Weekend link-o-rama


Today I’m finishing my exams and packing up my dorm. Sunday, it’s off to London. Can’t wait. Here’s what I’ve been distracting myself with this week:

Photo courtesy of Trustocorp

Toe The Line for PS 132

Joe Iurato

Logan Hicks has organized an online auction to benefit the PTA at his son Sailor’s school, PS 132 in Brooklyn. Toe The Line includes contributions from Joe Iurato, Swoon,  Shepard Fairey, Chris Stain, Dabs and Myla, How and Nosm, Eric Haze, Faile, and others. Logan’s girlfriend and Sailor’s mother Kristen Zarcadoolas is the PTA president of PS 132, and they organized the auction after after yet another funding cut at the school.

“There is a lack of resources at every level within the public school system and I want to do all that I can to ensure that my son has a proper education,” says Hicks. “There is a moral responsibility to do everything possible to help support the public education.”

The auction went live just a few hours ago. You can see all the works and bid here.



Photos courtesy of Logan Hicks

Banksy street piece auction update (also, Banksy not arrested)

The piece in question. Photo courtesy of Banksy.
The piece in question

Update 1: Wet Dog, another Banksy street piece which was up sale in the same auction as Slave Labour, was also withdrawn at the last minute. Wet Dog was recently shown in the controversial Banksy: Out of Context show in Miami last December, where it was reported that the piece was not for sale.

Update 2: Wow. Slave Labour wasn’t just withdrawn from the auction, it was withdrawn in the middle of the auction after there were already 3 bids for it! (Thanks to Wooster Collective for this tip)

Update 3: Here’s a statement from the auction house, Fine Art Auction Miami: “Although there are no legal issues whatsoever regarding the sale of lots 6 and 7 by Banksy, Fine Art Auctions Miami convinced its consignors to withdraw these lots from the auction and take back the power of authority of these works.” and a statement from the owner of Wet Dog, Stephan Keszler (who will not say whether he also owns or represents the owner of Slave Labour) “We pulled it because of the hype. We did not feel comfortable in this environment. But I think we are very happy that an auction has tried to get Banksy’s street works into auction. It’s a breakthrough.” (via)

The Banksy street piece shown above (named Slave Labour (Bunting Boy) by the auction house which was trying to sell it), which a few days ago we mentioned was up for sale at an auction house in Miami, did not end up selling at the auction yesterday as had been the plan. Instead, the piece was withdrawn from auction, there has been a public outcry to return the piece to its original site, and investigations by British police have begun into how the piece was removed from London and put up at auction in the first place.

The local outcry about the piece’s removal reached a particularly hilarious point when a member of the local government arranged a protest requesting that the piece, which presumably was painted illegally, be withdrawn from auction and returned to its original location. Sounds like they might be successful in that effort, but I expect that the piece would be quickly destroyed by haters and/or street art/graffiti purists if it were returned to the street at this point.

Even the FBI got involved, asking the British police to investigate the origins of the piece. It’s still not 100% clear whether or not the piece was removed from the street with the permission of the property owner, but the owner has so far refused to comment, so at this point I’m guessing that they saw a chance to make a few bucks and organized the removal themselves.

While we’re on the topic of Banksy, I’d like to discuss dispel two Banksy-related rumors that popped up elsewhere on the web last week as a result of a lack of fact-checking by journalists and bloggers.

The Haringey Independent has published two stories about what they call “a new ‘Banksy'” on the same street where the Slave Labour piece once was. The piece is a stenciled image of a rat holding a placard with the question “Why?” on it. The only hint in either article that the new stencil might not be by Banksy are the quotes, but there’s no real discussion and it’s basically assumed that the piece is legit. After even just a quick glance at the piece, I’m 99% certain that it was not done by Banksy, but was just an homage and comment on the removal of the real Banksy piece. The rat stencil is poorly cut, poorly sprayed, the font on the placard isn’t one of Banksy’s standard fonts, I don’t believe Banksy has done a 1-layer rat stencil since 2009, and (save for the Banksy versus Robbo events) I can’t think of any instances of Banksy doing a street piece which directly addresses a specific controversy of his career. Of course, the funny thing is that the property owners where this new rat is seem to think it’s a real Banksy, since the second article reports that the non-Banksy is now covered in a protective layer of plexiglass.

