“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: ,

“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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From New Yawk City Walls to virtual reality

February 2nd, 2015 | By | 2 Comments »

Concrete to Data

This weekend, a particularly forward-thinking yet historically mindful street and graffiti exhibition opens at Long Island University. CONCRETE To DATA, curated by Ryan Seslow, explores the history of street art and graffiti from golden age of NYC subway graffiti through to the emerging potential for digital public art in forms such as virtual reality environments and animated GIFs.

CONCRETE To DATA includes work by many Vandalog contributors and friends including Caroline Caldwell, Gaia, ekg, and Yoav Litvin. Seslow also included my book Viral Art and our collaborative project Encrypted Fills in the exhibition. On some level, CONCRETE To DATA feels like vindication and the physical manifestation of Viral Art, albeit through the eyes of another curator. Seslow and I both have a deep love for early street art and graffiti, as well as a belief that some contemporary digital art is created and disseminated in that same spirit.

In a fitting coincidence, the exhibition takes place at the Steinberg Museum of Art at Long Island University in Brookville, NY and will run during the 10-year anniversary of Tawkin’ New Yawk City Walls, an exhibition curated by John Fekner that took place in the same space in 2005. Tawkin’ New Yawk City Walls was actually conceptually similar to CONCRETE To DATA, not just another street art exhibition in the same space. Ahead of his time as always, Fekner included digital works in Tawkin’ New Yawk City Walls and arguably even hints at the possibility of viral art in the exhibition’s curatorial essay. A decade later and the world predicted in Tawkin’ New Yawk City Walls has come to fruition, and artists are creating new works for a new world, as seen in CONCRETE To DATA. In this way, Seslow provides an important and expansive update to his friend Fekner’s exhibition.

But CONCRETE to DATA is more than an exhibition to promote digital media as a route for contemporary street art and graffiti. It’s also an exhibition that attempts to capture, again much like Tawkin’ New Yawk City Walls, the most interesting elements of the contemporary streetscape in NYC and place those in a historical context alongside the best of previous generations. There’s work from Adam VOID, Swoon, Gaia, Fekner, Cash4, and many others. So, there are visuals to enjoy too.

Adam VOID's installation at CONCRETE to DATA

Adam VOID’s installation at CONCRETE to DATA

CONCRETE to DATA opens on Friday, February 6th from 6-9pm and runs through March 21st. Learn more here. I’ll be missing the opening because I’ll be at Sam Heimer‘s Why Are You Here?, opening that same night at LMNL Gallery in Philadelphia, but I’m really looking forwarding to checking out CONCRETE to DATA in person soon.

Photos by Ryan Seslow


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

Making history from coast to coast this week

January 7th, 2015 | By | No Comments »
Curiot

Curiot’s piece for La Familia at Thinkspace Gallery. Photo courtesy of Thinkspace Gallery.

This week folks in LA and NYC have reason to celebrate with two historic shows opening in those cities.

On the West Coast, Thinkspace Gallery has their La Familia 10th anniversary group show, which will be historic in the sense of looking back over the first decade of a great gallery. Thinkspace is one of my favorite West Coast galleries, so it’s exciting to see them celebrating 10 years. For La Familia, Thinkspace are reuniting with the myriad of artists they’ve shown and supported over the last decade for a group exhibition of over 120 small wood panels from as many artists (panels provided by Trekell). I’m not usually one for overloaded group shows, but this is one that I can get excited about. La Familia opens on Saturday, January 10th. Learn more here.

Painting from KATSU's Android Selfies series. Photo courtesy of The Hole.

Selfie: Feng-shui 1 by KATSU. Photo courtesy of The Hole.

And on the East Coast, NYC’s The Hole is holding Remember the Future, a KATSU solo show. Of course, this show has the potential to be historic for being KATSU’s first solo show. It’s no secret that I’m not usually fan of The Hole’s program, but this is an important exception. KATSU is one of the most mysterious, groundbreaking, and potentially influential graffiti writers to come to prominence in the 21st century. He’s a member of BTM and F.A.T. Lab, and he’s produced innovations in traditional graffiti as well as net art/digital pranksterism. The few pieces of KATSU’s gallery work that I’ve seen have ranged from absolutely awesome (see above) to hokey. Although the press release offers some ideas, I’m still not totally sure what to expect from KATSU’s first solo show, but I’m optimistic that it will be pretty damn impressive and I’m sure it will be something to remember. Remember the Future opens at The Hole on Thursday, January 8th.

