Nele Azevedo at Rivera Gallery

Rivera Gallery in Los Angeles is having a group show this Saturday, October 15. I stopped by the gallery earlier today and it’s already looking good – lots of interesting installations and pieces with an environmental theme. The artist who interests me the most is probably Brazilian artist Nele Azevedo (pictured above), who is best-known for her site-specific series of ice-based urban interventions known as Melting Men, which form part of her Minimum Monument series, a project she has continued to develop and evolve since 2001. A critical exploration and subversion of the concept of public city monuments and their role in shaping modern man’s disconnected attitude with the natural world, the project has also been embraced as a powerful proclamation on climate change.

Nele is featured in Marc and Sara Schiller’s TRESPASS book and has made it on Unurth in the past – so I recommend googling her name if you’re interested in seeing more. It’s a cool, unusual form of street art. That particular sculpture in the photo above was made in Sao Paulo in 2002.

Vaughn Bell, Robert Cannon, Aharon Gluska, Claire Morgan, Robert Standish, Jason deCaires Taylor, Levi van Veluw and Yuriko Yamaguchi are the other artists in the show, which was curated by gallery director, Maryam Parsi.

I’ll be at the opening on Saturday, so if you’re in the neighborhood, maybe I’ll see you there.

– Elisa

Poster Boy Show Cancelled / Censored

Hi Vandalog readers, it’s Elisa here (yup, it’s been a while). Just wanted to update you all, in case you hadn’t heard yet, that Poster Boy‘s upcoming show at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, which was set to open on September 15, has been cancelled/censored due to the illegal nature of his street work. I hung out with PB recently and know that he was not only looking forward to this opportunity, but was working very hard for it. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have much respect for censorship in the art world, no matter what the reason is. Not only has there been too much of it recently, it only seems to be getting worse and to put it crudely, makes this whole business, world or whatever you want to call it, look ridiculous.

Galleries, museums, institutions, general public: don’t say you want art if you’re just going to turn around and try to pretend it doesn’t exist, simply because you have an issue with it. Nobody can possibly like or approve of the work of every artist in the world – I certainly don’t – but that’s no reason to invite one to present what they do and believe in, then whitewash their wall, cancel their show, or attempt to stifle their voice. On the upside, of course, with people like Blu, Poster Boy, Ai Weiwei and the countless other artists who have suffered from this treatment recently or in the past, all it does is strengthen and help to spread their message.

Poster Boy is an interesting case when it comes to institutional censorship as he doesn’t often exhibit his work indoors and when he does, the focus is on spreading his views on the advertising industry, rather than profit off the artwork itself. Here are his thoughts on the situation, via the Hartford Courant:

“The main point of the show was to reach people and to bring awareness to the sort of visual pollution we see advertising to be and the whole hypocrisy behind being able to put advertising up yet street art and graffiti is illegal,” he said. “When the media gets a hold of it the fact that this was censored and cancelled, more people will hear about it, more people will be forced to think about what the work stands for and what Poster Boy stands for. Whether they agree with it or not it will definitely reach a lot more people.”

He said he had been looking forward to the show because “it’s a controlled setting, without someone looking over me or having to look over my shoulder for police officers. … That gives the artist involved a little more time to showcase maybe some flair or go in a little more depth than is usually gone into with subway pieces, which are completely improv with only a razor.”

Anyway, like everything else in life, this is open to interpretation and I’m sure everyone here at Vandalog would be interested in your opinion. Personally, I find it a bit hard to understand why  an artist’s show would be cancelled due to the illegal nature of some of their work. Last time I checked, a lot of graffiti and street artists have had gallery shows. Conservatism like this makes me sick.

– Elisa

Image via Poster Boy’s Flickr

Street a.k.a. Museum @ Portsmouth Museum of Art

Bumblebee, Meant To Bee (detail), 2011. © Bumblebee

Ignore its pathetic excuse for a title (I’m sorry, I know that sounds bitchy, but who the hell thought that one up?! Seriously.), because there are some good artists in this show about to open at the Portsmouth Museum of Art in New Hampshire and you should go check it out if you can. In addition to the on-site installations and individual artworks Bumblebee (above), Andreas von ChrzanowskiHerakut, Shark Toof and Alexandros Vasmoulakis created for the museum’s walls, all of the artists are/have been in town painting up the streets of Portsmouth. I’ve only seen a couple, not very good photos of the murals, etc that definitely don’t do the artists’ work justice, so if you know where to find good ones, leave a link in the comments section! I’m sure the museum will have photos up online soon, though, as will the artists.

The Portsmouth Museum of Art exhibition opens May 11 and closes September 11, 2011, but if you’re on the West Coast of the US, you can check out its sister show at LeBasse Projects (featuring works by all of the aforementioned artists) through May 28, 2011. You can view the work from that show here.

Image courtesy Bumblebee.

