A young Canadian Instagram user was arrested for a photo she posted of a piece of street art because they thought she made the piece. Well, if I ever go to Montreal, I guess I should be careful about what I post to my Instagram.
After a cold several months in Germany, like many artists Cake has returned with the rising temperatures to complete new murals, the first of these for Fountain Art Fair. Covering her canvas with layers of paint, gold leaf, and a wash resulted in a halo’d figure taking scissors to her neck as the blood flowed away from the wounds and spun its way into gold leaf. A mix of beauty and intensity, these feature were only echoed in the work’s title “Two Ways to Ruin a Borough.” While the brush strokes may issue the end of her figure, the spring will see it as the beginning for Cake and many other artists.
Argentinian artists Elian and Pastel collaborated on various pieces during this year’s Fountain Art Fair in Wynwood, Miami. Both artists exhibited works inside the fair, as part of a collaboration curated by Atlanta’s public art non-profit Living Walls.
The above collaboration utilizes use of fleeting, temporary mediums that captures Elian’s and Pastel’s playful and meaningful interaction with public art. Pastel uses chalk as his medium; creating organic relationships with weather and the passing of time, while Elian’s repetitive lines will remain and play with the empty space that evolved through the lapse of time.
This collaboration was one of my favorites that I saw in Wynwood this year. Both pieces communicate with each other but also have the ability to stand on their own as separate works.
This work from Aakash Nihalani was done during Nuart earlier this fall, and I love it. It’s simple and site specific. Remember, always practice good placement. If you do that, you don’t have to paint 7 stories tall just to catch people’s attention.
Okay, so now you’re probably thinking “What the hell is RJ on about? That line came out of nowhere. I think it’s the punchline to some knock knock joke, but it makes absolutely no sense at the start of a post. I don’t think I’ve heard heard RJ say banana and I couldn’t care less if I had.” And you’d be right. That line makes no sense out of the context of the joke in which it belongs, and until we have that context, we can’t say for sure whether that line is good or bad. And yet, this is pretty much what a show that’s on right now in Miami asks visitors to do…
Marc and Sara Schiller from Wooster Collective wrote a must-read piece about unauthorized Banksy exhibition in Miami this week and why they find the exhibition so objectionable that they won’t be attending. The works in the show in question were removed off the streets to be sold into private hands, and the art fair hosting the show is fully aware that Banksy disapproves of the show. If this sounds familiar, it’s because these are the some artworks that were shown in The Hamptons a little over a year ago. This time though, the works are supposedly not for sale as they are now part of a private collection. Regardless of all that, as the Schillers note, Banksy’s best work really only works when experienced in context in which it was intended (whether that intended context be on the street or in a gallery), and bringing these pieces indoors probably makes most of them much much much weaker than they were on the street.
This is certainly not the first time we’ve seen someone trying to make a buck off Banksy and it’s reasons like this that Banksy created Pest Control, a controversial committee which determines the authenticity of Banksy works on the market and which refuses to authenticate any street works or works not originally intended for resale.
The show is accompanied by this ridiculous wall text:
What this wall texts shows is a fundamental misunderstanding of Banksy’s practice. By removing the work from its original context, they are only showing a part of the work. To see the works “as artworks themselves” is to see them on the street without a plexiglass cover on them. Taking them out of that context to evaluate them is like removing 1/64th of a Warhol print from the rest of the piece, framing it, and hanging it on a wall to evaluate on its own without considering the other 63/64ths of the piece. A wisp of Marylin’s hair is unlikely to seem a great artwork all on its own. As the Schillers say in their piece, Banksy’s best work is about context and site specificity, and you usually need “The long shot” providing context for the work for it to make complete sense. Even his best gallery work has this same feature, where it makes sense in a gallery or museum context, but might not make sense on the street. Asking what value there is in a Banksy street piece hung on a gallery wall is a bit like asking what value there is in a Picasso that’s been put through an incinerator.
Plus, I can’t help but laugh at the way they refer the Banksy as a graffiti artist and his work as graffiti.
