Artmossphere is the only Russian biennale that focuses primarily on Street Art and its corollary practices, with the first two launching in 2014 and 2016. You may remember the full coverage BSA had in 2016 at the Moscow Manege;
Among the artists participating on previous editions of Artmossphere have been people like The London Police, Brad Downey, Claudio Ethos, Agostino Iocurci Miss Van, L’Atlas, Sickboy, Jaz, Nespoon, Martha Cooper, Remi Rough, Alexey Luka, Remed, Li Hill, Jessie and Katey, Moneyless, El Tono, and many others – but clearly you can see that the quality and diversity in practices and backgrounds is well represented here.
For the 2018 edition of the biennale we will be curating the program along with some of our respected peers internationally in this field and collectively we are asking artists to consider what it means to be “Offline”. So much of graffiti and Street Art’s roots extend back to a practice of making work for a largely local audience that is limited to geography.
Today much work in public space is conceived of, at least in part, for its ability to traverse to audiences on social media, blogs, video, and all manner of digital platforms. As we constantly are flooded with online Street Art, is it possible to be ‘Offline”?
The 2018 main exhibition will take place in the Excise Storehouse of Winzavod Centre for Contemporary Art in Moscow from August 30th to October 17th. Additional special exhibitions will be held in the Red and White Halls, as well as in the art cluster outdoor territory.
The open call is open to Russian and international artists and applications with projects exploring this year’s theme will be reviewed by an international jury consisting of Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo, co-founders of BrooklynStreetArt.com and curators at Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art (UN), Peter Ernst Coolen, curator of the Amsterdam Street Art Museum, Cedar Lewisohn, curator of the Street Art project in Tate Modern,Ethel Seno, researcher of street art and curator, Anna Dimitrova, curator of Adda Gallery, Paris and MTN Gallery, Barcelona, and Nikolay Palazhchenko, the founder of the Winzavod Centre for Contemporary Art in Moscow.
To take part in the biennale, Artmossphere artists should submit their portfolio and their project application for the biennale before June 18th, 2018. All the projects should be made exclusively for the biennale. Click here for all details.
The Artmossphere Biennale jump-starts the debate for many about how to best present the work of Street Artists and organizers here in Moscow chose a broad selection of curators from across a spectrum of private, commercial, academic and civically-inspired perspectives to present a solid range of artists from the graffiti and Street Art world inside a formal hall.
To be clear, unless it is illegal and on the street, it is not graffiti nor Street Art. That is the prevailing opinion about these terms among experts and scholars of various stripes and it is one we’re comfortable with. But then there are the commercial and cultural influences of the art world and the design industries, with their power to reshape and loosen terms from their moorings. Probably because these associated art movements are happening and taking shape before our eyes and not ensconced in centuries of scholarship we can expect that we will continue to witness the morphing our language and terminologies, sometimes changing things in translation.
Definitions aside, when you think of more organic Street Art scenes which are always re-generating themselves in the run-down abandoned sectors of cities like Sao Paulo, New York, Melbourne, Paris, Mexico City, London, and Berlin, it is interesting to consider that this event takes place nearly on the grounds of the Kremlin under museum like security.
An international capital that ensures cleanly buffed walls within hours of the appearance of any unapproved Street Art or graffiti, Moscow also boasts a growing contingent of art collectors who are young enough to appreciate the cultural currency of this continuously mutating hybrid of graffiti, hip hop, DIY, muralism, and art-school headiness. The night clubs and fashionable kids here are fans of events like hip-hop and graffiti jams, sometimes presented as theater and other times as “learning workshops” and the like.
Plugging into this idea of street and youth culture is not a singular fascination – there is perhaps an association with the rebellious anti-authoritarian nature of unregulated art in the streets that fuels the interest of many. With graffiti and hip-hop culture adoption as a template, newer expressions of Street Art culture are attractive as well with high profile artists with rebel reputations are as familiar in name here as in many cities. New festivals and events sometimes leverage this renegade free-spirit currency for selling tourism and brands and real estate, but here there also appears to be an acute appreciation for its fine art expression – urban contemporary art.
MOSCOW’S MANEGE AND “DEGENERATE ART”
So ardent is the support for Artmossphere here that a combination of public and private endorsements and financial backing have brought it to be showcased in a place associated with high-culture and counter-culture known as the Moscow Manege (Мане́ж). The location somehow fits the rebellious spirit that launched these artists even if its appearance wouldn’t lead you to think that.
The 19th century neo-classical exhibition hall stands grandly adjacent to Red Square and was built as an indoor riding school large enough to house a battalion of 2,000 soldiers during the 1800s. It later became host to many art exhibitions in the 20th century including a famous avant-garde show in 1962 that Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev famously derided as displaying ‘degenerate’ art.
One of the artists whose work was criticized, painter and sculptor Ernst Neizvestny, challenged the label defiantly and won accolades afterward during his five decade career that followed, including receiving many awards and his work being collected worldwide by museums. Russian President Vladimir Putin is quoted as calling him “a recognised master and one of the best contemporary sculptors”. In January of this year at the age of 90, Neizvestny’s return to Menage featured an extensive exhibition. He passed away August 9th (The Moscow Times), only weeks before Artmossphere opened.
