All posts tagged: The Brooklyn Museum

Major JR Exhibition Is Coming to the Brooklyn Museum; “The Chronicles of New York City”

Major JR Exhibition Is Coming to the Brooklyn Museum; “The Chronicles of New York City”

The Brooklyn Museum Announces the First Major North American Exhibition of Works by French Street Artist JR

Brooklyn Falls for France this autumn as photographer and Street Artist JR comes to the Brooklyn Museum as part of a cultural season organized by the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and FACE Foundation. In a cultural exchange of sorts, BSA is also going to be in Bayonne, France October as part of Points de Vue.

The Chronicles of New York City, a massive new work from JR promises to be one of his most iconic projects as the Brooklyn Museum debuts the first major North American exhibition of works by the French artist. The new mural will cover 20,000 square feet of the Museum’s Great Hall, featuring more than 1,000 people photographed and interviewed in New York last summer.

JR. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Many Street Art fans will be familiar with a number of the artist’s iconic Street Art/photography works that feature every day and specially chosen people from the neighborhood in which they are plastered; from his early photographic projects in Paris like Expo 2 Rue (2001-4) featuring graffiti artists, Portrait of a Generation (2004-6) featuring young people from Les Bosquetsin the  Parisian suburbs, to Women Are Heroes (2008-9, Inside Out (2011-ongoing The Wrinkles of the City (2008-15, and newer projects like and The Gun Chronicles: A Story of America (2018). Many New Yorkers will also remember Portrait of a Generation. Face 2 Face (2007) – which featured images of Israelis and Palestinians pasted on both sides of the separation wall

JR. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Curated by Sharon Matt Atkins, Director of Exhibitions and Strategic Initiatives, and Drew Sawyer, a curator of photography, the show is unprecedented in representing the scale and reach of the artist and promises to be a highlight in a city known for grand gestures. Today we feature a number of images taken by photographer Jaime Rojo of JR’s work on the street over the years.

JR: Chronicles will be on view at The Brooklyn Museum from October 4, 2019, through May 3, 2020.

JR. Wynwood, Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
JR. Times Square, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
JR. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
JR. Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
JR. Atlanta, Georgia. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
JR. Venice Beach, CA. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
JR. The Bronx, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
JR. Chelsea, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
JR. SOHO, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
JR. Chelsea, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
JR. Lincoln Center, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
JR. High Line Park, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
JR. Houston/Bowery Wall, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
JR (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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What Happened with BSA + FAILE at the Brooklyn Museum?

What Happened with BSA + FAILE at the Brooklyn Museum?

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Steven P. Harrington, Patrick Miller of Faile (top), Sharon Matt Atkins, Patrick McNeil, and Jaime Rojo (image © by and courtesy of The Dusty Rebel) (@DustyRebel on Instagram)

Yes, it was a big deal for us so we want to share it with you. A few years after we introduced Faile to the Brooklyn Museum we have been blown away by the success of their exhibition Savage/Sacred Young Minds all summer long, as well as the long lines of people who have flowed through both of their immersive environments (Temple, and Deluxx Fluxx with Bäst). Under the guidance of curator Sharon Matt Atkins, Vice Director, Exhibitions and Collections, the museum has again produced a relevant, modern and dynamic show that brings in the street and resonates strongly with the local Brooklyn community and academics as well.

You must have seen (or been a part of) the ocean of people here one night in July when Swizz Beatz and Faile celebrated art and art-making with many of the youth who gave birth to this current Street Art movement in New York. A central tenet of this encyclopedic museum for the last decade and a half has been to produce exhibits and events that involve the community, that are relevant and impactful and the audience at our event in the auditorium attests to the success of exhibitions like Faile’s in this respect.

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Patrick McNeil installing Deluxx Fluxx this spring at the Brooklyn Museum (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Following their work on the street since the late 1990s when Faile began making Street Art, we didn’t actually get to meet them in person until many years later, but we’ve always admired their tenacity and risk-taking and experimentation with their work. The crowning event for us was to interview them on the stage of the museum with the show’s curator Sharon Matt Atkins and to introduce some new people to them live and online; along with a bunch of stalwart longtime fans, collectors, gallerists, art students, and journalists.