The Schillers write, “It’s intentional on our part that this article doesn’t mention the name of the show that will take place this week in Miami. Nor will we mention the name of the speculator who is crassly attempting to profit from the work. Attention is what he desires.” I however must acknowledge that a good chunk of Vandalog’s readers are also regular readers of Arrested Motion, who visited the show and did publish that information, so hiding it it a bit futile. The show is called Banksy: Out of Context and it is at the Context Art Miami, an offshoot of Art Miami.
Nonetheless, I do agree with the Schillers that the show should be actively avoided, particularly since it is not free to visit. Context will cost you between $10-$50 just for a one-day pass. Instead, why not stop by the always-exciting Fountain Art Fair where Living Walls has organized dozens of street artists to paint next to one another in an outdoor portion of the fair? There, the work may be a bit out of place as street art, but at least the artists are on board with the idea and making the work there with the knowledge of where and how it is going to be displayed.
Read more on Wooster Collective, where the Schillers have written a lot of similar things to what I’ve echoed here, but they probably use better grammar.
The rise in success of Living Walls over the last 3 years has been fascinating to watch. This is their second year at Miami Basel but their first year there curating walls. Indoors they’ll have a booth, showing the works of a few international artists like La Pandilla, Interesni Kazki, and some of the artists listed above, as well as a few Atlanta favorites. Definitely looking forward to seeing their contribution.
It’s almost December, and this December I’m going to be taking a bit of a holiday. For most of the month, Caroline Caldwell is going to be doing most of the writing for Vandalog, while I focus on another project. But, of course, the more important thing about it being almost December is that it means Basel Miami craziness is about to be upon us. Some artists are already in Miami (specifically Wynwood) and painting their murals. Not to piss all over that parade, but I’d like to quote Workhorse of The Underbelly Project. He once said to me, “It’s sorta sad that an entire district of 7-story-tall murals is becoming blasé, but it is.”
Opening to the public this weekend, the New York Art Book Fair brings together the academic art history books with the grittiness of zines. This year, several graffiti zines have teamed up to display their wares at the Pantheon Books table. With zines from Baltimore’s NGC crew, 907, and Subway Art Blog, this weekend will be one that you need to fit into your tightly wound schedules (don’t forget it’s also Dumbo Arts Festival). Vandalog was lucky enough to be able to preview these zines before the public and the results were astounding. In the week since I have received these zines I have found myself flipping through them over and over, rereading passages and revisiting my favorite layouts.
The sick rollers and pieces seen in my recent Vandalog posts are echoed within the pages of NGC’s zine. A few of the spots I was lucky enough to see are document within their zine as well as several that remain unseen. An excellent pairing of inside jokes and montaged pages of tags and personal photographs, NGC gives you a taste of what it is like to be writers in Baltimore. Like Natty Bo, it’s cheap, awesome, and sure to show you a good time.
Being only familiar with the street work of 907, I didn’t know what to expect when opening the pages of their zine. The cover is decked with tags by some of the top writers on the East Coast, giving a hint that you are probably in for a read that is going to rock your brain. Droid and R2 have brought some of their favorite cudi spots together with some premium interviews. Between the eye catching pictures and a particularly moving narrative about loss, Droid and R2 have pieced the perfect pairing of opposites for this release.
In addition to his release with R2, Droid and Avoid will be showing their zine from last year, which features stories from their adventures riding freights across the country. In the urban jungle where pretty much everything gets you arrested, their tales of run-ins and writing trains is enough to make any New Yorker want to eject themselves from the city for a taste of the fun.
Last, but not least, Subway Art Blog has teamed up with the graffiti writer-based zines to prove to New York that, yes, there is in fact still art in the subways. Now in it’s second issue, Jowy Romano has focused this production on etches and scratchitti. By bringing together graffiti writers as well as enthusiasts, the New York zine table provides short reads for visitors of all tastes.
To pick up copies of these zines visit table A12 (Pantheon Projects). The New York Art Book Fair will be open to the public this weekend from:
Friday, September 28, 12–7 pm
Saturday, September 29, 11 am–9 pm
Sunday, September 30, 11 am–7 pm