All posts tagged: Urban Nation

Some Gems from the Exhibition: “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” at UN Berlin

Some Gems from the Exhibition: “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” at UN Berlin

More than a hundred thousand or so visitors have come to our exhibition at Urban Nation in Berlin which takes over the entire museum. 350 photos, a few thousand more digitally, black books, drawings, ephemera, cameras, film slides, toys, miniatures, a mural, a complete timeline from 1943 to today, 70 original artworks, a 16 screen film collage by director Selina Miles… this is an endless collection of Martha’s personal and professional work and collections for all visitors to see.

Martha called out to sticker artists from around the world to send their work in for this sticker board. Within weeks it was completely covered and envelopes continued to arrive for many months from seemingly every city. Here’s Ms. Cooper and co-curator Jaime Rojo looking at the collection. Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures / Urban Nation Museum Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)

The traffic is beginning to increase now that the end of this unprecedented life-spanning exhibition is nearing its end in May of this year, and we want to show you a few of the hidden gems just in case you have a free afternoon to visit the museum. It has been our honor and privilege to share this exhibition, to work so closely with the photographer herself, and to mount the first exhibition at Urban Nation that features the career of one artist – and thousands of artists.

An entire collection of black books filled with original artworks are on display including many artists formative to the graffiti and street art scene. Here’s a page with original Keith Haring drawings. Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures / Urban Nation Museum Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Lady Aiko mural on the facade of the museum. Detail. Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures / Urban Nation Museum Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Martha Cooper. Dondi at the Graffiti section. Detail. Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures / Urban Nation Museum Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
The ephemera on display in the various vitrines around the exhibition contain real jewels like this – an original sketch that Martha and Henry Chalfant had under consideration for the front and back cover of “Subway Art” their seminal book. Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures / Urban Nation Museum Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Seth Mural. Street Play and Martha Remix sections. Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures / Urban Nation Museum Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper. Shepard Fairey at the Martha Remixed section. Detail. Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures / Urban Nation Museum Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Visitors get to see ephemera from the last five decades by a person who is a self-described collector of many things. Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures / Urban Nation Museum Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
The “Artists at Work” section has hundreds of photos of graffiti writers and street artists from the last five decades – continued into a searchable digital database on an iPad mounted nearby. As if punctuation to the collection is a sculpture by Vhils in the garden outside.Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures / Urban Nation Museum Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper. Artists at Work section. Detail. Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures / Urban Nation Museum Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Martha Cooper. Artists at Work section. Detail. Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures / Urban Nation Museum Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Few photographers can say they have captured behind the scenes images of 1Up taking a break – but Martha Cooper can say that about hundreds of graffiti writers and street artists. Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures / Urban Nation Museum Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
A collector of many things in addition to photographs, one section of the exhibition is dedicated to Martha’s collection of stickers, slaps, and even index cards filled with tags of many eras. Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures / Urban Nation Museum Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Many people – from artists to curators to authors to photographers – contributed quotes for Martha in the catalog for the exhibition – and we printed 40 or so of them on multiple pages. Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures / Urban Nation Museum Berlin.

Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures / Urban Nation Museum Berlin is currently on view at Urban Nation Museum Berlin until May 2022. Click HERE for schedules and details.

Participating artists:

Cey Adams, AFRO, Andres Art, Blanco, Mark Bodé, Bordalo II, Buster, C215, Carja, Victor Castillo, Cosbe, Daze, Jane Dickson, Owen Dippie, Ben Eine, Shepard Fairey, Freedom, Fumakaka, Futura, Grotesk, Logan Hicks, HuskMitNavn, Japao, James Jessop & Dscreet, Nicolas Lacombe, Justen Ladda, Lady Aiko, Lady Pink, The London Police, Mantra, John „Crash“ Matos, Nazza, Nunca, Okuda, Os Gêmeos, Alice Pasquini, Phlegm, Pixel Pancho, Dr. Revolt, Seth Globepainter, Skeme, Skewville, Skolas, Chris Stain, Tats Cru (Bio, BG183 and Nicer), Vhils, Ernest Zacharevic.

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Monopol Covers “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures”

Monopol Covers “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures”

We’re pleased today to show you the new article about our exhibition and book “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” at Urban Nation – this one from the German Monopol magazine.


“Her voice on the phone is friendly and warm. But Martha Cooper, this is clear, does not want to be bored. Naturally not,” begins journalist Silke Hohmann in her article for Monopol.

Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum Berlin. Monopol Magazine

“Otherwise she would not have climbed on a motorcycle in 1965 to ride from Thailand to England at the age of 22. Otherwise, she would not have moved to Tokyo as a young woman to explore and photograph a legendary and discrete tattoo scene and one of its masters at work. Otherwise, she would not become the first female photographer at the New York Post in the 1970s where she photographed life in the urban wasteland. Cooper’s photographs of Breakdancers from the 1980s are the first published pictures of a then still unknown dance form, essential for the emergence of Hip Hop culture.”

Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum Berlin. Monopol Magazine
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum Berlin. Monopol Magazine
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum Berlin. Monopol Magazine
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum Berlin. Monopol Magazine
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum Berlin. Monopol Magazine
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum Berlin. Monopol Magazine
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Images Of The Week: 07.11.21

Images Of The Week: 07.11.21

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Happy NYC Marathon! The trees all over the city appear to be at peak every year around this event – just check the aerial shot of the finish line as the runners cross it in Central Park today. Also, set your clocks back one hour today, or you’ll arrive late for work tomorrow. If you have a job, that is.

News this week that the prolific and cryptic text writer RAMBO has passed away. We extend our condolences to his friends and family. His passing follows quickly the death of the octogenarian Irish-New York street artist Robert Janz, whose street collages and text installations served as witnesses to ecological and social issues he felt strongly about, as well as were a commentary on the human condition in all its mysteries. Our condolences to all those who were touched by the work and the spirit of Mr. Janz.

Our interview with the street today includes Adrian Wilson, ERRE, Fernsehturn Berlin, Jim Avignon, Layer Cake, Miss Glueniverse, Peter Missing, Praxis, Ron Miller, Sara Lynne-Leo, Joanna Wietecka, Styro, and Toxicomano.

Colombia’s Toxicomano was in the streets of New York recently along with Erre. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Sara Lynne-Leo (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Styro Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Adrian Wilson with The L.I.S.A. Project NYC (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Miss Glueniverse & Joanna Wietecka for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Miss Glueniverse & Joanna Wietecka for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Fernsehturn Berlin (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Miss Glueniverse & Joanna Wietecka for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Layer Cake for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Cheer Up, Maggie! (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Nat At Art. Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Toxicomano, Erre, and Praxis for The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Ron Miller for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Jim Avignon for Urban Spree in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Peter Missing for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Peter Missing for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Untilted. Berlin with clouds. October 2021. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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“Peoples Discontent” Debuts with Video Greeting from Shepard / Martha Cooper Signed New Print at UN

“Peoples Discontent” Debuts with Video Greeting from Shepard / Martha Cooper Signed New Print at UN

BSA X UN X MARTHA COOPER X SHEPARD FAIREY

When we asked Shepard Fairey if he would be up for a new remix of a Martha Cooper photo for our exhibition celebrating her career, he quickly said yes. Not only did he create a new original piece of art based on one of her classic “Street Play” images to hang in the gallery of our “Marth Remix” section, but he and his excellent team have also produced a new print – 250 of which sold out in 20 minutes on the Urban Nation website last night.

Shepard Fairey. ⁠”People’s Discontent”⁠ 2020. ⁠75,00€ ⁠Screenprint on thick cream Speckletone paper. ⁠Limited Edition of 550. ⁠24 x 18 inches (61 x 46 cm)⁠ Embossed with Martha Cooper’s tag and Hand-signed & numbered by Shepard Fairey⁠

The good news is Shepard will be selling another block of them on November 4th, so watch his announcements on social media!

But we still had a long line of lucky buyers snaking through the museum last night waiting for their opportunity for Martha to counter-sign their print, which had already been signed by Shepard. Because Shepard himself couldn’t attend he sent a warm video message to guests at a ceremony we had celebrating the print.

Martha Cooper’s original photo as shown in the exhibition next to the original art by Shepard Fairey.

What a complete HONOR it is for us to introduce this unique collabo between Martha Cooper and Shepard Fairey to celebrate our curation of her very FIRST career-wide retrospective, now showing at Urban Nation museum until May of 2022.

Very special thanks to our beautiful partners at YAP Berlin for making this event happen.

