All posts tagged: Steve Powers

Coney Island Dreaming: Following the Signs to Stephen Powers

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, its 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.

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

Just as warm weather recedes and late autumn’s chill darkens that historic city seaside amusement park, the popsicles and sand and titillating oddities are all rushing inside for the winter at Brooklyn Museum. Here and in adjacent galleries, the stage-directing showfolks at BKM are offering conjoined triplets for you to gawk at: Stephen Powers: Coney Island Is Still Dreamland (To a Seagull), Coney Island: Visions of An American Dreamland, 1861-2008 and Forever Coney: Photographs from the Brooklyn Museum Collection.

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

In tandem with his merry band of mostly reformed graffiti writers-turned-sign painters, Powers’ installation pops up and outward chaotically like nighttime fireworks seen from the boardwalk on the 4th. The fast talking Philadelphia-born Powers is a natural carnival barker, showman, and punny word player, and this textual chorus of messages invites you to consider the tantalizing language of the pitch as well.

While you tumble layer upon layer, feel free to revel in the clever permutations of implorative doublespeak delivered with non-linear panache, a cluster of colorful visual cues here cut from their tether and flying above your head. Rather than actually selling you something, however, it’s the method of delivery that Powers is celebrating. It’s a joyride of icons that trumpets the juxtaposition of the graphic, the selection of the symbol, the wink of an eye, the turn of the word, the jocular joust.

Just like any rollercoaster or peeping attraction, its a thrill best enjoyed by holding on tight, alternately letting go completely, blurring your eyes and drinking in the candied, fried, salty sweetness. And just like any tourist attraction that helps those yearning for a closer view, a classic binocular tower viewer is sited center stage for you to gaze further than the human eye.

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

In a city that is quickly stamping out the last remaining handmade signage that was once ubiquitous on bodegas, candy shops, record stores, laundromats, restaurants, bars, pizza joints, and hot dog stands, it is ironic that these new signs recalling that communication vernacular are being brought into the museum. If any of these signs remain in public space today, they are faded glories overlooked, often called “ghost signs”. Powers brings the language back to life, inverting the expected, cleverly blending in his own sense of Coney Island romance, heavily salted and smothered in ketchup.

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

Anne Pasternak, the new director of this encyclopedic institution, saw the value in preserving this particular character of New York when she was President and Artistic Director of Creative Time and the organization collaborated with Powers for the first time in 2004 and 2005 on The Dreamland Artists Club in Coney Island. Those first two projects were the genesis of their collaboration in Coney Island again in 2008 with The Waterboard Thrill Ride. Emblazoned by Powers’ hand painted wit the darkly satirical project was sited in a Coney Island peeing booth/grindhouse that stirred controversy for its animatronic depiction of torture.

More often Powers’ installations in a dozen or more cities are affectionately referred to as Love Letters, including massive text-based projects that cover walls and neighborhoods in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Syracuse and 2011’s Love Letter to Brooklyn, which wrapped a building with city inspired phrases of 250 or so words in downtown BK.

Here at the museum you are best served to get in close and go full bore into the jumbled chaos of words always at play in Power’s work and mind. The installation features the twisted phraseology of a country baked in advertising jingles, slogans, and blustery bromides and each of the artists (Justin Green, Matt Wright, Mike Levy, Dan Murphy, Mike Lee, Mimi Gross, Alexis Ross, Sean Barton, Eric Davis, and Tim Curtis) bring their own handstyles and witticism to these conversations, a playful and sarcastic examination that bubbles and splashes like waterfalls of words beneath the rotunda.

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

As Powers and team completed their installation this week for Friday’s opening we spoke with curator Sharon Matt Atkins, Vice Director of Exhibitions and Collections Management, to see if the newest iteration of ICY SIGNS has been the fun house that it appears to be.

Brooklyn Street Art: Can you talk about the intersection of the three exhibits here as expressed in the signage of Powers?
Sharon Matt Atkins: Our three Coney Island exhibitions capture the spirit of the seaside community and give a feeling for how the place has inspired generations of artists. Powers’ installation in particular brings the visual language of Coney Island to the Museum by recalling the great tradition of hand-painted signs.

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

Brooklyn Street Art: How much of the exhibit is specific to this installation and how much is heritage pieces from its pre-iterations?
Sharon Matt Atkins: This installation combines found signs alongside those created by Powers and ICY SIGNS. The works by Powers and ICY SIGNS include both earlier work as well as new signs and paintings created for this exhibition.

