Aïda Gómez wins at street Tetris

March 28th, 2015 | By | No Comments »

tetris montaje small

Aïda Gómez saw a deteriorating wall in the Berlin subway and thought what we all think when we see a city’s infrastructure falling apart: “This is terrible. I can’t believe I just paid money to wait for a train in this place if they can’t even fix the walls…” Well actually, no. Gómez wasn’t quite so sour. She saw an opportunity to inject some fun onto the subway and use art to repair the wall. She did this:

tetris

Okay, I’m not sure “street Tetris” is really a thing. I suppose I just made it up, but if it were a thing, Gómez just won. She calls this project Mind the Gap. It reminds me of the Astoria Scum River Bridge by Jason Eppink and Posterchild, which I also really love.

Also, here’s a GIF version:

tetris

Photos by Aïda Gómez, GIF by RJ Rushmore


Category: Animation, Photos | Tags: , ,

Cash For Your Warhol is coming to Philadelphia

March 23rd, 2015 | By | No Comments »

CFYW

For years, I’ve followed the saga of Cash For Your Warhol, the Boston-based art experiment that’s been bugging art collectors, confusing the general public, and entertaining the street art world for years. Now, Cash For Your Warhol is coming to Philadelphia with a show at LMNL Gallery, where I’ve been curating shows since last fall. No Questions Asked! opens at LMNL on April 10th.

Cash For Your Warhol is the brainchild of artist and photographer Geoff Hargadon. The project began in 2009 in response to the financial crisis, and to an art market that treats paintings and sculptures as investible assets similar to real estate and gold. Through stickers, stencils, plastic signs, and billboards, Cash For Your Warhol has been a subtly hilarious part of the urban landscape and the art market for over half a decade. In 2012, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh even added a few of the signs to its permanent collection.

The Cash For Your Warhol project is such a simple and effective critique of art market and financial industry absurdity. From the moment I first saw the signs, I was hooked. The project is even more fascinating now that you can find Cash For Your Warhol art in galleries. That’s something I love, but I never expected. With No Questions Asked!, it’s all come full circle in a perfectly surreal way. Plus, it’s an opportunity to exhibit some of Hargo’s photos, and he is one of the best street art photographers active today.

No Questions Asked! will be Cash For Your Warhol’s first exhibition in Philadelphia. The Cash For Your Warhol team did, however, visit earlier this year to install work around the city. The exhibition will include photographs from that visit, an interactive sculpture, and the complete collection of the 24 Cash For Your Warhol signs created since 2009.

As the opening of No Questions Asked! approaches, keep your eyes out for CFYW to make its message heard in Philadelphia in a big way. In the meantime, remember to dial (617) 553-1103 for all your Warhol-selling needs.

See you at the opening on April 10th!

cashforyourwarhol-flyer

Photo by Cash For Your Warhol


Category: Gallery/Museum Shows | Tags: , ,

Street art for a rainy city

March 22nd, 2015 | By | No Comments »

rain

How have I not seen this before? Am I the only one?

Rainworks is a series of street art pieces by Seattle-based artist Peregrine Church that will only appear when the ground is wet. Using a commercially available “superhydrophobic coating” (basically a spray-on sealant that repels water), Church stencils Roadsworth-esque artworks onto concrete surfaces. On a sunny day, the artworks are invisible, but when it rains, as is known to happen from time to time in Seattle, the stencils appear. The rain soaks into the surrounding concrete, making it appear darker, and rolls right off the sections that Church has coated so that those areas stay bone dry and remain lighter.

Very cool idea. I hope this takes off. It shouldn’t be too hard for works like these to start appearing in other cities. The material Church uses is pretty pricey, but Rust-Oleum makes a similar product.

weather

Photo and GIF courtesy of Peregrine Church / Rainworks


Category: Photos, Videos | Tags: ,

Tinder as a platform for art

March 10th, 2015 | By | No Comments »
tinder

Screenshots from Swipe Left

So you’re swiping right and swiping left, swiping left and swiping right, swiping right and swiping left… Tinder is a practically mindless activity, at least anytime I’ve ever seen someone use it. But what are you swiping right and left, yes and no, to? Sometimes, it’s people’s lives.

This isn’t actually a new project, but last summer artist and hacker Matthew Rothenberg was inserting imagery of drone strikes and drone strike victims into Tinder for an artwork he calls Swipe Left. That bearded young man gazing off into the distance wasn’t another Williamsburg hipster. It was Hakimullah Mehsud, a commander in the Pakistani Taliban. Mehsud was killed by a US drone strike in 2013. Which way did you swipe? And what about that odd black and white photo that you liked on “Haki’s” profile? Blurry abstract art? No. Footage from a drone about to unleash hell on a target.