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The pre-show began with some collaged video of commercials and TV/movie excerpts inspired by Faile’s personal history as youth growing up in the 1980s. Our presentation momentum hit a few speed bumps at the beginning because of microphone outages and we almost lost the rhythm but eventually we got it back and we had a great time with the guests and the audience members, who were so astute and amazing and articulate in their questions and during the conversations we had later with them at the reception.

Our sincere thanks to Ms. Matt Atkins, Patrick McNeil, Patrick Miller, Director Anne Pasternak and The Brooklyn Museum for hosting us, Alicia Boone the Adult Programs Manager for helping put it all together, previous Director Arnold Lehman for his support, as well as Brooke Baldeschwiler, Shelly Bernstein, Emily Annis, Radiah Harper, Patrice Capobianchi, Matthew Branch, Osaro Hemenez, Robert Nardi, Tim, Emily Liebowitz, Paul Bessire, Meryl Cooper, Fatima Kafele, Lauren Zelaya, Margo Cohen Ristorucci, Sally Williams, and all of the staff and folks at the museum with whom we have been working with over these past few years and Chris Jordan, Doc Gregory, and Ray Cross. It is an honor and a privilege to be a Brooklyn neighbor and a part of The Brooklyn Museum family.

 

Faile’s show closes October 4th! Hurry!

Artnet_logo

Review of BSA at Brooklyn Museum with Faile on artnet news
Street Art Duo FAILE Urges Fans to Make a Statement at the Brooklyn Museum – Amanda Thomas

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Also read our review of the BKM exhibit when it opened:
Holy FAILE! ‘Savage/Sacred Young Minds’ at Brooklyn Museum

See Part II of the interview with Faile on Livestream

 

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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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Don Rimx and BSA at Brooklyn Museum : You With Markers in Hand (VIDEO)

Don Rimx and BSA at Brooklyn Museum : You With Markers in Hand (VIDEO)

BSA continues to bring artists to the street wall, to the gallery, and to the museum whenever we can. The video here today captures one of the recent opportunities we had to help bring together Brooklyn Museum goers with one of Brooklyn’s hometown graffiti & street artists Don Rimx.

Just for one night in the grand ballroom of the museum, Rimx invited anyone with a marker to help fill in the color on his new kneeling figure on the temporary wall. Comprised of a complex series of trussing, supports, and various architectural abutments Rimx explained that the materials depicted represented both those he has seen in Brooklyn and Puerto Rico, places close to his heart and personal history.

(Check out the new video by Alex Seel at the end of these photos.)

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Don Rimx. Still from the video. (Video © Alex Seel)

We helped with the markers, initially to color in some of the paper mural ourselves, then to hand them out to guests of all sorts – moms, dads, grandparents, teens, students, graff writers, professionals, workers, – basically everyone who makes up the community here, even New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark Viverito and the Brooklyn Museum’s Managing Curator of Exhibitions, Sharon Matt Atkins.

It was excellent to see people accessing their inner artist and participating in the interactive piece while just behind it hung more classical examples of oil paintings and before us were couples taking live salsa lessons across the ballrooms’ glass and marble floor (it was Latino Heritage and Culture night after all).  We always say that Street Art is just one part of a conversation on the street. Seeing our neighbors taking an active role in creating art with one of New York’s talented street artists is just a confirmation that the creative spirit is alive and well to anyone who wants to access it.

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Don Rimx. Still from the video. (Video © Alex Seel)

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Don Rimx. Still from the video. (Video © Alex Seel)

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Don Rimx. Still from the video. (Video © Alex Seel)

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Don Rimx. Still from the video. (Video © Alex Seel)

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Don Rimx. Still from the video. (Video © Alex Seel)

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Don Rimx. Still from the video. (Video © Alex Seel)

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Don Rimx. Still from the video. (Video © Alex Seel)

Don Rimx at The Brooklyn Museum. Video by Alex Seel

 

We wish to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Brooklyn Museum, Alex Seel and of course to Don Rimx.

