Behind the scenes at “Beyond the Streets London” is a hive of activity, with artists deeply focused on installing their work and seeking assistance with tools and equipment. Curators, organizers, and lighting professionals are bustling up and down the stairs, carrying props, or ladders, and communicating with vendors and artists via text message. Salespeople are diligently crafting wall texts to accompany the art pieces. It’s a few hours before showtime, yet everything is somehow accomplished just as the first guests arrive for the preview.
Photographer Martha Cooper is electrified by the activity at Saatchi Gallery. The event preserves the rich history of graffiti, street art, and commerce while pushing forward with new trends and directions. Cooper, who has documented this scene since the 1970s, has attended and exhibited in “Beyond the Streets” exhibitions in New York and Los Angeles – and we anticipate the next stop could be Shanghai. This particular iteration showcases an evolving mix of archetypes and invention, drawing on diverse influences from the US, UK, and EU.
Cooper observed many surprising music references at the show. Rock icon Eric Clapton was at the opening admiring a photograph of text declaring him to be God while filmmaker, musician, and BBC radio host Don Letts had a personal collection of his memorabilia/ephemera on display. Ron West, designer of the “Duck Rock” boombox, also made a sudden appearance at the opening, allowing guests to pose with his creation. Among the standout pieces was a Bob Gruen photo of Malcolm McLaren holding that boombox in front of Keith Haring’s Houston Street wall, a masterpiece of intersectionality, if you will.
Overall, “Beyond the Streets London” offers a smorgasbord of colors, flavors, and influences that are difficult to encapsulate in one show. However, Gastman, the visionary, gives it a good try, with a respectful nod to the many artists who have shaped this worldwide people’s art movement. Enjoy these behind-the-scenes shots from Ms. Cooper.
Beyond The Streets – London. Click HERE for more details, the schedule of events, tickets, and exhibition times.
It’s that time of the year again! BSA has been publishing our “Hot Lists” and best-of collections for more than 11 years every December.
Our interests and understanding and network of connections continued to spread far afield this year, and you probably can tell it just by the books we featured: stickers, illustration, murals, copyright law, a cross-country spraycation, anamorphic street installation, Hip-Hop photography, graffiti writers community, and a lockdown project that kept an artists sanity.
So here is a short list from 2021 that you may enjoy as well – just in case you would like to give them as gifts to family, friends, or even to yourself.
Leon Keer: “Break Glass In Case Of Lost Childhood”
One of the challenges in creating a book about anamorphic art is presenting images that tell the viewer that they are being tricked by perspective yet hold onto the magic that this unique art conjures in people who walk by it on the street.
In a way, that brass skeleton key that allows entry into another world is precisely what Dutch pop-surrealist artist Leon Keer has been seeking for decades to evoke in viewers’ heads and hearts. Some would argue he is preeminently such; certainly, he is the wizard whose work on walls and streets has triggered memories for thousands of children and ex-children of the fantastic worlds they have visited.
“You develop your senses all your life. Through what you experience, you involve affinities and aversions,” he says in his first comprehensive bound collection of gorgeous plates entitled In Case of Lost Childhood Break Glass. “Your memories shape the way you look at the world. When it comes to reflecting my thoughts, my memories are key. I needed to feel some kind of affection or remorse towards the object or situation I want to paint.”
Street Art Today 2 by Bjorn Van Poucke: An Update on 50 “Most Relevant” Artists
A worthy companion to the original tome, Bjørn Van Poucke and Lanoo publishers extend the hitlist of favored muralists that he & Elise Luong began in Street art/ Today 1 – and the collection is updated perhaps with the perceived cultural capital many of these artists have garnered since then.
Replete with full-color plates from the artists’ own collections and garnished with brief overviews of their histories, creative background, and philosophies, the well-designed and modern layout functions as an introduction for those unfamiliar with the wide variety of artworks that are currently spread across city walls as large scale opus artworks in public space. As organizer and curator of The Crystal Ship mural festival in Oostende, Belgium, Mr. Van Poucke has had his pick of the litter and has showcased them during the late twenty-teens.
