New York City is gradually opening up for business, and that includes art shows. Curator Robert Aloia has organized a small exhibition of graffiti writers including one of the few photographers who was there when the action was happening on the trains and in the yards during the 1970’s and 80’s, Martha Cooper. Martha has provided prints of her vintage photos that she took of the graffiti writers, Skeme and TKid decades ago when they were young and bombing the New York City subway trains. Skeme and Tkid are using the prints as canvases in a remix collaboration with Martha.
We stopped by the raw space which is serving as a pop-up gallery to give you a sneak peek of the exhibition while in the process of being installed. The lighting was not adjusted and not all the art pieces were yet framed or hung on the walls.
Mr. Aloia tells us that Snake 1, Terrible TKid, Olga, Martha Cooper, Kade198, and Skeme Originally slated for last year this show was manifested from the mind of graffiti writer Skeme to do a show where the artists were in charge. Some of the artists are working in the space to finish their works and for the first time ever Skeme, Tkid and Martha Cooper have signed prints of Martha’s photos of them.
This is the 6th event at the space- previously featuring art from Al Diaz, Queen Andrea, Janette Beckman. Todd James & Testify Books, Sue Kwon, Chris RWK, Dr. Revolt, Peter Paid, ASVP and JJ Veronis.
Mr. Aloia says, “The vibes at the space between the artists, myself, friends, and passersby have been so good we can’t wait to open to the public this Friday.”
We spoke with Robert Aloia, Skeme, and JJ Veronis briefly while they were preparing for the show.
BSA: How did you select such a diverse collection of artists across techniques genres and decades?
Robert Aloia: It was mainly SKEME’s idea and then we collaborated on who could be in it. So I’m going to give all the credit to him. I just helped edit the process
BSA: Does it feel like New York art culture is gradually waking up or did it never go to sleep?
Robert Aloia: I think for me it never went to sleep it’s the same for a lot of our collaborators and friends. And maybe to the general public it went to sleep a little bit. But it’s been vibrant – obviously during the beginning of lockdown it was dead for a little while.
JJ Veronis: Not for me. It’s been a great time for art and artists with all the boarded walls and everything – The legal and the illegal.
BSA: How do you feel about doing those remixes with Martha’s work now after all these years?
SKEME: Well I think they’re great. I feel like Dorian Gray, man, looking at all those photos we’re coming up on 40 years since some of these pictures were taken. My favorite of course is the one with me and TKid. Because now we’re both old and a little pudgy, you know, but I love the photo and the fact that we are able to come back and celebrate our friendship. Marty is always on the spot with the right photo, at the right time to catch the moment.
BSA: She has this uncanny ability to be at the right time at the right place.
SKEME: It’s not an accident. That’s what separates the great from the mediocre
BSA: Robert told me that you initiated this exhibition a show where the artists are in charge. What does that mean in this circumstance?
SKEME: The artist is always in charge. It’s up to the artist to bring the creation to the venue. Even if you have a curator, and of course a curator’s job is very important right, but if the artist doesn’t bring potential or good works – what is there for a curator to pick from? You know it’s a symbiotic relationship man but the artist is always in charge to some degree.
BSA: How do you know when you have reached the point where the work is finished?
SKEME: When it conveys what I’m trying to say. So this one, for example – when you look at this I want you to believe that the plane is flying. If you can look at it and believe that the plane is flying then I am done.
Outlaw Arts Presents: “S.T.O.C.K.S. & BOBMS” A Group Exhibition. 205 Allen St. New York City. May 14th -23rd.205 Allen St. L.E.S. Fridays 5-9 pm Saturdays & Sundays 1-6 pm.