Street artists transform abandoned East Village building into dynamic canvas

January 13th, 2014 | By | 2 Comments »
Hanksy

Hanksy. Photo by Dani Reyes Mozeson.

Over three dozen artists were busy last week transforming an abandoned East Village building into an explosively expressive canvas. Conceived and coordinated by Hansky, the venture culminated in a one-night showing, “Surplus Candy,” that rivaled the best gallery exhibits in town.  Here are a few more images:

LNY (huge fragment on left) and Icy and Sot

LNY (huge fragment on left) and Icy and Sot

Alice Mizrachi

Alice Mizrachi. Photo by Dani Reyes Mozeson.

Magda Love

Magda Love and Edapt +

Hanksy and Mata Ruda

Hanksy and Mata Ruda. Photo by Dani Reyes Mozeson.

Col with Enzo Nio on extreme right

Col with Enzo Nio to the right. Photo by Lois Stavsky.

And a message from Gilf!

And a message from Gilf!. Photo by Dani Reyes Mozeson.

Photos by Dani Reyes Mozeson, City-as-School intern Eduardo Dibono and Lois Stavsky


Category: Events | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Miami, consumerism and wtf moments

December 6th, 2013 | By | 20 Comments »
Gilf! (above) and Jesse Scaturro (below) at Arcilesi & Homberg Fine Art's booth at SCOPE in Miami

Gilf! (above) and Jesse Scaturro (below) at Arcilesi Homberg Fine Art’s booth at SCOPE in Miami

Let my start by saying that I have no inherent problem with artists selling their art or being pro-some-form-of-capitalism, or even pushing an ultra-consumerist agenda. If someone can make a living making art and doing what they love, great. That’s a lot better than working some job that they hate and giving up art or only making art in their spare time. That’s a large part of why I embrace street artists and graffiti writers who want to sell their work in galleries. Hell, I don’t even have a huge problem with art fairs. It’s not the best way to look at art, but I don’t fault artists or galleries for showing there. They can sell a lot of work and find new clients at fairs. Still…

If there’s an anti-consumerist message inherent in your artwork, maybe trying to sell that work at what is effectively a mall for art, where it costs money just to get in the door and have a look, is not the best way to go about things.

It’s art fair week in Miami right now, which means a good chunk of the art world there partying and buying and selling and painting and hustling. I wish I was there, but I’m in Philadelphia working on my final exams. However, I’m still getting plenty of emails from people in Miami about what’s going on and what I might want to be covering on Vandalog.

The other day, I got an email from Gilf! that included a photo of one of her new pieces accompanied by the following caption:

“This work, continues my exploration within the realms of advertising and its subversive means to propagate consumption. By stealing steel and pallet wood, two materials deeply rooted in the production and transportation of consumer goods, I am choosing to step out of the monetary system of consumption. I use these materials to ask the viewer to rethink his or her place in this unsustainable economy through subliminal ideas through typography. You will find Evolve, along with 3 other similar pieces with Arcilesi Homberg Fine Art at Scope Art Fair in booth J25.”

Two of those three similar pieces are in the photo at the top of this post.

Now, when I read that caption, two things came to mind:

  1. I don’t know where Gilf! stole those materials from, but I’m curious: Did she steal them from Walmart, or from some small warehouse in Brooklyn with unionized labor? It’s just $10-15 worth of materials, but if the act of the theft matters to Gilf!, then the victim matters to me, especially since the work is now for sale for presumably thousands of dollars through Arcilesi Homberg Fine Art (booth J25 at SCOPE).
  2. If Gilf! is going to make an artwork where the production of the work plays into its meaning, I think it’s fair to ask what role the sale of the work has on its meaning as well. Here Gilf! is hoping that the work will be sold at a venue that is all about “the monetary system of consumption” which she claims to be removing herself from. The most recent post-fair press release from SCOPE (for their Basel fair in June) is all about sales. On her own Instagram, Gilf! called Art Basel Miami Beach (the main art fair going on at the moment) “Black Friday for the 1%.” It’s naive to think SCOPE is any different, even if prices are lower. So, for me, seeing Gilf! show these pieces at SCOPE pretty much negates any anti-consumerist message that the work may have. The situation reminds me of the scene in this classic screenprint by Banksy.

Let’s compare this move by Gilf! to what Alec Monopoly has been up to this week. Last night, Alec held “a VIP-only exhibition located aboard a 151-foot yacht” in Miami. Sort of a hilarious setting for an artist whom I always assumed was at least pretending to use The Monopoly Man to critique out of control capitalism, the super-rich and the finance industry, but I recently realized that I’ve actually been looking at Alec’s work all wrong for years.