Dreweatts Urban Contemporary Sale

Dreweatts is holding their next Urban Contemporary sale on Wednesday, April 6. Whilst I continue to struggle to understand why works by artists such as Lucien Freud, Russell Young and Damien Hirst are included in a sale with the aforementioned title, there are certainly a few lots that are both worth taking a look at and actually fit the sale’s theme. These include eight Banksy prints and one of his Family Target canvases from 2003 (est. 30-50k GBP),  a cool Martha Cooper photograph of Shy 147 precariously balanced between two train cars as he paints (est. 1200-1800 GBP), a haunting Guy Denning canvas (est. 3-5k GBP), a Jonathan Yeo Leaf Study (est. 4-6k GBP) and a really beautiful Adam Neate Self Portrait on cardboard (est. 8-12k GBP). The Neate is probably the highlight of the auction, at least in my opinion. It’s my birthday on Friday if a Vandalog reader out there is feeling generous. I’ll take you out for a drink next time you’re in LA to show my gratitude.

One of the more interesting aspects of this sale, however, is the final group of works, which will be auctioned in aid of Haven House Children’s Hospice. The twenty-five lots that comprise this section were curated by 15 year old, London-based Liam Patel. I don’t normally reprint press releases, but the text below sums up Liam’s endeavors fairly well so I recommend reading it. Stand-out works include those by Mantis, Herakut (pictured above), Remi/Rough and Matt Small.

Liam Patel has been collecting Urban Art since he was 12; now at the ripe old age of 15 he has brought together an extraordinary group of 25 cutting-edge lots to be sold at Dreweatts’ Urban Contemporary sale on Wednesday 6th April, to raise money for the Haven House Children’s Hospice.

Unable to do physical charity work for his Duke of Edinburgh Award because he had a broken arm and shoulder, Liam decided to ask some of his favourite artists to donate their work to raise £10,000 for the Children’s Hospice, which offers vital support to children with life-limiting conditions and their parents. Liam then approached Dreweatts to host the sale in their central London branch at 24 Maddox Street W1 and they were only too happy to help by offering the venue, and any extra expertise.

‘I came up with the idea to curate an Urban Art charity auction as the Haven House Children’s Hospice needs to raise around £2m each year to provide fantastic support for children and their families.  Even though I won’t be able to raise that amount, every little helps.’ Each piece comes with a certificate of authenticity from the artist and estimates range from £100 to £1,200.  The group to be sold for the charity includes works by the likes of Matt Small, Schoony, Handiedan, Mantis, Nick Gentry, Herakut and Arkiv Vilmansa all of whom were delighted to be able to help by donating the proceeds of their pictures.

– Elisa

Image via Dreweatts‘ Urban Contemporary catalogue.

Indelibly Ephemeral: Ellis Gallagher in Miami

Have you seen this great short film of Ellis Gallagher doing his 120 Seconds for Friends We Love? If not, it’s definitely worth a watch, as are all of the docs in FWL’s multi-series web tv station (Doze Green, Aakash Nihalani, Kenny Scharf, Poster Boy and Jeff Soto are just some of the artists they have profiled to date who may be of interest to you.)  Whilst the Friends We Love team and I are stuck in LA, however, Ellis is flying down to Miami in a couple days to begin prep for his upcoming solo show, Indelibly Ephemeral, at Adjust Gallery. The April 9th opening is conveniently timed to coincide with the Wynwood Second Saturdays Art Walk.

The show will remain up through April 23rd, but I recommend stopping in at the opening if you can; in addition to the works, which span a broad range of media, that will be on display, Ellis will be there in person creating installations throughout the night. I’m not sure if he’s planning to fire tag, but I hope he does – it’s cool to watch.

On a more personal note: Ellis will probably ask me to take this down when he reads this, but recently we were having a drink near the back of a bar somewhere in Bushwick and he suddenly jumped up and started setting the wall on fire. It looked really good, too (until someone came toward us on their way to the restroom and he had to blow it out.) Seriously, though, it’s moments like this that underline the spontaneity I love about his process and the fact that it can manifest itself in so many different forms. Here’s a more classic piece below.

Show Info:

Saturday, April 9 | 5:00pm – 11:00pm

Adjust Gallery

150 NW 24th St
Miami, FL

– Elisa

Fire photo by me, chalk photo by Ellis.

tasj vol ii – issue iv

tasj vol ii – issue iv is now out – thanks to everyone who picked up a copy at our opening last Saturday and/or has signed up to receive it in the mail for free – we recently got a ton of new subscribers. You can get a deeper sense of the contents of this issue on the tasj tumblr here, but just quickly, street art fans will find Elbow-Toe and Keith Haring in At The Auctions, Sixeart, Dan Witz, Krystian Truth Czaplicki and Boxi in Perspectives, a Conversation with Slinkachu (plus a pull-out poster of one of his recent pieces!), highlights from the collection of Wendy Asher (remember her scene in Exit Through The Giftshop?), which includes Banksy, Mark Jenkins, Shepard Fairey and JR, reviews of Untitled III: This Is Street Art and Barry McGee and Remi/Rough’s monographs in Bookshelf and Aakash Nihalani and Kill Pixie in Limited Edition. Unurth picks for this issue range from Over Under, Labrona, Roa, Vhils, Phillippe Baudelocque and Monsieur Qui to Ericailcane, Sr. X, Jote, Ludo, Liqen and Sten & Lex.

