All posts tagged: Richard Serra

Guggenheim Bilbao Impresses Outside and In

Guggenheim Bilbao Impresses Outside and In

Bilbao Spain is known for its Basque nationalism, its Basque football club, its pintxos and beer outside pubs in small streets, its Casco Viejo. It is also today closely identified with the Frank Gehry designed Guggenheim Museum, now opened just over two decades.

Guggenheim Bilbao (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For mysterious geopolitical, personal, and financial reasons, we have not seen this city since 1994 when the new museum was just being constructed, so amidst the organic graffiti/Street Art hunting and the Bilbao Arts District mural mapping, we knew that we had to get inside the undulating metal building that has become an audacious architectural landmark.

Not that there weren’t other intellectually stimulating exhibititions and programming on offer in this historic yet cosmopolitan northern Spanish city of a million just 10 miles south of the Bay of Biscay. At Azkuna Zentroa there currently are workshops and classes that introduce you to experimental music and sound art and there is a well-regarded ‘Culture Lab’ digital laboratory.

Guggenheim Bilbao (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Guggenheim Bilbao (photo © Jaime Rojo)

You can also check out Museo de Bellas Artes for a new exhibition that highlights the momentus cultural changes of 1968 and the five decades that followed as seen through the perspective of Basque art. Their permanent collection includes El Greco, Goya, Tapies, Mary Cassatt, Paul Gaugin and Francis Bacon.

Our own experience of the Guggenheim somehow felt more profound because of Gehry’s well respected visual vocabulary in the public expression of architecture as art. Over two days we made sure to take a personal stroll outside and inside to measure the experience.

Background, Arku Gorriak ARCOS ROJOS. Foreground, Louise Bourgeois. MAMA Guggenheim Bilbao (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The resulting personal observation is that being outside on the street, witnessing the buildings’ dialogue with its surroundings as well as its own powerful image along the Nervion River which runs through the city of Bilbao to the Cantabrian Sea, by far impressed us as visitors.

Perhaps it was because a few of the exhibitions inside were closed or being installed, perhaps because the current exhibition from VanGogh to Picasso felt incongruous with the superstructure, or because the galleries themselves sometimes overpower the art-viewing experience, but inside didn’t stand a chance against the experiencia afuerda.

Set aside the sprawling Richard Serra sculpture gallery with its slinging sloping slabs of rusting iron bending your very perception  – and the amazing soaring electronic text installation by Jenny Holzer. Both of those meet the challenge set by the outsized personality and promise of their common home.

Jeff Koons PUPPY Guggenheim Bilbao (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Here we present some of our visual impressions of the Guggenheim Bilbao experience, one that surely speaks to many of our readers – with gratitude to the museum and the city for their hospitality and inspiration.

Jeff Koons TULIPS Guggenheim Bilbao (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Nakaya Fujiko Escultura de Niebla No. 08025 (F.O.G.) Guggenheim Bilbao (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Guggenheim Bilbao (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Guggenheim Bilbao (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Guggenheim Bilbao (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Guggenheim Bilbao (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Richard Serra La Materia del Tiempo Guggenheim Bilbao (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Richard Serra La Materia del Tiempo Guggenheim Bilbao (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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The New Whitney Opens May 1 – “America Is Hard To See”

The New Whitney Opens May 1 – “America Is Hard To See”

The stunning new Whitney Museum opens tomorrow, May 1st, in the Meat Packing District of lower Manhattan and you will be overwhelmed to see the last 115 years or so of artistic expression in America on display for the exhibit “America Is Hard To See”. 400 artists of every discipline and many art movements during your life and your great grandparents are here – from film and video to painting and sculpture and new media and photography, from abstract, figurative, text based, landscapes, and our own visual jazz – abstract expressionism – you’ll be exhausted when you are through with this show.

You’ll also be energized by the sense of sheer possibility presented – and the amount of space and the many outdoor plaza views. This is a new jewel in New York, and you have discovered it.