When have you have seen a street artist appropriate Mickey Mouse or Ronald McDonald or The Monopoly Man in order to say, “Let’s go watch a Disney movie, eat at McDonald’s and give high-fives to the folks at Goldman Sachs”? Usually, it seems like street artists using those symbols are more likely to be saying, “Let’s question our obsession with pop culture figures, remember that McDonald’s pays low wages and eating there too much might make you fat and reform our current economic system.” And Alec’s bio on his website states that he “subversively depict[s] various iconic pop culture characters.” A piece with a meaning like “Mickey Mouse is awesome” does not subvert Mickey Mouse, so I figured that his subversion of The Monopoly Man would be about subverting the capitalist system that the character represents. Makes sense, right?

If you actually read interviews with Alec (like this one) or read press releases for his shows (like this one), it turns out that he isn’t making a critique at all. He’s actually celebrating capitalism by using The Monopoly Man character. He has said, “I feel that Mr. Monopoly, Rich “Uncle” Pennybags, represents capitalism, but my use of his image is more about reminding the general population that we are all a part of game that anyone of us can win.” Try telling that to someone without health insurance who’s just been diagnosed with cancer or a student graduating college with $100,000 in debt and no job prospects.

So, I guess I was confused as a result of Alec not understanding what the word “subvert” means. I hope I was the only one who thought Alec was pretending to critique capitalism. But, just in case other people out there were under that impression too, I thought I’d bring it up here.

I’m still not a fan of Alec’s work and I find his take on the world to be somewhat naive, but at least he’s not being hypocritical.

I’m not one to see things in black and white. I know people who are upset that Banksy sells his work at all, or that Shepard Fairey has a clothing line or who hate all art fairs, but I don’t have a problem with any of that. I think one of the great things about being an artist today is the potential to make a living and basically be your own boss. Yes, the artist is still participating in a consumerist/capitalist economy and their work may critique that world, but as Gilf! suggests, they can perhaps keep themselves at least a step removed from the worst parts of capitalism. But Banksy selling prints through Pictures on Walls or Shepard selling shirts with a message of “I’m not saying consumerism is good or bad, just that you shouldn’t follow blindly,” is quite a bit different from selling explicitly anti-consumerist art in the midst of an art mall and simultaneously claiming that you’re removing yourself from that system by your actions. That claim is just false. The question is whether or not Gilf! realizes it.

So what should Gilf! do? I would like to say that there’s some way to salvage these artworks, but I’m not sure. Maybe selling them in a less money-centric environment would be a step in the right direction, but I dunno. At the very least, Gilf! needs to acknowledge that selling these artworks in the way she is trying to does not allow her “to step out of the monetary system of consumption” in any significant way. Stealing $10 worth of materials to sell a product in a mall for thousands of dollars? That sounds to me more like the worst parts of capitalism and consumerism than a removal from those systems.

Photo from Arcilesi Homberg Fine Art’s Instagram


Category: Art Fairs, Featured Posts | Tags: , , ,

Weekend link-o-rama

July 5th, 2013 | By | 1 Comment »
Kuma

Kuma

Okay I’m gonna write this quickly and get outside, because it’s basically been cloudy and rainy for two straight weeks in Philadelphia and now there’s finally some sun. But just in case the weather where you are isn’t so nice, here are some links:

  • I haven’t had a chance to listen to this yet, but Jowy of Subway Art Blog has started a new podcast, Jowy’s Blackbook, and gilf! is the guest on episode 1.
  • Rowdy has a new print out. I really like that the print is laid out on the page so that the whole thing looks like a blown-up polaroid photo. The print is pretty massive though, which could make it difficult to hang.
  • And Escif has a new print as well.
  • Check out this post over at Melrose&Fairfax for some hilarious shit-talking about Anthony Lister. Apparently, Greg is not a fan…
  • MOMO has a solo show with StudioCromie/FAME Festival next week in Grottaglie, the little Italian town that is home to FAME Festival. This show is the culmination of a months-long project that MOMO has been working on with FAME Festival which included traveling to Cuba and Jamaica.
  • Ron English has a new resin version of his MC Supersized toy available on his website (technically this is the MC Lover variation of the character). Not that there aren’t already about a million variations of this character out there, but it’s great to see such an iconic image by English available for just $40.
  • I love this new mural in Poland from Blaqk.
  • Honestly, I wouldn’t have selected Revok and Pose to paint the Bowery/Houston wall if I were the curator. Especially not right after How&Nosm and Crash. And as the mural was coming together, I kept thinking that it looked like it wasn’t really coming together. But then I saw the finished piece. Revok, Pose and the other members of MSK who joined in absolutely nailed it. The result is a mural that fans of graffiti and random New Yorkers can all love. This is one time where I’m very glad I didn’t speak out sooner, because my initial thoughts were completely wrong. I just with the wall itself weren’t a hoarding that pops a few feet off the building, inevitably making anything painted there look a bit like a billboard, but I guess that can’t be helped (after all, there’s an Os Gêmeos mural behind that hoarding).