Martha Cooper holding a print in the Remix section of “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” at the Urban Nation Museum in Berlin. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Shepard Fairey. ⁠”People’s Discontent”. Detail.⁠ 2020. ⁠75,00€ ⁠Screenprint on thick cream Speckletone paper. ⁠Limited Edition of 550. ⁠24 x 18 inches (61 x 46 cm)⁠ Embossed with Martha Cooper’s tag and Hand-signed & numbered by Shepard Fairey⁠ (photo courtesy of Urban Nation)
Shepard Fairey. ⁠”People’s Discontent”. Detail.⁠ 2020. ⁠75,00€ ⁠Screenprint on thick cream Speckletone paper. ⁠Limited Edition of 550. ⁠24 x 18 inches (61 x 46 cm)⁠ Embossed with Martha Cooper’s tag and Hand-signed & numbered by Shepard Fairey⁠. (photo courtesy of Urban Nation)

Click HERE to purchase your print now or HERE to purchase your print on Nov. 4.

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“Artists At Work” Reveals a Vast Survey at UN’s Career Retrospective of Martha Cooper

“Artists At Work” Reveals a Vast Survey at UN’s Career Retrospective of Martha Cooper

50+ years of taking photos of artists at work means you have thousands of images of graffiti writers straddling trains, street artists leaning off ladders, muralists hovering 20 stories above the street in cherry pickers. One of 11 sections comprising “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures”, our Artists at Work area has 400 printed images from around the world, floor to ceiling, and across a half dozen decades.

Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Martha at the section of the exhibition ARTISTS AT WORK. (photo © Nika Kramer for Urban Nation Berlin)

Not only can people find their graff and street art heroes on these walls as seen through Martha’s eyes, we have also created a database searchable iPad of 1300 more images of Artists of Work that have never been seen before. Just enter a country name, or artist’s name, or even a Street Art festival name, and you’ll get a whole lot of eye candy, artists, and tools of the trade.

Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Martha at the section of the exhibition ARTISTS AT WORK. With artist Paola Delfin above and John Fekner below. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Martha at the section of the exhibition ARTISTS AT WORK. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Martha at the section of the exhibition ARTISTS AT WORK. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Martha and AIko Collaboration for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin

Martha and AIko Collaboration for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin

Since the beginning of the week, we’ve been reporting from Berlin on the Martha Cooper entire career retrospective “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” exhibition curated by Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo of BrooklynStreetArt.com.

To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the opening and some 40,000 visitors despite a few closings due to covid, a new facade honoring the photographer had just been painted on the Urban Nation museum here in the Schöneberg neighborhood of Berlin. Lady Aiko, the Japanese street artist living in New York City was asked to paint the facade of the museum with selected portraits from Martha’s best-known documentation of breakers who formed the Hip Hop scene – along with Aiko’s own iconic bunny character.

Martha Cooper x Aiko. Urban Nation Museum. Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martha is in Berlin with us to see the exhibition for the first time to actually see Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures in person since travel restrictions held us all back from being here in person up to now. Here she is looking at the mural for the first time as well. And, of course, taking pictures of it.

Martha Cooper x Aiko. Urban Nation Museum. Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Martha Cooper x Aiko. Urban Nation Museum. Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Martha Cooper x Aiko. Urban Nation Museum. Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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Martha Arrives in Berlin for “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures”

Martha Arrives in Berlin for “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures”

After Covid kept us all away from this exhibition, BSA and Martha finally got a chance to see her retrospective in person, rather than through virtual 3-D tours or videos and photos. Here she is at a vitrine this morning for our first official tour together in person.

“Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures”. Graffiti Section. Urban Nation Museum. Martha pointed out an original sketch for a subway car by SHY. into the Graffiti vitrine with a foto that Martha took of a young Futura above the vitrine. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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LADY AIKO Does Her “Martha Cooper Remix” on the Façade of Urban Nation (UN)

LADY AIKO Does Her “Martha Cooper Remix” on the Façade of Urban Nation (UN)

We have some special events taking place this month to celebrate one complete year of the career-spanning exhibition “Martha Cooper: TAKING PICTURES”, which we created with the team at Urban Nation Museum in Berlin.

Today graffiti/street artist AIKO talks about her striking new graphic mural for the façade of the museum that highlights and interprets a suite of recognizable elements from Martha’s iconic photographs – a perfect answer to the Martha Remix section of the exhibition inside featuring 70 or so artists “remixing” her photos in their individual styles.

AIKO. Remix with Martha Cooper. Urban Nation Museum. Berlin, Germany. October 2021. (photo © Nika Kramer for Urban Nation)

Later this month we are announcing a collaborative print release worldwide featuring another remix and a countrywide screening in theaters across Germany of “Martha: A Picture Story” with us and Martha interviewed by Nika Kramer at the Berlin opening. At a separate ceremony we also will co-host with Martha and Urban Nation the official opening of the Martha Cooper Library (MCL), a full library facility and research center to be permanently housed in the museum building.

