Beautiful Decay: NYC’s withering wheatpastes

My favorite wheatpastes rarely lose their beauty. They just continue to evolve until they, sadly, wither away. Here are a few:

Imminent Disaster in Bushwick, Brooklyn
Imminent Disaster in Bushwick, Brooklyn — 2013
Swoon in Gowanus, Brooklyn
Swoon in Gowanus, Brooklyn — 2012
Swoon, close-up, in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn
Swoon, close-up, in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn — 2013
Cake in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Cake in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 2010

Photos by Dani Mozeson, Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky

Imminent Disaster in “On the River…” @ SoHo’s KESTING/RAY

We love Imminent Disaster’s beautifully crafted images that have been surfacing on NYC streets for the past few years.  Her first NYC solo exhibit presents not only wondrous portraits crafted on an array of surfaces in her signature style, but also a series of wet-plate photographs of people she encountered in her travels through the heartland of the United States in 2011. Here are a few images we captured of Imminent Disaster’s work on exhibit at KESTING/RAY:

The exhibit continues through February 5th at 30 Grand Street in NYC’s SoHo district.

Photos by Lois Stavsky

Imminent Disaster’s upcoming NYC solo show

Robyn Hasty aka Imminent Disaster is finally ready to reveal part of her long-awaited photography project: Homeland. According to Hasty, “Homeland is a Wet Plate Collodion photo essay documenting the collapse of the American economy by focusing on the people who are re-envisioning and rebuilding life within it.” Some of the photographs from Homeland will be on display starting this week at Kesting/Ray in SoHo in Hasty’s solo show On the River: Stories from the heart of glorious abandon, where you cannot see what lies beyond the next bend. Wet plate photography is a photographic process from the 1800’s that produces one-of-a-kind photographs in a matter of a few minutes. In addition to the photographs, On the River will include an installation with screenprints, cut paper work and more.

For more about the Homeland series, you can check out this NPR article.

On the River opens at Kesting/Ray on Thursday from 7-9pm and runs through February 5th.

Photo by Robyn Hasty

Weekend link-o-rama

A lot of events have been happening this week, most likely so that everyone can make a last minute push in shows and such before the holidays. Then we have nothing to write about. Gotta love when a whole industry shuts down for a month or so.

Blu (photo vua Nuart)

Anyways, so here is what has been going on:

  • Tonight is the opening of the London Miles Gallery “The Idol Hours”. The show is a group show that gives artists like Luke Chueh, Travis Lampe and Scott Young the opportunity to portray artworks from the art canon in a modern sense
  • Factory Fresh will be hosting a Block Part in Brooklyn Nov. 20th with a live mural painting from Gai, Imminent Disaster, Chris Stain and Skewville. The Burning Candy Crew will also be showing new portions of their ongoing documentary Dots
  • New Blu piece in France popped up recently. Such detail as usual
  • Remi/Rough has been busy in England lately. He has a new print released, designed the decor of the new Wahaca Soho eatery, and put up a nice piece in Birmingham with time lapse video
  • Finally, A Barry McGee retrospective will take place in 2012 in Berkeley, California in conjunction with the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. The two organizations were awarded a $100,000 grant by the Andy Warhol Foundation to put on the show
  • Unusual Image has some great photos of the Best Ever show that took place at Blackall Studios last night
  • Stolenspace will play host to the second solo show by Ronzo entitled “Crackney’s Finest.” The show will open Nov. 19th

The Underbelly Project: Art underground and what I saw

This summer, I sat in a massive pitch-black room and muttered “Holy shit. Holy shit. Holy shit. Holy shit…” over and over again. I couldn’t stop repeating “Holy shit” for maybe for five minutes. I’d been anticipating this moment for nearly a year. I was somewhere underneath New York City. I was waiting to be shown The Underbelly Project. Technically, I was there to take photos, but really I didn’t care at all if images came out or not. Really, I just wanted to see firsthand what was going on 4-stories below the streets of New York City.

Revok and Ceaze. That light comes from the lights that were set up temporarily for an artist who was painting that night.

Imagine Cans Festival, FAME Festival or Primary Flight: Some of street art and graffiti’s best artists all painting one spot. That’s kind of like The Underbelly Project. Except that The Underbelly Project took place in complete secrecy, in a mysterious location and without any authorization. Over the past year, The Underbelly Project has brought more than 100 artists to an abandoned and half-finished New York City subway station. Each artist was given one night to paint something.

Know Hope had this entire room to himself. What was this room meant to be? An elevator shaft? An office? I have no idea.

Workhorse and PAC, the project’s organizers, have put countless hours into their ghost subway station, and now they’re finally ready to unveil it to the world, sort of (more on that later). So I guess that’s why I was in that dark room, sitting in silence, waiting for them to give me a flashlight. I’m still not sure why I’d been extended the invitation to see the station firsthand, but I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity. The Underbelly Project is going to be part of street art history.

Surge, Stormie Mills, Remi/Rough and Gaia

Eventually, Workhorse and PAC came over to where I was sitting and lent me a flashlight. I stood up, already coated in dust and probably dirtier than I’ve ever been, and got a full tour of the station. I’m not somebody who is good at estimating the size of a space, but The Underbelly Project took place in a space that was meant to be a subway station, so I guess it was the size of a subway station with a few tracks. The station is like a concrete cavern: random holes who-knows how deep into the ground, dust thick like a layer of dirt, leaky ceilings and hidden rooms. Except the whole station is covered in art. Think of FAME Festival’s abandoned monastery transplanted to beneath New York City. I’m not an urban explorer, so I had no idea that there are abandoned subway stations throughout New York, but The Underbelly Project seems like just about the best possible use of one.