In some kindred spirit many of these artists at Artmossphere have done actual illegal work on the streets around the world during their respective creative evolutions, and graffiti and Street Art as a practice have both at various times been demonized, derided, dismissed and labeled by critics in terms synonymous with “degenerate”.
A CLEAN CITY
“Moscow is mostly very clean,” says Artmossphere co-founder and Creative Director Sabine Chagina, who walks with guests during a sunny afternoon in a busy downtown area just after the opening. “But we do have some good graffiti crews,” she says as we round the corner from the famous Bolshoi Theater and soon pass Givenchy and Chanel and high-end luxury fashion stores. Shortly we see a mural nearby by French artist Nelio, who painted a lateral abstracted geometric, possibly cubist, piece on the side of a building here in 2013 as part of the LGZ Festival.
If there was graffiti here in Moscow, it was not on full display very readily in this part of town. In driving tours, rides on the extensive metro train system, and in street hikes across the city a visitor may find that much of the illegal street art and graffiti common to other global capitals is illusive due to a general distaste for it and a dedicated adherence to buffing it out quickly.
For a pedestrian tourist Moscow appears in many ways as fully contemporary and architecturally rich as any international world-class metropolis. One of the cleanest places you’ll visit, the metro is almost museum-like in some instances; the historic districts spotless, public fountains, famed statues of important historical figures. All is efficiently ordered and – a welcome surprise – most public space is free of advertisements interrupting your view and your thoughts.
Come to think of it, the sense of commercial-celebrity media saturation that is present in other cities doesn’t appear to permeate the artists psyche here at the Biennale – so there’s not much of the ironic Disney-Marilyn-supermodel-Kardashian-skewering of consumerism and shallowness in this exhibition that you may find in other Urban Art events.
Also, unlike a Street Art-splattered show in London for example that may rudely mock Queen Elizabeth or art in New York streets that present Donald Trump styled as a pile of poo and Hillary Clinton as Heath Ledger’s Joker, we didn’t see over-the-top Putin satires either. So personality politics don’t seem directly addressed in this milieu. According to some residents there was an outcropping of huge festival murals by Street Artists here just a few years ago but more recently they have been painted over with patriotic or other inspiring murals, while others have been claimed for commercial interests.
Starved for some gritty street scenes, it is all the more interesting to see the one live mural painting that we were able to catch – a 6-story red-lined op-art tag by the French graffiti writer L’Atlas. Far from Manege, placed opposite a cineplex in what appears to be a shopping mall situated far from the city’s historical and modern centers, our guide tells us half-jokingly that he is not sure that we are still in Moscow.
Here L’Atlas says that he has painted his bar-code-like and cryptic nom-de-plume with an assistant on a cherry picker for a few days and he says that no one has stopped to ask him about it, neither to comment or criticize. Actually one man early one morning returning home from a disco did engage him briefly, but it was difficult to tell what he was talking about as he may have had a few drinks.
This lack of public commentary is mainly notable because in other cities the comments from passersby can be so ubiquitous that artists deliberately wear stereo headphones to prevent interruption and to be more productive. Sometimes the headphones are not actually playing music.
This Street Art Biennale nonetheless is gaining a higher profile among Urban Art collectors and its associated art dealers and the opening and later auction reaches directly to this audience. Included this year with the primary “Invisible Walls” exhibition are satellite events in association with local RuArts Gallery, Tsekh Belogo at Winzavod, and the Optika Pavilion (No. 64) at VDNKh.
The opening night event itself is wide and welcoming, a mostly youthful and populist affair with celebratory speeches and loosely organized group photos and an open bar. Added together with a press conference, a live DJ, virtual reality headsets, interactive artworks, major private business sponsors, government grants, ministers of culture, gallerists, and quirkily fashionable art fans, this is a polished presentation of a global culture that is filtered through the wide lense of the street.
Perhaps because the exhibition hall is a cavernous rectangle with exposed beams on the ceiling and many of the constructed white walls that mimic vendor booths, it has the air of an art fair. There are thankfully no salespeople pacing back and forth watching your level of interest. People tend to cluster before installations and talk, laugh, share a story, pose for a selfie.
The theme seems very appropriately topical as geopolitical, trade-related, social, digital, and actual walls appear to be falling down rapidly today while the foundations of new ones are taking shape. Catalyzed perhaps by the concept and practices of so-called “globalization” – with its easy flow of capital and restricted flow of humans, we are all examining the walls that are shaping our lives.
With 60+ international artists working simultaneously throughout this massive hall, newly built walls are the imperative for displaying art, supporting it, dividing it. These are the visible ones. With so many players and countries represented here, one can only imagine that there are a number of invisible walls present as well.