Photos courtesy of Thinkspace Gallery and The Hole


Category: Gallery/Museum Shows | Tags: , ,

108 solo show in in Grottaglie

December 11th, 2014 | By | No Comments »

108-tela-verde

Angelo Milano, founder of Studiocromie and FAME Festival, is one of the most brilliant crazy people I know. When it comes to art and culture and politics, we don’t always agree, but I have a deep respect for him. Angelo is one of a handful of people to whom I can confidently say, “Whether or not I see what you see in this artist or this artwork, if you say it’s special, it’s special.”

Today, Angelo emailed me about an artist whom he thinks is special: 108. Frankly, we haven’t really covered 108 at all on Vandalog (just one passing mention), but I’ve admired his murals for years. Later this month, Angelo will be holding a 108 solo show in Grottaglie, Italy.

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108 is an Italian street artist who, like Angelo, developed in a small Italian town, away from the hustle and bustle and hype. Arguably as a result of that, his work doesn’t cater to the whims of the street art bandwagon, nor even really the Graffuturism bandwagon, which is the closest comparison that could be made. Instead, according to Angelo, 108’s work was a precursor to the current wave of abstract muralism in Italy. 108’s murals are fantastic abstract combinations of boldness and subtlety. His canvases, which admittedly I’m not quite sold on, are reminiscent of Miró. How many artists in the street art or graffiti worlds can say that?

108’s show, Solstizio D’Inverno, opens next week at Studiocromie Grottaglie, Italy. To echo Angelo’s message, “to the interested ones, don’t miss it.”

SOLSTIZIO-D'INVERNO-02a

Photos courtesy of Studiocromie


Category: Gallery/Museum Shows | Tags: , ,

Link-o-rama

October 19th, 2014 | By | 1 Comment »
Gane and Texas in Philadelphia

Gane and Texas in Philadelphia

Sorry if some of these links are a bit dated, but hopefully they’re still interesting:

  • Don Leicht, the original Space Invader, has a exhibition of his work on now at Mary Colby Studio & Gallery on City Island in the Bronx. Leicht has been making space invader characters for the street and for galleries since 1982, often in collaboration with John Fekner. Both Leicht and Fekner have never really embraced the spotlight in the way that others from their generation have (particularly in recent years), and so Leicht’s place in early New York street art often goes unacknowledged. Whereas Space Invader’s characters are generally lighthearted and fun and more about interesting placement than interesting content, Leicht’s content is political. His invaders, painted in camo, serve as a reminder/warning that war is real and of the relationship between videos games and the military.
  • The app NO AD, which I was pretty excited about when it launched and even more excited about once I got to try it out myself, recently announced their next exhibition on the app. NO AD is working with the International Center of Photography to display images from their current exhibition, Sebastião Salgado: Genesis. I love that the ICP is into this idea. NO AD is a fantastic exhibition platform, but it’s also a bit of an odd one, so it’s very cool to see the ICP embracing both augmented reality technology and an anti-public-advertising platform. Click here for more info on the exhibition.
  • Speaking of public advertising, this crazy thing happened in Hong Kong.
  • And over on Hyperallergic, Julia Friedman addresses the major discrepancy in how  New York City enforces laws relating to public advertising. Essentially, the current enforcement strategy seems to punish artists and activists while leaving corporate interests to do whatever they please.
  • I really enjoyed this article on the painfulness of advertisers appropriating street art and graffiti for their own ends, to the point that Perrier actually replaced a mural of Nelson Mandela with an advertisement featuring the hashtag “#streetartbyperrier”.
  • Speaking of water companies, street art and hashtags…  The folks being the for-profit bottled water company WAT-AAH (aka Let Water be Water LLC, or as I like to call them “Evian for Kids”) sent The L.I.S.A. Project NYC a cease and desist letter for using a hashtag that they claimed to own the trademark for (they don’t). Animal has more on that ridiculous story.
  • Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada created a massive piece on the National Mall. Impressive piece. Impressive location. Good stuff.
  • Conor Harrington had a great show in NYC, at a pop up space with Lazarides Gallery from the UK. I went up for the opening, and despite the space being lit like a haunted house and seemingly pumped full of mist from a fog machine, the work looked even better than I had anticipated. Plenty of artists can paint traditionally beautiful paintings, and plenty of artists can use drips and tags and half finished elements and things like that to make their paintings look “street” or to make it look like they are saying “screw you traditional notions of beauty and fine art painting!” Few artists can do what Conor does, which is to utilize all of those styles and techniques, from beautifully staged scenes painted with perfection to all the different ways to make a painting look rough and cool, but utilize those things in the right balance and with respect. To Conor, it looks like a drip is no different than the a detailed brush stroke. The “disruptive” elements look like they belong. He isn’t trying to destroy painting. He’s trying to bring it to new heights, and he’s much better at it than most.
  • It was a surprise to see that Jonathan Jones at The Guardian actually liked a recent Banksy piece, but then again it was a good piece with an even better story in the end.
  • This article on the utter failure of a major “street art biennial” in Moscow is an absolute must-read.
  • This fall I’ve seen (online) two interesting pieces of endurance art, both of them by female artists in New York City who took to endurance art to address what they see as crises.
    • gilf and Natalie Renee Fasano walked 15 miles barefoot around the city. 60 million or more people worldwide live every day without shoes. Interestingly, Gilf’s project was not so much an awareness campaign as an opportunity for self-reflection that she documented and publicized. None of her Instagram posts on the performance provide information about what can be done about this problem, and the video documenting the work provides no context except the text “A day in the Shoes of the Shoeless with gilf!” On some level, I find that frustrating. But of course the work wasn’t about raising national awareness for this issue. gilf’s own description of the project makes that clear. It was more a project for herself. And that’s great and useful too, but on some level I can’t get over the missed opportunity here to make the project more than personal suffering/meditation and self-promotion. Why not simply say, “And if this project is bringing the issue of people without shoes to your attention and you want to help, here’s something you can do.”? Yes, it’s a personal project for self-reflection, but it’s also an artwork that was promoted all over the web. So, I’ll close by saying that if you do want to help provide shoes for people in need, Soles4Souls seems to be the place to go (thanks to Animal for that tip).
    • Emma Sulkowicz has to be one of the bravest, most impressive people I’ve read about in a long time, and I almost hesitate to call what she’s doing an art piece, lest it devalue her actions in an age when so much art is devoid of the kind soul this particular performance/way of living requires. For nearly two months, Sulkowicz has been carrying her dorm room mattress with her to every class, every lunch break, every party, and everywhere else she goes, constantly, and she says she will continue to carry her mattress with her “for as long as I attend the same school as my rapist.” More about this piece, and the reaction she’s received from her fellow students at Columbia University, at Hyperallergic.

