All posts tagged: Urban Nation Berlin

Berlin’s Urban Nation Re-opens: BSA’s Martha Cooper Exhibition Extended to May 2022

Berlin’s Urban Nation Re-opens: BSA’s Martha Cooper Exhibition Extended to May 2022

We congratulate our partners at the Urban Nation Museum in Berlin for the re-opening of the museum during these difficult times. We applaud their commitment to the arts and to the institution and the people who they serve, including the artists and the community both local and international. As curators of the critically acclaimed current exhibition “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” we are elated to know that more people are going to be able to enjoy the exhibition now extended until May 2022.

Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures”. Currently on view at Urban Nation Museum Berlin. Curated by Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo of BrooklynStreetArt.com Berlin, 2021. (photo © Nika Kramer for Urban Nation)

The URBAN NATION Museum will open for you again on March 16. Here’s what you need to know regarding your next visit:


Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are limitations in place. As usual, admission is free of charge. However, access to the exhibition is currently only possible with a time slot ticket reserved not less than 24 hours in advance. Therefore, please book your time slot ticket at least one day before your planned visit to the museum.

BOOK YOUR FREE TICKET NOW

“Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures”. Currently on view at Urban Nation Museum Berlin. Curated by Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo of BrooklynStreetArt.com Berlin, 2021. (photo © Nika Kramer for Urban Nation)

Please also pay attention to the following:

▪️ Visitors will be admitted to the museum only with a booked ticket at least one day in advance via their digital ticket system.
▪️ A maximum of 12 people per hour are allowed to enter the museum. The maximum time spent in the exhibition is 60 minutes.
▪️ All visitors must register on-site with their contact details.
▪️ Access to the museum is only permitted with a medical face mask or FFP 2 mask.
▪️ A maximum of three tickets can be booked per person.
▪️ Guided tours and admission of groups of 5 or more are not possible for the time being.

Urban Nation asks for your understanding of these measures, which will allow them to reopen the URBAN NATION Museum within the framework of the current regulations of the Berlin Cultural Administration.

“Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures”. Currently on view at Urban Nation Museum Berlin. Curated by Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo of BrooklynStreetArt.com Berlin, 2021. (photo © Nika Kramer for Urban Nation)

All information about Urban Nation’s current exhibition “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” can be found HERE.

If the Berlin-wide incidence rate rises above 100 per 100,000 inhabitants, we will be forced to close the URBAN NATION Museum again.

“Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures”. Currently on view at Urban Nation Museum Berlin. Curated by Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo of BrooklynStreetArt.com Berlin, 2021. (photo © Nika Kramer for Urban Nation)
“Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures”. Currently on view at Urban Nation Museum Berlin. Curated by Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo of BrooklynStreetArt.com Berlin, 2021. (photo © Nika Kramer for Urban Nation)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures”. Currently on view at Urban Nation Museum Berlin. Curated by Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo of BrooklynStreetArt.com Berlin, 2021. (photo © Nika Kramer for Urban Nation)
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Honoring Bravery on International Women’s Day 2021 in Germany and Spain with Amnesty International, Urban Nation

Honoring Bravery on International Women’s Day 2021 in Germany and Spain with Amnesty International, Urban Nation

An outspoken opponent of police brutality and impunity and an articulate advocate for those persons made invisible in the increasing feudal city of Rio de Janeiro, Marielle Franco’s shooting brought tens of thousands to the street after her death at 38 in 2018.

Katerina Voronina in collaboration with Urban Nation and Amnesty International “Brave Wall’ project to mark International Women’s Day in Berlin, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Over the last few spring-like days in Berlin, her portrait rose slowly about the streets, reminding us that her moral courage continues to have an impact today on International Women’s Day. It’s only been a recognized holiday in this German city for a year, says Urban Nation museum director Jan Sauerwald. Franco’s visage is the first to occupy what has been officially identified as the museums’ ‘Brave Wall.’

Katerina Voronina in collaboration with Urban Nation and Amnesty International “Brave Wall’ project to mark International Women’s Day in Berlin, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)

“Realizing this political mural on the theme of women’s rights together with artist Katerina Voronina is a special moment for the URBAN NATION Museum program,” he says, “To present the first ‘Brave Wall’ in Berlin and Germany on this day in cooperation with Amnesty International puts the project in a fitting context.”

Katerina Voronina in collaboration with Urban Nation and Amnesty International “Brave Wall’ project to mark International Women’s Day in Berlin, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)

The artist was chosen by a panel made of an equal number of Urban Nation and Amnesty International participants, along with journalist Miriam Davoudvandi. The joint goal on International Women’s Day is clear.