A new illustrated tome capturing the black and white work of one-half of Ukraine’s mural painting duo Interesni Kazki welcomes you into the past wonders and future imaginings of a world framed in “Phantasmagoria.”
Full of monochromatic fantasies at least partially inspired by the worlds unleashed by Belgian inventor and physicist Étienne-Gaspard “Robertson” Robert, Waone’s own interior expanding fantascope of miss-appended demons, dragon slayers, riddle-speaking botanicals, and mythological heroes may borrow as deeply from his father’s Soviet natural science magazines that brimmed with hand-painted illustrations – which served as his education and entertainment as a child.
This book, the first of two volumes of graphic works, explores Waone’s move from the street into the studio, from full color into black and white, from aerosol and brush to etching, lithography, augmented reality, and sculpting.
“Closed (In) for Inventory”: FKDL Makes the Most of His Confinement, 10 Items at a Time
The world is slowly making movements toward the door as if to go outside and begin living again in a manner to which we had been accustomed before COVID made many of us become shut-ins. Parisian street artist FKDL was no exception, afraid for his health. However, he does have a very attractively feathered nest, so he made the best of his time creating.
“March 17, 2020, the unprecedented experience of confinement begins in France,” writes Camille Berthelot in the introduction to Closed (in) for Inventory, “Time that usually goes so fast turns into a space of freedom, and everyone has the leisure or the obligation to devote himself to the unexpected.”
FKDL quickly began a project daily, sorting and assembling 10 items and photographing them. He posted them to his Instagram by mid-day. Eventually, he saved the photographed compositions together and created this book.
“My duty of tidying up and sorting out turned into a daily challenge. I dove like a child into the big toybox my apartment is to select and share my strange objects, my banalities, my memories, my creations, and those of others,” he writes. “I gather these treasures, valuables or not, in search of harmony of subject, forms, materials, and nuances.”
The street sticker, be it ever so humble and diminutive, is profligate and sometimes even inspiring. An amalgamated scene that is anonymous, yet curiously stuck together, the organizers and sponsors of so-called sticker jams have been overwhelmed in recent years by thousands of participants.
Artist and organizer IWILLNOT has compiled, organized, archived, and preserved this collection as a ‘field guide,’ he says, and another artist named Cheer Up has laid out page after page. It is a global cross-sample from 60 countries and a thousand artists – a treasure trove of the witty, insightful, snotty, and sometimes antisocial street bards of the moment, seizing their moment to speak and mark territory.
A year after its close, we open the book on American street artist MOMO’s new book chronicling the exhibition “Parting Line.” Writing about and covering his work for 15 years or so, we’re always pleased to see where his path has led – never surprised but always pleased with his evolution of decoding the lines, textures, practices, serendipity of discoveries unearthed by this wandering interrogator.
Here, along the river Seine banks, we see his exhibition for the still young Hangar 107, the recently inaugurated Center For Contemporary Art in Rouen, France. While we think of his work in New York in the 2000s, we see the steady progression here – his cloud washes, raking patterns, his experimental, experiential zeal. This is the spirit of DIY that we first fell in love with, the lust for uncovering and the desire for making marks unlike others across the cityscape, quizzically folding and unfolding, pulling the string, drawing the line.
“Born In The Bronx” Expanded: Joe Conzo’s Intuitive Eye on Early Hip Hop
Born in the Bronx: A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip Hop
Yes, Yes, Y’all, it’s been a decade since this volume, “Born in the Bronx,” was released. The images here by photographer Joe Conzo seem even more deeply soaked in the amber light of early Hip Hop culture from the late 1970s and early 80s, now taking on a deepened sense of the historical.