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A Top Exhibition for ’14 on HuffPost: Swoon’s “Submerged Motherlands”

A Top Exhibition for ’14 on HuffPost: Swoon’s “Submerged Motherlands”

Street Artist Swoon’s show at the Brooklyn Museum was named in the recent The 15 Best Art Exhibitions Of 2014 listing on The Huffington Posts Arts & Culture page. We’re excited that our article, the first in the major press to be published about the exhibition, is sighted for the story. Here is the original article,

‘Swoon: Submerged Motherlands,’ A Tree Grows in the Brooklyn Museum

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New Swoon in Bushwick

New Swoon in Bushwick

During our talk at the Brooklyn Museum the Street Artist Swoon was asked by someone from the audience if she ever felt nervous putting art on the streets. She responded that she did experience a surge of nervous feelings whenever putting work up in public. Swoon added that she felt that she had been neglecting the Borough of Brooklyn…well it looks like she’s has made up for that.

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Swoon. The Bushwick Collective (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With six new installations for The Bushwick Collective she has been leaving her offerings on the streets of Brooklyn again. Don’t forget that the Brooklyn Museum is running a competition – just record a little  Instagram video of your discovery and send it to the them to enter it. Even if you don’t see these new installations you could still record an Instagram video about the first time you saw a Swoon piece on the street and submit your video for the chance to win a mystery, special guest. Click HERE for more details for your submission.

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Swoon. The Bushwick Collective (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Swoon. The Bushwick Collective (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Swoon. The Bushwick Collective (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Swoon. Detail. The Bushwick Collective (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Swoon. The Bushwick Collective (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Swoon. Detail. The Bushwick Collective (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Swoon. The Bushwick Collective (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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

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

Six years ago these boats of salvaged materials were floating down the Hudson, teaming with twenty-something sea-worthy souls and bohemian performers in costume aiming for the dock at Deitch Studios. This week they are beached up against the base of a massive seven story soft sculpture tree for the opening of Swoon: Submerged Motherlands at the Brooklyn Museum. In between these events each vessel has travelled down the Mississippi River and also crossed the Adriatic Sea from Slovenia to ceremoniously crash the Venice Biennale.

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The view of the top at “Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Newly arrived through U.S. Customs on New York shores from Italy, the seaworthy works of art have returned “home” to Brooklyn as Swoon, the Florida native who came to New York as an art school student, has called it for seventeen years. A singular Street Artist who once wheat-pasted her hand cut portraits anonymously in hidden city doorways, she is also known for her fervently collaborative projects that have carried her to galleries, museums and socially-rooted arts activism in places like Kenya, Haiti, London, Oaxaca, New Orleans, Miami, Braddock (Pennsylvania), Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

No matter where Caledonia Dance Curry goes, there is usually a cadre of handsome and delightful crafters and co-creators in tow; talented friends and valued confidants who help bring her ideas and vision to fruition. While she is clearly at the helm, this dynamic exceeds the typical artist and her studio paradigm; hers is rooted in a regard for collaboration, community, experimentation, and discovery. Oh, and a bit of theater.

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Fire extinguishers in the foreground and rear during the multi-layered preparation of the exhibition for “Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“We are pouring so much into this show and for me I think part of the reason I’m willing to do it is because it is my home. The museum has been awesome and they have given me as much as they can and I have just thrown everything at it because I’m like ‘I’m home, this is my place.’ For me this show is different from installations I have done in other museums and other places,” Swoon explains.

Managing Curator of Exhibitions at the museum, Sharon Matt Atkins, talks about the command of the space and its transformational effect. “Swoon did not hold back in fully utilizing our grand rotunda gallery. She has been working for three and a half weeks at the museum with a large team to get the installation ready. Much of the work involved assembling parts made in the studio, but then bringing it all together with the finishing details onsite,” she says.

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Detail of the top of the tree. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“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.”

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

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 a 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 in to the Museum’s focus on activism with our other exhibitions and collections,” she says.

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

Guests who walk into the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Gallery on the fifth floor will need to crane their gaze upward to see the full expanse of the tree that reaches to the cupola, now embroidered across the sky’s light with her lace patterning. Softly gnarled limbs are clustered with outsized and filigreed leaves that cast shadows on the maritime layers of sprayed blue washes streaming to the floor.

Looking up at the multi-textured and tinted bark that skillfully, if playfully, emulates the trunk of a tree, Swoon talks about the demands of production. “We worked it all out in the studio and then we just spent weeks tearing and shredding and dying the fabric, cutting out paper leaves, and building up these kind of “roots”, crocheting pieces, putting dyed fabric on them, sewing sleeves for the rings to put dyed fabric on – It’s just been immense! It’s one of those things where I’ve never built something on this scale so I really don’t realize how much energy it absorbs when it is that size.”

