In the spring of 2014, the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program installed psychylustro, a multi-site artwork by Katharina Grosse, across sections of the Northeast Rail Corridor in Philadelphia. Grosse treated walls, warehouses, and even trees as her canvas. psychylustro‘s bold colors and brush strokes certainly changed the scenery for Amtrak commuters, and Hyperallergic described the work as “a mysterious, puzzling, and surprising presence.” But psychylustro was also an intervention at a site usually controlled by graffiti writers.
There was graffiti along the rail corridor before Mural Arts and Grosse got to work, and it’s no secret that psychylustro was tagged and bombed. For six months, Mural Arts regularly revisited the walls to apply fresh coats of neon paint. And then… they stopped, leaving psychylustro to the elements, the writers, and the buff.
Although psychylustro did cover notable graffiti (including works by Retna, Nekst, Skrew, Curve, and Ntel), it also presented an opportunity: Before installation began, Mural Arts invited Martha Cooper to document the graffiti at the sites where psychylustro was going to be. And recently, a little over a year after Mural Arts stopped maintaining psychylustro, they sent photographer Steve Weinik to revisit the installation. The result is a likely unparalleled documentation of graffiti along the Philadelphia section of the Northeast Rail Corridor in 2014 and 2015.
One nice perk of working at Mural Arts is that I have access to those photos. Since I’m about to leave Mural Arts for New York City, it seems like the perfect time to show the evolution of the psychylustro walls, from the graffiti captured by Martha through to how they look today. The photo captions are incomplete, but hopefully useful nonetheless (thanks to NTEL and Air Rat for help with captions). Enjoy!
David Bloch Gallery in Marrakech, Morocco has a show opening up this month with a group of really interesting artists. Unfolding includes work from Carlos Mare, Derm, Jaybo Monk, LX One, Remi/Rough and Steve More. These artists form part of the Agents of Change collective, and they all come from a graffiti background. Rather than resting on those laurels, the Agents of Change are now bringing the same intensity and drive for constant improvement to their fine art and murals that they brought to graffiti.
Unfolding openings May 10th and runs through June 8th.
Futurism 2.0, the brainchild of London-based Gamma Proforma owner Rob Swain and New York-based theoretician Daniel Feral, attempts to draw a thread between several artists, most of whom evolved out of tag-based graffiti backgrounds and are now created geometric forms within their art. The show opened yesterday at Blackall Studios in the Shoreditch neighborhood of London.
On display during the exhibition is the work of Augustine Kofie, Phil Ashcroft, Carlos Mare (Mare139), Boris Tellegen (Delta), James Choules (sheOne), Matt W. Moore, Mark Lyken, Sat One, Christopher Derek Bruno, Moneyless, Mr Jago, Nawer, O. Two, Morten Andersen, Keith Hopewell (Part2ism), Jaybo Monk, Poesia, Derm, Jerry Inscoe (Joker), Remi/Rough, Divine Styler and Clemens Behr. Following the movement through several countries, Rob Swain has delineated a movement that attempts to place graffiti in within the larger canon of art history.
In addition to creating a ground-breaking exhibition, Rob Swain and Daniel Feral have teamed up to create a catalogue that will push this movement beyond the life of the exhibition. With a comprehensive essay tying the Futurist movement of the early 1900’s to a graffiti-based style happening nearly a century later, Feral has cohesively put words to awe inspiring work as only he can.
Futurism 2.0 is open now through October 2nd at Blackall Studios in London.
Redcoat Gallery in Glasgow, Scotland has a show opening on July 1st called Rudimentary Perfection. This show will be the first show specifically focused on “graffuturism,” a style of modern graffiti promoted by the Graffuturism blog. If you’ve ever felt that graffiti is at a bit of a standstill (rack spray paint, write name, repeat), graffuturism may be the sort of post-graffiti that you’ve been waiting for. Rudimentary Perfection includes She One, Duncan Jago, Jaybo Monk, Matt W. Moore, Augustine Kofie, Nawer, Morten Andersen, Poesia, Derm, and Mark Lyken. These artists have a modern take on graffiti, often most closely associated with Futura’s abstract work, if you need to tie it to traditional graffiti.
Remi/Rough and Jaybo have put together a two-man show in Santander called No Beginning No End. Here’s some of Remi’s work from that show. You can check out the rest of the show on Remi’s flickr.
But that’s not all Remi has been up to. Recently, he and the rest of the group Agents of Change painted a massive wall in Manchester. They made this video, but you can probably skip to 4 minutes in and just see the end result of their work:
I’ve heard people say that Agents of Change’s hands are similar to this piece that Zeus and Eine painted last year (and which Remi coincidentally painted over with the property owner’s permission as part of The Beautiful and The Canned), but Agents of Change have really crushed it in Manchester and I’m not sure if you can claim that any one person’s trademark is painting giant hands (here’s another piece with a series of hands by Run).
Curated by Agents of Change, The Ghostvillage was conceived as an antidote to a world of ever increasing safety and mediocrity. Six artists were given free reign of a never inhabited village on the west coast of Scotland – working on pristine walls Remi/Rough, Stormie, System, Timid, Derm and Juice 126 have created a gallery like no other…..and finally given the village the ghosts it deserves…..