Photo by carnagenyc


Category: Gallery/Museum Shows, Interview, Photos, Print Release, Random, Toys | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

gilf! – “i Exam” at Arcilesi Homberg Fine Art

February 24th, 2013 | By | No Comments »
"Hypocrisy on a Crocodile" by Gilf!

“Hypocrisy on a Crocodile”

gilf!‘s solo show i Exam is open now at Arcilesi Homberg Fine Art in Brooklyn. The show includes a number of unexpected new pieces from gilf! that really separate her outdoor work from her indoor work. The basic themes are still the same, but the technical complexity of some of the work is beyond what we’ve seen from her outdoors. I haven’t included too many photos in this post because many of the pieces include somewhat obscured text which is difficult to read in a jpeg, but I’d love to hear what people who saw the show in person thought of those pieces.

i Exam runs through March 10th.

common wants & common cares black

“Common Wants & Common Cares”

"The Ghost of Gold"

“The Ghost of Gold” (the text reads “POST DEMOCRACY”)

 

"All Was Empty Air"

“All Was Empty Air”

Photos courtesy of gilf!


Category: Gallery/Museum Shows | Tags: ,

Joe Iurato at Bushwick Five Points

December 19th, 2012 | By | No Comments »
Never Let Go

Never Let Go

Joe Iurato brought his splendid skills earlier today to Bushwick Five Points. Here are a few more images:

Joe Iurato at work

Joe Iurato at work on image of his son

Dedicated to Jo Montchausse, professional French climber

Dedicated to Jo Montchausse, professional French climber

Hanging onto LNY's moon -- with Gilf! and Alice Mizrachi

Hanging onto LNY’s moon — with Gilf! and Alice Mizrachi

Photos by Lenny Collado and Tara Murray


Category: Photos | Tags: , , , ,

Wrap up: The Art of Comedy

November 19th, 2012 | By | 1 Comment »

gilf!. Photo by Tali Blankfeld.

Last weekend we finished up The Art of Comedy with The New York Comedy Festival, Little Italy, Ron English, Hanksy, and gilf! with a tour around New York’s Little Italy to see all the new work that Ron, Hanksy and gilf! have painted there. We were even joined by comedian Jim Gaffigan and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez. For those who couldn’t make it, here’s what’s new on Mulberry Street:

Ron English. Photo by Luna Park.

Hanksy. Photo by Jake Dobkin.

gilf!. Photo by Tali Blankfeld.

gilf!. Photo by Tali Blankfeld.

Hanksy. Photo by Tali Blankfeld.

Hanksy. Photo by Tali Blankfeld.

Jim Gaffigan was so taken with Hanksy’s piece staring that the two had been tweeting back and forth and Jim took his kids to see the wall. Hanksy knew that Jim would also be coming by the art crawl, and so he came prepared with a painting to give to Jim…

Jim’s new painting, Hanksy, Caroline Hirsch, Jim Gaffigan, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, and Ralph Tramontana. Photo by Tali Blankfeld.

Ron English. Photo by Tali Blankfeld.

Photos by Tali Blankfeld, Luna Park, and Jake Dobkin


Category: Events, Featured Posts, Photos | Tags: , , ,

The Art of Comedy “Art Crawl” Saturday at noon

November 9th, 2012 | By | 1 Comment »

Hanksy

Come by NYC’s Little Italy tomorrow (Saturday the 10th) at noon for some food and street art at The Art of Comedy Art Crawl. We’ll be meeting at Caffe Roma on Mulberry and Broome and walking down to Sambuca’s Cafe by Mulberry and Canal. In between, we’ll be checking out all of the spots that gilf!, Hanksy, and Ron English recently painted along Mulberry as part of The New York Comedy Festival‘s art component, The Art of Comedy. Jim Gaffigan will be there to check out Hanksy’s piece depicting Jim at Mulberry and Grand, and Ron English will be putting a few finishing touches on his 30-foot-tall mural.

The event is free and open to anyone, but you can RSVP on Facebook.

