Positioned as an ironic truth-teller with a sense of humor, Portuguese visual artist, illustrator, and street Artist Wasted Rita uses her droll texts and lo-fi illustrations to skewer societal and structural hypocrisies and make you smile. With insights on targets like racism, fascism, wealth inequality, misogyny, male privilege, advertising, patriarchy, you’ll quickly want to join in and write your own.
When she brings it outside and displays it in urban or natural settings, glowing against the night sky, for example, the words are lifted and more closely considered. On display in Madrid during the Urvanity Art show last month, a new set of fans had a chance to be charmed by Wasted Rita’s wit.
Dazed and confused, how much of our population is apparently anesthetized; directed through daily decisions by a delicious blend of disinformation and propaganda? Everyone will insist they are not, but look closely. Occasionally there are glimmers of civic engagement, even democratic movements that pop up – before they are gently maligned and subtly marginalized as if simply a matter of consumer “choice”.
‘Byte the Candy’ is the new work in Madrid by Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada; a portrait of a woman is contoured as if a computer chip inlaid with circuitry, no more than a central processing unit.
“In 1984, Niel Postman gave a talk about how we are ‘Amusing Ourselves to Death,’” says Rodriguez-Gerada of his inspiration for this new piece he did in conjunction with the Urvanity art fair. “He criticized how the news we see on television is entertainment,” he says, “there only to maintain our attention in order to sell advertisement time instead of trying to make us think.”
Notable also is the earthen color range the artist selected as if merging his precise realism on large-scale murals with his other field of public expression, land art. Even the uniformity of spacing and graduated shading suggests industrial farming methods… but his greater point is the melting together of ethical conscience and the judgment-free manipulation of the subconscious.
“Today, we are living something beyond what Niel Postman was warning us about – social media platforms, with a system of algorithms that have no conscience or mercy,” says Rodriguez-Gerada. “These algorithms work incessantly to keep our constant attention to see advertising and propaganda, and in that way become more efficient with the use of personal data, achieving the ability to target advertising that coincides exactly with the profile of interests of each user.”
Madrid’s Art Week – who would believe that it could actually happen? And to prove it, we have the 5th Anniversary of Urvanity defiantly strutting from one end of the COAM headquarter to the other. Taking its original inspiration from graffiti, post-graffiti, surrealism, pop, and that broadly applied “Urban Contemporary” tag, Sergio and the Urvanity team have persevered this year again.
Where others have failed, Urvanity has succeeded and grown and even matured – with more than 25 national galleries and others from as far away as New York, Brussels, and Bogotá. This is not about fanboys and big unsubstantiated claims, Urvanity drives for quality, and it shows.
The talks this year revolved around high-caliber artists, gallerists, architects, and curators of projects that have made new pathways and invariably give you insight and inspiration in equal measure. BSA has been proud to sponsor this thinking-persons fair, along with the artists and creators; we even hosted their talks a couple of years ago and loved the folks we met there.
Here are a few images of fine art works evolving from the street practice of a number of artists whose names you may recognize.
To see the complete list of galleries and the artists exhibited with the available works click HERE
Frankfurt-based ultra-talent Case Maclaim is with the Urvanity Art Fair this week, and he has created a new mural in Madrid’s old, historical city center. His work is being shown by Brussells Ruby Gallery, along with that of street artists EverSiempre and Wasted Rita. Still, he just wanted to go big with a tribute to children’s imagination.
“I gave the viewer a new character of a yet unknown fairy tale,” Maclaim says of the confident kid wearing a mermaid costume. “I have high hopes that it will encourage especially the young audience to come up with their very own story.”
On another wall, tall and thin, on calle Fuencarral 47, artist Helen Bur painted a figure as a tribute to her mother and to the recently departed Street Artist Hyuro. She says she pays homage to these two women – ‘Humilty, strength, elegance & poetry of the subtle.”
One of the best parts of this horrible pandemic is that people are really challenging their creativity to organize new ways to relate to each other and do business. We’re proud to be a part of URVANITY as the fair celebrates its 5th Edition – this year, it is a double edition, actually.
Today begins the On-Line edition. The physical edition begins May 27th at COAM in Madrid.
You can now tour galleries from your home’s comfort, from London, Bogota, Caracas, New York, Amsterdam, and a few cities in Spain. Each will feature just one artist URVANITY SOLO SHOWS 2021.
Here’s a sneak peek!
To see the complete list of artists, art works and participating galleries click HERE
“We’re back!” Announces URVANITY, the organization that has celebrated a distinctly street-influenced flavor of New Contemporary art in Madrid for 5 years. In anticipation of their upcoming fair at the end of May, they’re tantalizing you virtually starting this week with a special program called URVANITY SOLO SHOWS. Featuring 20+ galleries from February 25th to March 28th, attendees will be strolling through the solo shows of artists like D*Face, Eugenio Recuenco, Rafa Macarrón, Marría Pratts, James Rielly, and 108.
We were in Madrid at URVANITY a couple of years ago to host the BSA Talks Program. The energy and mix of talents and visitors created an exciting formula for conversations and education. The impact of graffiti writing and street artists continues to influence the contemporary art field, especially in Europe. We’re also excited this year to learn more about the launch of Urvanity LAB, “a creative laboratory and online shop platform” that will be offering limited edition products by artists like Add Fuel, Boa Mistura, Cristina Daura, GR170, Yubia, and Rorro Berjano.
As we lead into summer and more people get their vaccines, and public spaces begin to open, URVANITY will welcome visitors again to the Colegio Oficial de Arquitectos de Madrid (COAM) May 27-30. We’re looking forward to seeing this smartly curated fair bloom and grow again this year.
We share with you a selection of the participating artists and galleries for this year’s edition of Urvanity Art and a selection of the first crop of artists selected to participate in the first edition of Urvanity LAB.