Happy almost Halloween. It’s been a week of wasted energy, or so it seems. A potential legal wall that I was organizing has fallen through for the time being, but hopefully things are just delayed rather than cancelled. Here’s some of what I should have posted about this week:
Reported, this sculpture at Occupy London was made and left there by Banksy, but that claim is unconfirmed by Banksy so far. Nonetheless, Zeus added this modification to the piece. And Above has also made some work in solidarity with the Occupy movement. Similarly to K-Guy’s work at Occupy London, I’m conflicted here. On the one hand, it’s great when artists who know how to get headlines do so in solidarity with a political movement of sorts, but on the other hand these artists are of course latching on to the movement and associating themselves with it in a way that they know will get headlines and potentially help them sell some paintings. Of course the same could be said of many of the celebrity speakers who have been generally well-received at Occupy events. So there’s that dilemma to think about.
Last time I was in NYC, I saw this billboard for Hennessy cognac with designs by Kaws. Just interesting to see the flip from a decade ago when Kaws would have modified that billboard illegal to insert his work onto it in an effort to associate with the Hennessy brand, and now Hennessy pays Kaws to associate with their brand. Also, this new Kaws/Snoopy toy goes on sale today on Kaws’ website. Okay, one last bit of Kaws news: I love this new painting by him.
On Every Street is a show opening this Thursday at Samuel Owen Gallery in Greenwich, CT. Curated by Michael de Feo, it features the work of dozens of street artists. On Every Street includes a diverse of street artists both in style and (from Hargo to Tony Curanaj) and when they were active outdoors (from Richard Hambleton to Gaia).
Here’s the full line up: Above, Aiko, Michael Anderson, Banksy, Jean-Michel Basquiat, C215, Tony Curanaj, Michael De Feo, D*Face, Ellis Gallagher, Keith Haring, Ron English, Blek le rat, Faile, Shepard Fairey, John Fekner, JMR, Gaia, Richard Hambleton, Hargo, Maya Hayuk, Don Leicht, Tom Otterness, Lady Pink, Lister, Ripo, Mike Sajnoski, Jeff Soto, Chris Stain, Swoon, Thundercut, Dan Witz.
A note from RJ: This is Luke’s first guest post on Vandalog. He will be helping us cover street art and graffiti in Melbourne, Australia.
This is an amazing little alleyway in Melbourne. Check out some of the local and international talent. (There’s so much goodness down there so apologies to anyone that I’ve missed.. Next time..)
Whilst it’s not as famous as some other Melbourne streets, it’s by far my favourite. No surprise why this is, this alley is the entrance to the famous ‘Blender Studios‘ http://www.theblenderstudios.com/ (Have a read on their site, Blender is an instrumental part of the history of Melbourne’s vibrant street art scene).
Above has a solo show, Here Today Gone Tomorrow, opening today at Lo-Fi Gallery (383 Bourke St. Sydney, Australia). I haven’t liked Above’s indoor work in the past, but from the look of the preview, I think done something very right this time. The most surprising thing about that is that he’s combining some ideas in this work that normally spell “train wreck.” The work combines ripped posters, pop art and images of dead celebrities. Unless we’re talking about Faile, that combo tends to end in an EPIC FAIL. But this work actually looks some Above has pulled it off, which is exciting. Don’t ask me how or why, but I like this new series. CFYE has plenty of photos posted, and here’s a teaser video:
Just got this note from Above. This is one of my favorite pieces from him in a while…
I just returned this morning from being in the flood ravished city of Brisbane, Australia. With the international attention around the floods I decided to immediately fly from Sydney to Brisbane to make this site specific stencil. Unfortunately I had another stencil that Friday night I got arrested for right in the middle of painting! oughf! I spent 10 hours in jail, had a court appearance and got a decent fine so this piece is the only 1 I can submit and offer for you. I tried my best not to make fun at this drastic and horrific situation but instead to empathize and portray just how serious and large the scale of these floods had been with the relative depiction of “NOAH’s” ark being sunk due to the floods.
This should be interesting. White Walls is doing two shows simultaneously next month. One is Faces In The Mirror with Blek le Rat. The other is Transitions with ABOVE. Blek is the grandfather of outdoor stencil art, and ABOVE is a”post-Banksy” stencil artist. I think this will be Blek le Rat’s first major show since the art market went kablewy, and it’s ABOVE’s first solo show.
I’m very curious to see what these artists are going to do here. You can’t ignore Blek le Rat’s historical importance for street art, but ignoring that, he’s just a guy who cuts stencils. Introducing new iconic imagery won’t be easy, but people will complain just as much if he just makes the same old rats and Caravaggio stencils. And ABOVE works hard to consider placement in his artwork. Will his stencils lose all their power indoors, or will he rethink everything and skillfully consider the placement of his artwork in a gallery space?
Well here’s what White Walls has to say about everything:
White Walls is proud to present a joint show: Faces in the Mirror by Blek le Rat and Transitions by ABOVE. This exhibition brings together the original pioneer stencil artist and his younger counterpart utilizing stencils to create public art in over 40 countries around the world. Please join us for the opening reception on Saturday, May 1st 2010, from 7-11 pm.
This homage to stencil art marks Blek le Rat’s first show in San Francisco as well as the debut indoor exhibition of ABOVE. The meeting of these two artists is a passing of the torch from the original stencil artist to a younger generation of urban artists following in his legacy. Blek let Rat first pioneered stencils in the early 80s as a bold, attention grabbing form of street art that was never before seen. ABOVE is the prominent stencil artist of the new generation, drawing on Blek’s methods to project a social message into the urban environment.
Blek le Rat resides outside of Paris, the very city he claimed 30 years ago as a platform for social commentary. He was the first of his time to employ stencils and spray paint for fast, high contrast images on city walls. Faces in the Mirror is a collection of Blek’s iconic imagery of beggars, sheep, rats, and Michelangelo’s David with an AK-47, combined with never before seen images such as Mona Lisa. These forms open conversation about consciousness, social relation, mass media, and commodity fetishism. Known as the godfather of stencil graffiti art, Blek le Rat has been the great inspiration for artists worldwide including Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Space Invader, WK Interact, and ABOVE.
ABOVE has devoted the past 8 years to creating street art in 45 countries around the world, refusing to take his focus off the streets even for gallery exhibitions. It is only because of Blek le Rat’s strong desire to show alongside him that ABOVE finally conceded to his premier indoor exhibition. Transitions is based on three themes from his outdoor works: sign language arrow mobiles, wordplay murals, and colorful figurative stencils. The overarching sentiment is one of optimism, honor, overcoming struggle, and a desire to rise above.
Please join us for the opening reception of Faces in the Mirror by Blek le Rat and Transitions by ABOVE on Saturday, May 1st, 2010, from 7-11pm. The exhibit will be on view through June 5th, 2010, and is open to the public.