AIKO. Remix with Martha Cooper. Urban Nation Museum. Berlin, Germany. October 2021. (photo © Nika Kramer for Urban Nation)

To start off the excitement, here is Lady AIKO herself speaking about her new mural welcoming visitors to see “Martha Cooper: TAKING PICTURES”, now open until May 2022.

Q: Tell us about this mural project for UN.
AIKO: Firstly, this mural is a gift for Martha Cooper in celebration of her big retrospective show at Urban Nation. Martha and I have been friends since 2006. We’ve been partners in crime, so to speak, for the last fifteen years. We have worked on many different projects together all over the world from the United States to Japan to Africa. Martha has taken over 16,000 pictures of AIKO and has archived many of her art projects.

I am honored to be part of this opportunity and working with Urban Nation to allow me to create this epic mural for Martha. The museum facade is almost like fresh skin wrapped around her massive historic exhibition with big love from everyone who was part of this production.

AIKO. Remix with Martha Cooper. Urban Nation Museum. Berlin, Germany. October 2021. (photo © Nika Kramer for Urban Nation)

Martha and I have been collaborating on this one; it’s called the “Martha Cooper Remix” whereby I interpret and illustrate her images, create paintings on paper and on outdoor & indoor walls. For UN, I easily imagined us creating a big remix piece on the wall.

To begin this mural mission, I asked Martha what she would like to see on the wall; especially since I wanted to paint based on the classic pictures she photographed in NYC. She suggested several of her favorite pictures such as the one with Lady Pink when she was in the yard with the boys, Little Crazy Legs with spray cans, and the boom box one (which is the most iconic picture and the cover photo of the Hip Hop Files). Also, I included break-dancers Emiko and Frosty Freeze which are popular ones as well.

Based on her selections, I spent time at my studio to illustrate a large-scale portrait in my style and imagined it as the giant invitation banner for her show – as if it were a classic hand-painted movie ad in old Times Square. Since her show runs until next spring, till 2022, I’d love to invite everyone and spread the vibe even to the people who see the mural from the U-Bahn train above.

AIKO. Remix with Martha Cooper. Urban Nation Museum. Berlin, Germany. October 2021. (photo © Nika Kramer for Urban Nation)

Q: Can you tell us about you and little background?
AIKO: I’ve been based in NYC since 1997. NYC has been my playground and a huge inspiration. I met many amazing local and international artists, Faile, Bast, Banksy, Ben Eine, Obey, and Space Invader at that time. We were young artists, not famous yet, but we connected with one after another pretty much spontaneously – as if it were destiny. I started working in street art with everyone daily during the early 2000s and I was part of numerous gallery shows, jams, festivals, and museum installations. Being part of the history of street art and the graffiti (urban art) movement is how I got involved as AIKO as well.

… Meeting Martha Cooper was also another magical happening for me. Martha and I met in 2006 when I just started leaving my boys’ crew, working solo and stenciling bunnies on the streets. We became good and hard-core girlfriends and started traveling together. She introduced me to subway art legends and all other kinds of fascinating people and stuff in the world. I feel I’m one of the people who is continuing the history for the next generation.

AIKO. Remix with Martha Cooper. Urban Nation Museum. Berlin, Germany. October 2021. (photo © Nika Kramer for Urban Nation)

Q: What do you think about working in Berlin?
AIKO: Berlin is such a memorable place in my personal art life history. I spent lots of time without the Internet and enjoyed every day as a young artist. I made lots of friends and lots of stencils on the street. Of course, I was with Martha and spray-painted my bunny too. I’m so grateful that Urban Nation welcomed me back to town and let me create such a huge piece on the facade of the museum. Thank you so much for everyone’s support.

