Aakash Nihalani and Know Hope just got back from the Blk River Festival in Vienna. Here’s a cool time lapse of one of their collabs. More work from Aakash below, including a playful addition to a classic Banksy image (photo by Yvonne Kaufman), plus a close up of the piece you see in the video.
Given that they are next door neighbors only separated by a couple pieces of sheet rock gallery wall, its nice to see Eastern Disctrict and Ad Hoc collaborating! Especially with the likes of the ever playful Aakash. Here is the newsletter they just sent out to everyone on their mailing list:
Eastern District and Ad Hoc Art are pleased to announce their newly featured joint effort exhibit: “Tape and Mirrors” by artist Aakash Nihalani. Tape and Mirrors, the artist’s third solo exhibition in New York, will open on Friday September 25th, 2009.
Note, the Press/VIP Preview is from 6-7pm, followed by a public reception from 7-10pm. The exhibition will be on view weekly Thursdays through Sundays from 2pm-8pm until October 25th, 2009.
Eastern District is a contemporary exhibition space located at 43 Bogart Street in Bushwick, Brooklyn. They pride themselves on the merging of all creative artistic practices and presenting the community with art exhibitions as well as ongoing performance and event-based programming. Eastern District is excited to be presenting Tape and Mirrors with Ad Hoc Art. Ad Hoc, formerly located at 49 Bogart Street, is a staple in the Bushwick art community that has dedicated itself for years to being more than a gallery but a passionate creative fulcrum, showing work that is often marginalized by the larger New York art scene. This collaboration will undoubtedly be the first of many to come and will hopefully continue to build the local art community to another level.
Aakash Nihalani’s street work consists mostly of isometric rectangles and squares. Using brightly colored tape, he selectively places these graphics around New York to highlight the unexpected contours and elegant geometry pre-existing in the city itself. All execution of his street level tape work is done on site, with little to no planning.
For however brief of a time, Aakash Nihalani’s work offers people a chance to see a different side of New York, and momentarily escape from routine schedules and lives. “We all need the opportunity to see the city more playfully, as a world dominated by the interplay of very basic color and shape”. He tries to create a new space within the existing space of our everyday world for people to enter freely and unexpectedly ‘disconnect’ from their reality.
Playing off of the metaphor ‘smoke and mirrors,’ meaning an illusion created out of an elaborate distraction, Nihalani’s Tape and Mirrors exhibition aims to create a magical experience out of the mundane. By implementing mirrors in key positions throughout the space, the viewer is given an opportunity to step ‘into,’ and view themselves within, Nihalani’s signature tape installations. Creating a playful interruption to the regular gallery schematic, the viewer is prodded from a bystander into a participant, not only interacting with the space and materials around them, but also with their own reflections.
Let Nihalani’s Tape and Mirrors open up a new portal of reality and experience yourself between dimensions at Eastern District gallery in Brooklyn.
Original prints and paintings by the artist will also be on view and for sale throughout the gallery.
To find out more information about Aakash Nihalani’s Tape and Mirrors exhibition, and more about Ad Hoc and Eastern District’s collaboration please go to adhocart.org and eastern-district.com.
For more information on Aakash Nihalani and his art visit aakashnihalani.com.
Aakash Nihalani just released a project website in which some of the shapes and motifs that he employs in his gallery and street work can be altered and transformed. He has entitled this piece Magkinetic Drawings, and here is the explanation provided:
“One of the key elements of my physical street-level art is that it engages the viewer, making them more than just a viewer but rather an active agent in the artwork itself. The photo documentation of my work shows how the installations transform with each individual’s reaction and interaction with them, so it’s not just one piece of art but infinite. In an effort to translate that very personal unique interaction of human and art, I have begun to explore interactive digital artwork that can be experienced via the internet, from anywhere in the world. Integrating the visual and experiential concepts present in my tape installations into this digital medium, I present Magkinetic Drawings.”
While my personal taste in art is very much rooted in the figurative, the work of Aakash Nihalani is exciting me more than most these days. His street and gallery installations are not only aesthetically and conceptually powerful – their sophistication is growing at an almost startlingly rapid pace.
It is evident that Aakash has the ability to develop and adapt his work into countless creative avenues. For now, however, his work can be viewed in a three person group show at Arario Gallery, New York. What he has produced for this show is really quite fantastic. Here are some images of the installation.
It is interesting to read some of Aakash’s thoughts behind the work.
“Since the show was titled Paraphrase, I took the opportunity to get into some text, tapeography. I did ubiquitous words that we all encounter in our daily travels, especially as a New Yorker, but I wanted my paraphrase of the words to be aesthetically ‘better’ than their original. So the words pull, push, and exit are all written out in tape, as well as simultaneously being shown ‘acted’ out, or about to be (as in the exit piece). They were all a little bigger than human scale so as to more objectify their viewer rather than the usual other way around. I think these installations were particularly successful because they stayed true to the site specific nature of the work that got me the show in the first place (i.e. using the gallery’s door hinge to complete some of my lines), but also took on new levels of content in the figuration of the letters, and new concepts/processes of using the tape to express qualities like peeling and falling.”
