impressionist style, we wanna say that we do approve. Please note that Van Gogh ́s eyeliner was also added by a third party.


Delta (photo © Ed Little)

Here is an illegal burner by Amsterdam graffiti legend Delta from 2006. When Delta returned to graffiti in the 90s, he blew up big with his 3-D styles, which lead to a very successful career in the arts. Staying true to his roots, he remains active in his hometown streets while killing it in the galleries and even the architectural world.


ROA (photo © Ed Little)

An early work by international superstar ROA from the mid 2000s; While it is undeniably a ROA, it is awesome to see how his style and eye for detail have developed. It is part of an original mural that also featured Bue the Warrior and Chase. The wall was mostly repainted, but the ROA has been left untouched.


Leno, Twice and Gear (photo © Ed Little)

Above is some illegal wildstyle graffiti by the most prolific Amsterdam duo of the new millennium, Twice and Gear, along with colorful blockbuster letters by subway and trackside killer Leno on an old submarine nearby the NDSM hall of fame. Bastardilla and Stinkfish are on the bottom as well.


NEKST tribute. (photo © Ed Little)


Nekst Tribute (photo © Ed Little)

From Banksy projections to illegal wildstyle graffiti, all of the different aspects of today ́s modern urban art landscape are still a part of Amsterdam ́s creative daily routine. But for a city known for its liberal feel, it would be nice to see Amsterdam embrace urban art even more and reclaim its previous position as ahead of the worldwide pack.  In order to do so, we will always keep an eye on the streets.


We thank Alex and Ed for this sharing this good work with BSA readers.

© Text Alex Pope © Photos Ed Little

To see more Amsterdam Street Art and read interviews with the artists click Keep It Hush



Please note: All content including images and text are ©, 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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REVOK AND POSE and the Transformation of The Houston Wall

It took 80 hours and 7 humid sticky days and nights to complete, longer than it took God to make Heaven and Earth, according to scriptures. But the powerful transformation of the famed Houston Street Wall that took place last week had as profound an effect on many New York fans of Street Art and Graffiti as the melting of the North and South poles. And that was probably intentional.

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

The resulting flash flooding of emotions and summer storms washed over LA’s Revok and Chicago’s Pose as they joined each other with other MSK brothers to create a feast of popping color, styles, texture, tribute, and pure character – each climbing and gripping tightly to one another on a 90 degree diagonal grid that pushed it all together in one riotous composition.

Ultimately, the visually cacophonic mural, born amidst endless honking, screeching, sirens and a parade of curious passersby who pummeled the painters with a fusillade of questions and requests, is a joyous compilation for many, a perplexing mix of influences for others. With layers of tributes to fallen graffiti writers, shout-outs to friends and family, and heartfelt thanks to the host city that sparked a global graffiti scene decades earlier (including this very spot), the visiting thirty something graffiti brothers couldn’t quite quantify the depth of feeling they were experiencing as they slowly smashed a big wall in the heart of Manhattan.

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

For New York fans of a wall made famous by a long list of Street Artists including Haring, Scharf, Fairey, Faile, and others, most on the street hadn’t heard the names of these new guys but, like true New Yorkers, welcomed them nonetheless, usually emphatically. If there were worries about a strict adherence to rules of graffiti culture or whether the work borrows some conventions from pop, advertising, graphic design, or even Street Art, not many appeared to care about those distinctions. If anything, this wall is the apt expression of today’s’ blurred lines, where a throwie, a Lichtenstein, a sharply abstract pattern, and a hungry gorilla salivating over a police cruiser can all coexist harmoniously.

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

In fact it appears that Revok and Pose are metaphorically and technically casting aside once and for all the artificial divisions on the streets when it comes to styles and methods. Whether its the joint gallery shows, collaborative outdoor art festivals, or institutional venues like the sweeping “Art in the Streets” exhibit at MoCA  a couple of years ago, it looks like graffiti and Street Art have been put into a room and encouraged to work out their differences. Now of course they’re copying off each others exam paper in the back row of class, but at least they’re not fighting so much. Okay, true,  that announcement is still premature, but you can see the horizon ahead. Naturally in a city like New York that often typifies global diversity and routinely gives wide latitude for freedom of expression, the creative spirit as expressed with such technical skill and this kind of whole-hearted passion is invariably afforded a welcome. At least for a minute.

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

But that didn’t mean that Pose wasn’t feeling the pressure of doing this wall well, a pressure level that he estimated at ten times more than he would feel on a typical wall, even though both guys have been graff writers for more than two decades. “We’ve all painted a million walls. This is something that is sort of a landmark and for our culture it means a lot,” he said of the involvement of contemporary graffiti artists right here, right now. “The history is very daunting because you want to honor it, you want to pay tribute, but you also want to push the boundaries by really doing your best. It’s a really insane kind of platform.”