The theme has opened countless interpretations in flat and sculptural ways, often expressed in the vernacular of fine art with arguable nods to mid-20th century modernists, folk art, fantasy, representational art, abstract, conceptual, computer/digital art, and good old traditional graffiti tagging. Effectively it appears that when Street Art and graffiti artists pass the precipice into a multi-disciplinary exhibition such as this, one can reframe Urban/Street as important tributaries to contemporary art – but will they re-direct the flow or be subsumed within it?
The work often can be so far removed from street practice that you don’t recognize it as related.
Aside from putting work up in contested public space without permission and under cover, an average visitor may not see a common thread. These works run aesthetic to the conceptual, painterly to the sculptural, pure joy and pure politics. But then, that is we began to see in the streets as well when the century turned to the 21st and art students in large numbers in cities like New York and London and Berlin skipped the gatekeepers, taking their art directly to the public.
Perhaps beneath the surface or just above it, there is a certain anarchistic defiance, a critique of social, economic, political issues, a healthy skepticism toward everyone and everything that reeks of hypocritical patriarchal power structures. Perhaps we’re just projecting.
Looking over the 60+ list of names, it may be striking to some that very few are people of color, especially in view of the origins of the graffiti scene. Similarly, the percentage of women represented is quite small. We are familiar with this observation about Urban Art in general today, and this show mirrors the European and American scene primarily, with notable exceptions such as Instagrafite’s home-based Brazilian crew of 4 artists. As only one such sampling of a wide and dispersed scene, it is not perhaps fair to judge it by artists race, gender, or background, but while we speak of invisible walls it is worth keeping our eyes on as this “scene” is adopted into galleries, museums, and private collections.
Following are some of the artists on view at Artmossphere:
Certainly Moscow native ASKE is gently mocking our mutated modern practices of communicating with his outsized blocked abstraction of a close couple riveted to their respective electronic devices, even unaware of one another.
Warsaw based NeSpoon creates a sculpture of another couple. Heroically presenting her vision of what she calls the iconic “Graffiti Writer” and “Street Art Girl”, they face the future with art instruments in hand ready to make their respective marks. She says her work is emblematic of a permanent financial insecurity for a generation she calls the “PRECARIAT”.
“ ‘Precariat’ is the name of the new emerging social class,” says curator, organizer, and NeSpoon’s partner Marcin Rutkiewicz when talking about the piece during the press conference. “These are young people living without a predictable future, without good jobs, without social security. It’s a class in the making and probably these people don’t have any consciousness or global unity of interest. But they are the engines of protest for people all over the world – like Occupy Wall Street, Gezi Park in Turkey, or the Arab Spring.”
The artist developed the sculpture specifically for this exhibition and planned it over the course of a year or so. Born of a social movement in Poland by the same name, the sculpture and its sticker campaign on the street represent “a kind of protest against building walls between people who are under the same economical and social situation all over the world,” says Rutkiewicz.
Artist Li-Hill says his piece “Guns, Germs, and Steel” directly relates to the divisions between civilizations due to a completely uneven playing field perpetuated through generations. Inspired by the 1997 trans-disciplinary non-fiction book by Jared Diamond, Li-Hill says the Russian sculptural group called “The Horse Tamers” represents mankind’s “ability to harness power of the natural world and to be able to manipulate it for its advantage.”
“The horse is one of the largest signifiers and is a catalyst for advancement in society because it has been for military use, for agriculture, for transportation,” he says. “It was the most versatile of the animals and the most powerful.” Here he painted a mirror image, balanced over a potential microbial disaster symbol, and he and the team are building a mirrored floor to “give it this kind of infinite emblem status.”
Afloat in the middle of some of these walled areas M-City from Poland is choosing to be more direct thematically in his three dimensional installation of plywood, plaster, aerosol and bucket paint, and machine blown insulation.
“It is an anti-war piece,” he says, and he speaks about the walls between nations and a losing battle of dominance that ensures everyone will be victim.”
“It’s kind of a monster who destroys arms,” he says of this temporary sculpture with a lording figure crushing tanks below.
“He is destroying the tanks but at the same time he is also a destroyer – so it’s a big circle. Nothing is positive that can come out of this. There is always someone bigger.” He says the piece is inspired by the political situations in Europe today and the world at large.
Minneapolis based HOTTEA usually does very colorful yarn installations transforming a huge public space, but for Artmossphere he is taking the conceptual route. The walk-in room based on the Whack-A-Mole game presents holes which a visitor can walk under and rise above.
Visitors/participants will experience the physical separation of space, and perhaps contemplate facing one another and interacting or ignoring one another. It is something he says he hopes will draw attention to how many walls we have allowed ourselves to distract from human interactions.
Englands’ Sick Boy calls his project The Rewards System, where guests are invited to climb a ladder over a brick wall and descend down a slide into a darkened house, setting off a series of sensors that activate a variety of multisensory lights and tantalizing patterns. After landing and being rewarded the visitor is forced to exit on hands and knees through a too-small square door.
“The concept of the show is about invisible walls so I was thinking about there being barriers in your life and I thought about the reward of endorphins one experiences for achieving a task – a small amount of endorphins. So I thought I would build a house that signifies the reward system,” he explains.