As the city and the original players of this story have evolved through the decades that followed the nascent Hip Hop era, it’s clearer than ever that this was nothing less than a full-force eruption, a revelation that cracked and shook and rocket-fueled an entire culture. Thanks to Conzo it was captured and preserved, not likely to be repeated.
Born in the Bronx is full of gems, insider observations, interviews, and personal hand-drawn artworks. One critical cornerstone is a timeline from Jeff Chang that begins in 1963 as the boastful but failed Urban Planner Robert Moses constructed the Cross Bronx Expressway – painfully destroying and displacing people and families, severing culturally significant, vibrant areas of the borough and producing a dangerous malaise.
Enrico is a Member of the Editorial Board of the NUART Journal, which publishes provocative and critical writings on a range of topics relating to street art practice and urban art cultures.
His academic research has been covered by CNN, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, BBC, Washington Post, The New York Times, Financial Times. Reuters, The Guardian, The Times, Independent, and The Conversation, amongst other media outlets.
A “Gentle People” Aussie Tour: Paint, Fun, and Run with 1UP & Olf
It’s almost sublimely subversive to publish your illegal graffiti escapades in a handsomely bound photo book with creamy paper stock and gauzy, professional photos. Positioned as a travelogue across the great Australian continent (complete with a hand-drawn map), the international troupe of sprayers named 1UP from Germany provides a genteel accounting of their expansive itinerary in a diary here for you, dear reader.
The stories are not without surprise and carefully touch on all the necessary road trip tropes you may wish for but cannot be assured of in a cross-country graffiti tale of skylarking and aesthetic destruction: angry rural police, security cameras, sleeping in rolled-up carpets, fancy receptions with Aperol Spritz, climbing over fences, sudden fire extinguisher tags, exploding paint cans, smoky wildfires, beaches, wallabies, long never-ending-stretches of road, the Sydney Harbor, an emergency-brake whole-car in Melbourne, and yes, a large kangaroo smashing into your car on a darkened country path.
“Nation Of Graffiti Artists” Opens Another Chapter of NYC Writer History
SCORPIO, BLOOD TEA, ALI, STAN 153, SAL 161, CLIFF 159. It was the mid to late 70s in New York and train writing was in its foundational stages, later to be referred to as legendary. For a modest crew of teenagers, it was the hypest stage you could be on, and going all city constructed many dreams of fame and recognition on the street.
Jack Pelsinger wanted to help shepherd these talents and energies into something they could develop into a future, maybe a profession. With a lease on a storefront from the city for a dollar in 1974, he made way for the Nation of Graffiti Artists (NOGA). An artists workshop and haven for a creative community that was regularly sidelined or overlooked, the author of this new volume, Chris Pape (acclaimed OG Freedom), says “Like moths drawn to a light, the kids showed up, hundreds of them.”
With extraordinary photos shot by Michael Lawrence, the book serves as a true document for the New York of that moment and opens doors to a chapter of graffiti history you may not even have known of until now.
Welcome to Brooklyn, where the lilacs are in bloom and people are smoking weed in the park, like it was 1985 or something. Remember summer of ’85 in Washington Square Park with rambunctious teens backward skating in the dry fountain on roller skates and people were blasting “Shout” by Tears for Fears on their boxes?
So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring: 7 Line Art Studio, Acne, Cabaio, Freakotrophic, G Money NFT, Jet, JJ Veronis, Jowl, Luke Dragon 911, No Sleep, Save Art Space, and Zephyr.
A non-stop full-voiced welcome fills the air of this factory loft space with stories and smoke and sports talk radio as you ascend steps from the truck-traffic cacophony of cold and rain on this Bushwick thoroughfare. For the next hour and a half, you are warmly surrounded by clothes racks and boxes and spray cans and multi-faceted anecdotes and impressions and fragments of memories that get shaken and sprayed and circled back to.