Photo by RJ Rushmore


Category: Art News, Festivals, Gallery/Museum Shows, Photos, Random, Videos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Skewville + Dscreet + two dead rats

September 9th, 2014 | By | No Comments »

Later this month, the new DUBL TRUBL collective is going to be having their first exhibition. It will be at Urban Spree in Berlin, and it opens on September 18th. A bunch of great artists are involved, brought together by Dscreet who is curating the show, and all of the work will be done collaboratively in pairs. You can learn more about the show here.

That all sounds great. Except that Skewville didn’t make any paintings or sculptures for the show. So instead, Skewville and Dscreet made a video. I’m not totally sure how people are going to react to this video, but I imagine there will be a lot of love, a lot of hate, and some viewers just left feeling a bit queasy. Anyway, enjoy…


Category: Gallery/Museum Shows, Videos | Tags: , ,

Link-o-rama

August 31st, 2014 | By | No Comments »
art_museum

Unknown artist in Philadelphia

Loving my time so far at the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, but it’s definitely more than a 9-5, so it’s time for me to play catch up yet again…

  • Speaking of the Mural Arts Program, I am really pleased to say that we now have a major Shepard Fairey mural in Philadelphia. Find me some day and ask me the whole story of this mural, but let’s just say it’s complicated and thank goodness for Roland at Domani Developers for getting us a wall at the last minute.
  • We also have a new much more politically-charged mural from Shepard Fairey through The L.I.S.A. Project NYC, and while I’m sure the process for that was also quite complicated, my friend Wayne took care of that and all I had to do was pitch Shepard on the idea of a big wall in NYC and the property owner on the idea of a Shepard Fairey mural on his building (neither of which were too difficult). I’m absolutely honored to have played even my small role in each of these murals. It was my first time working with Shepard, and it was a pleasure.
  • Two real kings of NYC graffiti, Blade and Freedom, have shows open now at the Seventh Letter flagship store in LA. Blade is an undisputed subway king who also pushed graffiti forward as an art-form, a rare combination. Freedom is a personal favorite of mine (his piece in my black book is a real prized possession) for combining pop art, an ability to paint very well, comics, and graffiti in an intelligent way without too much of an ego. I’m sad to be missing both of these shows, but I hope LA will give them the love they deserve.
  • Hi-Fructose posted some interesting GIFs by Zolloc, but the best part of the post is the first sentence: “While GIFs have yet to find an established place in the art world, they’re fascinating because they have the potential to go beyond the frozen image in two dimensions.” Of course, Hi-Fructose is part of the art world, so just having them post Zolloc’s GIFs counts for something. Hi-Fructose seems to be saying (albeit hesitantly) that GIFs being in their corner of the art world, which is great. That’s not a bad corner to be in, and it’s a hell of a lot better than nowhere. So, why be hesitant? If the work is fascinating, embrace it.
  • Oh Olek, always the best of intentions, but the results are not so great…
  • Some absolutely great ad takeovers.
  • These projections from Hygienic Dress League are a bit different. Very cool though. Anyone know of other artists who are projecting onto steam?
  • Smart Crew have teamed up with Beriah Wall on a series of cool collaborations. Does anyone else see this as further evidence of Smart Crew growing up, aka transitioning from a crew producing illegal graffiti into a brand or collective that does legal (and sometimes commercial) work referencing illegal graffiti? Nothing wrong with that. I’m just noting the transition.
  • Even when recycling old work, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh is always poignant and powerful. She’s also created a new poster of Michael Brown that you can download on her website.