Atlanta/Seattle based Derek Bruno reached back to the Leonid Brezhnev years and into Moscow’s Gorky Park for his series of site specific installations based on Soviet Cement Fence type PO-2. The iconic fence was re-created in a nearby studio and Bruno shot photographs of his 10-15 minute “interventions” in the park itself, revisiting a field of design called “technical aesthetics.”
In a statement Bruno explains “Since the end of the Soviet Union, the iconic fence has become a persistent and ever present reminder of former delineations of space; while new forms of boundaries shape the digital and sociopolitical landscapes. “
Remi Rough is known for his smartly soaring abstract geometry in painted murals and smaller scale works, and for Moscow he wanted to strip it back to the basics, approaching a white box with one undulating graphic composition.
“My idea was that Moscow’s a bit ‘over the top’,” he says, and he decided to strip back the audacity and go for simplicity, which actually takes courage.
“I said ‘you know what?’ – I want to do something with the cheapest materials you can possibly get. These two pieces literally cost 3000 rubles ($50). It’s made of felt, it’s like a lambs wool. I think they use it for flooring for construction.” Depending on the angle, the pink blotted material may translate as a swath of otherworldly terrain or a metaphorical bold vision with all the hot air let out.
“I wanted to do something peaceful and calming and use natural materials – something that’s different from what I usually do – but I use the folds in the fabric and the pink color – two things that I usually use a lot.”
Moscow’s Alexey Luka is also challenging himself to stretch creatively by taking his wall collage installations of found wood and converting them into free-standing sculptures.
“For this biennale I tried to make something different so now I am going from the assemblages to 3-D.” The constructed media is warm and ordered, reserved but not without whimsy.
“My work is made from found wood – I use it with what I found on the street and my shapes and my graphics – so it’s kind of an experiment with three dimensions,” and he confirms that most of this wood is sourced here in Moscow.
We ask him about the number of eyes that peer out from his installation. Perhaps these eyes are those of Muscovites? “They are just like observers,” he says.
Torino’s Mimmo recreated the Moscow Olympic Village from the 1980 games in miniature presented as on a plainly brutalist platform. The sculpture is austere in detail on the hulking towers save for the tiny graffiti tags, throwies, rollers, extinguisher tags, and the like at the bases and on the roofs.
Curator Christian Omodeo tells us that Mimmo recreated the massive village based on his direct study of the site as it stands today; a housing project that has hundreds of families — and a hip-hop / graffiti scene as well.
It is striking that the scale reduces the impact of the graffiti – yet when experienced at eye-level it retains a potency. Even so, by recasting the relationship between viewer and mark-making, this graffiti actually seems “cute” because of its relative size to the viewer.
Brad Downey and Alexander Petrelli hi-jacked the opening of the Biennale by circulating within the exhibit as a gallery with artworks for sale. With Downey performing as a street-huckster pushing his own art products, Mr. Patrelli showcased new Downey photo collages and drawings inside his mobile “Overcoat Gallery”
A charming Moscow art star / gallerist / performance artist, Mr. Patrelli is also a perennial character at openings and events in the city, by one account having appeared at 460 or so events since 1992 with his flashing overcoat. The artworks also feature Patrelli, completing a self-referential meta cycle that continued to circle the guests at the exhibition.
International artists participating in the Artmossphere Biennale 2016 include: Akacorleone, Alex Senna, Brad Downey, Chu (Doma), Orilo (Doma), Claudio Ethos, Demsky, Christopher Derek Bruno, Filippo Minelli, Finok, Galo, Gola Hundun, Hot Tea, Jaz, Jessie and Katey, Johannes Mundinger, L’Atlas, LiHill, LX One, M-city, TC, Mario Mankey, Martha Cooper, Miss Van, Nespoon, Millo, Pablo Benzo, Pastel, Paulo Ito, Proembrion, Remed, Remi Rough, Rub Kandy, Run, Sepe, Sickboy, Smash 137, Sozyone Gonsales, SpY, The London Police, Trek Matthews, Wes 21.
The city of Lodz in Poland is promoting the work of Street Artists from around the world as a way of creating a cultural re-invigoration of this city whose population is three quarters of a million. Begun in 2009, the Urban Forms Gallery has installed more than 20 large square paintings on elevations in the city center.
The public/private partnership and the addition of the artwork has attracted business and investment, and of course urban exploring tourists who can follow a map to see the works within a couple of hours. As a model for employing the talents of Street Artists to create public art in service of the re-invigoration of a city, this one appears to be very successful at respecting the work while adding value to a neighborhood, district, city, and community.
The roster of nearly two dozen works features international Street Artists like Os Gemeos from Brazil, Aryz from Spain, and Remed from France along with one of Poland’s proud Street Art sons named M-City from Gdynia, a city three hours north of here, and two hometown local talents Bezt and Sainer from the ETAM Crew.
Here are a number of images of many of the walls that have been going up in the last few years. Special thanks to Michał Bieżyński for sharing these images with us exclusively for BSA readers.
JustMad celebra este año 2013 su cuarta edición, habiendo logrado en pocos años consolidarse como una de las más importantes del circuito de Febrero en Madrid.