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” The fabrics used to build the bark of the tree trunk were custom dyed and are shown here at the studio drying. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

To contemplate the rotunda installation and the finer details of the rough rafts Swoon provides an equally festooned gazebo to rest on and nearby linotype images of caretaking and motherhood to see — including a more recent portrait of the artists’ own mother that has also been spotted wheat-pasted in the street.

“So I’ve been thinking a lot about ‘home’ and this installation is about home and the loss of home in a lot of ways. When I decided on ‘Submerged Motherlands’ I was thinking about climate change and thinking about “Sandy”. Also my own mother passed away while I was in the ideation stage for the installation so I was thinking about the loss of my own mother and that relationship and it all just kind of merged together,” she says.

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Detail of the bottom part of the gazebo. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: When you speak of your mother passing during the ideation and the title of the show I look at your work and I think of it as a kind of maternal act, of caretaking, of providing shelter. I wonder if there is any relationship between this concept of motherhood and caretaking that feels true to you.
Swoon: I guess the thing that I think of is almost an impulse to build a safe space in the world for myself and my community; some place to be a little bit different from the norm. Then also that same impulse kind of extended outward to projects like working in Haiti after the earthquake and trying to create literal shelter.

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

Brooklyn Street Art: Thinking about site-specificity and its importance in your work, many of your installations on the street are in the unpolished, eroded areas of town. Contrast that with a museum environment like this where everything is clean and crisp – it occurred to me that you created that same unpolished environment by taking the fire extinguishers and blasting them across the walls.
Swoon: Oh my god the funnest tool ever!

Brooklyn Street Art: Have you used fire extinguishers before?
Swoon: You know what? I never have. Honestly it was just one of those things where I was just like, “How do I get a lot of paint up quickly?” – and I just thought about the fire extinguishers. I mean people use those – it is such an amazing tool. Big props to Craig (Costello), to Krink, who is such a pioneer with that. I never had used it before. I usually take care not to simulate the street environment but maybe that kind of just happened.

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

Brooklyn Street Art: And when it comes to your work and this installation, you don’t like to talk about metaphors.
Swoon: Well, its not that I don’t want to talk about them – its that I think you can get too literal. I think that part of the strength of the arts is that you try to leave a little openness for the parts of our minds that are a little bit less rational and that don’t have this strict linear codex of how you interpret something. Like in the way that the Motherlands theme has so many different kinds of interpretations and layering – I think it is important to keep that kind of richness.

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The artist Swoon at work on the installation. “Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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

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

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Detail of one of the boats. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Detail of one of the boats. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Detail shot of the interior wall of one of the boats. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” View through one of the boats. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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

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

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“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” Detail of the gazebo ceiling. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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

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

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A portrait of the artist at the base of the tree for “Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Swoon: Submerged Motherlands runs April 11–August 24, 2014 at The Brooklyn Museum. For more information visit the museum website HERE.

Join BSA and Swoon on April 24th
In Conversation: Brooklyn Street Art
Thursday, April 24, 2014 at 7 p.m.
Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Auditorium, 3rd Floor
For more information go HERE.

 

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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 was also published on The Huffington Post

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El Anatsui Shows Both “Gravity and Grace” in New York

Post industrial African urban pointillist El Anatsui is outside at The High Line in Manhattan and inside the Brooklyn Museum right now to offer “Gravity and Grace”, two characteristics one may associate with the man himself.

Using aluminum bottle caps and similar mass consumer materials from his home country of Nigeria, the Ghana-born Anatsui paints temporary organic facades, glittering curtains, crumpled moonscapes that bend clumsily and undulate gracefully.  So familiar has he become with his materials over his four decade career, Anatsui can create translucent scrims to peer through and reptilian skinned impressionist coats of armor, each bending and folding of the metal fabric in service of a multitude of imaginations.

El Anatsui. “Peak”, 2010. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I have a desire to manipulate the material to get something else out of it,” he said during his recent talk with African art expert Susan Vogel and Kevin Dumouchelle, Associate Curator of Arts of Africa and the Pacific Islands at the museum before a capacity auditorium audience this month.