“Women’s rights are human rights and therefore an important part of our human rights work. I am very pleased that the first ‘Brave Wall’ in Germany was designed by a woman, Katerina Voronina, and honors the impressive commitment of human rights defender Marielle Franco,” says Dr. Julia Duchrow, Deputy Secretary-General of Amnesty International in Germany, in a press release.

An illustrationist and motion designer, Katerina Voronina successfully evokes the resolute spirit of fighting for human rights in the portrait of Franco, “With the realization of this ‘Brave Wall’ I had the opportunity to bring a special and courageous woman into focus.” she says.

Katerina Voronina in collaboration with Urban Nation and Amnesty International “Brave Wall’ project to mark International Women’s Day in Berlin, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Katerina Voronina in collaboration with Urban Nation and Amnesty International “Brave Wall’ project to mark International Women’s Day in Berlin, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Katerina Voronina in collaboration with Urban Nation and Amnesty International “Brave Wall’ project to mark International Women’s Day in Berlin, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Katerina Voronina in collaboration with Urban Nation and Amnesty International “Brave Wall’ project to mark International Women’s Day in Berlin, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Katerina Voronina in collaboration with Urban Nation and Amnesty International “Brave Wall’ project to mark International Women’s Day in Berlin, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Katerina Voronina in collaboration with Urban Nation and Amnesty International “Brave Wall’ project to mark International Women’s Day in Berlin, Germany. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Meanwhile, in Spain, artist and muralist Marina Capdevila identifies an obvious question about saving only one day to pay tribute to women in this new piece.

“Today, we still are fighting and working nearly every day to be listened to, to be taken seriously,” she laments, reflecting on the sly kind of dismissiveness she feels about her art practice sometimes. “I’m tired of receiving 8 million emails with proposals that offer to ‘give visibility to women,’ ” she says.

“If we continue like this, will we also eventually only work one day a year?”

Until such a day, she’s loving life as a painter and savors the sisterhood that brings her support and opportunity. “I am fortunate to have wonderful women in my life who inspire me, help me, and above all, make me laugh.”

Marina Capdevila. “365 Dias Luchando” (photo courtesy of the artist)
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BSA HOT LIST: Books For Your Gift Giving 2020

BSA HOT LIST: Books For Your Gift Giving 2020

It’s that time of the year again! BSA has been publishing our “Hot Lists” and best-of collections for more than 10 years every December.

In this year that has been so heavy and difficult for many of the BSA family we thought it would be inappropriate to do things the way we always do, out of respect for this moment. The one list that we feel good about this year of course is our shortlist of some of our favorite books from 2020 that you may enjoy as well – just in case you would like to give them as gifts to family, friends, or even to yourself.


From BSA:

Crossroads, the new monograph from Alice Pasquini is full of the young daring and confident girls and women whom have been traveling with her since she began painting walls around the world two decades ago.

Rendered in aqua and goldenrod and midnight, withstanding winds and rains, these figures are willing to be there as a testament to the daily walk through your life. A survey and diary of her works and experiences, her style is more human than international in its everyday appeal, advocacy gently advanced through the depiction of intimate personal dynamics and internal reflection.

Perhaps this quality alludes to the invitation of interaction, the ease of integration with the public space in a way that the cultural norms of her Italian roots influenced her.

“In Rome, where I grew up, everything is urban art. Any little fountain or corner was made by an artist. And there were always a lot of expressions of freedom in this city,” she says in an interview here with writer Stephen Heyman.

Alice Pasquini “Crossroads” Drago Publisher. Rome, Italy, 2019


From BSA:

Bill Posters knows his street art and activism history.

From Beuys’ practice of ‘social sculpture’ and John Fekner’s blunt upbraiding of urban planning hypocrisies to AIDS activists using street art to shame government homophobia and the paint-bombing of a Mao portrait that led to the arrest and torture of the artists/activists for counter-revolutionary propaganda, he’ll give you a solid foundation on precedence for this rebellious art life in “The Street Art Manual.”

He also knows how to yarn-bomb.

And myriad other techniques for freelance intervening in city spaces that you own, that all of us own, but which are often commandeered for commercial messages, political propaganda messages, or commercial-political propaganda messages – otherwise known as fascism.

“The Street Art Manual”; Rebel Artivism and Good Manners with Bill Posters

The Street Art Manual by Bill Posters. The Street Art Manual new US on-sale date is now Sept. 8th. 2020. Published by Laurence King Publishing Ltd. London, UK. 2020.


