All posts tagged: Roger Gastman

BSA HOT LIST 2021: Books For Your Gift Giving

BSA HOT LIST 2021: Books For Your Gift Giving

It’s that time of the year again! BSA has been publishing our “Hot Lists” and best-of collections for more than 11 years every December.

Our interests and understanding and network of connections continued to spread far afield this year, and you probably can tell it just by the books we featured: stickers, illustration, murals, copyright law, a cross-country spraycation, anamorphic street installation, Hip-Hop photography, graffiti writers community, and a lockdown project that kept an artists sanity.

So here is a short list from 2021 that you may enjoy as well – just in case you would like to give them as gifts to family, friends, or even to yourself.

Leon Keer: “Break Glass In Case Of Lost Childhood”

From BSA:

One of the challenges in creating a book about anamorphic art is presenting images that tell the viewer that they are being tricked by perspective yet hold onto the magic that this unique art conjures in people who walk by it on the street.

In a way, that brass skeleton key that allows entry into another world is precisely what Dutch pop-surrealist artist Leon Keer has been seeking for decades to evoke in viewers’ heads and hearts. Some would argue he is preeminently such; certainly, he is the wizard whose work on walls and streets has triggered memories for thousands of children and ex-children of the fantastic worlds they have visited.

“You develop your senses all your life. Through what you experience, you involve affinities and aversions,” he says in his first comprehensive bound collection of gorgeous plates entitled In Case of Lost Childhood Break Glass. “Your memories shape the way you look at the world. When it comes to reflecting my thoughts, my memories are key. I needed to feel some kind of affection or remorse towards the object or situation I want to paint.”

Leon Keer. “Break Glass In Case Of Lost Childhood”. Published by Lannoo Publishers, Belgium, 2020

Street Art Today 2 by Bjorn Van Poucke: An Update on 50 “Most Relevant” Artists

From BSA:

A worthy companion to the original tome, Bjørn Van Poucke and Lanoo publishers extend the hitlist of favored muralists that he & Elise Luong began in Street art/ Today 1 – and the collection is updated perhaps with the perceived cultural capital many of these artists have garnered since then.

Replete with full-color plates from the artists’ own collections and garnished with brief overviews of their histories, creative background, and philosophies, the well-designed and modern layout functions as an introduction for those unfamiliar with the wide variety of artworks that are currently spread across city walls as large scale opus artworks in public space. As organizer and curator of The Crystal Ship mural festival in Oostende, Belgium, Mr. Van Poucke has had his pick of the litter and has showcased them during the late twenty-teens.

Street Art Today 2: The 50 most influential street artists working today. By Bjorn Van Poucke. Published by Lannoo Publishers, Belgium.

WAONE Opens Monochrome “Worlds Of Phantasmagoria”

From BSA:

A new illustrated tome capturing the black and white work of one-half of Ukraine’s mural painting duo Interesni Kazki welcomes you into the past wonders and future imaginings of a world framed in “Phantasmagoria.”

Full of monochromatic fantasies at least partially inspired by the worlds unleashed by Belgian inventor and physicist Étienne-Gaspard “Robertson” Robert, Waone’s own interior expanding fantascope of miss-appended demons, dragon slayers, riddle-speaking botanicals, and mythological heroes may borrow as deeply from his father’s Soviet natural science magazines that brimmed with hand-painted illustrations – which served as his education and entertainment as a child.

This book, the first of two volumes of graphic works, explores Waone’s move from the street into the studio, from full color into black and white, from aerosol and brush to etching, lithography, augmented reality, and sculpting.

“Worlds Of Phantasmagoria” By WAONE Interesni Kazki. Vol. 1. Graphic Works 2013-2020. Wawe Publishers.

“Closed (In) for Inventory”: FKDL Makes the Most of His Confinement, 10 Items at a Time

From BSA:

The world is slowly making movements toward the door as if to go outside and begin living again in a manner to which we had been accustomed before COVID made many of us become shut-ins. Parisian street artist FKDL was no exception, afraid for his health. However, he does have a very attractively feathered nest, so he made the best of his time creating.

“March 17, 2020, the unprecedented experience of confinement begins in France,” writes Camille Berthelot in the introduction to Closed (in) for Inventory, “Time that usually goes so fast turns into a space of freedom, and everyone has the leisure or the obligation to devote himself to the unexpected.”

FKDL quickly began a project daily, sorting and assembling 10 items and photographing them. He posted them to his Instagram by mid-day. Eventually, he saved the photographed compositions together and created this book.  