  • I’ve been saying for a while that there’s great similarity between GIFs and street art, so I’m a big fan of this series of installations organized by Guus ter Beek and Tayfun Sarier.
  • Hyperallergic has been covering artist reactions to the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Public performances in Philadelphia (by Keith Wallace) and New York City (by Whitney V. Hunter) exemplify to the unsurprising obliviousness to the situation or at least lack of caring that so many people openly display (for more, see Kara Walker at Domino). It’s amazing to see these two striking performances go widely ignored while it’s mostly pretty but empty murals that go viral. Is that the state of street art and muralism today? I hope not. And of course, maybe what makes those performances so jarring online is that they were ignored on the street.
  • I have tried to resit the allure of Pejac’s work for a while, but no more. Yes, some of the jokes are cheap and feel twice-told, exactly the sort of easy made-to-go-viral work that I am complaining about in the previous paragraph, but Pejac is painting them really well, and they consistently catch my attention. As much as I would like to write him off as a Banksy-ripoff who even came to that idea a few years too late, I can’t do so any longer. The work is actually quite good. Have a look for yourself.
  • Last week I was in Atlanta for the Living Walls Conference. A great time was had by all. I was there to speak with Living Walls co-founder Monica Campana and Juxtapoz editor Austin McManus about the evolution of street art and graffiti over the past five or so year, and Vandalog contributing writer Caroline Caldwell was there to paint a mural. Atlanta got some real gems this year, including new work by Moneyless, Troy Lovegates and Xuan Alyfe in collaboration with Trek Matthews. Juxtapoz has extensive coverage. Congratulations to Living Walls on a truly impressive 5th anniversary event.
  • This coming week I’ll be in Norway for Nuart and Nuart Plus. The artist lineup features some of my personal favorites, including John Fekner, SpY and Fra.Biancoshock. I love Nuart because it’s a festival that always strikes a balance between the best of the best artists painting epic murals on the “street art festival circuit,” and the oft-under-publicized but highly-political activist artists intervening in public space. Putting these artists in the same festival strengthens the work of everyone there, and reminds us that murals can serve many different purposes. I’ll be speaking at Nuart Plus on behalf of the Mural Arts Program in a few capacities. I’ll be moderating a panel about activism in art, presenting couple of short films during Brooklyn Street Art’s film night, sitting on a panel about contemporary muralism and giving a talk about how government-sanctioned art and muralism can be used to promote positive social change. There will be a lot of great speakers at Nuart Plus this year though. Brooklyn Street Art has the whole line up for the festival and the conference.

Photo by RJ Rushmore


Category: Art News, Festivals, Gallery/Museum Shows, Photos, Random, Videos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Woodward Gallery
 Project Space
 Retrospective

July 20th, 2014 | By | No Comments »

project_panels-catalog-cover.indd

For several years now, the Woodward Gallery Project Space on Eldridge Street has been one of the Lower East Side’s visual highlights, showcasing works by an impressive range of artists from veteran graffiti writers to street art-stencil masters. Through July 26 a handsome retrospective of these works can be seen indoors at Woodward Gallery, directly across from the Project Space’s outdoor wall. Here are a few images:

 L'Amour Supreme, Moody Mutz, NohJColey w/ Darkcloud and David Pappaceno on floor. Photo by Dani Reyes Mozeson

L’Amour Supreme, Moody, NohJColey and Darkcloud & David Pappaceno on floor. Photo by Dani Reyes Mozeson.