From BSA:

Taking a decade long view of your creative life can be astoundingly instructional if you are brave enough; perusing over the body of work that you have taken with eyes focused and blurred may reveal broad outlines and finer features of a creative life-path – a psychological mapping of the inner world and its outer expression with all its impulses, longings, expressions of received truths and newly discovered wisdom.

Franco Fasoli aka JAZ has looked over his last decade (2009-2019) of work as a street artist and fine artist and offers you the opportunity to examine his public and private side as well in this new two-volume compendium. Painting on the streets since the mid-nineties and his mid-teens in his hometown of Buenos Aires, the visual artist knew his path would be a creative one. His family and role models, comprised of well-schooled artists and educators, had provided a foundation of critique and appreciation for him to build upon from the earliest years.


Artist Franco JAZ Fasoli Goes “Publico Privado”

Franco Fasoli. Privado. Publico Privado. Jaz Franco Fasoli. 09-2019


From BSA:

Belgium’s ROA, whom we have featured in perhaps 30+ articles, put out his “CODEX” monograph this spring, and while sitting inside your lockdown we thought you would enjoy freeing your mind to travel the world with him.

A gypsy by nature, a naturalist by practice, he has investigated and heralded the animal world, complete with its heartless savagery. Accurately depicting many of the most marginalized and endangered specimens, this uncanny portraitist spooks you with the scale of his animals, draws you in to their presentation without guile.

Willing to let his work do the talking, ROA is still anonymous after more than a decade on the global street art stage. Following his own path, we recognize his achievements here, and wish him good travels wherever he goes.


ROA “CODEX” Reveals His Wild World Wanderings


From BSA:

In addition to lush photo spreads of Martha’s documentation over 6 decades, we have essays written by art critic, curator and author Carlo McCormick, UN Executive Director Jan Sauerwald, author and photographer Nika Kramer, author, curator, and Hip Hop historian Akim Walta, National Geographic chief photo editor Susan Welchman, curator of prints and photographs at the Museum of the City of New York Sean Corcoran, and the curators of this exhibition Jaime Rojo and Steven P. Harrington.

The hefty hardcover, a richly illustrated and modernly designed book, is timed for release simultaneously with the exhibition opening this Friday, October 2. In addition to the essays, we have 40 quotes about Martha from her peers, artists, authorities in photography, folklore, graffiti, and Hip Hop, along with long-time friends and her family. The cover of the book features a photograph rarely seen of graffiti writer Skeme train surfing in NYC taken by Martha in 1982. The introductory texts to each of the 10 sections are written by author and curator Christian Omodeo.


“Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures”


Published by Urban Nation Museum Berlin & Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo
.


From BSA:

To accompany the exhibition “Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation” at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, a substantial catalogue has been released to support the show and place the artist in context with his time as well as his influence on the future as it pertains to contemporary art and so-called art in the streets.

Accessible and erudite, the catalogue unpacks the social connections, the various emerging music, art, and performance sub-scenes of “Downtown” and “Uptown” New York culture, the opaque underpinnings of the dominant culture, and the urban syntaxes that formed this young Brooklyn artist and his work in the 1970s and 1980s. To faithfully set the stage for this story; to conjure the atmosphere, the moment, the context that Basquiat evolved himself into, you would need to create an interactive urban theme park with an impossible set design budget, a cacophonous sound-music map, a handful of public policy and political advisors, an anthropologist, a warehouse of costumes, too many actors, too many attitudes, and even more drugs.

Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip-Hop Generation. Published by MFA Publications on the occasion of the exhibition currently on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Edited by Liz Munsell and Greg Tate with contributions by J. Faith Almiron, Dakota DeVos, Hua Hsu, and Carlo McCormick.


“Writing The Future”: Basquiat , Broken Poetics, and the NYC Cultural Context


From BSA:

With precision and guile Sandra Chevrier has painted a female world that is sophisticated, unreachable and appealing, whether painted on canvas, street mural, or stuck to a wall in the margins of a city. The characters who are punching and pouncing and swooning across her faces are reflective of her own hearts’ adventures, seamlessly rolling and intermingling with those epic storylines and dust-ups with superheroes and villains of yesterday.

Perhaps it is because of this sense of inexactly placed nostalgia, in “Cages” we are aware of the ties that bind us, the roles that we hold – whether chosen or imposed – and we’re rooting for these Chevrierotic women to win – as they scream and cry and swing for the rafters, looking for the way out.