Since Rothenberg has already written so well about the social and political meaning of Swipe Left, I just want to make a note about its meaning within the art world. Rothenberg considers the piece to be performance art, and yes it is, but what I think is most fascinating about Swipe Left is its relationship with street art. It’s a great example of what I’ve called invasive viral art, art that treats digital public space like street art and graffiti treat physical public space. While Tinder users are expecting one thing, Rothenberg gave them another, and he used the app for something it isn’t intended for.

Swipe Left may not immediately appear as art to viewers, but that’s okay. Plenty of street art doesn’t either: John Fekner’s random dates series, Dan Witz’ Broadway Poem, Jenny Holzer‘s Inflammatory Essays when they first appeared on the street as posters, and of course Shepard Fairey‘s early work could all appear as something other than art to someone seeing it for the first time, but it could still reach them. And as Rothenberg points out, “Tinder members who encounter the images are forced to make a decision.” Unlike street art, which can be ignored, Rothenberg’s project can be swiped away or not understood by the view, but it can’t be ignored entirely, and any reaction to Swipe Left‘s content is a valid and interesting data point.

But even if Swipe Left is a bit hidden within Tinder, arguably really meant to be be considered by observers reading about the work later on, not the Tinder users participating in the performance/experiment, the piece shows the potential for a new venue for performance art and invasive viral art.

What if someone like Shepard Fairey joined Tinder and used it to put his art in front of a new and unsuspecting audience? Every day, he could upload a different poster as a profile picture. Suddenly, his work would be reaching people in a relatively random way, like a sticker or a poster on the street does. And if people are playing with their phones and browsing Tinder as they ride the bus to work rather than looking out the window where they might see some street art, why not place that art on Tinder instead of, or in addition to, the street? Reach people where their eyeballs already are. I’d swipe right to that.

Screenshots swiped from Matthew Rothenberg


Category: Featured Posts, Random | Tags: , , , , , ,

BR1 and Elfo’s tribute to Houdini

March 9th, 2015 | By | No Comments »

BR1_elfo_2

Okay, I know I should be publishing more than just ad disruptions, which seems to be all I’m writing about lately in one way or another, but this piece that BR1 and Elfo did in Istanbul just made me smile and I couldn’t not post it. It’s called Houdini.

BR1_elfo_3

Photos courtesy of Elfo


Category: Photos | Tags: ,

mobstr cracks the code

March 5th, 2015 | By | 1 Comment »

sex

mobstr cuts through the crap with these latest ad takeovers. If you like what you see, here’s a link to mobstr’s online shop.

ads

Photos courtesy of mobstr

advertising brainstorming session 005


Category: Photos | Tags:

SOFLES – Graffiti Mapped – Presented by Juddy Roller

March 5th, 2015 | By | No Comments »
SOFLES - Photo by David Russell

SOFLES – Photo by David Russell

I was going to wait for my Jan/Feb post which is coming very soon, but this can’t wait and deserves its own post.
A few months ago SOFLES came to Melbourne to paint this EPIC piece. Selina Miles and the guys from Juddy Roller were also hanging around, so there bound to something special going on… Special is not the word to describe what came next.

The piece itself was spectacular in black on a all white background – reminding me of a raw sketch straight outa Sofs’ black book. I also love how he left all the raw throws and tags around the piece. The piece was painted over 3/4 days using a massive crane and a fuck load of paint. Note the cheeky PORK roller that just popped up recently..

After the painting was completed – that’s when the projection mapping started. You can tell by the video that’s it’s an excruciatingly detailed process – which is also evident in the final production.

The production was a part of Melbourne’s annual ‘White Night’ Projection festival. This year was the first time graffiti and projection were combined. Clearly a great idea as the project attracted hundreds of spectators.

Shaun Hossack, creative director for the project (who also runs Juddy Roller studios and runs one hell of a party) did a fantastic job bringing all the parties together and providing overall direction.

From the Press Release: “Over 5 stories high, Sofles’ inner city mural is his biggest work to date. Add to that Grant Osborne’s incredibly detailed motion design and a musical score by New Zealand music producer Opiuo, and you have a truly innovative work of art. Visible for one night only, but destined to leave an impression on the city’s skyline Sofles – Graffiti Mapped was one of the most exciting events of the entire White Night Melbourne festival”.

Check out the full length video below to show the full projection sequence – it goes for about 7 minutes in total.


Also make sure you check out the incredible video below by Selina Miles (director of the famous/viral Sofles – Limitless video) of the end to end process. Selina’s videos not only show off Sofles’ amazing work – they also pay homage to the process and the context around the piece as well ad the scale. I love the movement of the lift with the music and the use of a drone camera (from UAV drones) also brought a great perspective to this piece.