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Donal Moffett. He Kills Me, 1987. The artist printed this poster and wheat pasted it on walls across New York City as a critique of President Reagan’s silence towards the AIDS epidemic. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We don’t get a new museum every day, but tomorrow you do, and it is rather spectacular to be privileged this way in this city of constant change. No matter your perspective, you will find the inaugural show to be vast. You are certain to like or disagree or applaud or dish with someone here, and it is all strangely American – Here is just a partial sampling of names showing about 600 works that should whet your appetite; Vito Acconci, Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Rory Arcangel, John Baldessari, Mathew Barney, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louise Bourgeois, Paul Cadmus, Alexander Calder, Chuck Close, Imogen Cunningham, Willem de Kooning, Mark di Suvero, Elsie Driggs, William Eggleston, Anna Gaskell, Milton Glaser, Nan Goldin, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, George Grosz, Keith Haring, Eva Hesse, Edward Hopper, Robert Indiana, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Mike Kelley, Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Louise Lawler, Sherrie Levine, Sol LeWitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Rober Mapplethorpe, Gordon Matta-Clark, Paul McCarthy, Joan Mitchell, Donal Moffett, Louise Nevelson, Georgia O’Keefe, Jose Clemente Orozco, Nam June Paik, Jackon Pollock, Richard Prince, Christina Ramberg, Robert Raushenberg, Hans Richter, Mark Rothko, Edward Ruscha, David Salle, Dread Scott, Richard Serra, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, Kiki Smith, Frank Stella, Hedda Sterne, Alfred Stieglitz, Rirkrit Tiravanjia, Anne Truit, Cy Twombly, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol, Weegee, William Wegman, Gertude Vanderbuilt Whitney, David Wojnarowicz, Francesca Woodman, Andrew Wyeth.

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Barbara Kruger. Untitled. (We Don’t Need Another Hero), 1987. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

You’ll look through that list and want to add some of your own of course, everyone does. Despite the revered Biennial which periodically bowls you over with new talent, some still find that there are not enough of certain social groups represented, and that is probably fair.

We find it somewhat alarming that 50+ years of graffiti and street art is only minimally represented here –  especially when it has become one of the hugely praised cultural exports to cities around the world and it is highly collected and ever-more auctioned. Talk about American! New York is considered a birthplace for the urban art scene and we can recommend a short list of these artists who are daily defining a new contemporary art for serious consideration. Yes this show has Haring, Basquiat, Kruger – acknowledged. But a great deal has happened in the last two decades. Maybe now that formally trained artists are frequently killing it on the streets in the 2000s and 2010s we will see more of these names included as part of the American story in the future. In fact, there is no doubt.

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Glenn Ligon. Ruckenfigure, 2009 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The striking new modern home by Renzo Piano is twice the size of the old one and some of the views from the museum of this city that you love may rob your attention briefly from the art displayed inside. The inaugural show up until September is called America is Hard to See, and at $22 a ticket, so is the new Whitney Museum of American Art. That price may not seem like much when you consider it would get you four hours rent in a market rate one-bedroom in this neighborhood. But in a city where workers are fighting for a $15 minimum wage we’d like to see it accessible to more New Yorkers as it is the preeminent institution devoted to the art of the United States. Just had to say it. Hopefully they will find a way to institute frequent “pay what you want” nights, and to be fair, students get in FREE every day.

But this is your museum, and we hope you add your voice to the discussion.

Meanwhile, join us as we say “Welcome to the New Whitney!”

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George Segal. Walk, Don’t Walk, 1976 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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George Segal. Walk, Don’t Walk, 1976 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Christopher Wool. Untitled, 1990 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Edward Ruscha. Large Trademark with Eight Spotlights, 1962 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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John Baldessari. An Artist Is Not Merely the Slavish Announcer, 1966-68 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Mike Kelly. More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid and The Wages of Sin, 1987 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lee Krasner. The Seasons, 1957 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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From left to right: Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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General view of one of the galleries. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Mary Heilmann. Sunset, detail. Site specific installation. 2015 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The back yard. The view from the back of the building. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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

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Images Of The Week: 03.02.14

Images Of The Week: 03.02.14

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Our piece on the visiting guests from Afghanistan got a lot of attention this week, as well as the Kiev sculpture by Roti, perhaps because of the ongoing powder keg in Ukraine. It is as if global interest in the power of art to affect change is in the air — we feel like we can sense a new sort of activism afoot. Or should we say #ACTIVISM ?