Brooklyn Street Art: Brooklyn Museum is once again embracing the language of Brooklyn streets and public space, bringing it into a gallery and presenting it as vital and worthy of consideration. How does this one compare to the shows you organized for Swoon and Faile?
Sharon Matt Atkins: I have loved seeing the Cantor Gallery transformed with each artist’s installation, and also with recent exhibitions like Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic and Crossing Brooklyn. It’s a beautiful space that lends itself to different kinds of experiences.

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

Brooklyn Street Art: How does the space lend to or present a challenge for the displaying of the multiple signs?
Sharon Matt Atkins:
Powers and team really wanted to respond to the architecture, much in keeping with how signage becomes layered in cities and places like Coney Island. Working with the piers of the Museum’s Cantor Gallery, they built layers and stretched upward about 40 feet, creating these soaring towers of signs that are anchored by sign benches at their bases. Providing a lively and educational element to the exhibition, we will also have sign painters at work here on Thursday evenings, and afternoons on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steve Powers’ site specific installation “Stephen Powers: Coney Island Is Still Dreamland (To a Seagull)” is presented in conjunction with “Coney Island: Visions of An American Dreamland, 1861-2008”. Both exhibitions will open to the public this Friday, November 20th and will run until March 13, 2016. Click HERE for more details.

 

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

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This article is also published on The Huffington Post

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BSA Loves You More Every Day

BSA Loves You More Every Day

Happy Valentines Day to you from your friends at BSA.

Single?
together?
under the weather? –
we don’t mind, cause you’re just fine
and we
love
you.

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Steve ESPO Powers. From Love Letter To Philadelphia. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

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American Puppet (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Damon (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

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 London Kaye. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Danielle Mastrion (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hek Tad (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

“I can’t give you anything but love, baby
That’s the only thing I’ve plenty of, baby”

 

Jimmy McHugh (music) and Dorothy Fields (lyrics)

 

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Pics and Video From “Outside In” from Nuart and Martyn Reed

“Outside In” is a small scale but potent and polished presentation of a number of today’s international street artists in one austere exhibition in the port town of Stavanger, Norway.  Says Martyn Reed, founder of Nuart and director of this show, it’s also an answer to the selections of artists in the humongous graffiti and Street Art exhibition currently on view at MOCA in Los Angeles.

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Opening night at “Outside In”, photo © John Rodger

“We were looking at Deitch’s “Art in the Streets” and thought there were a few important artists missing. We were also a tad jealous so we thought we’d knock up our own little provincial version here in Stavanger, explains Reed. No exhibition of Street Art will ever be complete – that’s what the streets are for – but it is always exciting to see how the story is parlayed in different settings and locales.

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Opening night at “Outside In”, photo © Nuart

140 works culled from private collections by 30 of the worlds leading practioners of Street and Urban Art, the show features  Banksy, Os Gemeos, JR, Blu, Blek le Rat, Barry McGee, Ed Templeton, Mark Gonzales, Shepard Fairey, Dolk, Dan Witz, Borf, Faile, Jose Parla, Jeremy Geddes, David Shrigley, David Choe, Dotmasters, Swoon, Bast, Logan Hicks, Escif, Herakut, Ha Ha, Nick Walker, Charles Krafft, Martha Cooper, Steve Powers, Kaws, Retna, Chris Stain, Skewville, M-City, Date Farmers, Mark Jenkins.

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A Blek Le Rat free-range sheep poses while visitors discuss the wall of Swoon pieces on opening night at “Outside In”, photo © Karianne Lauritzen

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Brooklyn Represents! BAST on the wall at “Outside In”, photo © Karianne Lauritzen

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Learn more at NUART http://www.nuart.no/

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Steve “ESPO” Powers: “Flight of Genius” (VIDEO)

Steve ESPO Powers is a man of letters and he likes to play with them like other kids play with Legos. Informed with a rich commercial vintage signage vocabulary and a sharp eye, and armed with buckets of paint and brushes Powers has created bold messages in a number of cities that play on and satirize meanings and advertising jargon.

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Under the watchful eye of Jesus, Street Artist Steve Espo and associate paint. (Still from video)

To celebrate adman David Ogilvy’s birthday and his command of the language in service of fooling people to buy things, Ogilvy & Mather New York and Joshua Liner Gallery commissioned a series of murals by ESPO interpreting quotes of their revered agency founder.  ESPO nails it.

The video below by Jun Lee gives a brief introduction to ESPO’s work:

Curated by Joshua Liner and Jun Lee

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Images of the Week 04.24.11 MOCA LA Part II

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Here’s Part II of our tour of the museum at the “Art in the Streets” show that opened a week ago at MOCA LA. The breadth and depth of the show must have blown away many of the potential critics, because the grousing never really materialized. For our part, the review on the Huffington Post of the show itself (Red Hot and Street: “Art in the Streets” Brings Fire to MOCA) and the images of stuff on the street in 4 0r 5 neighborhoods in LA (Hitting Up LA: The Streets Outside the Show) have been fodder for some conversation (and voting!) and it’s a blast to see how this graffiti/street art movement sparks such intense opinion and feelings.

MOCA Part II Images of the Week, this week featuring Banksy, Barry McGee, ESPO,Steve Powers, Craig Stecyk III, Ed Templeton, Freedom, Invader, Martha Cooper, John Fekner, John Ahearn, Kenny Scharf, Lee Quinones, Margaret Kilgallen, Nunca, Os Gemeos, ROA, and Swoon.

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Banksy (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Barry McGee, Steve Powers (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ed Templeton (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ed Templeton (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Freedom (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Invader (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Invader hovers on Martha Cooper’s room (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Detail of a timeline installation with work by John Fekner and John Ahearn on display (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kenny Scharf customized Cadillac (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lee Quinones (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Margaret Kilgallen (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stelios Faitakis (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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A playful detail of the Os Gemeos installation (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Swoon. Detail (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Fun Friday 02.18.11

Fun-Friday

Curbs and Stoops in Bushwick for “Beat Nite” Tonight

The Grand Opening of Curbs and Stoops Active Space!  A proud New York tradition for artists and collectives – the opening of a big welcoming space in which to explore and celebrate the creative spirit.  This is where you find the wild seeds of what will grow tomorrow. Big Ups to courageous peeps like Ashley Zelinskie and Jeffrey Pena and all the friends that are putting their skills into action.brooklyn-street-art-curbs-and-stoops-Sebastian-Vallejo 5 Jardiìn-Galaìctico.-web

Sebastian Vallejo Detail. Image courtesy of Curbs & Stoops

The goal is to create a progressive cultural center designed to promote community through art; a 6,000 square foot space will host new works by Angel Otero, Ashley Zelinskie, Brian Maller, Brian Matthew, Christopher Rivera, Hector Arce, Hector Hernandez, Jason Mones, Jeffrey Pena, Jonathan Chapline, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Pep Williams, Rachel LaBine, Sebastian Vallejo, Lapiztola Collective, UR New York Collective and Super Pop Collective

566 Johnson Street 2nd Floor
Friday, February 18, 6-10PM
Morgan L Stop

Opening night party with DJ Grimmace.
Sponsor: DogFish Head

For more information on this show click on Curbs & Stoops site:

http://www.curbsandstoops.com/blog/

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Downloadable Map for tonights events in Bushwick http://www.nortemaar.org/

Shout out to Andrew Hurst for the poster design.

Street Knowledge by King Adz

Fumero and Mario Pena at Art Bazaar Tonight

Check out the artists collaboration show at Art Bazaar in Chelsea to see new work by a number of artists, including some you have seen on the street like painters Mario Pena and Fumero.

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Participating Artists:

Cargoh Artist profile by Indigo

Steve Powers AKA ESPO talks about his Urban Love Letters

Opiemme “Barbarism Kills”

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Street Signals 09.12.09

Rome is about the have a “New York Minute”

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Uncrating the New York monsters at Macro Future.

NEW YORK MINUTE is opening in Rome September 19.  MACRO FUTURE, the former slaughterhouse that is part of the Museum of Contemporary Art, will  present sixty artists who live, work or gravitate around the city of New York. It’s a look at the drama, danger, speed and dynamism of our city’s diverse creative activities.

It is curated by Kathy Grayson with the support of DepART Foundation.

Artists include urban art names like Steve Powers, Barry McGee, Dash Snow, and AVAF (Assume Vivid Astro Focus)

Read More about the NEW YORK MINUTE SHOW here

Here’s a video by AVAF from a few years ago featuring the Yoko Ono song, “Walking on Thin Ice”

Walking On Thin Ice by Assume Vivid Astro Focus and Honeygun Labs, with Carla Machado.


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D*Face Opens Tonight at Jonathan Levine Gallery

Ludovico Aversion Therapy: All Your Dreams Belong to Us

Ludovico Aversion Therapy: All Your Dreams Belong to Us (D*Face) (courtesy Drago and Jonathan Levine)

London street artist D*Face doesn’t get the big head that some artists do, and can’t be bothered by repetition – any medium is good and everything gets attacked in a fun cartoony way and images of superheroes, pop heros, dead presidents… all get the D*Face skullification.  For such dark symbols, the light-hearted feeling permeates the various permutations.

D-Face
Creative Commons License photo credit: unusualimage

Jonathan Levine Gallery

529 West 20th Street, 9th Fl

New York, NY 10011

Sep 12 thru Oct 10, 2009



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