Expect another PosterBoy arrest this weekend, because the Neo-Con collective (Aakash Nihalani, Ellis G, and PosterBoy) have their first proper show opening on Saturday evening. Neo Con New York is at 17 Frost Gallery (can you guess the address?) in New York City and will have multiple installations by the collective.
If you’re not familiar with Supreme, they are a clothing company who seem, at first glance, pretty hip or whatever. Unfortunately, they are also known for being big fans of flypasting. Their advertising campaigns always seem to consist of photos of celebrities wearing their clothing. These adverts get stuck up in locations which also happen to be perfect for street art or graffiti (often times even going over street art or graffiti).
This practice has caused artists like Gaia to speak out against them or go over them. Recently, other street artists have picked up on this idea rather creatively. This most recent campaign has been a photo of rock legend Lou Reed. Within days of the campaign starting up, Faile were out changing around the ads to their liking. Now, another artist/artists (probably PosterBoy and Aakash Nihilani) have gotten involved:
Yesterday The Gothamist reported that Posterboy was arrested on Friday night. Jim Kiernan, who was supposed to be photographing Posterboy on Friday, has been kind enough to give us his take on what happened.
The back story is that I started as a writer way back in the day. I dropped that a long time ago but never lost interest in all things street-related. I’m fully digging the Street Art movement that’s popped up in earnest over the last few years. I have many favorite artists but Poster Boy just really struck a chord with me. In my opinion he’s the latest branch of the family tree that begat Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. For real, I think he’s that talented.
Anyway I’m always documenting the underground. For many years I videotaped bands (mainly Punk Rock stuff but other genres as well). Mayor Guilani effectively snuffed out many of the venues that I used to shoot in and the NYC real estate market killed most of the rest. So what to do? Well, I picked up a still camera and have made that my thing for the last several years. Of course I’m still all about the underground, the offbeat, the artistic. So I decided to start shooting street art. Not all that original but fun and visual and very satisfying. I started seeing Poster Boy’s stuff underground and didn’t know who he was. After researching a bit I figured out who he was and started following him.
Long story short I contacted him and asked him if he was down for me to tag along and shoot while he did his thing. I sent him a few shots from a session I did with Chico L.E.S., an old school Lower East Side NYC graf muralist. He dug my stuff and we were supposed to hook up some time in February. Yesterday afternoon at around 3:30 my phone rings. I usually always screen everybody but I manage a literary fiction author on the side named Mike Guinzburg and I thought the number was Mike’s. He goes “you know who this is, right?” and I said yeah, Mike. “Nope, it’s Poster Boy man. I’m doing a collaboration with Ellis G., (the chalk artist) and Aakash for a ‘friendswelove.com‘ benefit. Can you grab your cameras and get down here in about an hour?”
Well, the bad news was that I was at work and my cameras were at home. I told him I’m try to borrow a camera and get down there. He gave me the cross streets and told me to call him when I was in the area. I couldn’t get my hands on a decent camera so I said fuck, bailed from work, bolted home and grabbed my gear. By the time I got downtown it was about 6:30 give or take. I tried calling him but got voice mail. Left a message, said fuck it and started walking around shooting street art (I was one block from where Banksy just put up on of his three big NYC full building pieces and there’s a ton of good spots that get hit). I walked around shooting for about an hour, called him again, left another message and then kept on shooting on the streets.
About half an hour later, I was freezing my ass off and my cell phone battery was about to die. I ducked into an ATM on the corner to get warm and to call him one last time. Again, voice mail. I told him I was going to bail and that we’d have to hook up next time. BUT, when I walked outside and there were a bunch of Ellis G. pieces on the sidewalk, including the exact address of the event (which I hadn’t known). While I was on the phone leaving Poster Boy a message telling him I was bailing, Ellis G. was hitting the sidewalk. If that’s not a sign I don’t know what is. Streets are talking, indeed.
So I went to this loft space on the 5th floor. There were collaborations and other pieces on the walls and a DJ spinning. I grabbed a drink and started shooting. Ellis G. came up to me to ask me who I was shooting for and I told him I was supposed to meet up with Poster Boy, etc. That’s when I found out he got popped. The cops had been trying to track him down for a while I guess and his name was on the benefit flyer and said he would be in attendance. They had a plainclothes cop on the street and that’s who nabbed him. Talk about bullshit. We’ve got major shit going down on the streets in NYC every day and THIS is what the cops are spending their time on? Unreal. It was definitely a bummer but Ellis and Aakash got right to work throwing up a tribute collabo for Poster Boy.
I was talking with PB’s cousin for much of the night and there was no update on his case or his bail or anything. I offered to personally post bail on him but we couldn’t get any info. I still don’t know what’s going on but I’m sure that all of this is just a speed bump. No way are the cops going to keep Poster Boy down. He’s got all of the right ideas and some of the purest artistic intentions I’ve seen so I’m sure we’ll be hearing from him again soon.
Thanks to Jim Kiernan for his help and for the photo at the top of this post. Hopefully Posterboy will be back out on the streets soon.
It is long overdue that I cover Aakash Nilhalani on Vandalog. He’s been doing some really intersting work in New York for a while now.
Similar to Ellis G, Nilhalani doesn’t do anything destructive or particularly technically challenging (then again, I’m quite bad at geometry, so maybe I’m wrong), but he does create something simple that makes you look at it and challenges your expectations of what you’ll see walking while walking down the street.