Meanwhile the small idiosyncratic hand-made pieces are starting to show up again in New York after a relative quiet that was enforced by the cold and snow, which both have melted. Oh, wait, another storm is coming tonight. (!) If we find that ground hog he is going to get a smack.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Ainac, DOA, EC13, Geppetto, Lambros, Mr. Toll, Olek, Richard Serra, and Tripel.

Top Image >> Olek on a fence. “Whateverrr” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Mr. Toll (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lambros (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ainac (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Don’t just sit there. Get her back! Ainac (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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EC13. “Life Water”. Installation with porcelain tiles. Detail. in Granada, Spain.  (photo © Carlos Rueda Parra)

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EC13. “Life Water” Granada, Spain. (photo © Carlos Rueda Parra)

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The louder you say that, the more we wonder. Tripel references the great and terribly Tricky Dick Nixon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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Tripel and DOA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Geppetto (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Geppetto (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Richard Serra Sighting No. 1.
As admirers of this modern master sculptor we were treated to this sight on Manhattan streets. Usually you can only appreciate his work under heavy scrutiny from security guards, and probably no photos are allowed. So to see these sculptures on the streets and in transportation was what you call a New York Minute. Not exactly Street Art but definitely art on the street. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Richard Serra Sighting No. 2 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Untitled. Movie Set. Brooklyn Navy Yard. February 2014. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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

Still way off the beaten path, and captivatingly so, New York’s 2nd annual Nuit Blanche overcame difficult weather and logistical hurdles to blind a few thousand revelers with brilliance and interactivity in this waterfront industrial neighborhood facing Manhattan. This festival of ingenius light is inspired by those sharing it’s name in cities like Paris and Toronto, but the D.I.Y. ethos that permeated Brooklyn during the 2000s in neighborhoods like this keeps the corporate chill at bay.

brooklyn-street-art-jaime-rojo-bring-to-light-nuit-blanche-new-york-10-2011-web-1Untitled (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Performance, poetry, projections; the description does no justice to the ingenuity of spectacular pieces like Chris Jordan’s timelapse of Hurricane Irene hitting Manhattan projected inside a cloud named Bob that is designed by Columbia architecture students. Only in person, on the street, and in the cold October air can you be suitably shocked by the sight of yourself crawling up a factory building with a hundred others going at different rates. “Asalto”, by Daniel Canogar does just that; a public participation piece where you can crawl across a stage being recorded by a camera overhead and a few seconds later see yourself climbing to the top of this abandoned factory, progressive participants looping and layering as the evening advances.

The Manhattan art crowd may have been lured by the new ferry service and the promise of the occasional marquee name (Serra, Wodiczko), but it’s the unposing open quality of this curated installation of light that still feels promisingly ad hoc. While you’re discovering and rooting for it to succeed, you hope it retains the radiant wit as it grows. Glows

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Richard Serra, 1968. “Hand Catching Lead” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Marcos Zotes-Lopez (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Daniel Canogar (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Daniel Canogar (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Chakaia Booker (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Alex Villar (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Amanda Long (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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POEMobile (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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POEMobile (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Chika Lijima (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Chris Jordan, Shai Fuller, Jocelyn Oppenheim, Jacob Segal and Brycia Suite. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Untitled (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jeff Desom take on Rear Window (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nathan Kensinger description of lost interiors consumed by fire.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Organelle Design and Elliot-Goodman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Krzysztof Wodiczko (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Andrea Cuius and Roland Ellis (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Diller Scofidio (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Untitled (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sean McIntyre and Reid Bingham (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ugly Art Room (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Valeska Soares (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Elisabeth Smolarz (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This article was previously posted on The Huffington Post.

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Electric Windows: Thundercut and Street Art in “North Brooklyn”

Electric Windows: Thundercut and Street Art in “North Brooklyn”

Together with new neighbors and old friends from back in the city Thundercut are steadily creating a cultural festival built around one of their first loves: Street Art.

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The Street Art couple known as Thundercut are not the first Brooklyn artists to head to Beacon, New York, a picturesque phoenix on the Hudson River 59 miles north of Grand Central Station. Kalene Rivers and Dan Weise are just two of the most visionary and fun to talk with.