Ubicada por segundo año consecutivo en el Hotel Silken Puerta de América, se celebrará entre el 14 y el 17 de Febrero.
iam Gallery Madrid tiene el placer de participar con un stand propio en su primera incursión en las Ferias de Arte, en este nuestro recién cumplido primer año de vida en la galería de la Calle San Blas.
Por ello, quisimos contar con dos artistas que desarrollan sus fructíferas carreras de forma individual, pero que dada su profunda amistad y sintonía vital, decidieron un día unir su creatividad frente a una hoja en blanco: Remed y Okuda.
Yesterday on Fun Friday we featured ROA in the first video from the I Art Joburg Festival. The festival took place this fall in Johannesburg, South Africa and featured people like Falko, Cameron Platter, ESPO, and Remed. Today we’re pleased to offer you the full compliment of all the videos that were directed, shot and edited during the festival. Much thanks to Ricky Lee Gordon, the organizer of the festival, who advanced all of these videos to us for BSA readers to enjoy.
Today we welcome Monica Compana to BSA to share with you her experiences during a recent Street Art/community program in Johannesburg, South Africa that took place in September. As one of the principal originators of Atlanta’s Living Walls festival, Campana brings a wizened eye to the events as they unfolded, and presents here what she observed and experienced.Special thanks to Martha Cooper, who shares with BSA images that display her personal vision of Joburg and some layouts from her new zine “Soweto/Sowebo”.
Considered one of the wealthiest cities in Africa, Johannesburg is not only rich in gold and diamonds, but also rich in arts and culture. In the month of September, Johannesburg hosted the largest mural project in the city and possibly even the continent.
I Art Joburg brought the artists Espo, ROA, Cameron Platter, Falko, Remed and graffiti photographer legend Martha Cooper to South Africa to create art in the streets, start a dialogue about street art in the city and to document a month where artists worked together alongside a commercial production team and community members to bring color to Joburg and Soweto.
“Color creates energy, energy creates inspiration and inspiration creates change. It is our responsibility to inspire ourselves to inspire others to inspire the change. Art is the remedy for this,”says Ricky Lee Gordon, organizer and curator of I Art Joburg.
Gordon’s carefully selected list of renowned street artists not only managed to put the festival amongst one of the best ones of the year, but also it created a chemistry between artists and community. With 6 murals installed around the Maboneng Precinct it hosted a night of lectures and the screening of Espo’s “Love Letters to You” documentary. The precinct is also referred to as “a place of light”, as it is a hub for young creatives and artists, and it also hosted a gallery exhibit by the participating artists.
To inspire kids from a local school, organizers created a workshop and a mural with kids in Soweto, a name synonymous in the northern hemisphere with the historic anti-apartheid black resistance movement that inspired so many artists in the 70s-80s around the world. The name Soweto has an auditory similarity to the neighborhood of Sowebo in Baltimore, which photographer Martha Cooper has been documenting as a personal passion for nearly a decade.
Already in Joburg to document all of the murals and exhibit her own work, she took the experience and project to a whole new level with the development of her zine titled: “Soweto/Sowebo.” Martha owns a house in South West Baltimore, also known as Sowebo, an area so affected by urban decay that it is often compared to Soweto in South Africa. Needless to say, when she arrived in Soweto she immediately saw the similarities and she decided to create a zine honoring the richness of both cultures. It was fascinating to see through her work how these two places, so far away from each other geographically in two completely different continents, could pass as one and the same.
Soweto/ Sowebo was not the only example of this wonderful dialogue. Each artist tried to leave something to the city of Joburg that would not only last for a long time visually, but something that could continue to spark some kind of dialogue. During my stay in Joburg I was able to spend quite a bit of time with ROA and Martha Cooper. It was amazing to see how their easily they interacted with the people on the streets of the city and even though they had been there for only about a week by the time that I arrived, Martha and ROA had already made dear friends in the neighborhood.
On the subject of friends we made: Bongani Mathebula, my Joburg tour guide, is the one that stole my heart. Seeing the city through the eyes of a local 25 year old artist was very inspirational. He told me that projects like I Art Joburg are what the city of Johannesburg needs – an outsider’s view and conversation starter to inspire the local community.
“Artists are like heroes. Art is crazy, people need to let that happen. More art, more crazy communication and growth,” says Bongani.
I hope to see more mural festivals happen in Joburg and Soweto. I know the artists who were part of the project were left wanting more. So, who knows? Maybe this really is just the start to a much bigger conversation in Joburg! Fingers crossed!
Before there was the Internet, there were magazines. Just a primer there for the Gen Y kids with the multiple electronic devices sticking out of your pockets. Paper was used by ancient civilizations (pre-2002) for recording and distributing “content”, not just rolling cigarettes.
Also, Kingbrown is an Australian slang term for a 40 oz beer. There! Now we have your attention!