And then there’s the hoax story that Banksy was supposedly arrested in London last week. A press release posted to prlog.org claimed that Banksy had been arrested. The news quickly spread on Reddit and Twitter. Although the press release was quickly removed from the site, UK Street Art has the full text available. Give the press release a read. Think about it for a second. Does it sound legit? Blogs such as Jezebel and Death and Taxes, and Clutter Magazine reported the story as fact. At least Complex.com made clear that the release was basically an unconfirmed rumor. If those blogs wanted some hits, posting that press release without actually thinking about it was probably a good move. But it wasn’t too difficult to determine that the press release was a very likely hoax, even before it was removed from prlog.org. And the press release was a hoax. Betabeat has a good brief summary of how the hoax happened, some reasons why it was a hoax, and who was behind it (it seems that site was). Reddit and The Banksy Forum have more detailed discussions as to why the press release was clearly a hoax.

With Banksy, things are rarely 100% clear, which opens up the door for hoaxes (I can’t think of any off the top of my head, but I’m sure I’ve fallen for one or two before), but if we exercised a bit more caution, perhaps these kinds of hoaxes and misattributions wouldn’t be quite so common.

Photo courtesy of Banksy, aka lifted from his website

Weekend link-o-rama


As I tweeted the other day, my mind is kinda stuck on how much I wish the Parra show at Jonathan Levine Gallery opened today and not on Saturday so that I could go see it. So while I’ve been distracted by that point, here’s some of what I almost missed this week:

  • KATSU’s April Fools prank is a bit early, but still pretty funny.
  • The Outsiders / Lazarides has some really nice prints by Ron English. They are variations on his Figment image, aka Andy Warhol wig and a skull.
  • Barry McGee, Chris Johanson and Laurie Reid are showing together at City College and SF starting today.
  • Here’s a new piece from the always-interesting 0331c, but if you don’t know 0331c’s work, here’s an introduction.
  • Nice video of Eine updating one of his walls in London from saying PRO PRO PRO to PROTAGONIST. Interesting comment about street art being a thing that “looked like it would offer what graffiti promised but didn’t deliver.”
  • Nychos x Jeff Soto = Yes!
  • New work from Isaac Cordal.
  • Woah. Nice work from How and Nosm in San Fransisco.
  • Jonathan Jones is up to his old tricks of dissing Banksy to get more hits for his column, and I’m biting. He writes, “Banksy, as an artist, stops existing when there is no news about him.” Even if that is the case, is that the end of the world? Does that relegate Banksy to “art-lite”? No. Banksy is one of the most talked-about artists in the world. I would bet that the same criticism was leveled against Warhol, who I believe Jones likes. Banksy’s manipulation of the media, playing it like a damn violin sometimes, is some of his greatest artwork of all. He manipulates the media to spread a message. The best example of this was probably him going to Bethlehem to paint on the separation wall because he knew that the media would cover it. He was able to play the media to draw attention to an issue that he felt strongly about. Banksy’s paintings are sometimes great and sometimes not. But his ability to make people fascinated with him and his paintings is just as much of an art, and that shouldn’t discredit him.

Photo by Luna Park

Banksy mourns Nekst and a community mourns a Banksy

Screenshot of Banksy’s website

Banksy‘s website was updated recently with an animated tribute to Nekst, a very talented internationally recognized graffiti writer who died last year. The screenshot above gives you the basic idea of Banksy’s tribute, but you can see the piece in action on his website. This is the first update we’ve gotten from Banksy in a little while. I think the last street pieces he put on his site were the Olympic-theme pieces from last July.

Banksy in London. Photo courtesy of Banksy.

In other Banksy-related news, the above Banksy piece was recently removed from the streets of London and put up for auction in Miami at Fine Art Auctions. The piece, of course not authenticated by Pest Control but is pretty clearly by Banksy seeing as it’s on his website. The BBC has more about the removal of the piece. At this point, the legality of the removal is unclear, but the community is certainly disappointed. That same auction also includes another street piece, Wet Dog, which was painted in Bethlehem and was removed a while ago (it was also featured at the Context art fair in Miami last year, supposedly not for sale at the time).

Screenshot and photo from Banksy.co.uk

Weekend link-o-rama


Sorry I missed the link-o-rama last week. Was having a fantastic birthday in NYC. Thanks to everyone who came out to say hello.