I can see this graffiti mapping business has a big future – the possibilities are endless. Unlike other forms of moving art (e.g.: INSA’s gif-itti) this form has so much more flexibility (and while labour intensive for the projector – much less laborious than re-painting an entire wall).

Watch out for my January/February Melbourne post – coming soon..

Photos courtesy of David Russell.

Video courtesy of Selina Miles and Sofles.

Projection by Grant Osborne.
Music bu Opuio.


Category: Videos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Common Thread,” a stikman solo show opening soon in Philly

February 25th, 2015 | By | No Comments »

sm-common

Today I’m very pleased to announce Common Thread, a solo show from stikman. It opens March 6th at Philadelphia’s LMNL Gallery, where I’ve been curating shows for the last six months or so.

I love working with stikman because his work just brings people so much damn joy. If you’ve been in Philadelphia long enough, or Boston, or New York, or Chicago, or Los Angeles, or Toronto, or any of a hundred small towns across the United States and Canada, you might know stikman. You just might not know that you know him. One of the most elusive and prolific street artists in America, one of the last truly anonymous street artists, stikman has been putting a smile on people’s faces with his street art for over 20 years.

The late DJ John Peel’s favorite band was The Fall, and he once described them by saying, “They are always different, they are always the same,” and I cannot think of a better way to describe stikman or the works in Common Thread.

For months, stikman has been experimenting with the latest evolution to his character, and he has developed what he calls “thread paintings” for the way the paint looks like masses of thread thrown on the ground or stretched out like webbing. Already, there’s variation among the pieces, as the technique is used on different surfaces and in different ways. With Common Thread, stikman will be showing this new body of work for the first time.

The show also will also feature a digital installation: A new series of stikman’s spy-cam-like photographs. The installation will also highlight how street art, and stikman’s work in particular, is simultaneously always different and always the same. One of the highlights of …in the house…, the last show I worked on with stikman, was a photo installation. It was definitely the most commented-on piece. I suspect this digital photo installation will be similarly popular and surprising, but that’s all I’ll say about it for now. If you’re curious, you’ll just have to come to the show to see it for yourself.

Common Thread opens at LMNL Gallery (1526 Frankford Ave, Philadelphia) on March 6th with a First Friday launch from 6-9pm. The exhibition will remain on view through March 27th by appointment.

Photo courtesy of LMNL Gallery


Category: Gallery/Museum Shows, Vandalog Projects | Tags: ,

Three mural hubs where the cracks are beginning to show

February 24th, 2015 | By | 1 Comment »
The Bushwick Collective. Photo by Mr Seb.

The Bushwick Collective. Photo by Mr Seb.

What do Bushwick, Chicago, and Detroit all have in common? Their mural cultures are under threat. In Bushwick, gentrification and greed some to be putting the final nails in the coffin of The Bushwick Collective. In Chicago, the city is failing to pay artists and organizers for murals that they commissioned. In Detroit, city officials are trying to tame graffiti’s Wild West with regulations that are bound to cause problems.

The Bushwick Collective’s year hasn’t started out so well. There was always suspicion among artists and art fans about the project’s motives. Behind closed doors (and sometimes publicly), you’d hear suggestions that The Bushwick Collective was an exploitative gentrification effort rather than a celebration of art, and its no secret that the project is anti-graffiti and doesn’t usually allow political messages in murals. But they have walls, so plenty of artists set aside their reservations and paint there anyway. Now, those rumbling frustrations about gentrification and whitewashing of graffiti have gone explosively public, with ZEXOR dissing over a dozen Bushwick Collective murals with his tags and throw ups.

But are ZEXOR’s accusations based in fact? The latest development at The Bushwick Collective suggests so. This month, what appear to be frames for two billboards were installed on top of Bushwick Collective murals. The (currently empty) billboard frames were installed with complete disregard for the murals they partially cover by Concrete Jungle, The Yok, and Sheryo. So much for subtly transforming the neighborhood in the name of art. Seem to me though that with these billboard installations, The Bushwick Collective is finally showing their true colors.

Sheryo said that she hasn’t asked The Bushwick Collective what happened, but her thoughts on the situation are clear: “It’s such an eyesore they shoulda at least buffed it first… I think there should be mutual respect. Do things right.”

I’ve reached out to The Bushwick Collective on Sunday for comment, as well as for more information about the billboard frames and the building owner’s relationship with the Collective. As of Tuesday night, I have not heard back.

Roa in Chicago, a mural organized by Pawn Works. Photo by Kevin Tao.

Roa in Chicago, a mural organized by Pawn Works. Photo by Kevin Tao.