“My duty of tidying up and sorting out turned into a daily challenge. I dove like a child into the big toybox my apartment is to select and share my strange objects, my banalities, my memories, my creations, and those of others,” he writes. “I gather these treasures, valuables or not, in search of harmony of subject, forms, materials, and nuances.”

(EN)FERME POUR INVENTAIRE by Les Editions Franck Duval. Paris, France.

“Unsmashed” A Street Art Sticker “Field Guide”

From BSA:

The street sticker, be it ever so humble and diminutive, is profligate and sometimes even inspiring. An amalgamated scene that is anonymous, yet curiously stuck together, the organizers and sponsors of so-called sticker jams have been overwhelmed in recent years by thousands of participants.

Artist and organizer IWILLNOT has compiled, organized, archived, and preserved this collection as a ‘field guide,’ he says, and another artist named Cheer Up has laid out page after page. It is a global cross-sample from 60 countries and a thousand artists – a treasure trove of the witty, insightful, snotty, and sometimes antisocial street bards of the moment, seizing their moment to speak and mark territory.

UNSMASHED: A Street Art Sticker Field Guide. Compiled by IWILLNOT, Designed by Cheer Up. A Collection of 1,229 full color sticker designs by 1,000 artists from more than 60 countries. Published by IWLLNOT and Cheer Up. December 2020.

MOMO Leaves His “Parting Line”

From BSA:

A year after its close, we open the book on American street artist MOMO’s new book chronicling the exhibition “Parting Line.” Writing about and covering his work for 15 years or so, we’re always pleased to see where his path has led – never surprised but always pleased with his evolution of decoding the lines, textures, practices, serendipity of discoveries unearthed by this wandering interrogator.

Here, along the river Seine banks, we see his exhibition for the still young Hangar 107, the recently inaugurated Center For Contemporary Art in Rouen, France. While we think of his work in New York in the 2000s, we see the steady progression here – his cloud washes, raking patterns, his experimental, experiential zeal. This is the spirit of DIY that we first fell in love with, the lust for uncovering and the desire for making marks unlike others across the cityscape, quizzically folding and unfolding, pulling the string, drawing the line.

MOMO “Parting Line”. Hangar 107. Edited by Christian Omodeo – Le Grand Ju. Published by Hangar 107. Rouen, France. 2020.

“Born In The Bronx” Expanded: Joe Conzo’s Intuitive Eye on Early Hip Hop

From BSA:

Born in the Bronx: A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip Hop

Yes, Yes, Y’all, it’s been a decade since this volume, “Born in the Bronx,” was released. The images here by photographer Joe Conzo seem even more deeply soaked in the amber light of early Hip Hop culture from the late 1970s and early 80s, now taking on a deepened sense of the historical.

As the city and the original players of this story have evolved through the decades that followed the nascent Hip Hop era, it’s clearer than ever that this was nothing less than a full-force eruption, a revelation that cracked and shook and rocket-fueled an entire culture. Thanks to Conzo it was captured and preserved, not likely to be repeated.

Born in the Bronx is full of gems, insider observations, interviews, and personal hand-drawn artworks. One critical cornerstone is a timeline from Jeff Chang that begins in 1963 as the boastful but failed Urban Planner Robert Moses constructed the Cross Bronx Expressway – painfully destroying and displacing people and families, severing culturally significant, vibrant areas of the borough and producing a dangerous malaise.

BORN IN THE BRONX: A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip Hop. Expanded edition published in 2020 by 1xRUN with support from ROCK THE BELLS & BEYOND THE STREETS. Detroit, MI. 2020.

Enrico Bonadio: Protecting Art in the Street

From BSA:

Enrico Bonadio is a contributor to BSA Writer’s Bench OpEd column, he is a Reader in Intellectual Property Law at City, University of London, and a street and graffiti art aficionado. His current research agenda focuses on the legal protection of non-conventional forms of creativity. He recently edited the Cambridge Handbook of Copyright in Street Art and Graffiti (Cambridge University Press 2019) and Non-Conventional Copyright – Do New and Atypical Works Deserve Protection? (Elgar 2018). He is currently working on his monograph Penetration of Copyright into Street Art and Graffiti Sub-Cultures (Brill, expected 2022).

Enrico is a Member of the Editorial Board of the NUART Journal, which publishes provocative and critical writings on a range of topics relating to street art practice and urban art cultures.

His academic research has been covered by CNN, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, BBC, Washington Post, The New York Times, Financial Times. Reuters, The Guardian, The Times, Independent, and The Conversation, amongst other media outlets.