While speaking about his own approach to his practice, Anatsui showed a refreshingly straight forward investigative approach to his own process of discovery, perhaps explaining how such rigid materials are transformed by his hand into something flexible, malleable, free. “I have a feeling that artwork is a parallel of life, it is life itself. It is not something static. We are about changing, forever in a state of flux.  If that is the case then the artwork should be in a state of flux.”

El Anatsui. “Peak”, 2010. “Earth’s Skin” 2007 on the left. “Gravity and Grace”, 2010 on the right. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As he offers observations of his own culture and the effects of consumerism and globalism on it, he encourages you to take a hands-on approach to art making. A scholar and professor, El Anatsui’s practice has been rooted in the same D.I.Y. ethos that propelled many a street artist in the current global scene that emerged in the 2000s and 2010s.  Mining the diamonds in his backyard, El Anatsui models a personal mission that encourages artists to look at everyday consumer products and see their potential as high art, as vehicles for expression that go beyond craft making or green initiatives.

In an invitation to collaboration, El Anatsui appears to have a remarkably un-Diva-like disposition when it comes to how his work should be exhibited, inviting others to determine how to best display it according to their site-specific considerations. Speaking of his retrospective that ran from September through the end of 2012 at the Denver Art Museum, the artist expresses a gleeful sense of surprise at how curators there displayed his work. “I saw that they were able to mount some of the works very interestingly and they were able to give them shapes that I would not have thought about myself. “

El Anatsui. “Earth Skin”, 20o7. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn’s curator Dumouchelle used that same freedom to formulate exhibition decisions as he mounted work in the varied spaces for this show – to great effect. Describing the rationale for some of his curatorial choices, Dumouchelle talked about it this way to the artist, “We were very inspired by your admonition to collectors and curators to take your work and use it to respond to the space and that’s really what happened with ‘Gli’,” one of the larger works in the show.

“We had this incredible 72-foot rotunda that is very rarely used for art, ” says Dumouchelle, “Very rarely do we have art of the scale that will actually fill that space, so we wanted to think about how best to make use of that space. ‘Gli’ is designed as this sort of architectural environment where you find yourself as a visitor immersed and sort of surrounded by these works and so we wanted to make full use of the drama of that space.”

El Anatsui. “Gravity and Grace”, 2010. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The work of El Anatsui is equally charged and effective inside the formal exhibition and outside on the street, and New Yorkers are treated for free to the latter through the summer with “Broken Bridge II”, a huge work suspended along a passage of The High Line in Manhattan. With threadbare and broken pieces disrupting the glistening grid-like patterning, there are striking similarities to the work he hung outside the Palazzo Fortuny during his famed splash at the 2007 Venice Biennial. A patchwork effect that he associates with frugality and poverty, free hanging portions of “Broken Bridge II” are fluttering and gently knocking in the East River breezes on The High Line. Similarly, you are reminded of “Ozone Layer”, an aluminum and copper wire piece hanging in the museum with some sections loosely fluttering and banging against one another in the small breezes created by fans mounted into the wall.

In a video for the exhibition El Anatsui appears to dismiss formal art training and relies upon his own conviction, “All the things I was taught about in art school – I set about subverting them,” he appears to say with aplomb.  With “Gravity and Grace”, viewers will experience some sense of awe and unexpected appreciation for ingenuity and revealed beauty; a confirmation that El Anatsui’s steadfast dedication to his own exploration and instincts has expanded the options for artists who will follow.

El Anatsui. “Earth Skin”, 2010. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui. “Peak”, 2010. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui. “GLI (Wall)”, 2010. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui. “GLI (Wall)”, 2010. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui. “Ink Splash”, 2010. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui. “Drifting Continents”, 2009. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui. “Drifting Continents”, 2009. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui. “Drifting Continents”, 2009. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui. “Ozone Layer”, 2010. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui. “Red Block”, 2010. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui. “Amemo”, 2010. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui. “Broken Bridge II”, 2012. Detail. Currently on view at the High Line Park in NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Anatsui. “Broken Bridge II”, 2012. Detail. Currently at view on the High Line Park in NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For more information regarding the Exhibition “Gravity and Grace” at the Brooklyn Museum click here.

