The most spellbinding urban exploration I ever experienced in an doomed place…walking down the streets of this town, the heavy silence all around you, and all the amazing art everywhere on the walls trying to bring back to life the so desperately abandoned and empty houses… Doel is a small town close to Antwerp, in Belgium. Despite a rich history build over several centuries, the government decided in the 1970’s to erase Doel from the map in order to make way for the extension and widening of Antwerp’s port. Despite decades of protests, the residents had no choice but to leave their homes. Some residents proudly continue to resist, but you can presume that the game is over. It’s this mix between human tragedy and beauty of art that made this place so attractive to me. I had a vague idea of the art I would find in the streets, Doel is now an urban art legend, but I never expected to be affected like this! And even if the most of the art has suffered from the passage of time and vandalism, it has been a blast! Here is the work of ROA, Santos, Resto, Psoman, Rotti, Koekoes, Asep, Lastplak, Jiem, 0331c, Show, Bue, Amigo, Reab, Topo, Steaz, Wacks. And more from Doel here.
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:
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.”
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.