The Street Museum of Art has launched its second venture in “guerilla curating” in London’s artsy district of Shoreditch. Like their first exhibition, it’s basically a self-guided street art tour with museum-like wall labels. The exhibition’s title, “Beyond Banksy: Not another gift shop“, is likely a tongue and cheek reference to the commercial attention that street art has received in London these past few years, with Banksy at the forefront of the movement. In all fairness, Banksy has become enough of a household name that he and Exit Through the Gift Shop are frequently my reference points when speaking about street art to people outside this niche community. For that, I am thankful that I get to SMoA advises that the name is not meant to undermine the work of the beloved stencil artist, rather it is to encourage those who have Banksy as their token understanding of street art to the diversity of the other talented artists on the streets. This exhibition highlights works by artists such as C215, Christiaan Nagel, Eine, Mobstr, Pablo Delgado, Phlegm, Roa, Run, Skewville, Space Invader, Stik and Swoon.
The map of the exhibited works are available here and the hours are… well, unlimited.
Speaking of protest art, some revolutionary graffiti and street art was recently painted over in Egypt and that’s been causing quite a stir, with Egypt’s prime minister backing the artists and even calling for more revolutionary graffiti.
What do people think about this work from ABOVE pointing out the 24% unemployment in Spain? A mural that simply points out such a depressing fact without any obvious rage or anything behind it seems to me like it’s doing practically the opposite of what murals should do, but maybe it’s a good way of making that fact more known. Thoughts?
Endless Canvas’ Special Delivery warehouse show looks like it’s got some cool work from Swampy, GATS, Feral Child and others, but really it’s clear that photos do not do the show justice and that you had to be there.
The small town of La Louvière, in Belgium is host to a brilliant Urban Art exhibition being held at “Centre de la Gravure et de’limage imprimée” (The Center for Engraving and the Printed Image). Showing through September 2, 2012, “Vues sur Murs” (Wallscapes: Prints in Street Art) features an impressive list of international artists, many making new work specifically for this exhibit and also hitting the town with huge pieces.
Invader, C215, Jef Aérosol, EVOL, Ludo, Denis Meyers, Obêtre, Muga, Doctor-H, Sten & Lex, Swoon and OBEY (Shepard Fairey) are all featured in this show which spans three floors of the gallery. The show’s curator, Marie Van Bosterhaut, had the seed of the idea in 2009 after seeing an OBEY print at the home of a collector. She contacted Fairey’s people for what was initially planned to be an OBEY retrospective…
“But then it appeared it might be more interesting to invite more artists using printing techniques in street art,” said Bosterhaut of the project’s evolution. “It was really great to have all these artists working inside the museum, and also outside. There was like a great energy.”
While some of the artists knew each other, others met for the first time. “This created some small surprises,” said Bosterhaut. Evidence of this is seen in one of the exhibition’s highlights located on the top floor. There, Berlin-based EVOL has transformed several structural columns, which protrude at various levels into the exhibition space. They now appear as EVOL’s signature-style buildings and “artists like Denis (Meyers) & Ludo made some tiny stencils or billboards, creating a kind of interaction between the artists,” Bosterhaut said.
Another highlight of the show is Brussels-based artist Denis Meyers. Mostly known for the large faces he paints, he also prints unique stickers and uses hand-made woodcuts and rubber stamps to produce a wide variety of work which all screams out with his signature style. Many of his sketchbooks are also on display as well as other elements which offer a peek into the artist’s process.
Long-time French favorite Jef Aérosol‘s large iconic work greets you at the entrance of the exhibit but some of his smaller, printed images are framed on the sides and offer a more intimate experience with the artist. Jef also hit the town, painting a three-story-tall face of rocker Jimi Hendrix.
In addition to his brilliant mini-billboard, the Paris-based paste-up master Ludo and his unmistakable green paint occupy a notable section of the top floor, including a full-scale bus shelter (crappy tags included.) For the real experience though, pick up the map supplied at the front desk and follow it to the various “treasures” left by artists around the city. Ludo has posted three large pieces out on the town.