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

For Revok, the LA based writer who also is spending a lot of time in Detroit these days, the opportunity brings him back to a holy place he revered growing up, and he’s not going to miss it or take it for granted. Speaking about the profound impact that New York’s’ subway artists of the 1970s and 1980s had on the imaginations of countless youth in cities around the world, Revok envisions a booming audio tower emanating concentric circles in waves traveling to all who would hear.

“I imagine it as this kind of ring that just exploded and a ripple was sent out everywhere as far as it could go – and I’m one of those receivers, I’m one of those people who felt that,” he says as he describes weaving references into the mural by including names like Dondi and Iz The Wiz and even the letter “T” from the Beat Street movie poster. “You know all of those names in there – not all of them, but a lot of them – they were New Yorkers, they were a part of that movement at that time, they were people that created this world, this idea, this language that I’ve connected to and that is so dear and important and powerful to me. And now they’re not here, they are gone.”

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

“But what they created and what they gave to the world will live on forever. And coming here to New York, it’s a culmination – this wall right here, there is a tremendous amount of history right here, everybody that’s done it is important in their own right. For us to be fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to do this as outsiders I feel there is a responsibility to acknowledge the people and the culture that created me and my friends and now as it is coming back home, I’m paying tribute to New York graffiti, I’m paying tribute just to the general movement as a whole,” says Revok.

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Of the many references are three call outs to their recently and painfully departed MSK brother Nekst, who a handful of crew members had joined together to eulogize on smaller walls in Brooklyn the previous weekend. Among the other names included are Ayer, Vizie, Cheech Wizard, Omenz, Sace, Case 2, Semz, Tie One, Rammellzee, and “All You See is Crime in the City” – a phrase associated with a famous  train car work by Skeme from the 1980s documentary “Style Wars”. The guys even did shout outs to their kids.

Aside from the art category labels and the odes to community, both Revok and Pose are doubled up on this wall because of their common regard for sampling – that is, the combining of a variety of disparate elements and re-contextualizing them. As a basis for their fine art show that just opened at Jonathan Levine Gallery while they were in the city, the two have found that they both have a fairly active studio practice that they can collaborate on also.

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Both say they sample from their environment, but how they go about it is unique to each. “I sample from all the years of being on the street and climbing around. After a while you start really having an appreciation for the environment,” Revok says as he describes his affinity for textures, details, and the underlying history of the built environment.

For Pose, it may be more of an atmospheric and emotional sampling where he takes “everything from everywhere. There are no rules. It’s like “Oh that sign is gold with a white outline and that is really impressive, like that is fucking beautiful – so I should do my name that way because I’ll catch as much attention as that sign does. It’s really those rudimentary kinds of things that I feel validated by and that are where I go with my art, it’s just that basic. That’s what was powerful for me – just taking from things around you and using them to express yourself, to create a dialogue, to create a narrative.”

Revok and Pose invited Rime as a guest artists, shown here at work. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

A closer examination of how some of the more commercial elements in the mural were achieved by Pose shows how he used a cut and paste process in the re-purposing of old signage. Drawing from a stash of “pounce patterns” that were given to him by a buddy while he was a professional sign painter in Chicago for a decade, Pose says his method of choice is pretty randomized, and he is sometimes as surprised as anyone about what he’ll pull out. “I’ve got all these old pieces of signage rolls from this guy – these are already a slice of history. My wife hates it; my whole garage is filled with his old pounce and all this stuff. And we started bringing them to walls – almost like rolling the dice and finding this kind of completely unforeseen elements to the wall.”

With all these plans and all these cans, the guys made sure that this transformation was a collaborative effort and they had some solid support help from other MSK members, the occasional volunteer, and the well known RIME, who Revok reflexively calls, “The best graffiti writer in the world.”

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

As each guy reflects on the team, the same topic of the importance of collaboration arises – a sort of progressive vision where crew members alternately work as assistants on each others projects. “We’re all really close and we play a significant role in one another’s lives and what we paint – it’s really natural for us to collaborate. I think that one of our strengths is how we feed off one another and how we motivate, influence and learn from one another. In the actual act of painting often times we work together with one kind of common goal,” explains Revok.

“We will all work together and it is all kind of a community effort to make things happen. It’s much more fun that way. I’ve been painting graffiti for 23 years now. After a certain point, just like going and painting your name all the time – it gets redundant, it gets boring. You know, you want to have fun, you want to experiment, you want to do different things. My friends and I over the last 10 years or so have really had a lot of fun experimenting and painting on a collaborative level, which is probably not that common for traditional graffiti guys. It’s a lot of fun.”