Enrico’s current title is Protecting Art in the Street: A Guide to Copyright in Street Art and Graffiti (Dokument Press), with a foreword by Zephyr

A “Gentle People” Aussie Tour: Paint, Fun, and Run with 1UP & Olf

From BSA:

It’s almost sublimely subversive to publish your illegal graffiti escapades in a handsomely bound photo book with creamy paper stock and gauzy, professional photos. Positioned as a travelogue across the great Australian continent (complete with a hand-drawn map), the international troupe of sprayers named 1UP from Germany provides a genteel accounting of their expansive itinerary in a diary here for you, dear reader.

The stories are not without surprise and carefully touch on all the necessary road trip tropes you may wish for but cannot be assured of in a cross-country graffiti tale of skylarking and aesthetic destruction: angry rural police, security cameras, sleeping in rolled-up carpets, fancy receptions with Aperol Spritz, climbing over fences, sudden fire extinguisher tags, exploding paint cans, smoky wildfires, beaches, wallabies, long never-ending-stretches of road, the Sydney Harbor, an emergency-brake whole-car in Melbourne, and yes, a large kangaroo smashing into your car on a darkened country path.

PAINT, FUN, RUN, 1UP & OLF: GENTLE PEOPLE TOUR. 1UP CREW BERLIN. PRINTED AND BOUND IN GERMANY

“Nation Of Graffiti Artists” Opens Another Chapter of NYC Writer History

From BSA:

SCORPIO, BLOOD TEA, ALI, STAN 153, SAL 161, CLIFF 159. It was the mid to late 70s in New York and train writing was in its foundational stages, later to be referred to as legendary. For a modest crew of teenagers, it was the hypest stage you could be on, and going all city constructed many dreams of fame and recognition on the street.

Jack Pelsinger wanted to help shepherd these talents and energies into something they could develop into a future, maybe a profession. With a lease on a storefront from the city for a dollar in 1974, he made way for the Nation of Graffiti Artists (NOGA). An artists workshop and haven for a creative community that was regularly sidelined or overlooked, the author of this new volume, Chris Pape (acclaimed OG Freedom), says “Like moths drawn to a light, the kids showed up, hundreds of them.”

With extraordinary photos shot by Michael Lawrence, the book serves as a true document for the New York of that moment and opens doors to a chapter of graffiti history you may not even have known of until now.

NATION OF GRAFFITI ARTISTS, NYC. WRITTEN BY CHRIS PAPE WITH PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL LAWRENCE. PUBLISHED BY BEYOND THE STREETS, 2021.

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“Nation Of Graffiti Artists” Opens Another Chapter of NYC Writer History

“Nation Of Graffiti Artists” Opens Another Chapter of NYC Writer History

SCORPIO, BLOOD TEA, ALI, STAN 153, SAL 161, CLIFF 159. It was the mid to late 70s in New York and train writing was in its foundational stages, later to be referred to as legendary. For a modest crew of teenagers, it was the hypest stage you could be on, and going all city constructed many dreams of fame and recognition on the street.

Jack Pelsinger wanted to help shepherd these talents and energies into something they could develop into a future, maybe a profession. With a lease on a storefront from the city for a dollar in 1974, he made way for the Nation of Graffiti Artists (NOGA). An artists workshop and haven for a creative community that was regularly sidelined or overlooked, the author of this new volume, Chris Pape (acclaimed OG Freedom), says “Like moths drawn to a light, the kids showed up, hundreds of them.”

With extraordinary photos shot by Michael Lawrence, the book serves as a true document for the New York of that moment and opens doors to a chapter of graffiti history you may not even have known of until now.

NATION OF GRAFFITI ARTISTS, NYC. WRITTEN BY CHRIS PAPE WITH PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL LAWRENCE. PUBLISHED BY BEYOND THE STREETS, 2021.

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Roger Gastman “Rolling Like Thunder” with Freight Writing Culture in New Film

Roger Gastman “Rolling Like Thunder” with Freight Writing Culture in New Film

As you would know if you waited in the dark out in the open night for a freight train to paint, the earth vibrates and the rumbling can raise adrenaline levels with fear and excitement, and anticipation.

Time and again we hear the stories of isolation and community intertwined with “fright writing”, where a graffiti writer takes the “life and limb” thing a little too lightly, risking both to get up on a cross-country platform.