“A dance between triumph and defeat, freedom and captivity, the poison and the cure,” stands the ambivalent quote on the page facing her black and white photo by Jeremy Dionn.

A closeup of her face, her hand horizontally obscures the lower half, her index finger raised to allow Sandra to see, to study and assess. Without question this artists’ work is more than autobiographical – these expressions offer a stunning sense of mystery, an understanding at the precipice, an adventure-ready to occur.

Sandra Chevrier: Cages. Published by Paragon Books and designed in San Francisco, CA. by Shaun Roberts. August 2020.

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Interview with BSA By Urban Nation Museum (UN), Berlin

Interview with BSA By Urban Nation Museum (UN), Berlin

The new exhibition “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” is on view at the URBAN NATION Museum – a six-decade retrospective of Martha Cooper’s photographic work. Through photographs and personal objects, artifacts and ephemera, the exhibition traces Cooper’s life, from her first camera in 1946 to her current reputation as a world-famous photographer.

photo ©Nika Kramer)

The most extensive career survey ever exhibited, “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” is curated by Steven P. Harrington & Jaime Rojo (BrooklynStreetArt). For over a year Harrington and Rojo poured over thousands of photographs and hundreds of artifacts, memorabilia, and archives, working closely with Martha to ensure an accurate and complete presentation of Cooper’s career and to make certain the exhibition will appeal to a wide audience as well as her ardent fans equally. In an interview the two acclaimed curators talk about the challenges of planning a new exhibition and their relationship with Martha Cooper, giving a rare insight into the work of a curator and providing an inside look at selected highlights of the exhibition.

PROJECT M/7 “PERSONS OF INTEREST,” A SHOW CURATED BY JAIME ROJO & STEVEN P. HARRINGTON OF BROOKLYN STREET ART AT URBAN NATION BERLIN, IN MARCH, 2015. Photo © Nika Kramer

Steve and Jaime, you have been working as curators, writers and bloggers for many years. Please take us back to the beginning of your careers. How did you meet and when did you decide to work together as a team?

We met in the 1980s when we both came to New York as university students and we have been actively involved in a wide range of projects in the arts separately and together for the last three decades. From “Low” to “High” art, we’ve always relied on the intelligence of the street-based subcultures to tell us the future, and we’ve each found that a fully immersive approach is the best way to understand everything from aesthetics to the humanities to music to movements in media and popular culture. We also discovered that as a team we are both determined to do it 100%.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s we became captivated by the new wave of art on the streets in neighborhoods like Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where a booming artist community was reimagining and remixing cultures in the wake of radical economic shifts that were forcing the young creative communities off the island of Manhattan. Primarily art school students of one kind or another, these artists were using the platform of the New York streets to bypass a rigid gallery system and other “gatekeepers”– and they were of course influenced by the collective legacy of graffiti, pop culture, decades of being drenched in advertising, and the dawning of the Internet age. Not content to simply imitate graffiti culture, they were reinterpreting, reinterpolating, when translating concepts, techniques and history learned in formal education.

In short, it was the dawn of street art as we knew it and we were lucky to be living as artists/curators at one physical epicenter of it. Our neighborhood and social and professional circles included loosely organized groups of artists and collectives who created art parties and mounted interactive events in empty factory lofts or on rooftops or in basement speakeasies; art shows, theatrical events, djs, projections, video, performance, fashion, new music and a new merging of technology. We too were throwing loft parties and staging art events and performances, sometimes for hundreds of people, and it all seemed perfectly normal that art was spilling out into the streets as well.

These were all influencing factors that led us to self-publish our first street art book in 2006 with Steve’s words and with Jaime’s photographs of works by artists in our neighborhood. It was called Williamsburg Street Art: Unrestricted and it featured artists like Swoon, Faile, Banksy, Bäst, Shepard Fairy, Dan Witz, and DAIN – all of whom went on to show with major galleries and some who have had huge exhibitions in museums worldwide with great commercial and critical success. When we secured a proper publishing arrangement for our second book Brooklyn Street Art (Penguin/Random House) we started a small website to support it in March of 2008 under the same name. That first month we had 54 hits on the site. Later we would pass 100,000 per month.

Click HERE to continue reading the interview at Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art Berlin.

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Martha Cooper “I Don’t Scare Easily” – ArtNet

Martha Cooper “I Don’t Scare Easily” – ArtNet

We’re featuring a great interview today from Martha Cooper – whose career retrospective we curated this year at Urban Nation in Berlin. We particularly love the title. Because its true.