Almost as tasty as a 40 oz is Kingbrown magazine, produced by two guys from Perth, Australia named The Yok and Ian Mutch. Known for quality of design, packaging and smart editorial, Kingbrown has bubbled beneath the surface of many people’s attention on this North American land mass even as the two friends have labored for about six years to turn their view of popular street culture into a rugged and refreshing well-produced magazine. We are certainly mindful and appreciative of the great efforts that go into making anything happen when you are starting up something creative, let alone producing a high quality printed magazine in an era where digital is king and the costs of printing are sky high.
Now just about to launch their 8th Issue in New York City, Yok and Ian have a lot to be proud of. We took a break from dashing through NYC’s crazed summer city streets to enjoy a quiet minute on a ratty overstuffed couch with an iced coffee to look at their 7th issue in preparation for what we have been told it will be a spectacular Issue # 8.
Issue # 7, like all the KB issues before, came wrapped in a silk screened brown bag that’s fit for framing The colorful front and back covers are embossed, crisp and clean. The content, which is what matters, is dedicated to 14 different artists from several countries with interviews and images of them working at their studios as well as photos of their work on the streets and/or for the gallery. It’s always good for people who follow Street Art to pause for a moment to read about what’s behind the art that they see on the streets. These interviews in Issue #7 give you a glimpse into the world of the artists and the genesis of their artistic output.
We selected some images from a handful of the artists profiled in Issue #7 to share with you in the hopes that your interest would piqued to support this magazine, first by buying it and secondly by going to the launch opening of Issue #8 this Thursday, August 26 at Klughaus Gallery in Chinatown, Manhattan. Click on the link on the bottom of this posting for further details. By the way, this is not a paid advertisement in case you were wondering.
Artists included in #7 are Geoff McFetridge, Remed, Miss Van, Chali 2na, Aryz, Stacey Rozich, How & Nosm, Kid Zoom, Fabio Bitão, RichT (brown bag), Beastman & more.
There is an uneasy reluctance among some artists in the graffiti and the Street Art community to let themselves be seen hanging with art collectors or even entering galleries sometimes because they might lose credibility among peers for not being ‘street’ enough. Seeing well manicured men in pinstripes and shrieking birdberry women with tinted/straightened/plumped everything looking at your shit hanging on a wall and asking vaguely patronizing questions about it like you are an exquisite curiosity could make you go out and slice their tires after downing a few white wines. Not surprisingly, “keeping it real” sometimes translates to keeping it out of private collections.
Even as there is an every-growing recognition of art and artists who work sometimes illegally in the street, it’s a sort of high-wire act for anyone associating with art born in margins, mainly because it forces one to face the fact that we marginalize.
Sociological considerations aside, over the last decade there is a less traditional definition of Street Artist entering the fray. The graffiti scene originally boasted a sort of grassroots uprising by the voiceless and economically disempowered, with a couple of art school kids and the occasional high-minded conceptualist to mix things up. It’s all changed of course – for myriad reasons – and art in the streets takes every form, medium, and background. Now we see fully formed artists with dazzling gallery careers bombing right next to first time Krinks writers, graffiti writers changing gears and doing carefully rendered figurative work, corporations trying their hand at culture jamming (which isn’t a stretch), and all manner of Street Art referred to as an “installation”.
A new book by Maximiliano Ruiz called “Walls & Frames”, just released last month by Gestalten, presents a large collection of artists who have traversed the now permeable definitions of “street”, gallery, collector and museum. Admittedly, this may be a brief period of popularity for Street Art, if the 1980s romance with graffiti is any indication, but there is evidence that it will endure in some form. This time one defining difference is that many artists have already developed skill, technique, and a fan base. Clearly the street has become a venue, a laboratory for testing and working out new ideas and techniques by fine artists, and even a valued platform for marketing oneself to a wider audience.
A spread of work by Conor Harrington in “Walls and Frames”.
The resulting work, whether hanging on a nail inside or painted on a street wall, challenges our previously defined boundaries. The current crop of street art stars and debutantes, many of the strongest whom are collected here by Ruiz, continue to stay connected with the energy of the street regardless of their trajectory elsewhere. Some are relatively new, while others have been evolving their practice since the 70s, with all the players sliding in and off the street over time. The rich and varied international collection is remarkable and leaves you wanting to see more work by many of the artists. All considered, “Wall and Frames” is a gorgeously produced book giving ample evidence that many of today’s artists in the streets are tomorrow’s masters, wherever they practice.