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

1978 and 2012 seem closer to one another than ever right now when we look at the blossomed Street Art scene in cities around the world. More than 30 years after Keith Haring moved to New York as an art school kid at the School of Visual Arts, a new generation of art school kids consider it almost a birthright to take their work directly to the street. Right now feels like an excellent time for Brooklyn to spotlight this study of his first four years in the city that blew his mind and inspired him to alter the whole system of how an artist reaches the public.

Keith Haring. Untitled, 1982. Courtesy of  and © Keith Haring Foundation. The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo

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.

“Raphaela Platow, who was the original curator of this show, went into the archives and pulled out things that had basically just been sitting there, ” explained Tricia Laughlin Bloom, the project curator for the current show as she gave a tour this week before its opening at the Brooklyn Museum Friday.

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. Untitled, 1982. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In these years Disco was on a full force collision course with Punk, New Wave, and Rap, and Haring was embracing the nightlife of a college student sampling the downtown scene, exploring his sexuality, and commandeering entire rooms at SVA to mount shows on paper. Some of those “body involvement” painting sessions are documented well here in video; a sort of full immersion painting baptism. While jamming out to music he covers every white surface with thick black symbols and gestural marking, sometimes painting with both hands in a rhythmic automatic study of both the physicality of the process and his own interaction with space and materials.

Not to be missed in person is the 30 piece collection in the final room of actual subway black papers that Haring adorned with his white line drawings, energetically created symbols and characters throughout stations in New York’s train system. The frames and glass protect them for us to appreciate them today in their disarming simplicity, their collection ironically alleged by some to be why the artist discontinued the subway practice. Equally compelling is the projected large slide show of Haring in photos by Tseng Kwong Chi, whom the artist called to shoot almost every time he did an illegal piece in the subway.

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

Keith Haring. Manhattan Penis Drawings for Ken Hicks, 1978. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With almost half of the pieces here never displayed publicly like this before, the show is a welcome revelation for fans hoping to peel back a little of the hype-like gloss that time and opportunism may have shined his legacy with. Whether it’s his hand-collaged flyers for the indie group shows he curated, his home movies of Klaus Nomi and Joey Arias performing in the living room, or the complete re-installation of a wall from his 1980 show at PS 122, you get the idea that this was an audacious observant art student gulping at the faucet of life in a pulsating dirty city that welcomed him.

“He’s such a thoughtful and complicated figure – at the same time with that really pure impulse of not wanting to alienate people but to bring them in,” says Laughlin Bloom as she describes the young artist she discovered en route. “He’s this combination of fun-loving, and life-loving, and intellectual, accessible – a total populist but not in an insincere way.”

Keith Haring. Twenty Polaroid self-portraits with glasses painted by Kenny Scharf and Peter Schuyff, 1979-82. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Keith Haring. Still from Lick Fat Boys. April, 1979. Vide0 3 min. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Keith Haring. Still from Lick Fat Boys. April, 1979. Vide0 3 min. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Keith Haring. Still from Lick Fat Boys. April, 1979. Vide0 3 min. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Keith Haring. Still from Lick Fat Boys. April, 1979. Vide0 3 min. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo

After 1982, Haring’s entire visual language of characters and symbols would become iconic, international; his work in dialogue with modern art history and everyday people eventually outlasted him to inspire a diverse generation of artists working on the street from Shepard Fairey and Swoon to Stikman and Specter, among many others.

“Haring saw the subway as the ideal platform for showing work – one of the few places to catch New Yorkers off-guard,” says Poster Boy, a Street Artist/collective who is credited/blamed for re-engineering and culture jamming subway posters with a razor in very recent years. Speaking of Haring’s chiding of corporate commercialism in the culture, Poster Boy observes, “For advertisers it’s the perfect opportunity for a commercial break. Haring saw it as a break from commercials.”

Respected for his early interest in busting down barriers in social activism, street art, and illegal art, it’s likely that many on the Street Art scene today will be checking out the pre-buzz Haring on display at this show. At the moment, it feels like one of New York’s adopted hometown heroes is back in Brooklyn.

