There Is No Such Thing As A Good Painting About Nothing

CircleCulture Gallery’s group show There Is No Such Thing As A Good Painting About Nothing opened on Friday evening. The show includes work from three artists: Marco “Pho” Grassi, Holly Thoburn and Katrin Fridriks. Holly knows I’m not her biggest fan, though her paintings are nice as decorative pieces, but Pho’s art is very interesting, and I’ve heard amazing things about what Katrin does and can’t wait to see some of her paintings in person.

From CircleCulture:

A new vanguard emerged in the early 1940s, primarily in New York, where a small group of loosely affiliated artists created a stylistically diverse body of work that introduced radical new directions in art – and shifted the art world’s focus. Never a formal association, the artists known as “Abstract Expressionists” or “The New York School” did, however, share some common assumptions. Among others, artists such as Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline and Mark Rothko advanced audacious formal inventions in a search for significant content. Breaking away from accepted conventions in both technique and subject matter, the artists made monumentally scaled works that stood as reflections of their individual psyches – and in doing so, attempted to tap into universal inner sources. These artists valued spontaneity and improvisation, and they accorded the highest importance to process.

The exhibition “There is No Such Thing As a Good Painting About Nothing“ focuses a comparable artistic habitus finding its provenance in graffiti and street culture. It is interesting to observe, that approximately 70 years later, in the early 21st century, three artists located in different countries developed their work independently from each other as a new form of abstract expressionism. They build upon the paradigms of graffiti writing and street art but distance themselves radically from established clichés. Ultimately, by doing so, they generate an avant-garde direction within the genre of urban art.

Marco “Pho” Grassi (Milan) translates his background as a bomber to his vast abstract paintings by referring to graffiti writing’s traditional elements: the word, the rhythm of the line and a performing dynamism. By recovering elements from the daily life like torn manifestos and wooden pallets he postulates an hommage to the street.

Katrin Fridrik’s (Paris) works bring a third dimension, which modernizes abstract expressionism and reinstates it for our times.  She invents a new pictorial language: the “human-generated” computer images. And she shows us that the human still produces better than the machine.

Holly Thoburn (London) has traveled the world extensively, photographing street art, graffiti, derelict walls, alleys and doorways – all of which find their abstracted way back into her work as themes and motifs of urban living.

Katrin Fridricks
Holly Thoburn
Marco Pho Grassi

JR’s Self Portrait

JR is awesome. I could go on about why, instead I’m just going to post this self-portrait by JR that will be at Circleculture Gallery from this Friday. Can’t believe I forgot to put this show in my post yesterday. It is going to be crazy-good and I can’t wait to get to Berlin in a few weeks to see all the work in person. More info at Arrested Motion.

Jr Self Portrait

Self-Portraits @ CircleCulture

Circleculture Gallery’s next show is “Self-Portraits.”15 artists including D*face, Best Ever, JR, Jaybo, Charlie Isoe, Judith Supine, and Word To Mother will be exhibiting their self-portraits from June 5th.

Here’s the PR:

by contemporary urban artists from five continents

The idea of this exhibition is to approach the historical theme of self-portraits and to bring it into a contemporary art context. A self-portrait is a representation of an artist, drawn, painted, photographed, or sculpted by the artist. Although self-portraits have been made by artists since the earliest times, it is not until the Early Renaissance in the mid 1400s that artists can be frequently identified depicting themselves as either the main subject, or as important characters in their work. With better and cheaper mirrors, and the advent of the panel portrait, many painters, sculptors and printmakers tried some form of self-portraiture… In this respect it will be an interesting and new experience to show the vision of the “self-portrait” by contemporary urban artists from all over the world.

Opening reception: friday june 5th, 7-10 pm
until july 4th 2009 / tue-sat 2-6 pm

Circleculture Gallery
Gipsstrasse 11
Berlin Mitte / Germany

Circleculture Gallery has a history of doing shows with the best street artists before they are known as the great street artists. Examples? JR, Shepard Fairey, and Steve Powers to name a few. Okay, Shep and Powers were probably already known as great, but they are definitely much more popular today.

That’s what I was presently suprised to see Best Ever on this lineup for this show. Apparently, some people over on the Banksyforum have been dissing Best Ever for looking too much like Herakut. I think this is some evidence that Best Ever isn’t just some Herakut rip off. A German gallery is asking them, a UK duo, to exhibit alongside artists like Shepard Fairey and JR (Herakut is from Germany).

Everything Barry McGee

Barry McGee is perhaps the biggest and best respected street artist to ever come out of California (sorry Shepard Fairey). This last week, he’s been on my radar for a few things.

First of all, I started seeing his name popping up for his part in American Realities, the latest show at New Image Art (he was working under the alias Lydia Fong). Check out some photos of that show below (more at Arrested Motion):


Barry Painting

And then there is the group show that McGee is involved in at CircleCulture Gallery in Berlin…


Aaron Rose of Beautiful Losers is curating this show, so it’s sure to be something very cool. Images when I get some.

Here’s the PR:

Barry McGee, Ed Templeton and Raymond Pettibon are pioneers and icons of the contemporary urban art movement. Their work can be found in the collections of major museums and has been shown at large exhibitions and biennales worldwide, but all three have repeatedly emphasised their roots in youth subculture – in the worlds of skateboarding, graffiti, punk and hip-hop.
These three sought-after artists are brought together by curator Aaron Rose, whose urban art documentary Beautiful Losers is currently touring the world, in the intimate atmosphere of Berlins Circleculture Gallery.

Special bonus Barry McGee video after the jump… Continue reading “Everything Barry McGee”