AIKO. Remix with Martha Cooper. Urban Nation Museum. Berlin, Germany. October 2021. (photo © Nika Kramer for Urban Nation)
AIKO. Remix with Martha Cooper. Urban Nation Museum. Berlin, Germany. October 2021. (photo © Nika Kramer for Urban Nation)
AIKO. Remix with Martha Cooper. Urban Nation Museum. Berlin, Germany. October 2021. (photo © Nika Kramer for Urban Nation)
AIKO. Remix with Martha Cooper. Urban Nation Museum. Berlin, Germany. October 2021. (photo © Nika Kramer for Urban Nation)
AIKO. Remix with Martha Cooper. Urban Nation Museum. Berlin, Germany. October 2021. (photo © Nika Kramer for Urban Nation)
AIKO. Remix with Martha Cooper. Urban Nation Museum. Berlin, Germany. October 2021. (photo © Nika Kramer for Urban Nation)
AIKO. Remix with Martha Cooper. Urban Nation Museum. Berlin, Germany. October 2021. (photo © Nika Kramer for Urban Nation)
AIKO. Remix with Martha Cooper. Urban Nation Museum. Berlin, Germany. October 2021. (photo © Nika Kramer for Urban Nation)
AIKO. Remix with Martha Cooper. Urban Nation Museum. Berlin, Germany. October 2021. (photo © Nika Kramer for Urban Nation)

“MARTHA COOPER: TAKING PICTURES” Curated by Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo is currently open to the general public. Click HERE for schedules and details.

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Layer Cake Bring Their “Versus Project” to UN

Layer Cake Bring Their “Versus Project” to UN

The brilliant Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark (C100) have been at the graffiti/street art/contemporary art nexus for much of the last decade, delineating the boundaries, and then artfully shifting them.

A multi-year project now welcoming guests at Urban Nation’s Special Projects space in Berlin reveals the imprecision of terminologies and commonly-used nomenclature in this period of hyper-hybridization.

Mick La Rock/Aileen Middel VERSUS Layer Cake. Versus Project. Urban Nation Berlin. (photo courtesy of UN/layer Cake)

When you consider the volley of influences that bounce and collide on metro cars and street walls and digital screens these days, it makes sense to describe the experimentation now afoot as a dialogue. As the Munich-based duo called Layer Cake, the two artists have been doing exactly that with one another’s art for a half dozen years.

“One begins to paint, the other reacts,” say Hartl and Hundertmark in their recent interview for the UN website. “Thus (we) conduct an artistic dialogue. The marker asks a question, the paint can answers, the brush completes or provokes,” they say, “until both artists agree that the mural is finished.”

It is not an automatic process for graffiti writers to create work this way; as one of the basic tenets of the street, you don’t go over someone else’s work unless you mean to show disrespect or provoke a battle.

Drawing upon an eclectic selection of participants with experience on the street, the two act as curators of the new show called ‘Versus’. The rules are similar to their personal practice – produce a collaborative piece with another artist whose style and references may not match yours directly – with each contributor agreeing when the piece is complete.

The clashing and crashing can be seen on the canvass as each new addition rebalances the abstraction, and not everyone was sure it would work.

Bisco Smith VERSUS Layer Cake. Versus Project. Urban Nation Berlin. (photo courtesy of UN/layer Cake)

Artist Flavien Demarigny hesitated to participate versus Layer Cake because he wasn’t sure if he could work with their style that often incorporates calligraffiti techniques, he says. “As it is a major ingredient of Layer Cake‘s visual language I wasn’t sure if I was the right fit for it,” he says in a Facebook post.

“Then I remembered this is precisely what collaborations are about: pushing your limits, opening your perception, and create together new horizons. As a result, we started three collaborative pieces and one came out fantastic, which we decided to present in this show. Their choice of sticking to the repetitive pattern of my style was the wise one, so the two vocabularies can interact, as accidents make it unexpected and create the poetry of it.”

Dave The Chimp VERSUS Layer Cake. Versus Project. Urban Nation Berlin. (photo courtesy of UN/layer Cake)

With 13 different artists passing canvasses back and forth – each adding and subtracting, obliterating and augmenting, they say that at the root of the process was a rule not to consult, but rather, react.

The results fairly wrestle under the constraints, each cutting forward, marking and gesturing and claiming space on the canvass. These works illustrate the tension you may associate with the harshly pounding street in cities, sometimes still glittering insistently despite the struggle.  

Usugrow VERSUS Layer Cake. Versus Project. Urban Nation Berlin. (photo courtesy of UN/layer Cake)

“It is not easy to make an intervention in someone else’s painting,” says graffiti style-writing veteran Mick La Rock of her ingrained hesitancy during the art-making process. “You want to avoid taking the painting over and make it your own style. Every part I added to the painting was thought over at least ten times before painting it,” she says in an interview for the show.