Keith Haring. Untitled, 1982. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Art is for everybody. To think that they-the public- do not appreciate art because they don’t understand it, and to continue to make art that they don’t understand and therefore become alienated from, may mean that the artist is the one who doesn’t understand or appreciate art and is thriving in this “self-proclaimed knowledge of art” that is actually bullshit.”  1978

 – Keith Haring Journals

Keith Haring. Cipher chart, 1971-73. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Keith Haring. Wall papered with reproductions of hand collaged flyers to advertise shows that Keith Haring curated, 1981. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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

“These are flyers from 1981 – an aspect of his production that maybe people aren’t aware of. He did a lot of organizing shows in alternative spaces and curating 24 hour exhibitions, xerox exhibitions, neon exhibitions, open-calls for artists where they show your work for 24 hours and then it’s taken away. He designed these – the framed works are the originals of the collages and posters that he did for these shows,” Tricia Laughlin Bloom, the project curator for the show.  Keith Haring. Detail. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Keith Haring. Thirty untitled subway drawings, 1980-85. Private Collection. The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Keith Haring. Thirty untitled subway drawings, 1980-85. Private Collection. The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Keith Haring. Thirty untitled subway drawings, 1980-85. Private Collection. The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

With special thanks to Tricia Laughlin Bloom, Sharon Matt Atkins, Sally Williams, Marcus Romero, Matthew Branch, The Brooklyn Museum, and the Keith Haring Foundation.

 

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Brooklyn Museum Cancels “Art in the Streets” Show for Spring 2012; Currently at LA MOCA

Director Sights Financial Difficulties

When we visited the LA MOCA “Art In the Streets” exhibit days before it opened in April, the feeling of camaraderie and expectation hung thick in the air as artists and curators and museum directors put the final touches on what they knew was the first major show of it’s kind; an historical taking stock of the route graffiti and Street Art travelled over the last half century to become an undeniably positive influence on art, music, fashion, … the culture.  That week when talking with Sharon Matt Atkins, The Brooklyn Museum’s Managing Curator of Exhibitions, about the plans for bringing the show to our beloved city in Spring 2012, we were nearly apoplectic about the prospect of somehow being involved in the welcoming.

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Banksy “Art in the Streets” MOCA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sadly this afternoon we hear from the museum and friends that the show has been withdrawn.  Sally Williams from the Museum’s Public Information Department confirmed the news to BSA over the phone. “This is a very important show for anybody to have but it is also a huge and very costly exhibition and we just couldn’t get funding for it”.

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Os Gemeos. Detail. “Art in the Streets” MOCA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Meanwhile the last hour in the Twitterverse has raised a bit of a buzz  about the statement by Brooklyn Museum Director Arnold L. Lehman’s that the decision is “due to the current financial climate”.  The current home for “Art in the Streets” has found the show receiving great critical and popular acclaim and the much sought after younger demographic forming lines, making their own videos of the show, and yes, hitting up the giftshop. It really looks like it is proving to be a blockbuster for the museum and business in the community. That’s why its even more sad and a little confusing to find that Brooklyn can’t host what would surely be a boon to the organizers, the museum, and the city.

We thought that the cultural history of our city would have been greatly enhanced by the Brooklyn Museum’s decision to be the next stop of this exhibition. Despite it’s association with the negative aspects of vandalism and all that go with it, graffiti and Street Art have transformed global arts culture in many positive ways and New York is known worldwide as one of the birthplaces, an epicenter of this rich cultural history and what it has evolved from it.

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Swoon. Detail. “Art in the Streets” MOCA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

From the museum’s press release:

Brooklyn Museum Withdraws from Art in the Streets Exhibition

Brooklyn, New York–June 21, 2011. The Brooklyn Museum has canceled the spring 2012 presentation of Art in the Streets, the first major United States museum exhibition of the history of graffiti and street art. Organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles, where it is currently on view at The Geffen Contemporary through August 8, 2011, the exhibition had been scheduled at the Brooklyn Museum from March 30 through July 8, 2012.

“This is an exhibition about which we were tremendously enthusiastic, and which would follow appropriately in the path of our Basquiat and graffiti exhibitions in 2005 and 2006, respectively. It is with regret, therefore, that the cancellation became necessary due to the current financial climate. As with most arts organizations throughout the country, we have had to make several difficult choices since the beginning of the economic downturn three years ago,” states Brooklyn Museum Director Arnold L. Lehman.

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Fab Five Freddy speaking at the press conference of “Art in the Streets” LA at MOCA. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Fab Five Freddy in front of his piece. “Art in the Streets” LA at MOCA. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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