Merlot. Behind the scenes photo from the film “Rolling Like Thunder” by Roger Gastman. (photo © Aerub)

Next month graffiti historian, author, businessman, curator, disruptor, and film director Roger Gastman brings the freights Rolling Like Thunder to Showtime network with a new documentary that he promises will dive intothe secret underground world and history of freight train and graffiti culture, uncovering stories of myth-like artists, remarkable romances, competitive graffiti crews, and battles with the institution.”

It’s part of the network’s announced multi-year Hip Hop 50 initiative in collaboration with Mass Appeal, and will air on December 17th.

Roger sent us a few images from the film and behind-the-scenes shots to whet your aerosol appetite.

Maple. Behind the scenes photo from the film “Rolling Like Thunder” by Roger Gastman. (photo © Tim Conlon)
Maple. Behind the scenes photo from the film “Rolling Like Thunder” by Roger Gastman. (photo © Maple)
ASIC & ETC. Behind the scenes photo from the film “Rolling Like Thunder” by Roger Gastman. (photo © Tim Conlon)
NECS. Behind the scenes photo from the film “Rolling Like Thunder” by Roger Gastman. (photo © Tim Conlon)
ICH. Behind the scenes photo from the film “Rolling Like Thunder” by Roger Gastman. (photo © Tim Conlon)
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BSA Film Friday: 09.18.20

BSA Film Friday: 09.18.20

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

Now screening :
1. Wall Writers

BSA Special Feature: Wall Writers

Wall Writers: Graffiti in its innocence. Directed by Roger Gatsman and narrated by John Waters is a documentary accompanied by a book with an introduction by Barry McGee. The film was released in 2016. Redbull is streaming the full film on their website now. For those interested in the birth of graffiti and wish to know more about the pioneers writers such as Taki 186, Cornbread, Snake 1 and, many more legends this is a perfect weekend treat.

WALL WRITERS – Trailer AND Streaming FREE!!!

Taki 183 being filmed for Wall Writers (still courtesy of R Rock Enterprises)
SNAKE 1, STATIC 5, FLASH 191, and STICH 1 at the P.S. 189 school yard in Washington Heights, NY. Circa 1973 (photo courtesy of SNAKE 1)
Wall in The Bronx featuring NIXON posters and a CHARMING 65 tag. (photo © John Naar 1973, 2015)

You can watch the whole documentary HERE

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“Beyond The Streets” Opens in New York : Beyond Labels, With Roots

“Beyond The Streets” Opens in New York : Beyond Labels, With Roots

Look Who’s Back in the Neighborhood

They used to run from the Vandal Squad in this neighborhood. Now people pay to see their art here.

Through the expansive glass wall on the 6th floor you can look down Kent Avenue to see the spot where a monster pickup truck with a heavy chain tied around a FAILE prayer wheel almost jackknifed on the sidewalk, gave up and sped away. Not that many Brooklynites saw that event in the 2000s – nobody walked here and few people drove through Williamsburg then except truckers looking for street walking ladies wearing high heels and spandex. Oh, and a serial killer.

Faile. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Now visitors buy tickets to see a circular colonnade of FAILE prayer wheels here at 25 Kent – including the real estate developers and Wall Street professionals who displaced the community of artists whose work made the neighborhood attractive and “edgy”.

Along with Street Artists in this exhibition like Shepard Fairey, Bast, Swoon, Invader, Aiko, Dan Witz, Katsu, 1UP, and Lister, the FAILE duo put completely illegal artworks on walls under cover of night and threat of arrest in this same neighborhood then – transforming it with many others who are not in this show into an open gallery of the streets, placing Williamsburg on the map as New Yorks’ epicenter of the newly emerging Street Art scene. 

Swoon. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Nature of Graffiti and Street Art

As graffiti and Street Art are migratory and necessarily elusive by nature, this story is only one chapter in a volume of history that serious academics are now reconstructing and analyzing. With each passing year and published white paper, the practices of 20th century public mark-making are being examined in greater detail for archiving and for posterity. Not surprisingly, institutions, patrons, collectors, and brands are increasingly interested in this story as well.

When it comes to the anarchic subculture of illegal street art practice and its influence on society, there are non-stop ironies sprayed en route from verboten to Vuitton, and street culture has supercharged the imagination of the mainstream and high culture throughout history – that’s where the best ideas come from sometimes. Many seminal artworks from “the scene”, as it were, represent much more than what you are seeing at first glance. As art and cultural critic Carlo McCormick has described the iconic Shepard Fairey ‘Hope’ image in Art in America, many graffiti and Street Art works saved are “not a fleeting pop-culture sensation but simply the latest crossover hit in a long line of underground classics.”

The wide-ranging survey that is Beyond the Streets makes sure that you know where the roots are, and who many of the pioneers were. It is impossible to tell a complete story that includes scenes as diverse as west coast Chicano muralism, hobo graffiti, hip-hop commercial design, NY downtown artivism, Japanese low/hi contemporary, skateboard, tattoo, early train writing and a current romance with muralism, but BTS at least gives a serious consideration to each and offers you the opportunity to look further into them.

Martha Cooper with BGirl Ana “Rokafella” Garcia. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With the help of photography documentation from people like Martha Cooper, Henry Chalfant, Jim Prigoff, Lisa Kahane, Joe Conzo, John Fekner, Bill Daniel, Maripol, and Dash Snow, the crucial importance of this work provides needed interstitial and contextual information that enables myriad stories to be elucidated.

Joe Conzo. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Scale, The History

Exhaustive, no. Exhausting, possibly. Pace yourself.

 “I spent my life surrounded by graffiti and Street Art,” says the shows’ director Roger Gastman “and you could say that I have been obsessed with understanding the culture, its origins, and its evolution. It’s incredible to me how far it has come.”

With 150 artists whose practices span five decades and various (mainly) American subcultures displayed in a maze of new walls in this 100,000 sf, two-floor exhibition, the Beyond the Streets senior curatorial team includes Gastman, filmmaker/ graffiti historian Sacha Jenkins SHR, Juxtapoz Editor in Chief Evan Pricco, and author/ graffiti historian / graffiti writer David CHINO Villorente. Each curator brings core competencies and knowledge of the graffiti scene (Gastman, Jenkins, Villorente) as it has evolved to include the Street Art practice and an eventual move toward contemporary art (Pricco).

“It’s absolutely phenomenal,” says Villorente, who says his history as a graffiti writer compounds the impact for him. “I was glad that the show was coming to New York because I was born and raised in Brooklyn. I couldn’t have imagined it – especially when I think back on when I was writing on the trains and doing illegal graffiti. To have of show of this magnitude is really special.”

Mike 171. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

“We started writing in ’68 and here we are, fifty-one years later,” says Mike 171 as he gestures toward himself and crew writer SJK 171 when talking about how they began and continued writing their tags on the street in New York City. “This is the history right here,” he says, and you know you are about to be schooled about the plain realities of early graffiti writing. At the opening, you witness each guy tagging in a large dusty window here and realize the love for writing never actually stops.

“We were expressing something that was inside of us,” says SJK 171. “The streets were like ours,” he tells you against a backdrop of their work, Cornbread’s work, and of images full of one color, single line monikers that set the stage for the more colorful, character-driven pieces and burners a decade later, transforming trains into a rolling aesthetic symphony by the mid 1970s.

Cornbread. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo). Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

One of the actual “whole car” writers of that period, Lee “LEE” Quinones, here recreates a “Soul Train” car side on a canvas that looks like it could easily wrap an actual MTA #2-line car that he used to slaughter with cans in the middle of the night at the train yard. When describing the new work he said he was intentionally keeping it simple – perhaps owing the style to his earlier practice.

Lee Quinones. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I think this is one of Lee’s most amazing pieces,” says Charlie Ahearn, the director of the seminal 1982 “Wild Style” film that Quinones stars in. Ahearn self-produced that film which became an important distillation of the merging of graffiti with hip-hop culture during a pivotal moment in the history of both. Now also a professor of Hip-Hop, art, design, and documentary film making at Pace University, Ahearn is familiar with many of the artists work here, many relationships reaching back decades. “I told Lee that I liked that it was a one-off, that he painted all the color straight off without the embellishment, texturing, and all that stuff.”

John and Charlie Ahearn. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Charlie’s twin brother John Ahearn is represented here popping out from walls as well, his sculptures serving as authentic portraits of people you may easily have seen on New York streets over the last four decades. Casted directly on top of the people themselves in a technique he has perfected, the placement of the sculptures gives life to the space.

Star Writers, Immersive Environments, Foundations

Dabsmyla. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The individual clusters of work and canvasses by 1970s-80s train painters like Futura, Crash, Lady Pink, Freedom, Carlos Mare, Blade, Haze, and Daze and next gen graphic painters like Doze Green and Rime are complemented by a number of so-called “immersive” spaces here like the Mission Schools’ Barry McGee storefront with smashed window, and the Australian Pop duo Dabs & Myla’s eye candy floral walls with thousands of artificial fauna created in collaboration with Amelia Posada.

Myla. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Shepard Fairey. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The high-profile graphic activist Shepard Fairey’s 30 year career overview takes a large area and encompasses all elements of his street and studio practice, and Bill Barminski’s cardboard home is open for you to explore with a wry smile, remembering the security room installation he did at Banksy’s Dismaland a couple years earlier.

Bill Barminski. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

You’re also treated to a full rolling wall of Craig Stecyk posters that brings you the sun and surf of California skate culture, sculptures by Mr. Cartoon and Risk, a kid-friendly illustrated room with crafting supplies for young fans on tables from HuskMitNavn, and an astute freight train culture educational display by writer/painter/sculptor Tim Conlon (complete with a mid-sized Southern Pacific freight on train tracks he and friends built), prints/photos by historian Bill Daniel, and original drawings by the man some call the King of Hobo Art, buZ blurr.

John Fekner. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“These are a self portrait as predicated on a first Bozo Texino person and I kind of changed the image around,” says Mr. blurr, a legendary figure in denim overalls, as he patiently describes his classic tag image of a railway cowboy.

“It is a writer motif – the pipe smoke is going up and then it is trailing back to signify movement as the train goes down the track,” he says. “I worked in the train yards and my job was as a brakeman. I had a little free time so I started making drawings. I made my first one on November 11, 1971,” he says as he recalls the state of mind that he was in at the time as he began to tag freights with the image and text that came to him clearly – and may have perplexed other travellers.

buZ blurr. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“They came from a confused state. I was questioning everything. I was putting kind of cryptic messages under my drawings. It was anybody’s guess as to its literal interpretation. I addressed some of them up to specific people but whether they saw them or responded to them, I wouldn’t have any idea.”  

Tim Conlon. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“When it’s shipped in the crate its 550 pounds,” says Conlon as he stands by the 3-foot high freight car re-creation on tracks and ties that is hit with a couple of wild and colorful graffiti burners. “Here I’m going to show you something,” he says as he pulls back the roof to reveal the narrow coffin interior in rusted red. “So I’m going to hide some beer in here during the opening party. This is like the fifth one of these I’ve made,” and he proudly confides that one lives in the house of Robert Downey Jr.

Digging Deep to Take Risks

Not content to rest on laurels and previous formulas of success, the show keeps a freshness by presenting known entities pushing themselves further and taking creative risks; a reflection of that spirit of experimentation we have always prized on the street.

Graffiti writer Earsnot from Irak crew, now known professionally as Kunle Martin, said he had been making work for the gallery containing elements of graffiti, but felt they were too “safe”.

Kunle Martin AKA Earsnot. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Then my friend Dan said ‘you should go back to doing drawings,’” he says as he stands before figurative canvasses in black and white on cardboard. “I said ‘I can’t! It’s too hard! But eventually I began working in my studio five days a week, and I made enough for a show.”

Reflective of the attitude of Gastman toward artists in the community, he told Martin that if he made enough of them, he could place them in this show. “I think he was happy to hear that I was in my studio working. He’s been very supportive of it.”

Kunle Martin. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A fluorescent color-drenched graphic/photographic collage style is featured with plenty of space in large frames from Chicago’s Pose, who says he is letting photography and geometry lead him away from his previous pop collage style that may have reminded many of Lichtenstein. His inspiration here comes from his research into early photos of graffiti writers running from police “I was obsessed with John Naars photos and I have usually Norman Mailer as in inspiration. Some of these photo references are from the Philadelphia Inquirer,” he says.

Pose. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Pose. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

New York’s Eric Haze also dares himself to take a new direction with three canvasses featuring a refracted piecing-together of imagery and memories of this city in monochrome. Based on black and white scenes of the city by photographer and NYC taxi driver Matt Weber, the scenes capture aspects that are culled from imagination and impression. The centerpiece canvas captures an iconic piece of the Williamsburg waterfront that has been removed in the last few years by developers; the signage of the old Domino Sugar factory by the Williamsburg Bridge.

Haze. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mr. Haze said he meant it as a gift and tribute to his wife, actress and longtime resident of the neighborhood, Rosie Perez who used to see it along Kent Avenue as a kid.  “He’s not afraid to take risks. He’s not afraid to go in the studio and express what’s inside of him. When he brought me to the studio, he says, ‘I have a surprise for you’,” she remembers. “I saw the beginnings of the Domino painting and I was stunned into silence and I got teary-eyed.”

Rosie Perez. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Beyond Labels

An expanded version of the show that first mounted in Los Angeles last year, the collection is focused a great deal on the American history of graffiti with a balance of East/West coast graffiti history – in a way that may remind you of 2011’s “Art in the Streets” at LA MoCA. That makes sense, considering Gastman co-curated that show as well.

“It’s both a historical and current look at where the culture went and where it started and how widespread it is,” says co-curator Evan Pricco, who perhaps provides a lynchpin view toward the big name Street Artists who continued to push expectations in the 2000’s on streets and in commercial galleries around the world. “With the space spread over two floors it has a way better curatorial sense. I also think it does compete with museums because it shows that this kind of work is on the same level. You kind of have to present it in a way that feels very institutional and archival.”

So is Beyond the Streets a graffiti show or a Street Art show or a contemporary art show? For artist Kenny Scharf, who first gained attention during the heyday of Downtown Manhattan’s art scene that benefitted from an interlude where rents were dirt cheap and Wall Street was on a cocaine high, there is no need to categorize what kind of art this is.

Kenny Scharf. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“You know I never liked labels or titles anyway so even back in the early 80s I was pegged like ‘oh you’re a graffiti artist,’” he says. “People feel the need to title and label so I’ll let them to continue to do that but I don’t fit into any of them and I don’t want to. I want to fit into all of them and none of them.”

Beyond the Streets opened June 21 and continues through the summer.

MADSAKI. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Blade and Doze Green. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Katsu. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Gajin Fujita. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Faith XLVII. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
John Ahearn. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Jane Dickson. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dan Witz. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
1UP Crew…it’s always a good thing to have your friends near by when you need them the most… Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
1UP Crew. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)ork. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Cleon Peterson. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Conor Harrington. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Felipe Pantone. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Beastie Boys. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Nekst . Risk. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bast . Paul Insect. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Invader. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Ron English. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Patrick Martinez. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dust tagger. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Martha Cooper with Freedom. Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
What’s left and soon to be gone of the old Williamsburg’s waterfront right across from Beyond The Streets New York. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martha Cooper’s work as exhibited at Beyond The Streets New York

Beyond The Streets NYC is now open in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to the general public and will run until August 2019. Click HERE for schedules, tickets and details.

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Sneak Peek of “Beyond The Streets” Now Mounting in Brooklyn

Sneak Peek of “Beyond The Streets” Now Mounting in Brooklyn

Hammering the display walls, sanding off the plaster bumps, the whirring and popping of construction drills: Two assistants are helping 1970s NYC subway writer Lee Quinones lay out a #2 train-car-length canvas on the floor while you are distracted by the Empire State building puncturing the Manhattan cityscape across the East River, a sweeping vista through the glass walls of this new high-rise in Williamsburg.

“Hello?” Martha Cooper takes a phone call at Bill Barminski’s fantasy installation in progress where each object has been crafted from paper and cardboard. Beyond The Streets, Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nearby Cornbread’s notebook hangs next to his signature, a potent visual reverberation across five decades from graffiti’s Philly roots.

Elsewhere there are the sounds of woodsaws and metal clanging accompany the one-line drawings of freight-writer buZ blurr as historian Bill Daniel is completing his comprehensive mini-exhibition within this massive exhibition. With trains and photos and modern relics of American rail lore on display, this crucial antecedent of modern-day aerosol “writing” emerges and blows its chimes as well. This is a particular slice of the graffiti story that Mr. Daniel may describe, as he does in The Secret History of Hobo Graffiti, as “the dogged pursuit of the impossibly convoluted story of the heretofore untold history of the century-old folkloric practice of hobo and railworker graffiti.”

Vintage anti-graffiti posters from a private collection. Beyond The Streets Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It’s an apt descriptor for Beyond The Streets as well. This multi-artist graffiti/Street Art-influenced exhibition directed by the discerning shepherd and seer Roger Gastman that is now mounting over two floors and 100,000 square feet in North Brooklyn tackles an endlessly convoluted evolutionary path. He says the size and composition of the exhibition has slightly changed since its first mounting last year in Los Angeles, and he is acutely aware that its location is in the city that claims a huge part of the graffiti genesis story, carrying perhaps a steep level of expectations.

Not that he has reason to worry: there are more hits here than a blowout at Yankee Stadium.

Lady Pink. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Like the blast of colors and pieces at a sunny Saturday afternoon Meeting of Styles jam, this show of many writers, photographers, documenters, collectors, painters, vandals, and attitudes won’t disappoint. You can see and construct your own version of a celebratory story that illustrates and reveals surprising ways that the street subculture has left its mark indelibly on the mainstream, yet often stayed separate.

From the Beastie Boys wigs worn in the “Sabotage” music video to the camera Joe Conzo used to shoot the Cold Crush Brothers, to the MDF and cardboard pay phone by pop sculptor Bill Barminski, and Dash Snow’s hi-low societal slumming photographs depicting sex, drugs, rhyming and stealing, visitors easily will have a flood of images and histories to author their own convoluted version of the graffiti and Street Art tale.

John Ahearn with a detail of Swoon’s wallpaper. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Swoon. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Al Diaz (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dabs of DabsMyla at work on their installation in progress. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Martha Cooper discussing the options to hang her photos with a production assistant. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Lady Aiko. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Mr. Cartoon installation in progress. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Beastie Boys…there’s more here…much more… (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Detail of Shepard Fairey’s 30th Anniversary retrospective installation. (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.


BEYOND THE STREETS TEAM

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


FEATURED ARTISTS INCLUDE:

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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BSA Film Friday: 03.04.16

BSA Film Friday: 03.04.16

Brooklyn-Street-Art-740-Graffiti-Innocence-Gastman-Film-Screen-Shot-2016-03-04-at-8.19

bsa-film-friday-JAN-2015

 

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

Now screening :

1. Wall Writers: Graffiti in its Innocence
2. Pixel Pancho: “Teseo e il Minotauro” in Rome
3. Read The Label: Blood, Sweat and Years.

bsa-film-friday-special-feature

BSA Special Feature: Wall Writers: Graffiti in its Innocence

The depth of scholarship and research that Roger Gastman puts into graffiti history is only exceeded by his passion for the people and the culture that coalesced in the neighborhoods and streets of Philadelphia and New York in the genesis story of Wall Writers: Graffiti in its Innocence. He opens the doors to people who until now have been hidden and difficult to reach, and gives them an opportunity to tell the story of their lives then and how crucial the graffiti scene was to their experience of the city. He also examines the impact their work had on spurring the first of various art-in-the-streets scenes that evolved afterword.

Currently on tour for the 350 page tome and the documentary film, Gastman is bringing some of these original writers to cities to meet you, and possibly you may see the film’s narrator, Mr. John Waters.

For information regarding screenings click HERE

 

Pixel Pancho: “Teseo e il Minotauro” in Rome

In a city steeped in art history where every camera shot looks like a classic movie scene you have to be cognizant of the critical analysis that will be directed at your new mural from every Giovanni, Adriana, and Luca who are walking by or hanging out of the window. These are the countrymen and women of Pixelpancho so he takes it all into consideration and presents a classic of his own, merged with a steam-punked futurism of robots who are rather romantic in their own way.

Pixel Pancho: “Teseo e il Minotauro” in Rome

Special thanks to @theblindeyefactory

Read The Label: Blood, Sweat and Years.

A full length film about graffiti and skateboarding from this moment – a collection of skate, graff, rap, beatz, cops, vandalism, illegal mark-making, and legal murals that tells a story as seen by people who do it. How much is documentary and how much is fiction? Well, there probably wasn’t a soundtrack like this accompanying all of the original scenes, that’s for sure.

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Anthony Lister Goes Ape Crazy on the Barracuda Wall

Yo, Whassup Chimp?

Under cover of night Street Artist Anthony Lister just monkeyed around with some cans on a wall in LA to do his own interpretation of “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”. The wall on Melrose is on the building “De La Barracuda”, “a well known wall that gets a lot of Street Artists on it,” remarks photographer Birdman.  Mr. Lister says he likes the job because it gives him a challenge. As you can see, he’s an excellent choice by wall producer Roger Gastman to interpret this modern jungle scene; a story with enough psychological layers and undertones to make any social scientist go apesh*t.

Five stars to photographer Birdman for showing these cool shots for BSA readers.

Anthony Lister (photo © Birdman)

Anthony Lister (photo © Birdman)

Anthony Lister (photo © Birdman)

Anthony Lister (photo © Birdman)

Anthony Lister (photo © Birdman)

Anthony Lister (photo © Birdman)

Anthony Lister (photo © Birdman)

Anthony Lister (photo © Birdman)

Anthony Lister (photo © Birdman)

Anthony Lister (photo © Birdman)

Anthony Lister (photo © Birdman)

Anthony Lister (photo © Birdman)

Gastman and Lister cross Melrose to get a good look. (photo © Birdman)

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