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pose agrees that collaboration was crucial in creating the new piece on the Houston Street Wall, and for him the goals were pretty clear from the beginning. “All I care about is reaching people,” he says earnestly at 4 a.m. on the fourth consecutive overnight session while sanitation trucks gather garbage from the curb. “I believe in the power of art, especially artwork that is on the street,” says the more philosophical of the duo.

“What I care about is the therapy, the unexplainable, and the powerful, and everybody in my crew, and everybody on this wall will say – ‘Graffiti saved my life’. It’s so cliché but it’s profound and it’s true. Because it is something that is really universal and it crosses so many socio-economic divides and racial divides.”

Pose pauses a beat, “Guess what, the rest of the world would be a lot better fucking place if people caught on that we are all connected.”

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Revok and Pose. BSA is in the house. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

The talented crew. From left to right Pose with his assistant Mike,  Revok with his assistant Travis. Props to Travis and Mike for unflinchingly supporting the artists. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Revok and Pose. Houston/Bowery Wall. June 2013, NYC. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

You can check out the Revok and Pose transformation for free all summer in NYC at the corner of Houston and Bowery.

Special thanks to Travis and Mike, Meghan Coleman, Martha Cooper, Jonathan Levine, Alix Frey, Maléna Seldin, Roger Gastman, and all the great New Yorkers we met on the streets last week.

Check out the REVOK and POSE exhibition “Uphill Both Ways” at the Jonathan Levine Gallery.


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This posting also appears on The Huffington Post


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Maquis Art et Cornette de St Cyr. “Art Urbain Contemporain” (Bruxelles, Belgique)

Maquis-art prépare sa 9ème vente aux enchères d’Art Urbain Contemporain
avec l’étude Cornette de Saint Cyr à Bruxelles le 27 mai 2013Fiers de leurs succès précédents, Maquis Art et Cornette de St Cyr s’associent à nouveau en 2013 et s’étendent à la Belgique. La vente aura lieu à Bruxelles le lundi 27 Mai 2013. La Belgique séduit de plus en plus de collectionneurs, et son régime favorable aux exilés fiscaux entraîne les marchands et les maisons de vente de l’Hexagone vers la capitale artistique qu’est Bruxelles. C’est le pari fou de les suivre qu’ont prit Maquis Art et Cornette de St Cyr.
Dondi, Rammellzee, Futura 2000, Zephyr, Lady Pink, Taki 183, Bill Blast, Blek le rat, DFace, Nick Walker, Bando, Speedy Graphito, Invader, Inti, Ronnie Cutrone, Fenx, L’atlas, Mist, Pro 176, Miss Tic.

Vente “Art Urbain Contemporain” Cornette de St Cyr / Maquis Art @ Bruxelles

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BSA in Print : Pantheon, The Book

Public, Urban, Street, Unauthorized, Permissioned, Private, Graffiti, Vandalism, Fine Art, Installation, Throwie, Portraiture, Poetry, Sticker, Sculpture, Aerosol, Line Drawing, Wheat paste, Yes. All of it applies and all of it is part of a large conversation that has been happening in New York for about 50 years, probably before that. The intersection of art and the street is by nature open to the interaction of every person. At its core is an expression that is human, and the reactions to it are likewise. ” – Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo in PANTHEON: A history of art from the streets of NYC

An installation for “Pantheon”. Sadue, Gen2, Oze108, Droid, Goya, UFO, 907 Crew (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

When the erudite artist and alchemist Daniel Feral first talked enthusiastically in the summer of ’10 about his plans to mount a tribute to NYC graffiti and Street Art across the street from the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in ’11, we surveyed the large display windows of the former Donnell Library with their grand sweep on 53rd Street in Manhattan, and thought, “Why the Hell not?” As months rolled by and we continued to communicate with Feral and co-curator Joyce Manalo, the once medium sized exhibition grew larger in depth and scope – each time.

Truly a grassroots effort that was free of institutional or corporate restrictions, the PANTHEON show was funded by a modest Kickstarter campaign and administered under a non-profit. Each role and skillset was donated, as was all the labor – freely given by people involved in the scene. When the windows were unveiled in April of 2011 to the thousands of daily passersby, their Pantheon dream had grown into a full fledged installation of historic and current NYC graffiti and Street Artists, a 426 page tome of academic quality and behind the scenes insights, and the new iconic “Feral Diagram” that was quickly snapped up for display and sale at the historic “Art in the Streets” show in Los Angeles.

PANTHEON, the book, was one of three published works that BSA was honored to write for and provide images for in 2011. In the process of building PANTHEON, the exhibit, many new ideas and relationships were born, and like it’s muse – graffiti and all it’s cousins, it continues to organically grow in influence in New York and around the world. As 2012 begins, Daniel and Joyce are beginning a publishing and curatorial company, Pantheon Projects. Together in 2011 the artists, writers, historians, academics, curators, and photographers in PANTHEON told a story about an organic movement over time, helping us to understand this moment.