Of course, having been down there myself, I’m going to be prone to hyperbole. Even at it’s simplest, even if The Underbelly Project is “just another mural project,” it’s a story that the artists can tell for years, and it may even be evidence that street art isn’t so far gone and corporate as some people have suggested.

Swoon and Imminent Disaster. Disaster's piece is stunning beyond belief and fits the space so perfectly.

The list of artists who painted for The Underbelly Project goes on and on, but here are just a few:



Know Hope



Dan Witz

Jeff Soto


Mark Jenkins



Mark Jenkins and Con. This is at the end of a long and dark tunnel that, at the time, was not otherwise painted.

On my visit, The Underbelly Project wasn’t finished. In fact, somebody was painting there that night. Nonetheless, the space was already substantially painted and postered. I spent that night wandering around the tunnels, taking photos and getting lost (and also scared – Damn you Mark Jenkins! You can’t put a sculpture like that at the end of a darkened hall. I thought it was a person!).


And what now? The walls have all been painted and the artists have moved on to new projects. When the last artist finished painting the last wall, Workhorse and PAC made access to The Underbelly Project nearly impossible by removing the entrance. Even if any of us wanted to go back (and I do), even if we could remember how to get there (and I don’t), we can’t. Nobody can. For now, The Underbelly Project has become a time capsule of street art, somewhere in the depths of New York City.


Brad Downey once explained to me why he thought Damien Hirst’s diamond skull is interesting. It had something to do with what people would think of the skull in 1000 years, when its original meaning has been lost to time. That’s when the skull is going to become a true icon and object with immense power. In some ways, The Underbelly Project is like Hirst’s skull, without the price tag. One day, decades from now hopefully, somebody may rediscover that old subway station and have no idea what they’re looking at. Hopefully, they’ll just feel that it’s something incredibly special.

Dan Witz. This was the first time I'd seen his street art in person. It's the perfect setting for Dan's Dark Doings series.

Here are some more images from The Underbelly Project, and expect more over the coming days on Vandalog and around the blogosphere… Or you can pay £1 to read an in-depth article about it in today’s Sunday Times.

Stash (well, part of his piece). This is another room like Know Hope's area.
Swoon and Lister
L'Atlas, Mr Di Maggio, 1010, Paper Twins, Bigfoot, Control/Jice. Photo by Workhorse
Faile. Photo by PAC
Skewville, PAC, SheOne, Revok/Ceaze. Photo by PAC

Photos by RJ Rushmore, Workhorse and PAC

More from TOSAT

Imminent Disaster

The other day, Gaia posted about Toronto Street Advertising Takever (TOSAT). Because this is such a cool project and I have a lot of respect for PublicAdCampaign, the event organizer, I wanted to just post a view more photos from TOSAT. For more about what exact TOSAT is, check Gaia’s post.

These pieces by Imminent Disaster, Ox and Sean Martindale were some of my favorite billboards from the event.

Sean Martindale. Photo by Martin Reis

Photos courtesy of TOSAT and by Martin Reis

New Work in New York

A couple new things have been popping up as of late. Overunder is back in town, along with a couple new lovely pieces from Swoon alongside some fresh Imminent Disaster up in the mix. Mint and Serf have been engaged in a campaign to reset some street spots in an effort to challenge people to “just put better work out there.” Whatever that means, I was not spared from the apparent critique.

Via LunaPark and Rebecca Fuller

Armsrock and Imminent Disaster: Refuge

Last night, Armsrock and Imminent Disaster opened Refuge, their two-person show at Thinkspace, and Seth and I went along to check it out. I’d been looking forward to this show for some time, and although the installation and overall presentation didn’t flow quite as well as I was expecting it to, I thought there were a number of fantastic individual pieces. I particularly liked Armsrock’s small drawings and large charcoal and graphite works on paper. It’s always so wonderful to see his work in person; the immense power of them doesn’t always come across online.

Across the room from Armsrock, I felt that Imminent Disaster’s piece, “Crossing The River”, needed a bit more breathing room than it was able to have in the gallery (it’s 96 x 108 x 120 in – gigantic!), while Seth admired her wall of smaller works.

My favorite part of the artists’ installation was their piece in the gallery’s front window – I like the minimal play with bright colors amidst their characteristic use of black and white.

Both Armsrock and Imminent Disaster are important voices in the street scene so I urge everyone in LA to visit Refuge while it’s on view, particularly because it’s Thinkspace’s last show in Silverlake before relocating to Culver City next month! They’re going to be on the same street (Washington Blvd) as us (Carmichael Gallery) soon!

– Elisa

Swimming Cities fundraiser on Friday

Photo by Tod Seelie

I think that the Swimming Cities project is one of the most inspiring things to happen in the art world in recent years: a bunch of artists get together to built barely float-able rafts and travel rivers around the world. The 2010 project takes the Swimming Cities crew to the Ganges in India. To raise funds for the trip, there will be a silent auction in New York City on March 5th. Participating artists in the auction include Swoon, Imminent Disaster, Spy and Ben Wolfe.

This piece by Imminent Disaster is one of the artworks in the auction: