All posts tagged: Selina Miles

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

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

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.

They say they are embarking on what is cheekily described as the “Gentlemen’s Tour” in certain aerosol circles. The band of anonymous travelers accompanies their multi-city art exhibition tour at respectable art/café/gallery venues with a parallel expedition in mind: hitting all five commuter train systems of Australia – including Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

Jotted with aplomb, these adventures appear rather squirreled away between sometimes heroic, sometimes misty atmospheric photographs by OLF, – a gentle mix of storytelling that can be disarming in its dreamy aspirational quality. “Our imagination was running wild: what will happen in Australia? Kangaroos, parties, trains, bombing! What will the desert be like? How will we endure the many thousands of kilometers driving across the country?”

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.

One favorite tale includes the officer who grills them about painting a water tower and who protects the little lady from his swear words so he can awaken the slippery conscience inside these trapped vandals.

Then he told our female companion to put her hands over her ears and screamed at us two blokes, “Fucking grow up!”

By the end of the slim journal told in the voice of the royal “we”, you are satisfied that they have traveled further than they ever imagined, and you went with them. They may have indeed matured a little, you’ll tell yourself, but hopefully, they have not grown up. Thankfully, not enough to assure that there will not be a sequel adventure trip in another country sooner than later.

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

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BSA Film Friday: 12.04.20

BSA Film Friday: 12.04.20

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

Now screening :
1. Fintan Magee / Nothing Make Sense Anymore / A Selina Miles Film
2. Aufstieg (Rise) by Eginhartz
3. Nadia Vadori-Gauthier “Une Minute de Danse” For The Art And Culture.

BSA Special Feature: Fintan Magee / Nothing Make Sense Anymore

What a fantastic title! The narration of selective outtakes from the news, from the artist, from the atmospheric music – quickly take you here.

“I didn’t have to develop any grand themes or concepts around the work. I just knew I was going to paint a plant every day,” say street artist/muralist/painter Fintan Magee as he describes the structure he put in place of the unstructured life that Covid foisted upon him. “It kind of became almost a daily meditation.”

“Too much chaos this year to string any common narrative,” he says. “Or maybe chaos is the narrative.”

Fintan Magee / Nothing Make Sense Anymore / A Selina Miles Film.

Aufstieg (Rise) by Eginhartz

From Austria, Eginhartz gives us Aufstieg, a video performance meant as an ironic comment on the psychological interplay between the rapacious development of drones and the stubborn attitude of brutalist architecture.

Here’s the artists attempt “to contrast the massive aesthetic of a brutalist residential block with a poetic gesture. The coexistence of nature and ruins is broken here by the action of a protagonist.”

“The coexistence of nature and ruins is broken here by the action of a protagonist.”

Nadia Vadori-Gauthier “Une Minute de Danse” For The Art And Culture.

An ongoing performance of poetry from your favorite French street choreographer, Nadia Vadori-Guthier. This time she brings friends!

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European Month Of Photography 2020 in Berlin Features “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” Exhibition at UN

European Month Of Photography 2020 in Berlin Features “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” Exhibition at UN

We’re proud to announce that our exhibition Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures will be featured during the prestigious European Month of Photography (EMOP) in Berlin this October for Urban Nation Museum’s very first photography-based program.

The European Month of Photography is a network of European photo festivals which began in 2004 when photography enthusiasts in Berlin, Paris and Vienna decided to put photographic art at the center of public attention for one month at least every two years. It is Germany’s largest photography festival.

Today EMOP it is a network of photography and visual arts institutions from seven European capitals: Berlin, Budapest, Bratislava, Ljubljana, Luxembourg, Paris, and Vienna with aims “to confront expertise in curatorial practice in photography and the intention to develop common projects, notably exhibitions, including exchange of information about the local photographers and artists concerned with photography. Founding members include the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris, the Cultural Department of the City of Berlin (Museumspädagogischer Dienst Berlin headed by Thomas Friedrich) and the Department for Cultural Affairs of the City of Vienna (director Bernhard Denscher).

Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures combine photographs and personal artefacts in this retrospective that traces her life from her first camera in nursery school in 1946 to her reputation today as a world-renowned photographer. The exhibition covers Cooper’s wide range of subject matter. Many of her photographs have become iconic representations of a time, place, or culture and are distinguished by their frank human vitality, with an eye for preserving details and traditions of cultural significance.

#emopberlin

We’re grateful for this recognition of the exhibition and look forward to participating in the EMOP 2020 this October and we hope you can join us at Urban Nation – if not in person then please join us ONLINE for our LIVESTREAM opening October 2 ! https://www.facebook.com/events/3400074053384213  All are welcome!

Our special thanks to our entire team at Urban Nation including but not limited to Martha Cooper and Director Jan Sauerwald and
Melanie Achilles, Dr. Hans-Michael Brey, Carsten Cielobatzki, Sean Corcoran, Annette Dooman, Steve Fiedler, Seth Globepainter, Florian Groß, Sven Harke-Kajuth, Nancy Henze, Michelle Houston, Hendrik Jellema, René Kaestner, Kerstin Küppers, Nika Kramer, Barbara Krimm, Tobias Kunz, Jean-Paul Laue, Beatrice Lindhorst, Nicola Petek, Carlo McCormick, Selina Miles, Michelle Nimpsch, Christian Omodeo, Christiane Pietsch, Dennis Rodenhauser, Jens Rueberg, Dr. Anne Schmedding, Malte Schurau, Janika Seitz, Anna Piera di Silvestre, Skeme, Markus Terboven, Reinaldo Verde, Lennart Volber, Akim Walta, Samuel Walter, Rebecca Ward, and Susan Welchman.

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2010-2020 : 10 Impactful Street Art & Graffiti Interventions & Events of the Decade

2010-2020 : 10 Impactful Street Art & Graffiti Interventions & Events of the Decade

BSA has been here with you for this entire decade – an honor and a privilege. Reviewing the many interventions and events we witnessed and shared with our readers, we realize that this grassroots people’s art movement is reflecting our society in fundamental ways and reaching deep as well as wide. Here in roughly chronological order we recount for you a Top 10 for BSA that have impacted our way of seeing art on the streets.


1.

The “Girl In The Blue Bra” – December 2011

Oppressive regimes worldwide have a few commonalities. One of them is patriarchy. Over the last decade we have seen many female artists rise powerfully to smash it, harnessing their rage and power and taking their voice to the street.

There were countless images that encapsulated the ferocity and the tenacity of the protesters during the Arab Spring uprisings in Cairo, Egypt in December of 2011. One image, in particular, captured the attention of the media and the public. The image is commonly referred to as the “Girl In The Blue Bra”. The image depicts a young woman, whose identity remains anonymous, being beaten and dragged by soldiers as she was taking part in the protests in Tahrir Square in Cairo, against Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. Her face is veiled and her jeans are still on but as she was being dragged by the soldiers her abaya came undone exposing her bare torso and revealing her blue bra as a soldier was about to kick her in her abdomen.

A young woman is being dragged and kicked, exposing her bare torso in the act by the military in Tahiri Square. Cairo, Egypt. December 17, 2011. (Stringer/Reuters/Landov)

While the image exposed the abusive practices and of power of the military in Egypt – it also swiftly sparked ferocious reactions around the globe, particularly with women who subsequently staged their own march in Tahrir Square in Cairo to demand the end of military rule.

Stencil work by Bahia Shebab “No to stripping/Long live a peaceful revolution” (image courtesy of the artist)

Among the artists who carried the Blue Bra theme to the streets was one artist, Bahia Shehab, whom BSA and its readers helped to get a movie made about Street Artists in the Arab Spring, called Nefertiti’s Daughters, directed by Mark Nicolas. Later we were the first to debut a scene from it at the Nuart Festival in Norway (“#Activism on the Street Now”), and years after that Nuart actually hosted professor Shehab. This is a small world, this Street Art community.

The actions of the young woman, the violent response of the military, and the overwhelming support of the public, in general, sparked a new wave of feminism in Egypt and inspired artists to create and display their artworks on the streets in protest.

Stencil work by Bahia Shebab “No to stripping/Long live a peaceful revolution” (image courtesy of the artist)
An unidentified artist in Cairo. (photo from Pinterest)

2.

“Art In The Streets” Opens at LA MOCA – April 2011

Art in the Streets was the first major U.S. museum survey of graffiti and street art, curated by MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch and Associate Curators Roger Gastman and Aaron Rose, an exhibition tracing the development of graffiti and street art from the 1970s to the global movement it had evolved to. BSA was there to capture and share some of what was happening.

Red Hot and Street: “Art in the Streets” Brings Fire to MOCA

From BSA

“Yes, Banksy is here. The giant ‘Art in the Streets’ show opening this weekend at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles gives a patch of real estate to the international man of mystery who has contributed greatly to the worldwide profile of what is soon to be, maybe already is, a mainstream phenomenon known as street art. A smattering of his pranksterism is an absolute must for any show staking claim to the mantle of comprehensive survey and an excellent way to garner attention. But “Streets” gets its momentum by presenting a multi-torch colorful and explosive people’s history that began way before Banksy was born and likely will continue for a while after.

The show is an audacious multi-platform, colorful endeavor; part history lesson and part theme park bringing about 50 years of graffiti and street art history, it’s influences and influencers, under one roof. Then there is the stuff outside. Engaging and educational, “Art in the Streets” makes sure visitors have the opportunity to learn how certain tributaries lead to this one river of swirling urban goo, mapping connections between cultural movements, communities, and relationships within it. When it does this, the museum system effectively differentiates its value apart from a mere gallery show. “

“Art In The Streets” Blade . Os Gemeos. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
“Art In The Streets” Invader’s invasion of Martha Cooper’s installation. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

3.

Banksy’s NYC Residency – “Better Out Than In” – October 2013

An unprecedented city-wide near daily installation of works in New York established a new high-water mark in the flood of Street Art that took many cities in the 2010s. The British Street Artist played to a media capital in such an effective campaign that even the least interested residents became familiar with the elusive prankster.

Banksy’s Final Trick

From BSA

A Genuine October Surprise for New York Street Art Friends and Foes Alike.

“In a series of communiqués beamed from his website, the global Street Artist Banksy gave graffiti and Street Art followers a near-daily jolt of mystery and mouse clicking that had people looking at every street scene as a possible Banksy by the time it ended. While few can confirm the exact level of involvement the actual artist had in the five boroughs, if any, none will deny that the Banksy brand underwent a major “refresh” this month that again put his name on the lips of those who had begun to forget him and many who had never heard of him.

Thanks to this masterful marketing campaign billed as a month-long ‘residency’ on New York’s streets, many thousands were talking about him daily on the street, on television, radio, social media, in galleries, studios, office cubicles, art parties, and the mayors’ office. By effectively combining the sport of treasure hunting with humor and populism, each new cryptic appearance of something-anything gradually conditioned some grand art doyennes and the plainer mongrels amongst us to drool on command and lift a leg in salute to the curiously still anonymous artist and the team who helped him pull it off.”

BANKSY “Better Out Than In” NYC Month Long Residency. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
BANKSY “Better Out Than In” NYC Month Long Residency. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

4.

The Brooklyn Museum’s Exhibitions with Swoon, Faile, BÄST, Haring, Basquiat, ESPO, JR Expand Knowledge, Appreciation

One cultural institution in New York City and indeed in the United States has been notable throughout the decade for its commitment to organizing exhibitions where graffiti, street art, and the artists whom have shaped it are given recognition for their contribution to the arts. The Brooklyn Museum’s leadership, including former director Arnold L. Lehman, current director Anne Pasternak, and Sharon Matt Atkins, Director of Exhibitions and Strategic Initiatives have been channeling resources and focus to the study, promotion, and exhibition of the works of important figures in the contemporary graffiti and Street Art movement. It notable that the museum has in its permanent collection the works of distinguished graffiti and Street Artists dating back to the dawn of the modern scene; something that other important cultural institutions in New York City that are dedicated to the preservation and promotion of modern, contemporary, and American art lack in their collections.

It’s for this reason that we have selected the Brooklyn Museum as one of the top ten graffiti and street art movers of the decade. Predated by 2006’s “Graffiti” exhibition the museum has mounted several important presentations during this decade that have not only been blockbusters but they have contributed to the cultural enrichment of all New Yorkers and the expanded discussion of the relevance of these art forms to established canons. Here are some highlights:

Keith Haring – March 2012

From BSA

Keith Haring 1978-1982 : Early Keith at The Brooklyn Museum

Keith Haring: 1978-1982, a traveling exhibition first shown in Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna and The Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, introduces a period of his work not often examined, taking you up to the edge of the seemingly sudden international fame he experienced as artist, activist and public figure through the rest of the 1980s.

… At a time when the small-town boy was developing his visual vocabulary as an artist, Haring was also discovering himself as a man in the world and in a city that he found endlessly fascinating and worthy of exploration. Capturing his spirit of hands-on experimentation, the show is almost entirely comprised of works on paper with one collaborative piece on plywood with his contemporary Jean Michel Basquiat, paper collage, video, and documentary photos.”

Keith Haring. Matrix, 1983. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Swoon – April 2014

From BSA

“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands”, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Museum

“Sharon brought me in here and said, ‘What is interesting to you in the building?’ and I really love that because the thing about working on the street is that you are always thinking site-specifically. And so that thinking has to translate into your work in all places. For me, if I make something in a museum I want it to be very site-specific and this is probably one of the most site-specific pieces I’ve ever done,” explains Swoon.

Under the advice and guidance of an engineer, the artist also modified her design process to allow for foundational considerations like truss sections and lift points. “I showed him an initial model and he showed me an engineered system and then I built another model based on the system that he engineered.”

It is probably unusual for a grand museum to be so amenable to the requests of an artist for a site-specific piece that literally inhabits the furthest reaches of space, and Swoon says she recognizes the leeway she received. “You know, they have been really adventurous in letting us create this. We’ve been sort of pushing a lot with the creation of this piece.”

For Matt Atkins, the opportunity to bring an internationally known street artist and neighbor into the museum has been the result of just over two years of planning. ‘It’s been so wonderful working with Swoon to realize her vision for this project. This is the first time we’ve really used the full height of the 72-foot dome, so it’s quite spectacular. I am thrilled to see her boats back in New York and for them to have this new life. The underlying ideas about climate change in the installation also make this project an appropriate tie into the Museum’s focus on activism with our other exhibitions and collections,’ she says.”

“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks – April 2015

From BSA

Basquiat’s Notebooks Open at The Brooklyn Museum

“In Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks, now running at The Brooklyn Museum until August 23rd, the genius of his fragmenting logic is revealed as a direct relationship between his private journals and his prolific and personally published aerosol missives on the streets of Manhattan’s Soho and Lower East Side neighborhoods in the late 1970s and 1980s.

These notebooks were for capturing ideas and concepts, preparing them, transmuting them, revising them, pounding them into refrains. In the same way his text (and glyphic) pieces on the street were not necessarily finished products each time; imparted on the run and often in haste, these unpolished missives didn’t require such preciousness.”

Famous. 1982. Basquiat:The Unknown Notebooks. Brooklyn Museum. April 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Faile & BÄST – July 2015

From BSA

Holy Faile ! “Savage/Sacred Young Minds” at Brooklyn Museum

“FAILE may be a religious experience this summer at the Brooklyn Museum, but only one of the hallowed installations is called Temple. The seedier, more dimly lit venue will surely have the larger number of congregants by far, bless their sacred hearts.

Celebrating the duality and appropriation of words, slogans, and images have been the bailiwick of the duo since they first began hitting Brooklyn streets at the turn of the century with their stencils and wheat-pastes on illegal spots and neglected spaces. In FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds, their new attention-commanding/refracting exhibit organized by Sharon Matt Atkins at the Brooklyn Museum, these guys pour it on, compelling you into a complex panoply of possible re-imaginings of meaning that reference pop, pulp, myth, art history, 50s sci-fi, 60s advertising, comics, punk zines, consumer culture and their own pure artistic and branded fiction.”

FAILE. Temple. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Stephen ESPO Powers – November 2015

From BSA

Coney Island Dreaming: Following the Signs to Stephen Powers

Stephen Powers: Coney Island Is Still Dreamland (To A Seagull) is one of 3 new exhibits inspired by the historic attractions of Brooklyn’s seaside.

“Graffiti artist-turned-sign painter Stephen Powers is dreaming of Coney Island and he is bringing a colorful collection of found and freshly produced signage that evokes a forgotten era to climb the columns of a Brooklyn Museum gallery.

Given the boisterous parade of brands and logos into museums that is happening as part of the institutional funding and programming mix, it’s fun to see the ninth episodic installation of this traveling ICY SIGNS shop here; its simplicity and guile recalling amusing persuasive techniques from the mid-century American advertising lexicon. Simultaneously, for those who have been lucky enough to sicken themselves on cotton candy and The Wonder Wheel, the new show imparts a rather reassuring and seedy nostalgia for Coney Island, complete with an inexplicable hankering for a thick beef hot dog.”

Steve Powers “Coney Island Is Still Dreamland (To A Seagull)” Brooklyn Museum. November 2015 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR – October 2019

From BSA

“JR: Chronicles” Revels in His Explorations at Brooklyn Museum

“A retrospective at Brooklyn Museum currently showcases the photographic works and public projects envisioned and created by French Street Artist JR. Covering roughly two decades of work, JR: Chronicles dedicates an in-depth examination into his practices and personal philosophies when creating – as evidenced by this collection of his murals, photographs, videos, films, dioramas, and archival materials.

Brooklyn Street Art: JR created a new digital collage for this exhibition featuring a thousand or so people individually interviewed and photographed. Can you tell us about what criterion he used for selecting his subjects?
Sharon Matt Atkins: JR’s main focus was on capturing the rich diversity of New York City. As such, he photographed people in all five boroughs of the city, including many neighborhoods that were new to him. While he did invite some guests to participate, most of the people were passersby or business owners and workers of local stores. “

JR. 28 Millimètres, Portrait d’une génération, Braquage (Holdup), Ladj Ly, 2004
JR: Chronicles. Brooklyn Museum. Brooklyn, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)

5

Blu and Street Art – Banksy & Co.

Curated by Christian Omodeo, Luca Cinacabilla, and Sean Corcoran. March 2016

BLU buffing his own works in Bologna took the news cycle, his legion of compatriots armed with rollers and bucket paint. But it was the show that he was reacting to that brought thousands to the museum space to discuss the rightful place of Street Art, graffiti, and the relevance of preserving it for posterity.

From BSA

BLU Allies : A Counter Exhibition to “Banksy & Co.” Launched in Bologna

“The contested Banksy and Co. exhibition contains, among many other works, walls removed from a privately owned abandoned building in Bologna that were painted by BLU. Displaying the walls and his artwork without his consent so angered the painter that he rallied artists and activists to help him snuff out all his remaining murals and paintings in this Northern Italian city last week. (See A BLU Buffer Talks About the Grey Action in Bologna)

The heavily attended Friday night opening of Street Art – Banksy & Co. at Palazzo Pepoli – Museo della Storia di Bologna was curated by Luca Ciancabilla, Christian Omodeo, and Sean Corcoran and features roughly 250 historical and contemporary works spanning about fifty years and highlighting a number of movements within the so-called Urban Art genre. On balance it appears that 90 percent of the works are studio works, paintings, sculpture, videos, original sketches, and ephermera and were probably collected in a more conventional way and the tagged posters, stickers, metal doors, and wall fragments are viewed in the context of the whole scene.”

About Ponny (photo © @around730)

A BLU Buffer Talks About the Grey Action in Bologna

From BSA

“Reality TV is usually completely devoid of reality. That isn’t the exact comparison Andreco said on his Facebook page but we thought it was a fitting analogy. Street Art in a museum or gallery can sometimes feel like taxidermy.

Andreco actually said ‘Deciding which wall to paint or not to paint has always been one of our free choices. This operation, to uncork the walls and move them elsewhere, oversteps this freedom.’ Fair enough.

Of course, that is not the primary reason why activists and Street Artists joined in to help BLU paint over the many murals that he completed on Bologna city walls over the last two decades or so. In an English titled press release on the Italian website Wumingfoundation the artist lays out a multi-layered justification for destroying his own murals, many of which have become beloved landmarks around the city and which have helped make him an art star in some circles.”

BLU action in Bologna. (photo © Andreco)

American conceptual, activist and street artist John Fekner, whose art and his art partner Don Leicht were represented in the exhibition Street Art: Bansky & Co weighs in the controversy by saying:

  • The bottom line is: what’s done in public-doesn’t remain in public. There’s no protection for artists who trespass. It’s the chance one takes outdoors.
  • If you create illegal art murals, street rules are always in effect:
  1. You can’t stop a drunk in the middle of the night from pissing on your wall.
  2. You can’t stop a bulldozer from razing your work.
  3. You can’t stop a neighborhood anti-graffiti squad from painting over your work.
  4. You can’t stop a well-dressed thief in a suit, or their hired slug with a chisel from removing your wall work and hauling it off to their laird, garage, museum or art market.

“Under any circumstances, don’t immediately and irrationally react. If your original aspirations were to be an artist- then just do what you were meant to do: be an artist. Don’t double shift and be a night watchman patrolling the streets to try and thwart thieves of your work. Unique temporary outdoor creations engender a public conversation that includes everyone: art lovers and art haters, lowbrow and highbrow, and everyone who interacts with your public work.”

John Fekner (© John Fekner)

6.

Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art Opens in Berlin – September 2017

We had the unique perspective of being two of the foundational curators who made this exhibition happen and made the doors fly open to thousands of visitors, so it only made sense that we covered the opening that brought much promise to the institutional recognition of Street Art, graffiti, and its move into Urban Contemporary.

From BSA

“Inundated!” Scenes from the Opening: UN – Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art in Berlin

“This week is Art Week in Berlin, and you just stole Art Week,” said a handsome and intensely opinionated German to us as we leaned on the arm rail of the M.C. Escher-inspired walkway before a Carlos Mare139 sculpture and above the capacity crowd on Saturday night at the Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art (UN).

Not sure if that was the exact goal, but we get his larger point; the UN has just made a massive entry into a number of societally and culturally influential minds when it comes to the relevancy of Street Art and graffiti to visual culture and art history. This movement into so-called Contemporary began as early as the 1970s and has overcome and weathered cultural and market ebbs and flows – persisted, if you will – yet somehow institutions have been wary of this work and these artists and unable to fully embrace their importance, you decide why.”

Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Hot Tea’s installation. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

7.

Five Pointz: A Legal Case For Urban Artists Shifts the Focus – February 2018

From BSA

Tell It to The Judge ; Graffiti Artists Win in 5 Pointz Case

“In a ruling that many graffiti and Street Artists interpret as a validation of their artwork and which may spawn further legal claims by artists in the future, Brooklyn Judge Frederic Block, a United States Federal Judge for the Eastern District of New York, awarded $6.7 million in damages to a group of 21 artists in the high profile case of the former graffiti holy place in Queens called 5 Pointz.

Under the leadership of artist and organizer Jonathan “Meres One” Cohen, also a plaintiff, the award is in response to a suit that cried foul on the overnight destruction of multiple artworks on building walls without consultation or notification of the artists.

Citing provisions of the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act that grants artists certain “moral” rights, the artists claimed that their artworks on the 5 Pointz compound that was owned by real estate developer Jerry Wykoff were protected and should be afforded certain rights and considerations.

Arts and intellectual property lawyers and judges will now be examining the implications of the ruling and citing it as an example in arguments about art created on walls legally and possibly those created illegally as well. In a city that prides itself as being a birthplace of graffiti and Street Art, many artists and wall owners must ask themselves if there will need to be an additional layer of the agreement before an aerosol can is held aloft.”

5Pointz. LIC Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
5Pointz. LIC Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
5Pointz. LIC Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

8.

The New York Times Publishes DONDI’S Obituary – February 2019

In an unprecedented posthumous publication of an obituary, this year The Times acknowledged something that it had so far failed to do; the contribution of graffiti writers to the cultural and art canons deserves serious recognition. By publishing the iconic image of DONDI taken by Martha Cooper that burned “Subway Art” into the mind’s eye of many generations of graffiti writers, the “paper of record” caught up with one the the scene’s leaders and heroes.

Dondi White by Martha Cooper. (photo courtesy of NYT / Martha Cooper)

The NYT obituary of Dondi begins like this:

Donald Joseph White, considered a legend before “street art” became popular, turned New York City’s subways into rolling canvases of color, humor and social commentary.”

Dondi White by Martha Cooper. (photo courtesy of NYT / Martha Cooper)


9.

Martha Cooper: A Picture Story Premieres at TriBeCa. A film by Selina Miles. April 2019

From BSA

MARTHA: A Picture Story. Shots from the Premiere and Movie Review

“First things first – Full disclosure; we are featured in the movie and we are close friends with both the subject of the doc and the director and we first suggested to the director that she was the perfect candidate to make a film about Martha Cooper. Now that we have that out of the way here are a number of shots from the premiere and our review of the movie:

Martha: A Picture Story had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this Thursday to an enthusiastic crowd that included big graffiti, Street Art, international press and film industry names, to see the highly anticipated documentary about the venerable photographer Martha Cooper by the Sydney director Selina Miles.

The electricity was in the air as Director Miles and producer Daniel Joyce along with the just-arrived Australian members of the “Martha” crew looked for their seats in the Village East Cinema. After a brief introduction by Miles, who told the audience that the film had been a great pleasure to make, the curtain went up to reveal the mother of the superstar art twins Os Gemeos on the big screen. She is sitting at her kitchen table in São Paulo remarking how her boys used to draw on everything, including fruit, and how Cooper and Chalfant’s 1984 book “Subway Art” changed their lives forever. With their story as a backbone for the film, the theme of personal transformation is repeated in a hundred large and small ways for the next hour and twenty minutes. “

Martha Cooper “A Picture Story” TriBeCa Film Festival. April 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Director Selina Miles with Martha Cooper. Martha Cooper “A Picture Story” TriBeCa Film Festival. April 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper “A Picture Story” TriBeCa Film Festival. April 2019. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

10.

Street Art and Activism Takes Larger Share of the Cultural Stage

This decade that is coming to an end has seen its share of natural disasters, human rights violations, atrocities of large scale against humanity, corruption at the highest levels, the reversal of hard-fought policies to protect the planet and keep our air and water clean. We have witnessed with despair the renaissance of hatred based on people’s nationalities, their skin color, their religion, their choice of attire, their level of material affluence and their sexual preferences.

We have seen progress as well. Women around the world have been freer to speak their mind against oppression and abuse of power thanks to social movements that have flourished around the world in big cities and small towns. Our LGBT brothers and sisters have scored numerous legal battles in their favor thanks to enlightened lawmakers and judges who have searched deep inside their intellect to find the right answer to make sure everybody is treated equally. Likewise, our peers whom we need to advance our cause have taken seriously the responsibility at the ballot box to make the correct choice with policies that will bring relief to those who have less than we do.

Art and artists have often reflected back to us the world we live in, it is for this reason that we have chosen Street Art and Activism as an important action in this decade. We have always championed the work of artists who imbued their art with a strong sense of social urgency. It is with their art that they talk to us in the hopes to change one mind, one action, one concept, one attitude towards the goal creating a common good. There are many of them currently active on the streets. This wouldn’t be the appropriate space to list all of them but we would like to give you some highlights:

No Borders: Murs Contra el Murs (Walls Against Walls)

Barcelona, February 2019.

From BSA:

“This past Sunday, February 17 at La Plaza de las Tres Chimeneas (Three Smokestacks Square) in Barcelona an international group of artists participated in the first ‘No Borders Festival.’

NO BORDERS is a grassroots organization that was created to raise awareness about the refugees, to demand their acceptance, and to raise funds through debates, art, and documentaries.

They say they want to raise the uncomfortable questions – which will undoubtedly lead to uncomfortable answers as well. To paraphrase the text on their website:

‘Do we settle for a society that violates its moral and legal obligations to refugees? A refugee is a person who flees – Flees because he is on the losing side. Because he thinks, feels or prays differently than those who point him with their weapons.’

As usual, artists are bringing these matters to the street for the vox populi to debate.”

Enric Sant. No Borders Festival. Barcelona, Spain. February 2019. (photo © Lluís Olive)

Andreco: Reclaiming Air and Water for Delhi, India “Climate 05”

New Delhi, March 2019.

From BSA:

An Art, Science and Climate Action project by Andreco

“And the statement isn’t hyperbole, according to AIR-Ink, the company that made his ink, which is “the first ink made entirely out of air pollution,” they explain on their website.

The unique art-making material is part of the Italian Street Artist / Activist’s most recent installment of his Climate Art Project, which he orchestrated on the streets here in New Delhi for the St+Art Festival this year. Part of a global, multi-city installation and demonstration, ‘Climate 05 – Reclaiming Air and Water’.”

Andreco. Climate Art Project. In collaboration with St+ART India Foundation. Delhi, India. March 2019. (photo Akshat Nauriyal)

“Post-Posters” Puncture Public Discourse in Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg, May 2019.

From BSA:

” ‘Actions Speak Louder Than Ass Ads,’ says a new stencil-style printed poster by New York’s epic, if sometimes cryptic, street commentator of four decades, John Fekner. Anyway, who will argue with that?

Post-posters is a cooperative proposition about public billposting,” says French conceptual street anarchist Matthew Tremblin about his new project with hit-and-run situationist street posterer Antonio Gallego. Together they reclaim space with individually produced posters and they invite artists from around the world to do the same.

Over a two month period the creative place-makers are facilitating an international crew of artists to post posters on the occasion of the double exhibition by Banlieue-Banlieue group* (°1982, Poissy) taking place in Strasbourg, at both AEDAEN and the Syndicat Potentiel. “

John Fekner . Carole Douillard. Post-Posters Project. Strasbourg, France. April 2019. (photo courtesy of Syndicat Potentiel)

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh: When the Lion Roars Back, a small overview

Brooklyn, NY. July 2019.

From BSA:

“By putting these images of people of color, women, LGBTQ+ folks on the street with their blunt-force sentiments addressed to would-be harassers, she not only stands with them, but Tatyana has also used her work and vision to give them the courage to stand proud, assert their voice and to take public space.

After all, it belongs to the public.

“Women are not outside for your entertainment”, a startling truth for some guys that pointedly highlights abusive behavior toward women on the streets of Brooklyn and many cities around the world. Brooklyn Street Artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh has been targeting daily oppressive experiences of marginalized people with her campaigns of art on the streets – and in the gallery.

Addressing themes of social justice, racism, LGBTQ+ rights, and sexist street harassment, her beautifully drawn campaigns on wheat-pasted posters and painted murals across the globe have brought attention to issues sorely in need of addressing during hostile rhetoric from some men in the highest offices.”

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jetsonorama Tells “Stories From Ground Zero”

Church Rock, New Mexico. August 2019.

From BSA:

“This spill and these events did not happen in San Diego or Palm Beach. The story doesn’t affect wealthy white families and cannot be used to sell shampoo or real estate. That’s probably why we don’t see it in the press and never on the talking-head news. Street Artist Jetsonorama is not only a photographer who has been wheat-pasting his stunning images of people and nature on desert buildings for over a decade, he is also a doctor on the Navajo reservation, a human-rights activist, and an erudite scholar of American history as it pertains to the poisoning of this land and these people. Today we’re pleased to bring you this long-form examination from Jetsonorama’s perspective on a complicated and tragic US story of environmental poisoning and blight that affects generations of native peoples, miners, military personnel, and everyday people – and has no end in sight.

Most alarming is the news the current White House administration is endeavoring to mine uranium here again.

‘Private companies hired thousands of Navajo men to work the uranium mines and disregarded recommendations to protect miners and mill workers. In 1950 the U.S. Public Health Service began a human testing experiment on Navajo miners without their informed consent during the federal government’s study of the long-term health effects from radiation poisoning.  This study followed the same violation of human rights protocol as the US Public Health Service study on the long-term effects of syphilis on humans by experimenting on non-consenting African American men in what is known as the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment from 1932 – 1972.’ ~ Jetsonorama”

JC with her younger sister, Gracie (who is a NBCS participant).  (photo © Jetsonorama)

BSA Special Feature: “REWILD” from Escif

Sumatra, Indonesia. September 2019.

From BSA:

“As part of our core commitment as a non-commercial platform that has helped hundreds of artists over the last decade+, BSA significantly helped Escif to raise money for his Indiegogo fundraiser in Spring 2017 when we promoted his “Breath-Time” horticultural project heavily as he planted trees to reforest Mount Olivella in Southern Italy.

Today BSA debuts REWILD, a new tree-related project by the Spanish Street Artists – just as the Global Climate March is spreading to cities around the world, including New York.

The concept of the short film is simple: can’t we just push the “Rewind” button?

‘The narrative runs in reverse, rewinding the clock on deforestation to undo the damage caused by the unsustainable production of one of the world’s most versatile commodities. Beyond the industrialisation of the land, we end at the beginning, a thriving ecosystem alive with wildlife. The concept mirrors the real world action of the Sumatran Orangutan Society and their partners in reclaiming land on the borders of the Leuser rainforests to rewild them with indigenous trees, expanding the boundaries of one of the most biodiverse places on earth.’  

Finally, a stunning custom soundtrack by Indonesian composer Nursalim Yadi Anugerah captures and carries this into another world, which is possible.

Shout out to the folks behind the project Splash and Burn: a cultural initiative curated by Ernest Zacharevic and coordinated by Charlotte Pyatt run in association with the Sumatran Orangutan Society and the Orangutan Information Centre.

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BSA Top 10 Stories Of 2019 As Picked By You

BSA Top 10 Stories Of 2019 As Picked By You

Greece, Mexico, Poland, Detroit, Brooklyn, Tennesee, Texas, Asbury Park in New Jersey. Your favorite BSA stories were not limited to geography. Aerosol, wheat-paste, yarn, soldered steel, cut stencils, rollers, photography, even plants; Nor were they contained by technique or materials.

Giving live plants away in a refugee camp, queer pride phone booth takeovers, a floriculture bus stop, a windswept installation constantly in motion at a seaside resort. We paid homage to foundational documentarians of graffiti and Street Art culture, watched an early 1980s French stencil originator travel through the US south, and provided a platform for one of New York’s most elusive writers who blasted apart definitions with his texts and sculpture – all while keeping his own profile on the serious DL.

The creative spirit appears wherever we look on the street, and luckily you love to observe and learn and get inspired by other’s work as much as we do.

Based on the traffic to the website, on social media, and in our email box, here are the top 10 stories that you loved the most in 2019 on BSA.


No. 10

The Dusty Rebel: “Resistance is Queer”

The Dusty Rebel. Hope Will Never Be Silent. In collaboration with #KeepFighting (photo © Jaime Rojo)

From BSA:

Who writes your history? Who would gladly suppress it?


By reviving and celebrating those who the mainstream historically underplays, undercuts, neatly overlooks, and otherwise de facto silences, a new takeover campaign on NY streets helps write the history of LGBTQ struggle, and keeps it just as relevant as this moment.

Photographer and journalist The Dusty Rebel now curates the same streets he documents and shares with BSA readers today his determined campaign to revive, preserve, propel forward the significant players and events that have fought in their myriad ways, with the admonishment to keep fighting. With “Resistance is Queer” he uses his images and his respect for LGBTQ history to ensure that the full spectrum of people are recognized for their contributions to this civil rights struggle for equality.

We’re grateful that he has taken the time to explain in detail the people behind the images and their significance to him personally as well as their role in a people’s history.


The Dusty Rebel: “Resistance is Queer” Phone Booth Campaign in NYC. Continue reading HERE


No. 9

Blek Le Rat Tours the US South

Blek Le Rat. Nashville. (photo © Brian Greif)

From BSA:

Tennessee and Texas Sample a Certain Street Savoir Faire

Look out for Le Rat!

He’s getting up in places down south that you wouldn’t normally associate with a French Street Artist, much less the one who started stenciling in a style and manner unusual on Paris walls in ’81 – an antecedent for much of what we later would call ‘Street Art”. 


Blek le Rat Tours The US South continue reading HERE


No. 8

“Evolucion de una Revolucion” Outside in Queretaro, Mexico

Martha Cooper. Evolucion de una Revolucion. In collaboration with Nueve Arte Urbano. March 30th, Queretaro, Mexico. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

From BSA:

“Martha Cooper isn’t only a photographer, she’s a historian as well and you are here with us today to pay homage to her work. Martha is my teacher and she taught me more than graffiti, she’s taught me the way in which we live with art every day. When we see a piece of art on the street we bring it into our daily lives. That’s precisely Martha’s contribution to our lives”

Edgar Sánchez, co-founder of the Nueve Arte Urbano festival.

Under the magical spell of the Jacarandas in full bloom, a spirit of Pax Urbana flowed through Queretaro’s lush public park Alameda Central this weekend as dignitaries from the city, including the honorable Andrea Avendaño, the Minister of Culture of the City of Queretaro, and the Nueve Arte Urbano team hosted the opening of an outdoor exhibition by famed photographer Martha Cooper.

The 101 photographs spanning four decades were enlarged and mounted in weather resistant vinyl throughout the park, representing the full range of Ms. Cooper’s continued focus on art in the streets.


Evolucion De Una Revolucion continue reading HERE


No. 7

Icy & Sot: Giving Plants and New Life to Refugees in Greece

Icy & Sot. Giving Flowers. Lesbos Greece. June 2019. (photo © Icy & Sot)

From BSA:

Street Art brothers Icy and Sot once again lead by example with their latest act of artivism at a refugee camp in Greece.

People chased from their homes by wars in places like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan are now part of a larger conversation in Europe as countries struggle to accept the massive numbers of refugees in the last decade. On the Greek island of Lesbos, the overcrowding of a camp named Moria has produced Olive Grove, a temporary place full of tents, but little nature.

With a goal of softening the hardship for people living here, Icy and Sot raised money through a print sale online and with the proceeds purchased fresh flowering plants to give away. “It was wonderful to see that actually put a smile on peoples’ faces for a moment,” they say in a press release.


Icy & Sot: Giving Plants And New Life To Refugees In Grece continue reading HERE


No. 6

“Martha: A Picture Story”. Shots from the Premiere and Movie Review

Selina Miles & Martha Cooper. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)

From BSA:

First things first – Full disclosure; we are featured in the movie and we are close friends with both the subject of the doc and the director and we first suggested to the director that she was the perfect candidate to make a film about Martha Cooper. Now that we have that out of the way here are a number of shots from the premiere and our review of the movie:

Martha: A Picture Story had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this Thursday to an enthusiastic crowd that included big graffiti, Street Art, international press and film industry names, to see the highly anticipated documentary about the venerable photographer Martha Cooper by the Sydney director Selina Miles.


Martha A Picture Story. Shots From The Premiere And Movie Review continue reading HERE


No. 5

Riding the Rails in the Bronx With “Henry Chalfant: Art vs. Transit, 1977 – 1987”

Henry Chalfant. HENRY CHALFANT: ART VS. TRANSIT, 1977 – 1987. The Bronx Museum of the Arts. The Bronx, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

From BSA:

“We may have lost the trains, but we’ve gained the whole world.”

That’s a quote on the wall in the new exhibition at the Bronx Museum spotlighting the work of Henry Chalfant. The quote comes from Mare 139, one of the early graffiti writers of 1970s-80s trains in New York, referring to the now-scrubbed subway cars that once functioned as a mobile gallery for the young masters of cans throughout a metropolis that was in the grips of financial and social upheaval. Thanks to the work of artists and documentarians like Mr. Chalfant, the ephemeral works were captured, cared for, preserved, and spread throughout the world in the intervening years, in some ways helping to spawn a global interest and practice among burgeoning artists.


Riding The Rails in The Bronx With “Henry Chalfant: Art VS. Transit 1977 -1987 continue reading HERE


No. 4

F*cking REVS: Interview on BSA by Freddy Alva

REVS. Weld Up in DUMBO, 2000. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

From BSA:

“Graffiti ain’t something you do, it’s something you live,” says the text above a wildly lettered REVS piece in a 1996 photo taken in El Paso. If there is a New York graffiti/Street Art icon that you would identify with a credo like this, he’s definitely one. Self-secreted away from the limelight and distrustful of many of the characters that are on the graffiti/Street Art “scene” today, REVS is nearly a New York folk hero, despite appearing to be completely firm in his anti-establishment, anti-commercial views – rooted in punk and hardcore music and those values that helped form his sometimes shape-shifting character since the the 1980s.

REVLON, REVS, SHIESTA, AVENGE, FUCKING REVS, REVS SOUP, REVS NUKE…


F*cking REVS: Interview on BSA By Freddy Alva continue reading HERE


No. 3

“Nostalgia” Brings Floriculture to the Tram Stop in Łódź, Poland.

Dominika Cebula. “Nostalgia”. Lodzkie Centrum Wydarzen. Lodz, Poland. (photo © Michał Bieżyński)

From BSA:

As we move further from graffiti and mark-making in public art-making, is it a revelation that the desire to be seen, to have your voice heard, is the common denominator again, regardless of the form of expression.

In this case, a tram shelter in Poland preserves the natural world in resin, transparently.

Like a mix master, the artist here samples someone else’s handiwork and remixes it, adding a filter, chopping it up and repeating it.


Nostalgia Brings Floriculture to the Tram Stop in Lodz, Poland continue reading HERE

No. 2

Banksy X Mercedes: Is This a Parody??

From BSA:

Yes, of course.

This artists’ interpretation of a car ad that features Banksy’s work is a parody, a farce. No one would try to take one of Banksy’s Street Art pieces to help sell their luxury cars, claiming that his work is in public domain and therefore fair game for any use.

Similarly, if it was a mural on the street by Brooklyn Street Artist KAWS, whose fine art canvas sold at auction this week for $14.7 million dollars at Sothebys Hong Kong, Mercedes wouldn’t simply grab it and run the art behind their newest off-roader on Instagram to infer that “Urban” edginess.

Or would they?

“And now they have filed a lawsuit against me trying to strip away all of my rights. I feel like I am being bullied and intimidated,” says graffiti/street artist artist Daniel Bombardier (a/k.a DENIAL) in a statement regarding the luxury brand that is instead suing him along with three other artists, apparently for having the temerity to demand to be paid, according to an article by James David Dickson in The Detroit News .

Bombardier’s mural and the artworks of the other artists – James Lewis (a.k.a. Olayami Dabls), Jeff Soto, and Maxx Gramajo appeared in published advertisements for the company’s cars, apparently without permission. The artists hired a lawyer to contact the carmaker to seek redress, according to news reports, social media postings, and emails that fairly flooded us yesterday.


Banksy x Mercedez: Is This a Parody? Continue reading HERE


No. 1

Windswept Public Art at the Beach: Hot Tea’s New Installation in Asbury Park

Hot Tea. Wooden Walls Project. Asbury Park, NJ. May 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

From BSA:

They designed the Ritz, the Vanderbilt, the Ambassador and the Biltmore hotels in Manhattan, along with townhouses for the Astors, the Yacht Club, and apartment buildings on 5th Ave and Park.

They were also architects on the team for Grand Central Terminal, that Beaux-Arts centerpiece of Gotham with its high marble walls, majestic sculptures, and lofty domed ceiling.

Also, Whitney Warren & Charles Wetmore designed the Casino Building here in Asbury Park, New Jersey a celebrated historical magnet for thousands of tourists escaping the heat and seeking buffeting breezes. The soaring glass paned windows may remind you of Grand Central, but also of that illustrated postcard on the cover of the Bruce Springsteen album, and of colorful resort town living.

You’ll also see 5,760 pieces of colored yarn hanging from the beams above, forming a shape-shifting brick of radiating color that appears to levitate. The brand new installation by Street Artist Hot Tea is lifted and pulled and choreographed by the ocean air, dancing to the sounds of waves crashing, emulating the currents of the sea. 17 rows define the physical boundaries, but your imagination can go much further with it in a matter of minutes.


Windswept Public Art at the Beach: Hot Tea’s New Installation at Asbury Park HERE


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Selina Miles Captures Bordallo II, FinDac, Millo and Case Maclaim at ONO’U 2019

Selina Miles Captures Bordallo II, FinDac, Millo and Case Maclaim at ONO’U 2019

There are times when an artist needs to be completely obvious to get their message out into the world, and Bordalo II is setting the tone for this year’s unofficial ONO’U festival in the gorgeous natural wonder called Tahiti. Using refuse he gathered around the islands of French Polynesia the Lisboan trash artist created a colorful replica of the oceans greatest predator, a shark, using the ocean’s greatest predator, trash.

Vandals at ONO’U 2019 (photo © Selina Miles)

Thanks to filmmaker Selina Miles’ eagle eye we have a brilliant array of scenes today with your from Selina’s trip last month to this uncommon Street Art rendevous in paradise that is organized every year by ONO’U creator Sarah Roopinia.

You may recognize a few of these artists as alumni of previous editions and note the familiar tone that these images relate – like this one with Bordalo II and his co-conspirator modeling fluorescent plastic netting over their heads. It’s funny when you do it to entertain your friends, but not when it gets stuck on your head in the ocean for days or weeks or months and prevents you from eating, like when you are duck, for example.

Bordalo II. ONO’U 2019 (photo © Selina Miles)
Case Maclaim. ONO’U 2019 (photo © Selina Miles)
Case Maclaim. ONO’U 2019 (photo © Selina Miles)
Case Maclaim. ONO’U 2019 (photo © Selina Miles)
Case Maclaim. ONO’U 2019 (photo © Selina Miles)
Bordallo II. ONO’U 2019 (photo © Selina Miles)
Bordallo II. ONO’U 2019 (photo © Selina Miles)
Bordallo II. ONO’U 2019 (photo © Selina Miles)
Bordalo II. ONO’U 2019 (photo © Selina Miles)
Bordalo II. ONO’U 2019 (photo © Selina Miles)
Millo. ONO’U 2019 (photo © Selina Miles)
Millo. ONO’U 2019 (photo © Selina Miles)
Millo. ONO’U 2019 (photo © Selina Miles)
Millo. ONO’U 2019 (photo © Selina Miles)
FinDac. ONO’U 2019 (photo © Selina Miles)
FinDac. ONO’U 2019 (photo © Selina Miles)
FinDac. ONO’U 2019 (photo © Selina Miles)
FinDac. ONO’U 2019 (photo © Selina Miles)
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BSA Film Friday 08.30.19

BSA Film Friday 08.30.19

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

Now screening :
1. Don Rimx x Owley “Olor A Azucenas El Perfume Del Barrio”
2. Street Art Singapore (VICE)
3. LATINO Legends STREET ART in my BACKYARD! | Los Mendozas
4. Kitt Bennett “Sleeping Giant”


BSA Special Feature: Don Rimx x Owley “Olor A Azucenas El Perfume Del Barrio”

New Yorker/ Puerto Rican Street Artist Don Rimx illustrates his world and ours with his historical people, characters, and archetypes. For this recent piece in Brooklyn he focused on the guy who sells flowers, and the perfumeric effect he has on summer streets.

The mural symbolizes “a cultural bridge”: a flower vendor famous to San Juan, Puerto Rico. As Owley continues to develop his film-maker craft, his own personality is also beginning to emerge; a certain warmth and appreciation for his subjects readily apparent.

Street Art Singapore (VICE)

A quick study of the scene in Singapore at the moment, featuring a graffiti group of style writers and illustrators called RSCLS and a more traditional muralist named Yip Yew Chong. The vandalism laws are strict and violent, yo! So how do you get around them. Carefully. Also heavier topics like institutionalized racism, the surveillance state, and censorship are all hit on.

Respect to Vice for capturing these folks and their stories.

LATINO Legends STREET ART in my BACKYARD! | Los Mendozas

Santana, Selena, Vicente Fernandez, and Frida?

They are all heroes of Hispanic heritage in the house of Instagram comedian Jay Mendoza in Los Angeles. With the help of muralist Gustavo Zermeño Jr these neighbors get together to paint in Jay’s backyard.

Join the #LosMendozasFamily

Kitt Bennett “Sleeping Giant”

Yes, it will remind you of Ella & Pitr. And yes, Melbourne’s Kitt Bennett is impressive nonetheless.

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MARTHA: A Picture Story. Shots from the Premiere and Movie Review

MARTHA: A Picture Story. Shots from the Premiere and Movie Review

First things first – Full disclosure; we are featured in the movie and we are close friends with both the subject of the doc and the director and we first suggested to the director that she was the perfect candidate to make a film about Martha Cooper. Now that we have that out of the way here are a number of shots from the premiere and our review of the movie:

Martha Cooper. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Martha: A Picture Story had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this Thursday to an enthusiastic crowd that included big graffiti, Street Art, international press and film industry names, to see the highly anticipated documentary about the venerable photographer Martha Cooper by the Sydney director Selina Miles.

Selina Miles & Martha Cooper. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Included in the crowd were old-skool New Yorkers and a large international contingent of folks like Henry Chalfant, Doze Green, Skeme, Lee Quinones, Soten1, Carlos Mare 139, Terror 161, Kane, Dink (Baltimore), Okuda San Miguel (Spain), Faith47 (Los Angeles), Mantra (France), 1UP Crew (Germany), Nika Kramer (Germany), Roger Gastman, Lars Pederson (Denmark), Ian Cox (UK), Dean Moses… and many more. Those who didn’t attend this screening are having the opportunity to see it at three more sold-out evenings over the course of the festival.

Steven P. Harrington, Martha Cooper, and Jaime Rojo. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)

The electricity was in the air as Director Miles and producer Daniel Joyce along with the just-arrived Australian members of the “Martha” crew looked for their seats in the Village East Cinema. After a brief introduction by Miles, who told the audience that the film had been a great pleasure to make, the curtain went up to reveal the mother of the superstar art twins Os Gemeos on the big screen. She is sitting at her kitchen table in São Paulo remarking how her boys used to draw on everything, including fruit, and how Cooper and Chalfant’s 1984 book “Subway Art” changed their lives forever. With their story as a backbone for the film, the theme of personal transformation is repeated in a hundred large and small ways for the next hour and twenty minutes.

Martha Cooper with Faith47. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Spanning nearly all of Ms. Cooper’s 75 years, including a photo at age 3 with a camera in hand from her father Ben and uncle Harry’s Baltimore camera store, “Martha” successfully identifies the underlying driving forces, the unique personality and intellectual traits, and the milestones that propelled the photographer across scenes, subcultures, cities, and continents.

While Cooper is most often identified as a crucial documentarian of the 1970s and early 1980s graffiti-writing scene in New York, with “Subway Art” considered a global holy book of preservation that inspired thousands of artists worldwide, the film is judiciously clear that the photographer has had an anthropologists’ zeal for documenting much more over her multi-decade career.

Okuda San Miguel being interviewed by Susanne Lingemann for German TV ZDF. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)

During and after the film you don’t know who you are most impressed with – the director, Martha, the communities touched, the history and stories that are preserved with such care and respect.

“Martha” captures important and character-molding biographical events  – like her work in the Peace Corps in Thailand, a subsequent motorcycle trip from there to the UK, her investigations of tattoo techniques in Tokyo, and her work as the first “girl” photographer at the New York Post. During the film’s nearly magical depiction of Cooper’s first meeting with New York graffiti king Dondi, those in the audience who knew this story broke out into spontaneous applause.

The film isn’t shy about the low points and struggles of Cooper, like her repeated attempts to work at National Geographic, the continuous rejections of “Subway Art” by publishers, her loss of money by its initial disappointing sales, and the high-sniffing artworld classism of a clueless gallerist who unsuccessfully tries to dash her hopes of being recognized for her truest and most human work.

Jaime Rojo being interviewed by Susanne Lingemann for German TV ZDF. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)

You are gently led to take that journey with great interest as well, finally arriving at the mid-2000s European promotional tour for her book Hip Hop Files where Cooper suddenly realizes the impact that “Subway Art” has had on graffiti artists worldwide. Building on that enthusiastic response from new-found fans of her work she jumps back into street photography just as the Street Art scene is exploding.

Despite such a complex story Miles is able to coax out many significant truths in character development along with their infinite shadings, facts and nuances of the story.

Susanne Lingemann from German TV ZDF with Martha Cooper. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)

With interviews, testimonials, unseen home footage from Cooper’s ex-husband and excerpts from soft-news TV stories of the 1980s, viewers may gain a greater understanding of the sacrifice, dogged determination, and her sixth sense for capturing images that the subject exhibits. Keeping a quick pace aided by a smart soundtrack, pertinent graphic elements, and sharp editing, Miles finds ingenious ways to educate us about the various milieu Cooper worked with and the vicissitudes she had to overcome.

The additional layers of visual language infuse so many aspects of the story – a collaging of words, music, precise editing, intuitive pairings and lyrical, witty storytelling that lands in a pitch-perfect way.

Featured subject in the film, former New York Post and National Geographic photo editor Susan Welchman displaying her ticket. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)

In the end you realize Coopers’ underlying credo of taking pictures is about shedding light on people, their lives, their amazing ingenuity in the face of difficulty, their ability to rise above their environment as well as the artists techniques of art-making.

Careful observers will also be struck by the scenes of quiet moments that remain still for a few seconds to reveal deeper feeling – a remarkable glimpse of the filmmaker’s intuitive grasp of the life path and its trials. It’s those in-between places of luminosity that are revelatory, and the human gestures she lets the camera linger upon allow the viewer to write small essays inside their head, bearing witness.

Susan Welchman, Martha Cooper, and Kathryn Mikesell at the after-party. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)

With gratitude and respect to Director Miles and her whole film crew whom have worked thousands of hours over the past 2 and half years, we know that the graffiti/Street Art/photography scenes have been given a huge gift; almost as big a gift as Martha herself.

Martha Cooper stands up to take a cell phone shot of Director Selina Miles as she introduces the premiere film about Cooper. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)
Kathryn Mikesell, Martha Cooper and Jaime Rojo. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)
DJ Jazzy Jay at the after-party performs in front a 1982 photo Ms. Cooper took of him with his audience. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Steven P. Harrington, Youri Mantra, Martha Cooper, and Jay Edlin (Terror 161) at the after-party. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha…where are you going next? MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Selina Miles and producer Daniel Joyce with the film’s crew along with artists, friends featured in the film. Red carpet photo call. MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (photo © Nika Kramer)
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MARTHA: A Picture Story. World Premiere Today at TriBeCa (Video Teaser)

MARTHA: A Picture Story. World Premiere Today at TriBeCa (Video Teaser)

After two and a half years of intense filming, editing, and researching, Director Selina Miles will share her story of iconic photographer Martha Cooper on the big screen tonight at the World Premiere of “Martha: A Picture Story”.

A culmination of talents and passion from two great women in the graffiti-Street Art world, the film has been selected to screen in competition at the famed and respected TriBeCa Film Festival in New York City.

In the case of Ms. Cooper, it is a fascinating insight behind the scenes of the life of a person with a determined intellect and uncanny timing. You get a true sense of her focus and passion as she marches above and below the streets and the globe over more than five decades with camera in hand eager to discover and document. Only a director like Miles can tell the story like this, her sixth sense for detail and nuance driving her to the roots of a complex tale, complimented by her savvy ability for precisely timed editing and sound that keeps the viewer on pace for a story that takes many turns.

The first of four screenings (the newest added due to public demand) takes place today at the sold-out premiere.

Click HERE to read our interview with Martha and Selina.

All images here © “Martha: A Picture Story” 2019

Below are the screenings and times:

8:45 PM – THU 4/25Village East Cinema

8:00 PM – FRI 4/26Regal Cinemas Battery Park

9:30 PM – TUE 4/30Village East Cinema

3:45 PM – WED 5/1Village East Cinema

Click HERE to find out if tickets are still available.

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“MARTHA: A Picture Story” Premieres at Tribeca. A Film By Selina Miles.

“MARTHA: A Picture Story” Premieres at Tribeca. A Film By Selina Miles.


BSA Exclusive Announcement
and interview with the director and the star of


MARTHA

A Picture Story

A Documentary by Selina Miles

MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (still from the movie)

BSA is proud to announce the world premiere of Selina Miles’ new full-length documentary on the life and career of New York photographer Martha Cooper at the Tribeca Film Festival next month.  Separated by four decades and an ocean or two, the Australian film director and the American photographer – each of whom has garnered serious respect in the myriad subcultures of art-in-the-streets with phenomenal storytelling abilities and an innate sense of timing – together land a remarkable film capturing life as a street-shooter, making the multi-chaptered story sing.

It is a fascinating visual sweep that illustrates the unusually gratifying paths that this ever-curious ethnologist charts on the streets (and below them) worldwide since receiving her first camera from her father at age three. The film is a well illustrated collage of a remarkable 70 plus year span showcasing Coopers’ 6th sense for people, urban culture, and burgeoning subculture. Viewers get to see the huge variety of interests she has investigated with amiable warmth and academic rigor – from the Peace Corps in Thailand to tattoos in Japan to graffiti train writing in New York to the daily lives of people in her native Baltimore.

MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (still from the movie)

With ample interviews and vintage video footage never seen before, “MARTHA: A Picture Story” follows Ms. Cooper across continents into the streets, through tunnels and over rooftops to provide illustrative background contexts for her decisions, her driving motivations, and her pure determination to succeed as a professional photographer – despite man-made and societal adversity.

We’ve been very fortunate to see this diamond of a documentary up close, and we can say that MARTHA is legitimate crowd-pleaser.

MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (still from the movie)

BSA spoke with Ms. Cooper and Ms. Miles for this auspicious announcement day about the new movie:

BSA: Your personal and professional history has often been about overcoming challenges and pushing aside barriers. Is there one new challenge you have gone beyond to participate fully in a documentary about you?
Martha Cooper: Well like most photographers, I’m more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it especially when speaking. I can’t say I’ve gotten good about overcoming being filmed, but I tried hard to give good footage.

MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (still from the movie)

BSA: One of the challenges of being a doc filmmaker is the number of hats you have to wear – sometimes perhaps feeling like you have to do everything yourself.  What did you discover about your preferred role/s on a film?
Selina Miles: Making a documentary is certainly a dynamic job and requires a mix of technical, social and creative skills. Learning from a photojournalist with 50 years experience such as Martha has been a wonderful experience. I started my career in video making by mucking around with friends making graffiti videos and shooting street art festivals, and the DIY spirit of both of these art forms really gave me an advantage on this project.

Not all directors know how to shoot or how to edit, but thanks to these early experiences I do know a little about all of these disciplines. Being able to just grab a camera and shoot, or to edit my own little concept videos was very handy in getting the project off the ground. That being said, being able to employ an amazing editor like Simon Njoo and having the mentorship of producers like Jennifer Peedom has also been a dream come true and really helped take this film to the next level. 

BSA: With the new documentary many people will learn about a more dimensional photographer than the one they most frequently associate with the name Martha Cooper. Why is this important?
Martha Cooper: I’m often called a graffiti, street art, or hip hop photographer but I don’t put myself into those categories. I would like people to understand that the common denominator in my choice of subjects is art in everyday life. I’m always looking for examples of how people are creative in their everyday lives. Graffiti is just one of many different examples.

MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (still from the movie)

BSA: Is there a special approach or formula that one tries to follow when making a story like this for a more general audience.
Selina Miles: I think that the interesting thing about this story, in particular, is that it explores a subculture that is so misunderstood by so many people. Everybody has seen graffiti and has an idea of what it is, but I still think that few people really understand why it exists and where it came from. There’s so many tropes and ideas about graffiti and those who practice it that are just plain wrong or oversimplify a very complex idea. It’s been an enjoyable and interesting challenge for me to unpack the facts and rules of this subculture as I see them, and step them out in a way that somebody completely new to the culture can understand and appreciate Martha’s story. 

BSA: Your photos capture a time and a moment and a technique of creation, but also often the more atmospheric and cultural energy of the street. What has drawn you time and again to capture this to share? Your own curiosity?
Martha Cooper: Not exactly. As you know, I like looking for things and collecting them. Photography is a challenging quest and taking a good photo is the reward. The nature of what I’m questing for can change according to time and place but in general, the world is more interesting to me if I have a camera. The possibility of photographing something makes me look at my surroundings with a keener eye than I would without a camera.

MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (still from the movie)

BSA: Martha stood on the shoulders of feminists before her, yet blazed some paths that were very much her own – frequently without support. What is one lesson a younger person may take from Martha Cooper when they watch this movie?
Selina Miles: Marty often says that people today don’t understand what it took to survive as a freelancer in earlier decades, especially as a woman and I completely agree. It’s a common thing that you hear but it’s very true, we are lucky these days to live in a world so connected and relatively accepting of all kinds of races, ages and sexes. That being said, there’s always going to be a frontier, and I hope that young people watching Martha’s story will be inspired to push beyond that frontier in their own way, and not be held back by anybody’s expectations of who or what they should be. And do it all the time with a smile and a sense of humor! 


MARTHA: A Picture Story.

Premiering at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, which takes place from April 24 – May 5th. Public tickets will go on sale on Tuesday March 26 at 11am ET. Tickets are extremely limited and we recommend purchasing tickets early.

https://www.tribecafilm.com/filmguide/

https://www.tribecafilm.com/festival/tickets

Hashtags: #marthathemovie

Film Instagram: @marthathemovie

Martha Cooper Instagram: @marthacoopergram

Director’s Instagram: @selinamiles

For screening dates and locations and to purchase tickets click HERE

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BSA Top Stories Of 2018 As Picked By You

You got furious at us sometimes this year. Or rather, you were mad at artists whose work pissed you off. Thanks for the emails though bro. We still love you of course sister.

Without a doubt the polarized atmosphere in social/economic/geopolitical matters worldwide in 2018 was increasingly reflected in the graffiti and Street Art pieces and projects that we wrote stories about. Loving it or hating it, often BSA readers were motivated to share the story on social media for discussion and to write directly to us to take issue, or even to chide us for “being political”.

Let’s be clear. Art has always been and will always be “political”. We tend to think that the artwork that we agree with is not political because it is expressing our values, opinions, and worldview.

So that’s why you propelled stories about a clandestine Trump cemetery installation by InDecline onto the list this year. That’s why Winston Tseng’s inflammatory campaign against a certain kind of Trump supporter on NYC trashcans proved to be so provocative and offensive to so many people, while others crowed support.

The topic of free speech under fire also attracted high interest for Fer Acala’s story of artists and rappers who took over a Spanish former prison to protest restrictive recent federal laws aimed at protest in that country.

The timeliness of Jetsonorama’s wheat pasted photography series about Good Samaritans who leave water for people in the desert – and the US border guards who destroy them – resonated powerfully to us this week as  a 7 year old girl died in Border Patrol custody of apparent dehydration.

But BSA readers also love the spectacle, the vast animated murals, the scintillating stories behind the art and the artist; the connection that communities and festivals create with art in the public sphere – or in abandoned factories, as it were. The biggest splash this year was the over-the-top creation of and the fiery destruction of an art sculpture at the Falles de València celebration in Spain by Street Artist Okuda. You loved the tantalizing images by Martha Cooper, and somehow everyone relishes the idea of building and constructing a large, colorful, inspiring piece of art and then lighting it on fire in the public square – propelling that story to the top of the BSA list in Top Stories in 2018


No. 15

The Painted Buses of Raiatea and Bora Bora – French Polynesia

Okuda. ONO’U Tahiti 2018. Bora Bora, French Polynesia. June 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

From BSA:

Box trucks are a favorite canvas for many graffiti writers in big cities and have become a right of passage for new artists who want the experience of painting on a smooth rectangular surface that becomes a rolling billboard through the streets advertising your name, making you truly “All City”.

When in French Polynesia a few weeks ago with the ONO’U festival, a number of artists were given the significant gift of a large truck or school/commuter bus on which to create a mural, a message, a bubble tag.

Together on the islands of Raiatea and Bora Bora there were about 10 of these long and low autobuses that became sudden celebrities in the sparsely travelled streets, debuted as some of them were in Raitea, when painted live at an all night party for the public.

The Painted Buses of Raiatea and Bora Bora. Continue reading HERE


No. 14

Destroying Desert Water Bottles; Chip Thomas’ New Work in AJO, Arizona

Chip Thomas. AJO, Arizona. July. 2018. (photo © Chip Thomas)

From BSA:

Ajo Samaritans describe themselves and their mission on their website like this; “Samaritans are people of faith and conscience who are responding directly, practically, and passionately to the crisis at the US/ Mexico border. We are a diverse group of volunteers around Ajo that are united in our desire to relieve suffering among our brothers and sisters and to honor  human dignity. Prompted by the mounting deaths among border crossers, we came together to provide food and water, and emergency medical assistance to people crossing the Sonoran Desert.”

Destroying Desert Water Bottles; Chip Thomas New Work in AJO, Arizona. Continue reading HERE


No. 13

Copenhagen Diary: A Street Survey of the Moment

DalEast is the author of the bird. Spyo tells the world who he really is… (photo © Tor Staale Moen)

From BSA:

A current survey today from the streets in Copenhagen thanks to a couple of BSA fans and friends who share with readers their recent finds in one of the world’s happiest places, according to the 2018 World Happiness Report. Apparently it is also a good place for gay birds to come out of the closet.

With a storied history of graffiti bombing of the red trains that goes back many years, possibly generations, Copenhagen has long been a treasured destination for graffiti writers.

Now you will also find murals and installations illegally and legally by local and international Street artists – and the iconic full sides of buildings here are subtly transforming the public face of the city.

Copenhagen Diary: A Street Surevey of The Moment. Continue reading HERE


No. 12

Pop Up “Trump Cemetery” Marks Death of Ideas on 1st Anniversary of Inauguration by INDECLINE Artist Collective

“Grave New World” installation by INDECLINE artist collective (image © INDECLINE)

From BSA:

So INDECLINE picked a swell morning to debut their long-planned and complicated site-specific installation at this golf-course in New Jersey.

“INDECLINE felt is necessary to commemorate some of the victims,” they say. “The dates on the headstones correspond to some of the highlights of Trump’s first year in office.” You may remember some of these milestones on the tombstones, you may have to Google others.

The saddest death for us all year has been the civility and respect of Americans toward one another – as those hard working families who are just scraping by are being skillfully manipulated through sophisticated PR / media campaigns into thinking that they are the only real uber-patriots and to hate the wrong people. Most importantly they are fighting and voting against themselves without realizing it.

“Grave New World” Trump Cemetery. Continue reading HERE


No. 11

Borondo Finds Community on The Island Of Utsira in Norway

Borondo. Utsira. Utsira, Norway. Summer 2018. (photo courtesy of the organizers)

From BSA:

Today we revisit Utsira, the tiny island in Norway that has hosted a few Street Artists over the last couple of years, like Ella & Pitr and Icy & Sot. This year the fine artist and Street Artist Gonzalo Borondo blended into the hills and the forest and the lapping waves, making his spirit dissipate into the community and into a boat.

“There’s a strong sense of community,” he says as he reflects on the metaphor he has chosen to represent his time here on an island of only 420 people, “There is a mutual support among citizens and a common feeling of enjoying the same unique condition.”

Borondo Finds Community on The Island of Utsira in Norway. Continue reading HERE


No. 10

Nespoon Casts a Lace Net Across a Sicilian Wall

NeSpoon. Emergence Festival. Catania, Sicily. March 2018. (photo © courtesy of NeSpoon)

From BSA:

Equally gifted in the heavier handmade artisanal crafts of porcelain and ceramic as she is with aerosol, Nespoon did installations of both this month during the Emergence Festival in Sicily (Valverde + Catania. The seventh year of this international festival for public art, Nespoon shared the roster with American Gaia and Sicilian Ligama from March 10-26 creating works related to the city and its stories. In many respects these new works appear integral, interventions that belong there, may have been there a long time without you noticing; a sort of netting that holds the skin of the city together.

Nespoon Casts a Lace Net Across a Sicilian Wall. Continue reading HERE


No. 9

No Callarem: Street Artists Paint As Protest in La Modelo Prison, Barcelona

Enric Sant. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

From Fer Acala on BSA:

One of the direct actions organized by the platform for fighting against Partido Popular’s civil rights oppression was to film a video clip featuring some of the most renowned lyricists on the scene as Frank T, Elphomega, Los Chikos del Maíz, La Ira, Rapsusklei, and César Strawberry, among others, at the old La Modelo prison. The location is an accurate metaphorical scenario when you are seeing that your liberty is being cut off thanks to laws like ‘Ley Mordaza’.

The song ‘Los Borbones son unos ladrones’, which alludes directly to the Spanish monarchy, includes some excerpts from some of the songs created by rappers serving a prison sentence. The video clip for the song, which you can watch at the end of this article, has become viral and almost all media outlets in the country are speaking about this big shout-out in the name of freedom.

No Callarem. La Modelo Prision. Barcelona. Continue reading HERE


No. 8

NemO’s, Ericailcane and Andrea Casciu Ride a Tandem Resistance In Bologna, Italy.

Ericailcane. Pennelli Ribelli Festival. Bologna, Italy. October 2018. (photo © NemO’s/Andrea Casciu)

From BSA:

Highlighting collective efforts that advance events during war and the tales of heroism, butchery, resistance, intrigue, and subterfuge that are braided into historical retelling, three Italian Street Artists commemorated citizen resistance and a Nazi massacre in a lengthy mural for the Penneli Ribelli Festival this month in Bologna.

At the center of the story is the resistance by everyday Italians of various ages, genders, and social classes, a movement known as the Italian resistance and the Italian Partisans, or Partigiani. The icon of the festival is a wolf in honor of the Partisan who led the group, Mario Musolesi, whose nickname was “Lupo”, or “Wolf”.

NemO’s, Ericailcane and Andrea Casciu Ride a Tandem Resistance. Continue reading HERE


No. 7

“Martha” the Movie: Selina Miles’ Most Ambitious Project To Date

Martha Cooper (photo © Selina Miles)

From BSA:

We knew that these two talented and powerful personalities would compliment each other stunningly and that’s why we encouraged them two years ago to do a doc. A short term one was the original plan. But the two hit it off so well and when you are looking at a five decade career like Ms. Cooper’s and you have the dogged determination to do her story justice, Ms. Miles tells us that even an hour and a half film feels like its just getting started.

Now “Martha” the movie is at a unique juncture in the project and YOU may be able to participate; Selina and the team are looking for any original footage you may want to show them – and it may be used in the documentary.

“Martha” The Movie. Selina Miles Most Ambitious Project To Date. Continue reading HERE


No. 6

DavidL Paints Hitchcock, Warhol, Tim Burton, Kubrick: Through The Lens of Fer Alcala

DavidL. ET. Fraggle Rock. Spain. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

From BSA:

After 25 years writing graffiti, DavidL has found his own way of working. It’s funny because one of the inherent issues about graffiti and street art is visibility. All the trains, the bombing, the tagging…it’s all about being noticed, being every f-ing where. It has been like this since day one (Taki 183, Terror161, 1UP…you know how it works).

But for David it’s not like that anymore.

Maybe it’s a sign of the days that we are living with social media, communication 2.0, etcetera. It’s obvious that if you have certain skills managing all this and a little bit of talent, plus a pinch of good taste, you can reach a global audience and show your work to the entire world even when you are concentrating the majority of your creations in a secret location.

DavidL, Through The Lens of Fer Alcala. Continue reading HERE


No. 5

BSA Images Of The Week: 09.30.18 – UPEA Special

SMUG. UPEA 2017. Kotka, Finland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

From BSA:

This week we have a selection of the UPEART festivals’ two previous editions of murals – which we were lucky to see this week after driving across the country in an old VW Bora.

We hit 8 cities and drove along the border with Russia through some of the most picturesque forests and farmlands that you’ll likely see just to collect images of the murals that this Finnish mural festival has produced with close consultation with Fins in these neighborhoods. A logistical challenge to accomplish, we marvel at how this widespread program is achieved – undoubtedly due to the passion of director Jorgos Fanaris and his insatiable curiosity for discovering talents and giving them a platform for expression.

UPEA Special. Continue reading HERE


No. 4

‘Wandelism’ Brings Wild Change for One Week in Berlin

Marina Zumi. “Wandelism”. Berlin, Germany. (photo © Harald Geil)

From BSA:

When I was asked how to name the exhibition few weeks ago, I merged the words “vandalism“ and “Wandel“ (the German word for “Change“). That’s how Wandelism (or Changeism) was born and how it started transforming itself into an exhibition, which is truly accepting, embracing and living CHANGE.

On the grounds of a former car repair shop that is soon to be demolished, one can literally feel the constant movement and transformation of the urban fabric we all live in. Everything changes. Constantly. Change is evolution. Change is progress. Change is also the DNA of the art represented in the Wandelism show.

Wandelism” Brings Wild Change For One Week in Berlin. Continue reading HERE


No. 3

Scenes from Eugene: Murals of the 20x21EUG Festival in Oregon

Alexis Diaz. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

From BSA:

The city of Eugene in Oregon is preparing for the 2021 IAAF World Athletics Championships and like many cities these days it is transforming itself with murals.

With a goal of 20 new murals by ’21 (20x21EUG), the city began in 2016 to invite a slew of international Street Artists, some locally known ones, and a famous graffiti/Street Art photographer to participate in their ongoing visual festival.

A lively city that is bustling with the newly blooming marijuana industry and finding an endless array of ways to celebrate it, Eugene has been so welcoming that many artists will report that feeling quite at home painting in this permissively bohemian and chill atmosphere.

Scenes From Eugene: Continue reading HERE


No. 2

Winston Tseng: Street Provocateur Brings “Trash” Campaign to NYC

Winston Tseng (photo © Jaime Rojo)

From BSA:

“At the end of the day when one is towing the line of being provocative, you may cross that line in some people’s mind but I think if one is not trying to find that line then the work is not going to make any impact”.

Winston Tseng has probably been crossing that line, pissing off some people and making others laugh for a few years now. He appears to consider it an honor, and possibly a responsibility. Relatively new on the Street Art scene the commercial artist and art director has also created his 2-D characters on canvasses and skate decks that depict the abridged characteristics of a typecast to play with the emotions and opinions of passersby.

Winston Tseng: Street Provocatour Brings “Trash” Campaing to NYC. Continue reading HERE


No. 1

OKUDA Sculpture Engulfed in Flames for Falles Festival in València

Okuda. Fallas 2018. Valencia, Spain. (photo © Martha Cooper)

From BSA:

Yes, Street Art is ephemeral, but OKUDA San Miguel just set it on fire!

During the annual Falles de València celebration, it’s normal for artworks to be destroyed publicly in about 500 locations throughout the city and in surrounding towns. Part of a spring tradition for València, Spain monuments (falles) are burned in a celebration that includes parades, brass bands, costumes, dinners, and the traditional paella dish.

This year the first Street Artist to make a sculpture in the traditional commemoration of Saint Joseph is the un-traditional OKUDA, creating his multi-color multi-planed optic centerpiece.

Okuda Sculpture Engulfed in Flames in Valéncia. Continue reading HERE


We wish to express our most heartfelt gratitude to the writers and photographers who contributed to BSA and collaborated with us throughout the year. We are most grateful for your trust in us and for your continued support.

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