On view in the Special Projects room near the museum, “Versus” is a sharp reminder of the community that joins together on walls and surfaces all over the world. Each style challenges the one next to it, sometimes holds it accountable, other times revealing its true nature. The curators say “The Versus Project is an artistic experiment in communication, challenging dialogue, the struggle for a final form.”

Chaz Bojorquez VERSUS Layer Cake. Versus Project. Urban Nation Berlin. (photo courtesy of UN/layer Cake)
Wandal VERSUS Layer Cake. Versus Project. Urban Nation Berlin. (photo courtesy of UN/layer Cake)
Flavien VERSUS Layer Cake. Versus Project. Urban Nation Berlin. (photo courtesy of UN/layer Cake)
Layer Cake. Versus Project. Urban Nation Berlin. (photo courtesy of UN/layer Cake)

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS:

Layer Cake (Patrick Hartl und Christian Hundertmark aka C100), Chaz Bojorquez (Los Angeles / US), Mick La Rock / Aileen Middel (Amsterdam / NL), Sebastian Wandl (München / DE), Dave the Chimp (Berlin / DE), Bisco Smith (New York / US), Vincent Abadie Hafez (Zepha) (Toulouse / FR), Formula 76 (Hamburg / DE), Usugrow (Tokio / JP), Bust (Basel / CH), Jake (Amsterdam / NL), Egs (Helsinki / FI), Imaone (Tokio / JP) und Flavien (Apt / FR).

“The Versus Project” curated by Layer Cake is currently open to the general public at the Urban Nation Project Space. The exhibition will be on view until December 31, 2021. Click HERE to find more information about the exhibition, Covid protocols, and schedule.

Project space of the URBAN NATION Museum, Bülowstrasse 97, 10783 Berlin

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EL PAIS : “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” in Icon Magazine Madrid

EL PAIS : “Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” in Icon Magazine Madrid

Our thanks to writer Igor López at El Pais for his article about Martha Cooper and our exhibition running right now in Berlin until Spring 2022. Appearing in the Spanish newspaper’s magazine called ICON, Lopez describes the New York social matrix of the 1970s with pithy acuity; one where the city seemed at war on many fronts while various important cultural scenes were germinating alongside graffiti writing and musicians like Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash or DJ Kool Herc who were laying the foundations of hip hop as the dominant global culture.

“One of the first measures of Mayor Ed Koch, who had taken office in 1978 to save the city from bankruptcy and chaos, was to put concertina wire around the subway garages to prevent “vandals” from accessing the city at night,” he writes.

Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum Berlin. El Pais ICON Magazine Madrid

Enter the documentarians who capture the quickly shifting winds of change, like Martha Cooper, and forty years later we have solid evidence of multi-cultures in motion.  

“I thought I was capturing a phenomenon unique to the city and that it would disappear in a few years,” recalls Cooper of her now seminal body of photography that captured the birth of many movements. Dryly modest, Cooper doesn’t brag much. “I am surprised and grateful that my photos continue to be of interest.”

Check out this article in print and online, and please feel welcome to Urban Nation on our behalf this fall, winter, and spring!

Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum Berlin. El Pais ICON Magazine Madrid
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum Berlin. El Pais ICON Magazine Madrid
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum Berlin. El Pais ICON Magazine Madrid

The exhibition, Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures at Urban Nation Museum for Urban and Contemporary Art in Berlin is currently open to the general public. To learn more about the exhibition’s details and schedules click HERE

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“Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” – Financial Times Weekend Magazine London

“Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures” – Financial Times Weekend Magazine London

Our exhibition got a lot of great press and we like to highlight some of the articles once in a while just to remind you that the museum is now open after a long Covid-19 closure.

The Financial Times Sunday magazine did us the biggest favor by printing a multi-page spread about Martha Cooper and our retrospective of her work at at the URBAN NATION Museum – the first major and expansive photo and documentary exhibition of her career.

As the UN Website says “‘Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures’ sets new standards in the museum program. The curators Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo (Brooklyn Street Art) , in close cooperation with Martha Cooper, have created a multimedia exhibition in which artistic works and documentary material are juxtaposed.

Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum Berlin. Financial Times Weekend Magazine London
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum Berlin. Financial Times Weekend Magazine London
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum Berlin. Financial Times Weekend Magazine London
Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures. Urban Nation Museum Berlin. Financial Times Weekend Magazine London

The exhibition, Martha Cooper: Taking Pictures at Urban Nation Museum for Urban and Contemporary Art in Berlin is currently open to the general public. To learn more about the exhibition’s details and schedules click HERE

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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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