Here is a fond remembrance of something his mom or dad said from his childhood, an adroitly drawn quip about a curious gallerist, an excited discovery of new Super 8 footage of a mission with famed NYC graffiti writer Dondi in Japan to promote Wild Style. Elsewhere he recounts a meeting with Joe Strummer in a New York studio to share and record his own penned rap lyrics with The Clash, a trip to Berlin in ’85 with Keith Haring, a recent conversation with MODE2 who lives there now, a description of his personal misgivings about wearing his US military uniform into town while stationed at Yakuska Naval Base as a 20 year old.
An omnivore of ideas and initiatives and world cities, his march as a creative force of nature only gathers speed as he nears 40 years since first emerging from graffiti writing as a studio artist.
“1980 was the breakout year for us because we were all beginning to surface,” he says of the number of events that occurred that year and brought graffiti and street culture to a larger, more mainstream audience, and hopefully, a collector base. That was the year of the “Times Square Show” by Colab that introduced art and performance from the “Downtown” and “Uptown” scenes. It was also the year that Stefan Eins’ Fashion Moda gallery in the South Bronx had its first exhibition of graffiti art – Graffiti Art Success for America (GAS) – curated by artist John Matos (aka Crash), the show included work by graffiti culture artists such as Futura, Lady Pink, John Fekner, Disco 107, Fab Five Freddie, Futura, Kel 139th, Lee, Mitch 77, Nac 143, Noc 167, Stan 153, Tom McCutcheon, and Zephyr.
“We were all willing to come above ground and investigate what was happening,” he says. “That was also the year I did the ‘Break Car’,” he says of the uniquely abstract whole graffiti car he painted that set him apart stylistically from the NYC graffiti writing pack and was captured famously by photographer Martha Cooper. That car and that style would proved to be the Cold War inspired rocketship that launched Futura 2000 into a forty year exploration of the Cosmos.
Fast forward to April 2018 in Lille, France, and Futura toils and emerges with a new body of work incorporating his long-held love for the interconnectedness of the galaxy, the stars, and the planet.
“I’ve been a child of the planet since I was a kid,” he says as he recalls the impact of the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens and how it tapped into his innate desire for exploration. “Every nation had a pavilion,” he says, and suddenly you see his collection of miniature architectural wonders from around the world, all grouped together for an idealized cityscape.
“I’ve got Berlin, Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Towers, Roma, Peru (Easter Island), the Blue Mosque in Turkey, Sheik Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi,” he says. “I don’t have Taj Mahal, but I’ve been to it. I need that.”
“The 5 Elements” is the exhibition that opens this week at Urban Spree in Berlin and of course refers as well to the so-called “Five Elements of Hip-Hop”, of which graffiti is one. But he reserves this reference to a greater sweep, expressed in about an expansive show. “There’s a whole series on water, air, on fire,” he says, “It’s all at some point color coated for each element.” He also creates a series of circular canvasses hung in relation to each other to evoke the planetary system.
“I think they’re like 70 pieces, in terms of that I don’t think I’ve ever done anything this extensive,” he says.
But “The 5 Elements” is not a retrospective show, says Urban Spree founder and curator Pascal Feucher, who has been preparing the show with co-host Art Together. “On the contrary,” he writes, “Futura worked specifically on a large museum-style conceptual exhibition, tackling the ambitious theme of the Creation of the Universe, confronting himself to the cosmos, the planets, the infinitely small, the Big Bang and the fundamental elements, producing a corpus of works that becomes a path to the exploration of the universe as well as providing a backdoor into Futura’s internal galaxy.”
Coinciding with the show will be the release of a 128-page companion book titled “Futura, les 5 éléments” – certain to be sought after.
For the ever expansive graphic designer, clothing designer, wordsmith, musician, sneaker head, graffiti writer, abstract painter, photographer, the dots are all connected – and it always also connects to his roots.
“I like it when it’s a degree removed, yet connected – when you realize that the whole school – at least the whole New York City school, is vast,” he says. “It has touched a lot of people.”