  • I just picked up the recent Troy Lovegates book (now sold out), and I wish I could pick up this print as well. Absolutely beautiful stuff.
  • Nice little Pink Floyd-themed stencil by Plastic Jesus.
  • Interesting JR-esque posters in UK mines.
  • Philippe Baudelocque in Paris.
  • Judith Supine on being bored with street art.
  • Leon Reid IV’s latest sculpture addresses the crushing personal debt of so many Americans.
  • Tova Lobatz curated a show at 941 Geary with Vhils, How and Nosm, Sten and Lex, and others.
  • Shepard Fairey released some prints using diamond dust, which is quite interesting. As the press release says, “Perhaps most famously used by Andy Warhol, who understood perfectly how to convey a message, Diamond Dust was used to add glamour, transforming ordinary images into coveted objects. The material aligns with Shepard’s work and interest in the seduction of advertising and consumerism. Diamond Dust, literally and metaphorically is superficial, applied to the surface of the print, the luminous effect is both beautiful and alluring.” But it’s one of those things that just gets me thinking about how the art world, much like capitalism, seems so good at absorbing critique and spitting at back out as product. People love the meaningless OBEY icon, so Shepard sells it. Shepard needs to make more product to continue selling to this market he has created, so he takes an old design (or a slight variant, I’m not positive), and adds meaningless diamond dust to it and sells it as something new. The best critiques participate in the system which they critique, but that’s a risky game to play. Of course, I say all this with a print by Shepard hanging on my wall.
  • OldWalls is a project where the photographer took photos of graffiti in the early 1990’s and recently returned to those spots to take the exact same shots, and then each matching photo is displayed next to its counterpart.
  • Artnet’s latest street art and graffiti auction has a handful of interesting pieces (Artnet is a sponsor of Vandalog btw). Here are my favorites:

Photos by Luna Park

Weekend link-o-rama

Tellas and Ciredz
Tellas and Ciredz

Looks like the art world has gotten back on track after the holiday season. Lots of links this week.

Photo by Tellas

Great painting, needs good home

Standing Lady Shadow #R1-R9 (detail)

It simultaneously amuses and saddens to me to no end how Richard Hambleton can be promoted and his works purportedly sold for astronomical sums by Valmorbida while at the same time fantastic paintings of his have difficulty reaching 5 figures at auctions when Valmorbida isn’t involved. Hambleton is one of the original street artists from the 1970’s, but his story has never really been told since the 1985 book Street Art by Allan Schwartzman. The short version is that Hambleton’s street art in the 70’s and 80’s, particularly his shadowmen, are easily up there with work by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, or Jenny Holzer, but he has never really received due credit.

With the exception of charity events filled with people who just want to outspend the person sitting next to them, Hambleton’s work has consistently sold at auction for significantly lower than what you’d find at art galleries, and now artnet’s latest online auction of work by 1980’s graffiti writers and street artists has a few Hambleton’s up for sale (and yes, artnet is a sponsor of Vandalog this month but this is not a paid post). Of particular note is Standing Lady Shadow #R1-R9. This piece on canvas from 1985 is a great indoor version of his shadowmen series of street pieces.

It’s difficult to say if Standing Lady Shadow #R1-R9 is worth the tens of thousands that a gallery might ask for it, the hundreds of thousands Valmorbida might ask for it, or something else, but I’m pretty confident that anything this solid by Hambleton should go for more than the $6,000 opening bid that artnet has it at right now.

I just hope there’s someone out there with $6,000 and a good home who agrees with me… The auction ends of December 20th just after noon Eastern Standard Time.

Standing Lady Shadow #R1-R9
Standing Lady Shadow #R1-R9

Photos courtesy of artnet

Bring Back the Boadwalks benefit auction

This weekend Bring Back The Boadwalks is holding a benefit art auction to raise money to help rebuild the Rockaways and Coney Island, two communities were hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. The silent auction will have work from some major names including Futura, Swoon, Phil Frost, Faile, David Ellis, Shepard Fairey, and Dennis McNett, and 100% of the proceeds from the auction will go to recovery efforts.

The auction will take place this Saturday, November 17th, at Trais Gallery at 76 Wooster Street (between Broome and Spring) in Manhattan.

More info on the Bring Back The Boadwalks website, and they’ve been posting photos of artwork that will be at the auction to their tumblr.

A unique screenprint donated to the auction by Faile

Photo courtesy of Bring Back The Boardwalks

Weekend link-o-rama


A very late link-o-rama, but hey, Sunday is still the weekend.

Photo by Nychos