In Chicago, there are a number of great murals by artists like Gaia, Roa and Troy Lovegates that Pawn Works organized in collaboration with the city and Alderman Danny Solis. Unfortunately, it seems that the alderman seriously messed up and the city has so far failed to pay the artists or reimburse Pawn Works for $16,000 in out-of-pocket expenses related to the murals. The city and the alderman claim to be working to fix the problem, but Pawn Works and the artists have been owed money for well over a year. For now, Pawn Works has stopped organizing murals for the city. That mural project was shut down because of Solis’ fiscal mismanagement and bureaucratic snafus, and of course, the artists and Pawn Work still haven’t been paid. At least Solis is “very sorry.”

A mural in Detroit by The Weird. Or is it graffiti? Photo by RJ Rushmore.

A mural in Detroit by The Weird. Or is it graffiti? Photo by RJ Rushmore.

Finally, politicians in Detroit are trying to change the city’s reputation as the Wild West of graffiti. A city council member is working on new anti-graffiti regulations that would fine property owners for not cleaning the graffiti on their buildings. It’s unclear how new regulations will be different from the tickets that the city is already issuing, but presumably they would make it even easier for a Detroit building owner to be ticketed for graffiti. As the Metro Times asks, how do you determine what’s graffiti and what’s a mural? That’s a determination that the city is already messing up, and the proposed solution of a database of all the legal murals in the city is bound to be incomplete and difficult to maintain.

Regulations like these make me nervous, not just for the graffiti and for property owners, but for all public art in Detroit. Imagine you’re a property owner in Detroit and an artist comes to you about painting a mural on your property. Even if legally that’s okay and you’d love some art on your wall, do you really want to take the risk that there will be confusion and you’ll be fined and investigated by the city? These regulations could have a serious chilling effect on the muralism Renaissance taking place in the city right now.

Detroit can’t seem to properly manage the system they’ve already got to ticket property owners for graffiti. Why give that system more power? More intense regulations like the ones being developed now will only serve to hurt Detroit’s property owners, artists, and public art.

In recent years, a lot of great art has come out of The Bushwick Collective, and Pawn Works, and the overall mural culture in Detroit. Maybe, hopefully, I’m just being a Chicken Little about all this news. After all, there are other murals in Bushwick and Chicago, and the Detroit regulations are a long way from being implemented, but let’s not pretend that everything is all okay. These amazing mural cultures, often held up as some of the best in the nation, are under threat from greed and mismanagement.

Photos by Mr SebKevin Tao, and RJ Rushmore


Category: Art News | Tags: , , , , ,

“Bob-omb,” an all-GIF augmented reality exhibition in NO AD

February 20th, 2015 | By | 1 Comment »
A screenshot from Bob-omb, featuring stills of art by James Kerr (Scorpion Dagger) and Dave Whyte.

A screenshot from Bob-omb, featuring stills of art by James Kerr (Scorpion Dagger) and Dave Whyte.

Wow. That headline is full of some jargon and gibberish… Sorry. Let me explain…

Today marks the launch of the latest exhibition in NO AD, a new evolution for the smartphone app that simulates a world in which New York City’s subway station advertisements are replaced with public art. NO AD, which I’ve written about before, uses augmented reality to digitally replace the ads on your phone’s screen. Here’s how it works.

NO AD has become a really interesting exhibition space, somewhere between a digital exhibition and a guerrilla street art exhibition. The very platform is an artwork, so NO AD’s art exhibitions exist within another work of art, and the platform gets you thinking as much as the art it displays.

I’m honored that the NO AD creators (between PublicAdCampaign, The Heavy Projects, and The Subway Art Blog under the umbrella of Re+Public) asked me to curate the first exhibition NO AD made up entirely of animated GIF art. That exhibition, titled Bob-omb, launched today and includes artwork from by The Barkers, Caitlin Burns, Dave Whyte, Hrag Vartanian, James Kerr – Scorpion Dagger, Jeremyville, Maori Sakai, Molly Soda, Paolo Čerić aka Patakk, Ryan Seslow, The Current Sea, YoMeryl, and Zack Dougherty.

In the past, the vast majority of content in NO AD has been static images, but Bob-omb takes full advantage of the platform by focusing exclusively on animated pieces, transforming static advertisements into dynamic artworks.

Bob-omb is an effort to weaponize GIF art as a tool for reimaging public space while simultaneously highlighting the variety and depth possible with the medium. The artists range from filmmakers to illustrators to journalists, and their work varies from hyper-short documentary videos to abstract digital illustration.

To view Bob-omb, simply download NO AD for your iPhone or Android device (or update it if you’ve already got the app on your phone), find a New York City subway station, open the app, and start pointing your phone at the ads. Or download/update the app and try the test image below.

I want to give a big thank you to all of the artists in Bob-omb and the team behind NO AD for this opportunity.

test image

Test image: Download NO AD and use this image to see how it works.

Images courtesy of NO AD


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