Below are images of the 4 screen prints that will be released at the opening of “The 5 Elements”, based on the painting series “Pure”. Each 8-color screen print is hand-pulled by Dolly Demoratti (Mother Drucker/Urban Spree Studio), signed and numbered by Futura. The 50 x 50 cm prints are only sold as a limited edition of 100 sets.
Futura. Pure Earth. (photo courtesy of Urban Spree Gallery)
Futura. Pure Air. (photo courtesy of Urban Spree Gallery)
Futura. Pure Water. (photo courtesy of Urban Spree Gallery)
Futura. Pure Fire. (photo courtesy of Urban Spree Gallery)
Last night the graffiti and early Street Art history from New York’s 1970s and 80s was celebrated by the City of New York – at least in its museum. Criminals and outlaws then, art stars and legends today, many of the aerosol actors and their documentarians were on display and discussed over white wine under warm, forgiving, indirect lighting.
“City as Canvas: New York City Graffiti From the Martin Wong Collection” is an exhibition as well as a book released last fall written by Carlo McCormick and Sean Corcoran, with contributions by Lee Quinones, Sacha Jenkins and Christopher Daze Ellis, and all the aforementioned were in attendance. Also spotted were artists, photographers, curators, writers (both kinds), art dealers, historians, family, friends, peers and loyal fans – naturally most fell into a few of these categories at the same time.
“City as Canvas” is possible thanks to the foresight, eye, and wallet of collector Martin Wong, an openly gay Chinese-American artist transplanted to New York from San Francisco, which is remarkable not only because of the rampant homophobia and near hysterical AIDS phobia at the time he was collecting but because the graffiti / Street Art scene even today throws the term “fag” around pretty easily. A trained ceramacist and painter whose professional work has gained in recognition since his death of AIDS related complications in 1999, Wong is said to have met and befriended a great number of New York graffiti artists like Lady Pink, LEE, DAZE and Futura 2000, who were picking up art supplies where he worked at the Pearl Paint store – a four story holy place on Canal Street that thrived at that time.
The show contains black books full of tags and drawings as well as canvasses and mixed media Wong purchased, commissioned, and painted, including a portrait of graffiti artist Sharp wearing a respirator and standing before a canvas he’s working on entitled Sharp Paints a Picture (1997-98).
The mood at the museum was celebratory as guests looked at the 140+ works from Wong’s collection; a cross between an art opening and a graffiti trade show, with enthusiastic peers and fans waiting patiently to speak with, pose for pictures with, and gain autographs or tags in their black books from artists in attendance. The only officers that could be seen were holding back the line of guests to make sure there was no overcrowding of the exhibit.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening: “Spray Masters” and “Tunnel Stories” Sunday in Brooklyn, Simon Silaidis Calligraphy-Graffiti “Skyfall”, Cern is becoming a Balloonatic, and Jim Vision and The Blue Walls of Buenos Aires.
BSA Special Feature:
“Spray Masters” and “Tunnel Stories”
Above is a still from the “Spray Masters” trailer, which features New York can wielders from the subway train era, Futura 2000, Lee, Lady Pink and Zephyr. Union Docs will be screening the documentary SprayMasters and the short film Tunnel Stories. It is a great opportunity to hang with some storytelling film people and the filmmakers Geoff Duncanson and Manfred Kirchheimer will be in attendance along with the series curator Reid Bingham (Cinebeasts) will be in attendance.
“Spray Masters” will be screening this Sunday at Union Docs. Click here for more information:
Simon Silaidis Calligraphy-Graffiti “Skyfall”
A stunning featurette that focuses on the gestural full-bodied application of the calligraphic graffiti work by Simon Silaidis to a large rooftop. There are a number of people today who have brought this sense of formal refinement to the hand of the graff oeuvre and it remains to be seen who takes the mantel since it keeps expanding. For sure, when you choose your winner, there will be someone to ink the award certificate.
Shot and directed by Alex Loannou, shout out for editing to Sectiongraphix.