Artists included are Aaron Noble, AJ Fosik, Alexandre Farto aka Vhils, Alexandros Vasmoulakis, Alëxone Dizac, Amose, Andrew McAttee, Anthony Lister, Antony Micallef, Axel Void, Basco-Vazko, Base 23, Ben Frost, Blek le Rat, Bom-K, Boris Hoppek, Boxi, C215, Cekis, Conor Harrington, D*Face, Dan Witz, Daniel Muñoz aka San, Dave Kinsey, Der, Dixon, Docteur Gecko, Doze Green, Dran, Duncan Jago aka Mr. Jago, Eine, Ekundayo, El Mac, Evan Roth, Evol, Faile, Faith 47, Fefe Talavera, Gaia, George Morton-Clark, Herakut, Herbert Baglione, Interesni Kazki, Jaybo, Jeff Soto, Jeremy Fish, Jesse Hazelip, Johnny “KMNDZ” Rodriguez, Joram Roukes, Jorge Rodriguez Gerada, Josh Keyes, JR, Judith Supine, Katrin Fridriks, Kevin Cyr, Kofie, L’Atlas, Lightgraff, Logan Hicks, Ludo, M-City, Mark Jenkins, Mark Whalen aka Kill Pixie, Maya Hayuk, Medo & Demência, Meggs, Miss Bugs, Miss Van, Morten Andersen aka M2theA, Mr. Kern, Mudwig, Nicholas Di Genova, Okuda, Patrick Evoke, Paul Insect, Pedro Matos, Peter Owen, Pose, Pure Evil, Remed, Remi/Roughe, René Almanza, Retna, Ripo, Ródez, Sam3, Sat One, Shepard Fairey, Sixe, Smash 137, Sowat, Sten & Lex, Stephan Doitschinoff, Tec, Tilt, Troy Lovegates aka Other, Turf One, Vitché;, Wendell McShine, Will Barras, and Zosen.
The launch; “Walls & Frames” will be presented at Gestalten Space Berlin on December 15th.
– It’s a paraphrase of the Christmas crabby New Yorker who relies on the tourists who pump money into Broadway and Times Square restaurants and FAO and who actually eat those hot dogs and pretzels on the street. In the case of Miami, Art Basel 2010 draws to a close now and one billion dollars are estimated to have been transacted. When you pair that figure with the estimated 2-3000 artists participating, it looks like the artists must have made out rather well, right?
Certainly there were more Street Artists than ever attending the events and transforming walls everywhere with their work and creativity – at least in the unofficially sanctioned areas. At the moment Miami is “The only city in the US where graffiti appreciates property value,” ironically says Mint and Serf, a Street Art collective visiting the tropical city from frigid New York. In an odd twist on the “broken window theory” and urban blight, artists who are normally looking over their shoulder can actually wave to and talk with police who are driving by in some run-down areas where they are given free reign over large swaths of walls. At this sunny moment in time various agendas are intertwined and one wonders how long this golden age lasts.
Street Art photographer and observer Geoff Hargadon took in the breadth of the week on the street and attended a number of the events over the past weeks’ art orgies. He captured many jewels and quick moments with his camera and his 6th sense, which are below. As various larger pieces are unfinished right now, we’ll be going back in a few weeks for a year-end overview.
In addition to an intuitive eye about the art trends happening that impact the scene, Geoff gives a commentary about what else he’s thinking about: “Here is the other thing that’s a trend: property owners have their hands over all these walls for artists to takeover, and then suddenly they are leased out to restaurants, coffee shops, and other businesses. It’s hard to know who’s playing whom here – maybe it’s a happy co-existence – but when does the property owner step up to support these guys in other ways? (Unless, of course, it’s already happening.) Either way, artists are playing a big role in the development of these neighborhoods, and whether they know it or not, as the area gets more developed and gentrified, they will eventually run themselves out of town. Whether they are getting paid or not, they are creating their own extinction in Miami.”
Edging closer to advertising slickness, this method of subtle perception jamming that certain street artists have been employing takes another step in this campaign by Amnesty International to draw attention to the American death row inmate Troy Davis. In this collaboration with the Berlin-based, three-person photographic street art collective Mentalgassi , the man’s visage is clear for just a half step as you pass. An apt description of this project, “Making the Invisible Visible”, the installation is an adaptation of Street Art that merits praise.
Yes, Gaia is in Miami (above) along with a buttload of other untanned northerners, and actually Brooklyn has announced that it has closed for the weekend. Just kidding but, if you are looking for walls, you won’t have much competition in the BK this weekend, now that you think about it. There is a lot happening in Miami this weekend and even if you don’t go to any receptions or openings or velvet rope parties you can still have a blast seeing lots of art on the street. Here are some things that might get you hot and sweaty if the temperature hasn’t done that for you yet:
GGG’s Fresh Produce will feature a rocking roster of international artists, including: The London Police, REVOK, Erik Otto, Skewville, Pepa Prieto, Augustine Kofie, Alëxone, Kenton Parker, Tes One, BASK, Dolla, Jim Darling, Dabs & Myla, Stormie Mills, Michael De Feo, Andrew Holder, Jack Hudson, Tristan Eaton, Tatiana Suarez, Surge, Jersey Joe, REMeD, Parskid, Logan Hicks, Escif, Depoe, Remi/Rough, Ryan Bubnis, Mike Perry, Reyes and from the Family Baglione: Flip, Sesper, Thais Beltrame and Herbert Baglione.
Artists’ Reception : 12 | 3 | 10 : 7 – 10pm
70 NW 25th Street, Miami, FL 33127
Between NW 2nd Ave. & N. Miami Ave
in the Wynwood Arts District
Tonight is the opening for this photography show accompanied by new works. Hotness prevails. As we said earlier in the week, just look at the names on this list and you know what you’re getting. Or, maybe you don’t.