‘I Don’t Scare Easily’: Martha Cooper on Crawling Her Way Through Train Tunnels to Become One of the Leading Photographers of Graffiti – on tArtnet

“In a photography career that spans six decades, Martha Cooper has broken boundaries and defined genres. She became the first female staff photographer at the New York Post in 1977 and shot seminal images of graffiti and the burgeoning hip hop scene during its infancy.

Now, Cooper is being honored with largest retrospective of her work to date. “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures,” opening this weekend the Berlin’s Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art, charts the artist’s photography, from the pictures taken with her very first camera, which she got when she was in nursery school, in 1946, through the present day.

Curated by Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo, founders of BrooklynStreetArt.com, the show includes images from Cooper’s many books, which feature such as bodies of work as her photographs of women’s breakdancing competitions (We B*Girls); of traditional Japanese tattooist Horibun I at work (Tokyo Tattoo 1970), and the streets of gritty 1970s-era New York City (New York State of Mind).”

Martha Cooper in the Martha Cooper Library at Berlin’s Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art. Photo Nika Kramer/Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art.

“But it was graffiti that inspired Cooper’s best-known work, immortalized in the 1984 book Subway Art, which she published with fellow photographer Henry Chalfant. Cooper was drawn to the tracks by the desire to save for posterity these fleeting artistic creations, which were unlike anything she had ever seen.”

CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING THE INTERVIEW AND ARTICLE WRITTEN BY Sarah Cascone for ArtNet.

Martha Cooper, 180th Street platform, Bronx, NYC (1980). Photo ©Martha Cooper.

“Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” at the Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art, Bülowstraße 7, 10783 Berlin. Check the museum’s website for details and hours of operation.

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“Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures”. Installation and Opening Night Shots.

“Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures”. Installation and Opening Night Shots.

Fully booked and fully celebrated, the weekend long celebration of the Martha Cooper career retrospective opened with great success and great reviews as it has been heavily covered by media in print, online, and radio. Because of Covid restrictions the museum can only accommodate a certain number of guests at a time but so far all tickets have been claimed each day. Please be sure if you are going to grab a free ticket online at Urban Nations’ website.

We wish to extend a heartfelt thank you to photographer and BSA collaborator Nika Kramer for sharing her photos with us.

Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. Mick La Rock and Falk. The Livestream hosts. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. Stiftung Berliner Leben President, Dr. Hans-Michael Brey, Urban Nation Museum Executive Director, Jan Sauerwald and, Gewobag CEO, Markus Terboven. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Artist and photographer Petra Branke. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. SETH Mural inspired by one of Martha’s Photos from her book Street Play. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. SETH Mural inspired by one of Martha’s Photos from her book Street Play. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
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BSA Film Friday: 10.02.20

BSA Film Friday: 10.02.20

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

Now screening :
1. “Martha Cooper : Taking Pictures” Opening Night in Berlin at UN
2. Behind the Scenes home video from Nika Kramer

BSA Special Feature: “Martha Cooper : Taking Pictures” Opening Night in Berlin at UN

The exhibition is open!

Our sincere gratitude to Martha Cooper and all of the team who worked so hard to make this event happen at Urban Nation Museum (UN) in Berlin during this difficult year of Covid. We will thank them more in detail soon, but for now please enjoy the official LiveStream of “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures”, directed by René Kaestner and his A-1 team at Red Tower Films, along with our eloquent hosts, Mick La Rock (Aileen Middel) and Falk Schacht .

“Martha Cooper : Taking Pictures” Opening Night in Berlin at UN. Behind the scenes footage via Nika Kramer

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“Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” – Sneak Peek at the Book

“Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” – Sneak Peek at the Book

As we prepare to open the Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures exhibition this weekend, we wanted to let you know that we are publishing a handsome catalogue with UN to accompany the show.

In addition to lush photo spreads of Martha’s documentation over 6 decades, we have essays written by art critic, curator and author Carlo McCormick, UN Executive Director Jan Sauerwald, author and photographer Nika Kramer, author, curator, and Hip Hop historian Akim Walta, National Geographic chief photo editor Susan Welchman, curator of prints and photographs at the Museum of the City of New York Sean Corcoran, and the curators of this exhibition Jaime Rojo and Steven P. Harrington.

The hefty hardcover, a richly illustrated and modernly designed book, is timed for release simultaneously with the exhibition opening this Friday, October 2. In addition to the essays, we have 40 quotes about Martha from her peers, artists, authorities in photography, folklore, graffiti, and Hip Hop, along with long-time friends and her family. The cover of the book features a photograph rarely seen of graffiti writer Skeme train surfing in NYC taken by Martha in 1982. The introductory texts to each of the 10 sections are written by author and curator Christian Omodeo.