Graffiti artist Cern ran with the YMI crew in the nineties and has evolved into a fantasy surrealist in recent years with large murals, signature birds, and idealized figures. Couple of years ago (or less) he told us that he was playing around with balloons as an experiment to augment his installations on walls. Uh-oh, looks like he’s fallen into a big balloon vortex and the fascination with balloons has, well, ballooned. In this new video we see how far he can take it, or rather how far balloons have take over Cern.
Props to Jeremy Rocklin for the camera and editing work.
We end this weeks selections with dubby meditations on Street Art by Jim Vision in Buenos Aires. Because sometimes a wall just needs a splash of blue. Or many splashes of blue. Also, barbecues, sunshine, families, babies, buses, horses, angels, and devils.
Maquis-art prépare sa 9ème vente aux enchères d’Art Urbain Contemporain
avec l’étude Cornette de Saint Cyr à Bruxelles le 27 mai 2013Fiers de leurs succès précédents, Maquis Art et Cornette de St Cyr s’associent à nouveau en 2013 et s’étendent à la Belgique. La vente aura lieu à Bruxelles le lundi 27 Mai 2013. La Belgique séduit de plus en plus de collectionneurs, et son régime favorable aux exilés fiscaux entraîne les marchands et les maisons de vente de l’Hexagone vers la capitale artistique qu’est Bruxelles. C’est le pari fou de les suivre qu’ont prit Maquis Art et Cornette de St Cyr.
Dondi, Rammellzee, Futura 2000, Zephyr, Lady Pink, Taki 183, Bill Blast, Blek le rat, DFace, Nick Walker, Bando, Speedy Graphito, Invader, Inti, Ronnie Cutrone, Fenx, L’atlas, Mist, Pro 176, Miss Tic.
Yes, Banksy is here. The giant “Art in the Streets” show opening this weekend at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles gives a patch of real estate to the international man of mystery who has contributed greatly to the worldwide profile of this soon to be, maybe already, mainstream phenomenon known as street art. A smattering of his pranksterism is an absolute must for any show staking claim to the mantle of comprehensive survey and an excellent way to garner attention. But “Streets” gets it’s momentum by presenting a multi-torch colorful and explosive people’s history that began way before Banksy was born and likely will continue for a while after.
ERIC FIRESTONE GALLERY PRESENTS:
I wanted to invite you to the launch of DOWN BY LAW: New York’s Underground Art Explosion, 1970s–1980s, a new exhibition I am co-curating, which opens at the Eric Firestone Gallery in East Hampton on Saturday, August 14.
The exhibition surveys the originators and innovators of the graffiti and street art movements, looking at where they have been and where they have come over the past 40 years. Highlights include:
Paintings by Coco 144, whose work in the early 1970s earned him the title “The Marcel Duchamp of graffiti subculture.”
Rarely seen canvases from the early 1980s by style master Dondi White, who by age 22 had had seven solo exhibitions and whose painting was in several European museum collections.
Zephyr’s animation sequence frames for Charlie Ahearn’s iconic film, Wild Style.
Original drawings from “Yo! MTV Raps”, plus original logo designs for the Beastie Boys, Run-DMC, and the Cold Chillin’ record label.
Featured artists include Charlie Ahearn, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Blade, Henry Chalfant, Coco 144, Joe Conzo, Martha Cooper, Cope 2, Daze, Jane Dickson, Dr. Revolt, John Fekner, Cousin Frank aka Ghost, Michael Halsband, Keith Haring, Eric Haze, Keo, Eric Kroll, LA2, Lady Pink, Greg LaMarche, Michael Lawrence, Chris Pape aka Freedom, Rammellzee, Carlos “Mare 139″ Rodriguez, Anita Rosenberg, Sharp aka Aaron Goodstone, Jamel Shabazz, T-kid 170, Dondi White, and Zephyr.
EAST COAST SPACE
4 NEWTOWN LANE
EAST HAMPTON, NY 11937