Once a town known for it’s hat making, Beacon (pop. 16,000) had a reputation as a sketchy drug and crime ridden place when Dan and Kalene were growing up in the Hudson Valley during the 80s and 90s. When the Dia Arts Foundation (also of Dia:Chelsea in Manhattan) renovated a 34,000 sf former factory in Beacon to create Dia:Beacon and to house a collection of Warhol paintings, hulking Richard Serra sculptures, and fluorescent Dan Flavin monuments, among other post 1960 art, interest grew in the town and an artist community largely from New York began to blossom. Many of the original artists who had brought a bohemian caché to rundown neighborhoods like Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Red Hook in Brooklyn relocated to Beacon as their neighborhoods blanded in the mid 2000s. Much like those original artist enclaves, Beacon has become home to artist collectives, house parties, and experimentation.

Tina Darling poses in front of her work at Electric Windows (all photos courtesy and copyright of Thundercut)

Tina Darling poses in front of her work at Electric Windows (all photos courtesy and copyright of Thundercut)

While DIA was an important catalyst when it opened in 2003, Dan says the new residents brought a creative community that grew organically in it’s own direction.

“The people that have moved here have a very DIY spirit and have created something very special that continues to reinvent itself each year,” says Dan. In addition to Dan and Kalene opening their own gallery, Open Space, which shows fine art by many friends and artists in the street art scene, they recount inititiatives by neighbors who organize live concerts, have annual open studio events, host drawing nights at home, and began non-art related groups like soccer and ping pong clubs. Open Space itself has hosted a series of comedy nights that play to packed houses.

Says Dan, “If someone sees something missing in the community, they try to make it happen.”

Begun as a place to house their graphic design business, Open Space took root as a gallery and a community gathering spot. Explains Kalene, “We are both very passionate about giving something back to the community, from bringing new artists to show in the gallery, to organizing events like Electric Windows, these are things that we think are great and we are excited to share them with the town.”

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Which brings us to the third year of Electric Windows, a project that fills the eyes of a moribund electric blanket factory with new canvasses painted live on the street by artists while the public mills about. Now in it’s third year, with thirty artists, three buildings and live performances, EW is organized with their neighbors Jon Miles, Jeff Ashey and Nicole Romano.  With support from the mayor, a grant from the county arts council, donations from businesses of supplies and money, and even neighbors who are opening their homes to house the visiting artists, Electric Windows is thoroughly a community celebrating the creative spirit and the talent of Street Artists. The artists are traveling from Australia, Portland, San Francisco, St Louis, Milwaukee, New Jersey, and of course, Brooklyn without compensation and are all doing it for the love of the project.

Thundercut at work against a backdrop of lush Hudson Valley trees (© Thundercut)

Thundercut at work against a backdrop of lush Hudson Valley trees (© Thundercut)

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Brooklyn Street Art: How did the Electric Windows project first develop?
Dan Weise:
The Electric Windows building is what we see when we look out of the windows of Open Space. It is a beautiful turn-of-the-century factory building which, when we first got the space, still had the partially broken glass windows in the frames. It was a postcard for urban decay and having just moved up from Brooklyn, felt like home. Shortly after we opened the gallery, the owner removed all the glass and installed grey plywood window protection in its place. This was far from an improvement in our opinion, so we started discussing what could be done to bring life back to the building. This is when we began seriously talking about the idea of “Electric Windows”.

Our neighbors at the time, an art store named Burlock Home, really loved the idea and were on board to help make it happen. The four of us teamed up and put the whole project together in three months.

Elbow Toe returns this year to Electric Windows (© Thundercut)

Brooklyn Street Artist Elbow Toe returns this year to Electric Windows (© Thundercut)

BSA: This year features 3 buildings, instead of one.  Do you have enough artists?
Kalene Rivers:
We are excited about expanding the project to include more locations in the same area and all surfaces are accounted for. Everyday we think about how lucky we are to know so many incredibly talented artists and we just keep meeting more and more. Not only are they talented but they are amazing friends willing to donate their time and talents to events like Electric Windows for the love of making art and supporting positive projects.

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BSA: Street Art is normally associated with large metropolitan areas. How does Beacon fit in to the equation?
Dan:
Historically, Beacon was a town of manufacturing and the evidence still remains. There are some really phenomenal factories here in town, some vacant, some in the process of renovations and others like the Nabisco Factory, which now houses DIA, have been transformed into something new. I think this helps bring a bit of an urban feel to a quaint little upstate town. Also, when we moved up here we realized that not many people even knew about Street Art. This being the something that we are both very passionate about we wanted to open the gallery and share this world with people beyond the Bronx. Open Space Gallery was formed, Electric Windows was conceived, and slowly the infiltration has begun!