Moody Mutz, Chris RWK, Faro and JMR. Photo by Dani Reyes Mozeson

Moody, Chris RWK, Faro and JMR. Photo by Dani Reyes Mozeson.

NoseGo. Photo by Lois Stavsky

NoseGo. Photo by Lois Stavsky.

Cycle. Photo by Dani Reyes Mozeson

Cycle. Photo by Dani Reyes Mozeson.

Chris RWK and Royce Bannon in center. Photo courtesy of Woodward Gallery

Chris RWK and Royce Bannon in center. Photo courtesy of Woodward Gallery.

Clockwise: Celso, Kenji Nakayama, Cassius Fouler, Visions Scmisions, Moody, UR New York and Buildmore. Photo by Dani Reyes Mozeson

Clockwise: Celso, Kenji Nakayama, Cassius Fouler, Visions Scmisions, Moody, UR New York and Buildmore. Photo by Dani Reyes Mozeson.

Located at 133 Eldridge Street, Woodward Gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday 11-6pm, Sunday 12-5pm and by private appointment.

Photos by Dani Reyes Mozeon and Lois Stavsky and courtesy of Woodward Gallery


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

Artists bringing their reality into our own

July 16th, 2014 | By | No Comments »
"World Police State Champs" by Shepard Fairey. Photo courtesy of OBEY Clothing.

“World Police State Champs” by Shepard Fairey. Photo courtesy of OBEY Clothing.

Some recent works by Shepard Fairey and Os Gêmeos have caught my eye, for essentially the same reason. These sculptures go beyond the typical artwork or even installation artwork in that they do not simply create a situation or depict something, but rather act as objects from another reality, transported into our own. This isn’t something completely new to art, but it’s certainly atypical.

Two works by Fairey in the show The Insistent Image stand out to me. Both are bronze sculptures, and each is based off of a separate print by Fairey from 2007. The prints are interesting enough, but these sculptures bring the ideas in each print to life. While I’ve heard other people describe these sculptures as a bit corny, I think they do their job. Both pieces look like the sort of ridiculous thing that an eccentric fascist dictator would really put on their mantlepiece or dining room table. By taking these ideas from 2D to 3D, Fairey has transformed them from essentially political cartoons into something almost real. Despite their absurdity, these works are much more powerful and disconcerting as bronze sculptures than 2D illustrations.

"Operation Oil Freedom" by Shepard Fairey. Photo courtesy of OBEY Giant.

“Operation Oil Freedom” by Shepard Fairey. Photo courtesy of OBEY Giant.

Also of note is a participatory piece by Os Gêmeos that is part of their show A ópera da lua at Galpão Fortes Vilaça in São Paulo. The text in the piece, though not easily visible in the photo below, reads “Retrato família” (“family portrait”). Essentially, the artwork is an invitation to take a photograph beside an Os Gêmeos character and with a backdrop straight out of Os Gêmeos’ world, but also easily recognizable as a sort of vernacular photography setup. In many ways, the piece reminds me of Alyse Emdur’s Prison Landscapes series and the photography it is inspired by. While Os Gêmeos’ work indoors and outdoors is often in some way about bridging the gaps between their dreamworld and our reality, this piece takes that idea to an extreme. By taking a photo in this artwork, viewers become a part of Os Gêmeos’ world in a way that simply observing or taking your picture with most of their other artworks, however impressive the installation, sculpture or painting may be, does not allow.

A work by Os Gêmeos at their show "A ópera da lua". Photo by @gikacrew.

A work by Os Gêmeos at their show “A ópera da lua”. Photo by @gikacrew.

These works do not attempt to depict something. They attempt to realize something, and something unfamiliar at that. Even Dalí’s surreal paintings and sculptures are mere references to another reality, not that reality realized in our own. These works by Fairey and Os Gêmeos at least attempt to realize the unfamiliar, the surreal. When these works succeed, it’s as if each work has been teleported into our world from an alternate universe, rather than made in an artist’s studio, or perhaps as if being around them (at least in the case of Os Gêmeos) temporarily transports us into that alternative universe. These works are artists’ surreal visions made real, or as close to that as we are likely to get. I think that’s great.

Photos by Susan Sermoneta, @gikacrew and courtesy of OBEY Giant and OBEY Clothing


Category: Events, Gallery/Museum Shows | Tags: ,