A favorite of mine is “C215” (Christian Guémy.) The Parisian stencil artist painted a large mural for the show. There are also many photographs of his stencil works, and several other painted “objects,” including three mailboxes, a shoeshine box, and a metal sign among other things.
The pioneering Italian artistic duo of Sten & Lex display some of their strong, black & white portrait posters, but the real treat from them requires a 10 minute walk to a parking lot down the road a bit. There, a dramatic and elaborate composition of black & white zig-zagging lines reveal a face that fills the wall and towers over the cars and shopping carts.
Of course the anchor of the exhibition is an extensive collection of OBEY works by American artist Shepard Fairey. In addition to a short documentary video, the display spans his career from his quirky beginnings making “Andre the Giant has a posse” stickers, to the slick, celebrity and political-themed posters pumped out by the Obey Giant Worldwide Propaganda factory today. There are dozens of his limited-edition prints with their graphically-pleasing imagery, and even a trio of OBEY skateboard decks. A definite treat for any Fairey fan.
The show concentrates on the printing aspects of urban art but there’s a ton of other multi-media work to see there as well. Too much art to mention in this article, including great stuff by Invader, Obêtre, Muga, Doctor-H & Swoon.
IF YOU GO: Smack-dab in-between Paris & Cologne, La Louviere is about a two and-a-half hour drive from each, and just 45 minutes south of Brussels. Definitely worth the trip. But remember, it’s only showing through September 2, 2012 – so get going!
Photos by Lance Aram Rothstein (many of these photographs were shot with Film Cameras. Long Live Film!)
Very Nearly Almost issue 16 has been out for about a month and a half now, so I’m a bit late on this one. Issue 16 has Invader on the cover, a must-read interview with Kid Zoom, photos from the streets of London, Paris and Melbourne and much more. The stand-out of this issue is definitely that interview with Kid Zoom, and if you’re a fan of his, I’d pick up VNA16 just for that piece alone. It’s one of the most honest and mature interviews I’ve read from any young artist. That dude is going places.
Revok called out Fab 5 Freddy for appropriating (or in Revok’s words “stealing”) letters from other artists including Sever and using them in his own work. You can read Revok’s post here, and hopefully I’ll have some thoughts about it in a post on Vandalog over the weekend. A commenter on Vandalog actually noted that Fred was doing this about two months ago.
New York Magazine published an article, and not a particularly brief one, all about a painting that is supposedly by Jean-Michel Basquiat but was denied by his estate’s authentication committee. Well, while the writer of the article tries to get readers to sympathize with going through a potentially daunting and certainly not transparent authentication process, there was really no point for the whole thing: The painting is clearly by Phil Frost, something that the article doesn’t mention at all. So, umm… good work. Thanks to Known Gallery for pointing this all out.
Euth, a street artist, sued Green Day for appropriating one of his images in background graphics for their live show. That lawsuit has been dismissed. Melrose&Fairfax seems to lean towards agreeing with Euth on this one, but while Green Day might have been in an ethical grey area by not compensating Euth, they were undoubtedly legally in the right, and on the whole, that’s a good thing. No idea is 100% original and appropriation is appropriate. As M&F point out in this post, a lot of street artists base their work on appropriation.
A guy in the Hamptons is selling a bunch of Banksy pieces that were ripped out of walls from around the world. Gawker has some explanation of what happened. Of course the work is all unauthenticated and the morals of the whole situation are pretty sketchy.
Shepard Fairey had quite an ordeal in Copenhagen. On the whole, I’ve got to agree with Shepard on this one. He made a mistake and tried to make it right, but people still beat him up and newspapers still sensationalized their stories in inaccurate ways. Uncool. That said, it’s worth pointing out that right in the midst of Shepard complaining about newspapers getting their facts straight and being ethical, he writes “I adhere to my ethical beliefs in all areas of my artistic and business practice.” I hate to kick a guy while he’s down, but it needs to be mentioned that Shepard didattempt to falsify evidence during his lawsuit with the AP, so those ethics aren’t always adhered to. Anyway, sucks that Shepard and Obey Clothing’s Romeo Trinidad were beat up.