Dain has been quite busy in NYC lately. I am loving the new works found on BSA yesterday, not just because they are colorful collage and I wish I could walk by them every day, but the images are so rich in art history that it boggles my mind. Maybe it is jsut because I am sitting in Sotheby’s being lectured at about Documenta X and seeing slide after slide of artists, but DAIN’s work (as well as Judith Supine) really remind me of Hannah Hoch, a German collage artist known best for her feminist and political works in the DADA movement in the early 1900’s. Understanding that street artists come from so many backgrounds, I find it fascinating that the ones that don’t have any art history background are actually repeating pieces from the art canon and putting their own modern spin on it without even knowing it. Possible dissertation piece maybe?

I could be completely wrong, and maybe the striking similarities are not just purely coincidental, but influenced by Hoch and John Heartfield, and other participants from around the world (not just Berlin). We all know that artists are influenced by others in order to find their voice, and some are blatant copycats, but the inclusion of established art history in street, whether intentional or not, furthers the notion that street art does have a place alongside fine artists.

All Photos by Jaime Rojo for Brooklyn Street Art

  • Hoch is awesome.

  • Hồ Chí Minh

    Yeah, street artists are just the lumpen proletariat who have never read an art book, or looked at any art online…because they probably can’t read or are too stupid to use a computer. While bloggers on the other hand with the benefit of their marvellous educations have access to all of this secret obscure knowledge of people like Hoch and Heartfield, whom the rest of us mere peasants couldn’t possibly have ever heard of.

    This blog is beyond a joke. Truly pitiful writing based often on nothing more than misinformation and senseless, offensive prejudice.

    Perhaps you should stick to calling everything “Awesome”. It sounds very juvenile, but at least it’s less embarrassing than the attempts at analysis.

  • If you asked the average viewer of street art, they wouldn’t be aware of many of the artists that DAIN is referencing/influenced by. Additionally, some street artists who are very aware of art history (either through some sort of formal education or by being self taught or learning from friends or however else) seem to hide those influences in their street art moreso than I think they would if they weren’t working on the street. Direct references to Heartfield would be much more likely to be picked up on in a gallery setting than on the street. It would be great if everyone knew some basic art history, but the current education system unfortunately doesn’t teach much art or art history.

    I for one will freely admit to having a terrible knowledge of art history and that’s something I’m trying to correct, and it’s sheer coincidence that I happen to be familiar with the artists that Stephanie is writing about. So any references to art history are usually lost on me unfortunately (and I think they are often also on most of the members of the public who view street art outdoors).

    Also, there are a number of street artists and graffiti writers who are “outsider artists” or however you want to term artists/writers who haven’t had formal training or learned much about art history, or at least many who start out that way and learn along the way. And of course, there are also many who were self-taught in art history to beyond the level of most masters programs. Basquiat would certainly be in that category.

    Do I think DAIN is aware of the artists that Stephanie mentioned? Yeah, probably. As Steph mentions, she and I have no firsthand knowledge here and she could be mistaken. It’s still an interesting reference by DAIN though, since, unlike say Warhol (who clearly influenced a lot of DAIN’s earlier work), most of the viewers won’t get this reference.

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