Cassius Fowler. Egypt (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

For our part, BSA furnished a chapter in the book about the first explosive decade of Street Art in the 2000s in neighborhoods where it was most impressive and untamed, especially Brooklyn. “PANTHEON: A history of art from the streets of NYC” allowed us to put in context the importance of the public sphere and how people create in it, whether commissioned, approved, or otherwise.

“Brooklyn Street Art (BSA) has been watching, recording, curating, interviewing, and interacting with this scene and its many players and passing on what we’ve learned to readers on our blog, which now number into the thousands daily. As experts in a field of many experts and opinion makers and fans, we like to assess and synthesize the messages and movements among the madness that is the “Street Art Scene”.  As artists and creative professionals in New York for 25 years, the primary draw for us is the creative spirit that is alive and well on the streets and its fascinating ability to continuously recreate itself without the dictate of any one overriding legislative body. This organic growth of art on the street is like seeing Spring eternally. It didn’t ask anyone for permission, and it defines itself. Un-bought and un-bossed, this is a truly free movement born of the people. Not that we are overly romantic about it, mind you.”

Overunder. No Touching Ground (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sadue, Gen2, Oze108, Droid, Goya, UFO, 907 Crew (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

PANTHEON was the group exhibition on Graffiti and Street Art that took place on April 2 – May 1, 2011 at the former Donnell Library across The Museum of Modern Art. Daniel Feral and Joyce Manalo Co-Curated this show with 33 participating which included Abe Lincoln Jr., John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres, Adam VOID, Cake, Cassius Fouler, Darkclouds, Droid, El Celso, Faro, John Fekner and Don Leicht, Freedom, Ellis Gallagher, Gen2, Goya, Groser, Richard Hambleton, infinity, KET, LSD-Om, Matt Siren, NohJColey, OverUnder, Oze 108, QuelBeast, Royce Bannon, Sadue, Jordan Seiler, Stikman, Toofly, UFO and Vudu. 

The 426-page catalog is a hybrid of scholarly journal, popular magazine, and graff zine. 33 artists from the 1970s through today tell their own histories, in their own words and pictures, while local writers and photographers give an overview of the cultural milieu. The catalog includes a dedication to Rammellzee by Charlie Ahearn, essay on the Feral Diagram by Daniel Feral, Street Art in the 2000s by Steven P. Harrington with photographs by Jaime Rojo, in addition to 20 essays, 20 interviews and over 400 images from the efforts of over 30 individuals.


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Fun Friday 04.22.11


Happy Good Friday!

It’s Good Friday today, which of course means I got a seat on the subway this morning. Apparently it’s a holiday of some sort. Anyway, we have some Street Art news, and some completely unrelated frivolity because it’s good to take a break, for Christ’s sake.

3 Kings by Remi/Rough and System


Remi/Rough & System have just completed their super cool homage to three of graffiti and street art’s most influential artists – Dondi White, Jean Michel Basquiat & RammellZee.

Read about the wall and see more photos here

Vote for Your Favorite Slide at HuffPost Arts Today

Hitting Up LA: The Streets Outside the Show (SLIDESHOW)


BP Ready To Resume Oil Spilling (Via The Onion)

BP-Logo-my-way-winnerApril 20, 2011 | The Onion

LONDON—A year after the tragic explosion and oil spill that caused petroleum giant BP to cease operations in the Gulf of Mexico, the company announced Wednesday that it was once again ready to begin oil spilling.,20089/

Image here is the winner of LogoMyWay’s contest to redesign the BP Logo — Stuart Croft, an English Graphics Designer working and studying in Bangkok, Thailand.

Jean Faucher – Early Street Art Pioneer Show Tomorrow in LA


Considered by cultural institutions and by artists as a key figure in the graffiti and urban arts, Jean Faucheur explores new prospective areas of expression that influence and drive hundreds and hundreds of emerging talents.

Jean Faucheur


SATURDAY APRIL 23, 2011 – 6PM – 9PM

Exhibition: April 23 – May 26, 2011

Every Day, 1PM – 8PM, and by appointment (Closed Mondays)

“Brother,” Spray Paint On Canvas, 36″ x 25 3/4″

“Your attitude is your altitude.”


Lynn Dell image © Ari Cohen

New York’s grand dame fashionista Lynn Dell shows how to rock a big hat like this for your Sunday stroll on Fifth Avenue or Flatbush Avenue for Easter.  Showing you can be hot at any age, this 78 year old Gotham gal has a whole slideshow here, including this pic from Ari Cohen.

2000 Images of MOCA “Art in the Streets”

Produced by Roger L. Griffith

“A frame by frame animation of the 2011 MOCA show Art In The Streets. This is not meant to be a complete census of all the art at the MOCA, but an introduction and basic virtual tour of the exhibit. Enjoy”

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