At 230 pages, the new book is published by Urban Nation Museum For Urban And Contemporary Art, Berlin, and Steven P. Harrington / Jaime Rojo (BrooklynStreetArt.com). The book will be available for sale at the museum’s gift shop and on view for you to peruse in the Martha Cooper Special Projects room.

Designed by Krimm Studios in Berlin, the project was greatly shepherded by Dr. Anne Schmedding, who edited with us along with Martha. The entire project was carefully managed by the brilliant Christiane Pietsch. Our sincere thanks to everyone who has worked studiously alongside us this year during many Covid-caused complications to produce a handsome tome we can all be proud of.

More about this project in a future posting.

Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures
Curated by Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo

Opening weekend

Opening:

Friday, October 2nd, 2020: 8 – 11 pm

Extended opening hours:

Saturday, October 3, 2020: 10 am – 10 pm

Sunday, October 4, 2020: 10 am – 8 pm

URBAN NATION Museum, Bülowstrasse 7, Berlin-Schöneberg

Livestream Opening Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures

Click HERE for more details about the exhibition.

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SETH Completes Indoor Mural for “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” at Urban Nation Berlin

SETH Completes Indoor Mural for “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” at Urban Nation Berlin

With less than one week to go before the opening of our exhibition MARTHA COOPER: TAKING PICTURES at Urban Nation Museum in Berlin the installation of the exhibition is well underway. Under the watchful eye and guidance of Michelle Houston and her team at YAP (Yes And Productions), the 400 printed photos, 1400 digital photos, 260 collected artifacts, 35 artists original artworks, one commissioned indoor mural, one new 24-video environmental installation, 10 black books, journals, passports, SIM cards, 8 audio voice recordings, a huge stickerboard, and a timeline covering 1943-2020 are all being installed throughout the entire museum.

Seth Globepainter. Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum. Berlin. (photo @Michelle Nimpsch /YAP)

A career retrospective, this one has been carefully planned with a rich offering of items for those who love photography, those who are avid fans of graffiti and street art, those who are scholars of the art forms and practices in public space, and for the families with kids who are looking to spend an afternoon being entertained and educated.

Seth Globepainter. Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum. Berlin. (photo @Michelle Nimpsch /YAP)

One highlight of the exhibition will be the brand new two-story high site-specific indoor mural by French artist SETH, who has created a new interpretation of one of Martha’s photographs from the 1970s, effectively bridging two of the ten sections of the exhibition entitled “Street Play” and “Martha Remixed”.

Seth’s photo of Martha Cooper when he and she collaborated on a project series in Haiti recently. © SETH

SETH understands Martha’s long time interest in photographing kids creating their own world with their imaginations, their own games, play-acting out scenarios in public space in city streets and empty lots. Photos in the exhibition from Haiti bridge several visits Martha made there, first in 1978 and recently in 2018 – this most recent visit with SETH to collaborate on a project with one another.

We wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise for you but we would like to share with you a handful of detail shots of the mural in progress. We’ll unveil the original photo and the full mural on October 2nd.

Seth Globepainter. Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum. Berlin. (photo @Michelle Nimpsch /YAP)

You are invited to the Official Opening of “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures”, which will be streamed LIVE online and have all sorts of special guests and feature a tour of the exhibition, interviews, and documentary material with Martha herself – beginning at 8 pm Berlin time Friday, October 2nd.

Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures
Curated by Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo

Opening weekend

Opening:

Friday, October 2nd, 2020: 8 – 11 pm

Extended opening hours:

Saturday, October 3, 2020: 10 am – 10 pm

Sunday, October 4, 2020: 10 am – 8 pm

URBAN NATION Museum, Bülowstrasse 7, Berlin-Schöneberg

https://urban-nation.com/livestream-martha-cooper-taking-pictures/

Click HERE for more details about the exhibition.

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Urku Abstractly / One Wall Project / Urban Nation Berlin

Urku Abstractly / One Wall Project / Urban Nation Berlin

A fresh face at Urban Nation, the abstract muralist URKU has just completed the façade across the train tracks from the museum on Bulowstrasse.

Urku. One Wall Project. Urban Nation Berlin. September 2020. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Originally from Quito, Ecuador, Urku says he began his true immersion into graffiti and street art when he lived in Sydney, Australia and he hooked up with the Higher Ground crew. His first attempts were painting in abandoned places, he tells us, but the big scale walls really caught his attention.