297 NW 23rd ST
MIAMI, FL 33127
OPENING RECEPTION FRIDAY, 3 DECEMBER 2010
7 – 10PM
“Now I Remember” photo installation featuring:
NECK FACE / JERRY HSU / TODD JORDAN/ CURTIS BUCHANAN / JEN REYNOLDS/ TINO RAZO / KEVIN “SPANKY” LONG
and new works by:
OSGEMEOS / JUDITH SUPINE / CLEON PETERSON/ BAST / SKULLPHONE / ALBERT REYES
Hours: Weds. Dec.1 – Sat. Dec.4 : 11am – 8pm
Sun. Dec. 5: 12pm – 4pm
Free and Open to the Public with Free Shuttle Service
New York street artist Dan Witz at the MIA | MI CIELO 2010 Fine Art Exposition. Dan will feature a retrospective selection of street art works, sign copies of his limited edition book “In Plain View: 30 Years of Artworks Illegal and Otherwise”. Signed copies of Witz’s 2011 “Hummingbirds” accordion calendar will be given out to the first 100 guests at the book signing event.
MIA | MI CIELO and NADA Art Fair
Cielo on the Bay
7935 East Drive
North Bay Village, FL 33141
Primary Flight “Please Stand By”
Primary Flight Closing Party “PLEASE STAND BY” from their own words: “RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or regret it for the rest of your stupid life” Saturday December 4th from 11:00 pm until really, really late – like 29 o’clock in the morning.
We are delighted to commence our fall season with a beautiful new title.
Wir freuen uns sehr mit diesem außergewöhnlich schönen Buch in den Herbst zu starten.
Muralismo Morte – The Rebirth of Muralism in Contemporary Urban Art reveals the vibrancy of a new type of muralism as it rises from the shadows of urban spaces in metropolises worldwide. From much celebrated pieces in prominent places to those hidden in anonymous, decayed ruins, it features the large-scale murals and small interventions of some of the most exciting international artists associated with this movement. Muralist and art activist Jens Besser uncovers these treasures and offers special insights into the emerging scene that is coloring our urban experience.
Artists/Künstler: Roa, Remed, Klub 7, Aec & Waone (Interesni Kazik), Blu, Os Gemeos, Escif, Jens Besser, BerlinBeamBoys, Sonice Development, 3ttman, Kain Logos and many more.
Muralismo Morte – The Rebirth of Muralism in Contemporary Urban Art, zeigt die Dynamik einer neuen Form der Wandmalerei, die seit einigen Jahren weltweit aus den Schatten der urbanen Räume der Metropolen hervor tritt. Von den gefeierten Arbeiten an prominenten Plätzen zu den anonymen Werken, versteckt in verfallenen Ruinen, bietet dieses Buch die großen Murals und kleinen Interventionen einiger der spannendsten internationalen Künstler dieser Bewegung. Muralist und Kunst-Aktivist Jens Besser deckt diese Kostbarkeiten auf und bietet einen tiefen Einblick in eine aufstrebende Szene, die unsere urbane Landschaft in neuen Farben zeichnet.
Take a look inside the book here!
Title: Muralismo Morte – The Rebirth of Muralism in Contemporary Urban Art
Author: Jens Besser
Pages: 200, color, ca. 300 Illustrations & photographs
Format: 28.5 x 21 cm (11.22 x 8.27 inches)
Language: English edition
Price Hardcover: 24.95 | £ 24.99 | US $ 34.95
ISBN Hardcover: 978-3-937946-29-0
Book Release / 1. October 2010!
Exhibition & Book release party / Common Ground Gallery / Berlin:
1.October 2010 / 7 pm-open end
Lecture / Buchvorstellung (Jens Besser): 8:30 pm
Live video performance BerlinBeamBoys
Common Ground Gallery / Hip Hop Stützpunkt
Marienburger Str. 16 A (Hinterhof)
10405 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg
Muralismo Morte Events Schedule:
for detailed information please check www.fromheretofame.com
1. October 2010 Berlin
Common Ground Gallery
Exhibition & Book release party / lecture by Jens Besser
7 10. October 2010 Berlin
Stroke.03 Urban Art Fair
Muralismo Morte lecture by Jens Besser & live painting by Roa, Sepe and Aryz (TBC)
27. October 2010 Dresden
Muralismo Morte lecture by Jens Besser
3. November 2010 Leipzig
Mzin Book Store
Muralismo Morte lecture by Jens Besser & exhibition
Working sunburned through the unforgiving Georgia heat and rain, the two international artists unified the wall by using the same vibrant colors; Ripo and Remed hand painted alternating letters in the two artists’ styles to spell out “Poem Rider,” an anagram of their two names.
It was amazing to watch them work, how they could eyeball off sections of the wall to make the letters even and create a wall with so much movement and depth by hand; they are both have amazing attention to detail and were able to see things that I was blind to. The artists utilized the entire wall, even manipulating an expired White Brothers Auto Parts sign for their signature. Ripo and Remed then continued to flow their artwork on to the adjacent wall, completely transforming the neglected area.