Most importantly for Vandalog readers, however, is the mention of the Faro x Vandalog collaboration t-shirt (also available: Gaia and Other) alongside Rime‘s Balaclava Dude tee in Toolkit!

Grab a copy to see the rest of the issue! If you don’t currently receive it in the mail and would like to, click here. You can also keep up with us on Facebook.

– Elisa

RAE: Unconventional Conviction at Brooklynite Gallery

I know how much effort Rae McGrath puts in when he’s getting ready for shows at his gallery featuring other artists, so I can’t even begin to imagine how hard he must be working for Unconventional Conviction, his own solo show, which opens at Brooklynite on November 20.

I don’t normally copy press releases into posts, but I think this one is worth reading. I don’t believe too many people knew until recently that Rae is an artist, in addition to being a gallerist and filmmaker.

Long before the emergence of Brooklynite Gallery, owner and curator Rae McGrath was constructing artwork of his own in many forms. Schooled in fine arts, raised immersed in the graffiti/breakdance culture of the 80’s and holding down a diverse range of blue collar jobs, has allowed RAE to create an eclectic range of visuals for an exhibition aptly titled “Unconventional Conviction”.

Over the years RAE has spent countless hours on the streets of New York City and other parts of the world, engaging then photographing the everyday person. Usually drawn to the elderly or youth— because of their experiences or lack thereof, RAE often finds similarities to his own life, connecting the dots through his grainy black and white photos which are then hand-painted or silk-screened into pieces that include block text and hand-drawn areas. The second part to RAE’s work involves the gathering and transformation of found objects— namely hundreds of brightly colored plastic laundry detergent bottles. Spending ample time in and around laundromat dumpsters throughout Brooklyn, RAE has amassed quite a collection of these bottles which he then dissects, using cutting techniques once learned while working as a deli worker and butcher. His tales are told on top of mosaic patterns full of vibrant colors and textual information.

For RAE, the vivid and hopeful Pop Art color schemes and graphic detail of the laundry bottles prove to be the perfect juxtaposition to his own urban Brooklyn upbringing and the countless cast of characters of his youthful working class existence. In the end, RAE uses these dynamic combinations to his advantage creating rich and strange alternate realities.

Go visit the show if you live in New York – it should be a fun night!

Image of Rae’s “Snub-Nose” prints via Brooklynite Gallery.

See more of the gallery’s “Snub-Nose” series here.

– Elisa

We Dream In Colors – Fefe, Remed, Zosen, Kinsey & More

Pedro Matos has curated a show (his first!) that opens at the Montana Shop & Gallery in Lisbon on December 9th. Some artists whose work I really like – Fefe Talavera (above), Remed, Zosen and Dave Kinsey – as well as several others will be taking part. I recommend checking it out if you will be in the neighborhood. It runs through January 3rd, 2011.

Visit Yellow Pants Gallery’s site for more information.

– Elisa

tasj vol ii – issue iii

Seth and I are finally back in LA after our trip to London and Paris. I had jet lag the whole time I was in London, then got it again when I got home, so that wasn’t particularly enjoyable, but other than that we did some fun things. Now we’re working toward Block Party with Boxi, Krystian Truth Czaplicki, Gregor Gaida, Simon Haas and Dan Witz + a showcase with Sixeart, which opens here at Carmichael Gallery on Saturday, November 13, and putting together the Miami issue of tasj.

I just wanted to quickly share some highlights from the current issue of tasj (vol ii – issue iii). As always, it’s free to subscribe to, no matter where you live.

As you can see from the cover, this is Part II of our Backstage Series (see who was in Part I here). One of my favorite interviews is with Mike Vargas and Moni Pineda, who run the web series/blog Friends We Love. I recommend checking out the site if you haven’t been on it yet; there is so much great content up there!

In addition to our Unurth, auction and art fair pages, we also have several new regular sections: Special Event (for shows taking place outside traditional gallery/museum settings – you’ll read about Blk River in here), Stopover (our city guide – this issue highlights London), Limited Edition (for prints and multiples – Faile, Bumblebee, Eine and Zeus are street artists who feature) and Newsstand (an off-shoot of Bookshelf and a place to support our fellow magazines and newspapers).

Hope you enjoy!

– Elisa