Photo by Rhiannon Platt


Category: Events, Featured Posts | Tags: , , ,

Hurricane Sandy delays The Art of Comedy murals and gallery openings

November 1st, 2012 | By | No Comments »

Ron English’s mural on Mulberry Street

Last week we announced The Art of Comedy, a series of art installations and murals with The New York Comedy Festival that Wayne Rada and I curated. The Art of Comedy also coincided with solo shows by all three of the artists involved: Ron English, gilf!, and Hanksy. Due to Hurricane Sandy, both the official unveiling of the murals that these artists have painted in Little Italy and their solo show openings have been delayed by a week. So, here’s what the calendar looks like now for The Art of Comedy and those gallery shows:

Also, in the past week, we’ve had interviews by Rhiannon Platt with gilf! and Hanksy, and Rhiannon also took some photos of Hanksy working on two of his three murals.

Photo by Wayne Rada


Category: Featured Posts, Festivals, Gallery/Museum Shows, Site News, Vandalog Projects | Tags: , , , , , ,

Comedy and Critique: An Interview with gilf!

October 31st, 2012 | By | No Comments »

gilf! is the type of person to engage you with her art, both visually and verbally. Though the messages are implicit in her imagery, she is quick to drop her paint can to discuss her pieces with anyone who catches her in progress. When entering into a curated mural project, I wondered how an area that was not known as a street art haven would greet these confrontational, but satirical, stencils. These issues as well as several others were discussed in an interview with gilf! for Vandalog as she prepares for her work with the New York Comedy Festival. – Rhiannon Platt

R: Could you talk a little about the overall message of your work?

G: It’s mostly social commentary about current issues and things that are affecting us a society, both globally and nationally. I feel like a lot of people don’t pay attention to shit. So, if I can put it on the street and get them to consider a different perspective about things concerning their everyday life that’s kind of why I do what I do.

gilf! for Welling Court

R: And you don’t restrict it to just politics?

G: It’s not always political. It can be environmental, social, government changes are I guess not what I would consider political always. I always focus on things that I’m passionate about and that I find to be unjust or problematic.

gilf! in Williamsburg

R: With working for the New York Comedy Festival, how do you think parody will play into this usual message of political or other contexts that you usually try to convey?

G: You can have something with a message that can also be entertaining. If you look at the Colonel Sanders piece I did it talks about things that are really nasty, like genetically modified situation going on in our fast food lifestyle, but it’s also kinda funny because the thing has six wings. Visually it’s not something you would expect. I think using parody in art can allow people to be more focused on the work because they are laughing at it, but then it maybe the message clicks a little afterwards. You’ve got to lure them a little bit, there’s got to be something appealing.

R: Will you be working with all new imagery for this event?

G: All but one I believe. For the most part it’s going to be all new and things based around the election and some political things that I find to be kind of entertaining and weird.

gilf! for the New York Comedy Festival

R: What does it mean for you to be working in a space like NoLita?

G: Well it’s funny because it’s not a neighborhood where I would usually put work up. Thinking about the type of people who walk through Little Italy. You get some native New Yorkers, but mainly my work will be interacting with tourists. It’s going to be the people from the middle of the country, or France, or wherever that go to Little Italy to see the character and novelty of it. That’s going to be cool because it’s not people that I usually talk to. The work is usually in Brooklyn or downtown. It’s usually in neighborhoods where I hang out versus neighborhoods where you get a lot of people who would never see street art. If you’re from Oklahoma or Virginia, there’s not a lot of wheatpaste or stencils or whatever going up. So it will be interesting to see how those people interact with what I’m doing.

gilf! and Veng in Baltimore

R: It’s probably an older demographic than your usual neighborhoods too.

G: Totally. It’s gonna be a lot of families I imagine. Kids and their parents and middle aged family of four kind of people. I was also excited to talk about the election because it will go up right before the vote, not that it’s going to influence anything because New York is going to go to Obama because it’s a Democratic state. Still, just commenting on it’s a weird façade and why our voter system is totally flawed will be interesting to see how people who are of the voting age would think about that.

Photos by Rhiannon Platt


Category: Featured Posts, Interview | Tags: ,

Gilf! show this week at Galerie Swanström

October 29th, 2012 | By | No Comments »

UPDATE: THIS OPENING OF GILF!’S SHOW HAS BEEN DELAYED DUE TO THE HURRICANE. IT WILL NOW BE ON NOVEMBER 8TH FROM 5-9PM (SAME LOCATION OF COURSE).

This Thursday NEXT THURSDAY from 5-9pm, Gilf! there will be a public opening for Gilf!’s solo show at Galerie Swanström (136 Sullivan Street, 3rd Floor, New York City). I was really impressed with Gifl!’s booth at Fountain New York earlier this year, and so I’m excited to see what she’s done for this show. Check back later this week or early next for photos from the show and from The Art of Comedy, which Gilf! is a part of along with Hanksy and Ron English.

Photo courtesy of Gilf!


Category: Gallery/Museum Shows | Tags: ,