Alison from PMP shows kids how to screenprint (© Thundercut)

Alison from PMP shows kids how to screenprint (© Thundercut)

BSA: Would you say most of these artists are Street Artists? Or are there also graffiti artists, fine artists….
Kalene:
I would say that most of the artists are Street Artists but there certainly is a good group of graffiti and fine artists in the mix. Of course the first people we think to invite to the project are friends. Being involved in the Street Art scene for seven years means that these are the people we know best. However, it is wonderful to work with a variety of people from different backgrounds. The artists have to be able to paint big and fast so our selection of qualified participants is pretty limited to a certain kind of artist.

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BSA: What’s your favorite part of the event?
Dan:
Well, after we stress out for months planning and trying to take care of all the details, it is great to look up and see it all in action. Music filling the air, fumes wafting by, people admiring the amazing murals being created, children laughing and dancing. That is when it feels like it has all been worth it. But the event is just the beginning once the crowds leave and the art has been installed the projects gives back to the community, to visitors and to us each and every day.

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Returning Artists for Electric Windows: Buxtonia, BoogieRez, Chris Stain, Depoe, Elbow Toe, Mr Kiji, Michael De Feo, Peat Wollaeger, Rick Price, Ron English

New Artists for 2010: Big Foot, Cern, Chor Boogie, Chris Yormick, Elia Gurna, Erick Otto, Eugene Good, Faust, Gaia, Joe Iurato, Kid Zoom, Logan Hicks, Lotem & Aviv, Paper Monster, Ryan Bubnis, Ryan Williams, Skewville, Thundercut

Daryll Peirce at Electric Windows (photo © Thundercut)

Daryll Peirce at Electric Windows (photo © Thundercut)

This year’s event, which includes two days of preparation by the artists, a one-day exhibition and street fair, music and dancing by M*POWER ELITE TEAM, live screen printing by Buxtonia, and an Open Space after-party, is expected to draw approximately 5,000 people to Beacon’s Main Street corridor.

The line-up of live music at ELECTRIC WINDOWS includes: Ben Neill, Aabaraki, Hart Costa, DJ Birds in the Building, DJ Bobby Collins, DJ Krisis, Dr. Ambassador, Gold Monkey, and Scambler Seequill.

See Chor Boogie's "Romanticism" and other works by Electric Windows at Open Space online by clicking this picture.

See Chor Boogie’s “Romanticism” and other works by Electric Windows artists at Open Space online by clicking this picture.

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Electric Windows Beacon

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Royce and ELC Workin’ in a Combine

Royce and ELC Workin’ in a Combine

112 Greene Street Revived by Street Artists

Like Obama says, we’ve got work to do, people.

Royce Bannon and a diverse team of talented street artist/graff writers are taking the challenge seriously: Revive the artists’ space in Soho that boasts a proud history and restore it to the constructive, collaborative, democratic roots of a real artists’ community; one that will have a mission of giving back, as well as re-establishing a laboratory for discovery.

These are times for bold actions of hope, and all hands are on deck for a show opening this month called “Work to Do” at 112 Greene Street in Soho, a place that first flourished in the years before the Reagan Revolution.

A Monstrous Welcome to a New Era for 112 Greene Street (Royce Bannon)

A Monstrous Welcome to a New Era for 112 Greene Street (Royce Bannon)

Long before Soho became a jewel encrusted haven for high-end couture, over-priced “foodie” groceries, hi-jacking delis, and exclusive password private clubs, the wild-eyed artists were the only people interested in the abandoned buildings south of Houston, and north of Canal. In the decade of the 1970’s, during a financial crisis when a Republican president told our bankrupt city to “drop dead”, that he would veto any bailout for a cash-strapped NYC economy, Soho was a largely abandoned carcass of warehouses and lifeless factories. As is so often the case, it was the perfect playground for the innovative talents of artists and art students needing cheap raw space to create and coalesce and eventually re-start the engine of cultural growth. Like the Williamsburg/Greenpoint/Bushwick neighborhoods in Brooklyn today, Soho in Manhattan was a pounding heart in a hurting city that was drained by an energy crisis, sapped by a costly possibly illegal war on foreign soil, and duped by the ponzi-schemes of corporate titan opportunists at home.