Urku. One Wall Project. Urban Nation Berlin. September 2020. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Living in Berlin since 2015, Urku brought his girlfriend, Gamze Yalçın who is also an artist in Berlin, along for this installation on the busy thoroughfare full of noise and distractions.  He says his style has evolved more into abstraction today and he likes to think his art as a visual diary – one where he re-interprets his daily visual experiences into abstract compositions.

How did he feel elevated alongside the famous yellow trains of Berlin watching the burners fly by? “Perhaps it would have been very nice to have appreciated the scene while painting the wall with the trains running behind me,” he says, “but the fact is I had to paint all the time and to complete the project. But I was in awe that this was actually happening and seeing the trains with graffiti passing by was very cool.”

Our special thanks to BSA contributor Nika Kramer for these images and to UN.

Urku. One Wall Project. Urban Nation Berlin. September 2020. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Urku. One Wall Project. Urban Nation Berlin. September 2020. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Urku. One Wall Project. Urban Nation Berlin. September 2020. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Urku. One Wall Project. Urban Nation Berlin. September 2020. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Urku. One Wall Project. Urban Nation Berlin. September 2020. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Urku. One Wall Project. Urban Nation Berlin. September 2020. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Urku. One Wall Project. Urban Nation Berlin. September 2020. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Urku. One Wall Project. Urban Nation Berlin. September 2020. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Urku. One Wall Project. Urban Nation Berlin. September 2020. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Urku. One Wall Project. Urban Nation Berlin. September 2020. (photo © Nika Kramer)
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Stohead Sends De-Constructed Letterforms Across a Structure : UN “One Wall” Project

Stohead Sends De-Constructed Letterforms Across a Structure : UN “One Wall” Project

Stohead (Christoph Häßler) started writing graffiti at 14 in southern Germany, where he was born, and last month he completed his largest mural in Berlin for UN, three decades after he began.  

Stohead paints a One Wall for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. (Photo © Nika Kramer)

Exhibiting on canvas for the last two decades in galleries and art fairs, he is an innovator with custom tools and he has mastered his own techniques of deconstructing the letterform, repeating and rolling them in layers behind translucence, complementary waves of motion cascading across, over, and down the wall of this eight-story residential building.

Part of the “One Wall” program at the Urban Nation Museum, Stohead is a calligraffitist of the newer international order, not afraid to experiment and grow, borrow and synthesize in untypical directions. Perhaps its this 6th sense that is causing this new work to slow motorists along Delpzeile 14 in Berlin-Charlottenburg.

Stohead paints a One Wall for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. (Photo © Nika Kramer)
Stohead paints a One Wall for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. (Photo © Nika Kramer)
Stohead paints a One Wall for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. (Photo © Nika Kramer)
Stohead paints a One Wall for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. (Photo © Nika Kramer)
Stohead paints a One Wall for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. (Photo © Nika Kramer)
Stohead paints a One Wall for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. (Photo © Nika Kramer)
Stohead paints a One Wall for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. (Photo © Nika Kramer)
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“Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” : Retrospective Opens This October at Urban Nation Museum in Berlin

“Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” : Retrospective Opens This October at Urban Nation Museum in Berlin


The URBAN NATION MUSEUM FOR URBAN CONTEMPORARY ART
presents a six-decade retrospective of Martha Cooper’s photographs.



MARTHA COOPER: TAKING PICTURES

October 2nd 2020 – August 1st 2021

Curated by Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo



Skeme, the Bronx, 1982. Copyright Martha Cooper. 

Combining photographs and personal artifacts, MARTHA COOPER: TAKING PICTURES traces her life from her first camera in nursery school in 1946 to her reputation today as a world-renowned photographer.

This retrospective is the first documentary exhibition to be presented at the URBAN NATION Museum and it ushers in a new era for the museum under its new director Mr. Jan Sauerwald.

MARTHA COOPER: TAKING PICTURES presents the photographer’s versatile vision of the world, with creativity found on every corner. The exhibition opens with the images from Subway Art, her landmark 1984 book with Henry Chalfant, now credited with jump-starting the worldwide urban art movement. Martha’s photographs documented the secret subculture of writers and the coded artworks they created illegally on thousands of New York City trains.