112 Greene Street in Soho was the original home of 112 Workshop, a raw space open between 1970 and 1980, offering exhibition space for installation and performance for the new generation of conceptual artists who emerged from the radicalized minds and cultural upheavals of the previous decade.

With artists having complete control to curate their shows, the space put on challenging and inspirational work of hundreds of people. During the life of this laboratory it produced a list of influential performers and artists that helped shape the cultural cityscape over next 30 years, including names like Vito Acconci, Laurie Anderson, Joseph Beuys, Louis Bourgois, Chuck Close, Spalding Gray, Phillip Glass, Fran Lebowitz, Jeffrey Lew (co-founder), Gordon Matta Clarke (co-founder), Richard Mock, Richard Serra, William Wegman.

A spirit of collaboration and lively exploration returns to this space on March 26 when street artists well known in North Brooklyn today clear out the moribund basement space at 112 Greene and electrify the walls with a new era of youthful big ideas – and with thanks to those who came before in this hallowed space.

Royce Bannon, core member of the collective ELC (Endless Love Crew), is curating an audacious and boundless graphic cavalcade of street art styles to christen the historic space that honors the creative spirit. While ELC has a rotating roster that sometimes totals as many as 9 artists with a variety of styles, the currently active members of the ELC for this project will be Abe Lincoln Jr., Anera, El Celso, infinity, and Royce Bannon. With everyone working collaboratively, the “Work to Do” show pays homage to the new president and embraces a new reality that artists and creatives in the city are feeling right now.

The 112 Greene Street space is christened The Combine with this inaugural show. Steve Loeb and John Robie are creating The Combine to provide a new environment for the exhibition of art; an alternative to the traditional gallery opening and exhibition, transforming static work into multi-media, performance oriented events.

Detail from Kosbe at "Work to Do" (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Detail from Kosbe at “Work to Do” (photo Steven P. Harrington)

On a recent sunny Saturday, with Soho sidewalks anxiously trampled with tourists dragging shopping bags out of Prada, Dean & Deluca, and the Apple store, Royce and Chris from Robots Will Kill are laboring below street level on work for the new show. Descending the stairway you hear the blasting remixed hip-hop jams, see the spray-painted names along the walls claiming space for pieces; Ad Deville of Skewville and U.L.M. have staked their real estate, as has Cake and the Smart Crew. Others have already created pieces on their wall allotment; a 7 foot tall Mochni from Veng on the landing, a chaotic collage from Kosbe as you hit the floor, a manic back wall collaboration with Deekers, infinity, and Celso.

A complete history of 112 Workshop

A complete history of 112 Workshop

Royce sits at his makeshift table of plywood and saw-horses, pouring over a large book about 112 Workshop, marking its’ pages with post-its, and eyeballing every available inch of the entire basement space, thinking about how to fill it, and with whom. His phone keeps ringing, but he’s concentrating on the long rectangular room. He’s loving this moment, and proud of the work his friends have put into the space. Chris from RWK climbs a ladder to lay-in the first wash of color that will build the backing of… perhaps a robot?

Did you hear the new one about Octomom? (Royce Bannon, Dain, and Avoid Pi) (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Did you hear the new one about Octomom? (Royce Bannon, Dain, and AVOID Pi) (photo Steven P. Harrington)

The mottled concrete floor is marked with blue tape where a stage will be built for Afrika Bambaataa and Soulsonic Force on opening night, and the backdrop wall is already claimed by an undulating AVOID Pi tentacle, some Dain wheatpasted portraits that well up with fluorescent tears, and some smart-aleck monsters from Mr. Bannon himself, and a space remains for Abe Lincoln Jr.. Walk past a stack of plywood into a makeshift rectangular “gallery” room where many 3’ x 8’ foamcore canvasses lean – soon to showcase Deekers, infinity, Celso, and Royce pieces and hung in the windows of a music store further north of here.

Brooklyn Street Art: So who decided to put on this show?
Royce Bannon: Steven Loeb (composer, arranger, producer) and John Robie (composer, musician and record producer). They both have really extensive resumes in the music industry that go back to the 70’s – have worked with so many great musicians and artists that have impacted most of us – Kurtis Blow, Public Enemy, James Brown, LL Cool J… and a lot more. This is their space, and they’ve given me full control to make this show rock.

This is how we do it (Chris from Robots Will Kill) (photo Steven P. Harrington)

This is how we do it (Chris from Robots Will Kill) (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Brooklyn Street Art: How did you get involved?
Royce Bannon: They hit me up on MySpace about a year ago, I guess. They knew about ELC and liked our work. About November or December they asked me if we could throw an ELC show and I was like “Sure!” We got together and had lunch and they showed me the space. It was a mess when I saw it. It was full of a bunch of wood, tables, broken furniture, junk… it was basically used for storage, hadn’t been used for anything I guess for years.

Brooklyn Street Art: Are they planning to use the space after the show?
Royce Bannon: Yeah, they are turning it into an event center, mainly for charitable events. They want to make money, but they want to give back as well. This will be the first kind of event that is following that approach.

Brooklyn Street Art: So they first contacted you to do an ELC show, but you actually know a lot more people who can do work in a space like this.
Royce Bannon: Yeah exactly, they were like “we like ELC” and I said, “This is a lot of room to fill for just ELC, so why not invite people who I admire, and some of their friends and we can just crush this whole place up?”

Cake waits for friends from her Crew (Cake) (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Waiting for the Smart Crew (Cake) (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Brooklyn Street Art: Have you had to tell people “no” since this roster started filling up?
Royce Bannon: Yes, (laughs) I’ve been telling people “no” a lot, and that’s really hard. What I’ve been telling them is to hold on, and once everybody paints, there will be other smaller or tight spots where they can do “fill-ins’, cause some people like those smaller spots too.

Brooklyn Street Art: Looking at this giant space, you are giving people a lot of real estate; these spaces look like 8’ by 8’ chunks of wall. That’s pretty generous.
Royce Bannon: Yeah definitely, why not? The spaces are claimed, and we’ve got lots more space to do, and about a third of it is done already.

Brooklyn Street Art: Are people excited to be in the show?
Royce Bannon: Yeah, very excited, I think it’s gonna be like a madhouse in here. It’s about 4,000 square feet floorspace.

This place is Smokin'! (detail from Kosbe) (photo Steven P. Harrington)

This place is Smokin’ ! (detail from Kosbe) (photo Steven P. Harrington)

Brooklyn Street Art: You have been working long hours to accommodate all these artists?
Royce Bannon: Yeah, since mid-January I’ve been here like 12 hour days, sometimes late at night. First we had to clean up the space, figure out what materials we wanted to keep. We’re using everything they had left here and re-purposing it, cause “why not”. Better than throwing it away. Like my monsters are cut out of some bookshelves (laughs). They’ve been supplying us with whatever tools we need, gave us a bunch of paint. So with extras, like ladders and tools, I just go to them and we can get to work. They are really supportive of us, plus they’re collectors.

Brooklyn Street Art: So some of the artwork is going to be on sale?
Royce Bannon: Yes, I think some of the people are going to actually put their artwork on top of their pieces. We’re going to make a little gallery (gesturing to a 10’x 14’ room) – I think some people are going to put their stuff in there. We’re going to cover the floor, I think, in fake grass… brighten the space up a little bit. But we still got a lot of work to do.

***********************

In planning for the new show, Royce and all of the artists have been inspired by the words of the 44th president:

“In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility – a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task. It has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things – some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up.

For more info on ELC and its members:
ELC
Royce Bannon
infinity
El Celso
Abe Lincoln Jr.
AnerA

So far the lineup for the show includes: Endless Love Crew, Moody AA, Cabahzm, Cake, 2Easae, Avone, Chris RWK, Veng RWK, Brando * Nev1 * Sinatra Smart Crew, AVOID pi, infinity, Deeker, Keeley, El Celso, Dain, Pufferella, Skewville, Royce Bannon, AnerA, Abe Lincoln Jr., Ellis Gallagher AKA Ellis G., Matt Siren, Overconsumer, Kosbe, Aiko, Abby Goodman, Alone art, Bast, Ben Jackson, Bobby Hill, Buildmore, C. Damage, Chris Brennan, Christopher Gordon, Dark Clouds, Deeker, Destroy and Rebuild, Erica Faulke, Keely, Pufferella, OHM, Smells, Stikman, U.L.M.

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