Martha’s photographs are distinguished by their frank human vitality, with an eye to preserving details and traditions of cultural significance. Many of her photographs have become iconic representations of a time, place or culture. The exhibition will offer a rare insight into Martha’s archives through previously unpublished photographs, drawings, journals, articles, letters, and artifacts. As a lifelong and avid collector, her private trove of black books, stickers, Kodak film wallets and child-made toys will also be on display. Emphasis is placed on Martha’s extensive travels and the artistic friendships that she has fostered internationally.

180th Street Station Platform, the Bronx, 1980. Copyright Martha Cooper. 

Fans will recognize images from her books Hip Hop Files (with Akim Walta, 2004), Street Play (2005), We B*Girlz (with Nika Kramer, 2005), New York State of Mind (2007), Name Tagging (2010), and Tokyo Tattoo 1970 (2011). As an exhibition highlight, the original mock-up of her legendary book Subway Art (with Henry Chalfant, 1984) will be on display, as well as artworks from her personal collection including a pair of original paintings by graffiti king, Dondi.

A multi-channel video installation called “The Rushes” will debut in the exhibition by filmmaker Selina Miles, who directed the documentary Martha: A Picture Story and premiered at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival in NYC.

An extensive section called “Martha Remixed” showcases the work of over 35 artists who have reinterpreted Cooper’s photographs or paid personal tribute with portraits in an array of styles and mediums and locations. Unique to the exhibition, visitors will see the new collaboration between Martha and multidisciplinary Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic who will create a two-story mural onsite inside the museum.

“We were immediately excited to be given the opportunity to present the world’s first major retrospective of photographer Martha Cooper and to introduce her body of work to URBAN NATION Museum visitors. We are interested in focusing on Cooper’s photographic work and expounding on her working methods. In addition, we will present her worldwide collaborations with artists and protagonists of the street art and graffiti movement and provide audiences the opportunity to delve deeply into the cosmos of Martha Cooper’s work. We are delighted to be able to present and convey a unique compilation of photographs and artifacts from her personal collections.” – Jan Sauerwald, Director of the URBAN NATION Museum.   

Lower East Side, Manhattan. NYC, 1978. Copyright Martha Cooper.

Martha’s specialty is documenting artistic process in public space. Her formal training in art and ethnology set a unique template to better understand cultural practices and techniques and her friendships with artists gave her close and personal access to show materials, tools and techniques in detail as they evolve over several generations. As part of this larger practice, Cooper’s iconic photos of clandestine graffiti activities have proven to be a valuable record and an important key to understanding the story of the movement’s proliferation around the world.

Martha’s curiosity has always driven her documentation. Her black and white photographs from her book Tokyo Tattoo 1970 (2011), represent her first foray into an underground art world and hidden practices. In Street Play she concentrated on the invincible spirit of city kids who are creatively rising above their bleak environment. Her photographs of 1980s breakers are the earliest published images of an unknown dance form at the time that became known as central to the definition of Hip Hop culture. As the first female staff photographer on the New York Post, Cooper sought out subjects to pursue independently. Her intrepid and sometimes risky pursuit of taking pictures has inspired many young people to pursue their own artwork and career paths. 

Exhibition curators Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo (New York) have been curators and co-curators for the URBAN NATION Museum since 2015 (Project M/7 Persons of Interest, 2015, URBAN NATION opening exhibition UNique. UNited. UNstoppable., 2017). They are also founders and editors of the influential art site Brooklyn Street Art (BSA) since 2008, a respected daily clearinghouse of the global street art scene.

1UP Crew Mural. Detail. Urban Spree, Berlin, 2017. Copyright Nika Kramer. 

Martha’s style is to dive in and be fearless, immersing herself in the moment – and she’s been documenting what she finds around the world for six decades. That’s the attitude we took curating this exhibition, knowing that each element captured in her work is genuine and transient. It is our goal for visitors to be transformed by her unique eye for a historic preservation of the ordinary that is often exceptional – whether it is documenting the verboten process of making 1970s graffiti, capturing youths performing moves that were later called “breaking”, the inking processes of Japanese tattoo culture, or the ingenious games kids devised for play in New York’s abandoned neighborhoods,” say Harrington and Rojo about MARTHA COOPER: TAKING PICTURES.

MARTHA COOPER: TAKING PICTURES
Exhibition Opening
Friday, October 2nd, 2020, 8 pm

URBAN NATION MUSEUM FOR URBAN CONTEMPORARY ART
Bülowstraße 7, 10783 Berlin-Schöneberg

Interviews will be offered in prior with Martha Cooper, Curators Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo, and Director of the URBAN NATION Museum, Jan Sauerwald. Requests can be send to pr@urban-nation.com

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