Fine Art Auctions Miami, the auction house that almost sold Banksy’s “Slave Labour” and “Wet Dog” pieces in 2013, is back at trying to sell street pieces. This time though, it’s not just Banksy’s whose street art and murals that they’ve put on offer. In an auction that took place this evening, FAAM have included cut up segments of concrete and metal that were removed from the street and contain what were once works by Banksy, Faile, Kenny Scharf, Bambi, Aiko and Terror161/J.SON. I say that these chunks of the street include what were once street pieces by those artists because the pieces have been removed from the street, destroying the context of the work. Kind of selling a ripped apart corner of the Mona Lisa. In Bambi’s case, it appears that she has given permission for the work to be removed and sold, so maybe that’s still her artwork. J.SON was unaware of the sale of the piece of metal containing his former artwork, but I do not have comments from the other artists, though I find it highly unlikely that they approved of the removal of those wall segments or this auction. Yesterday, Caroline posted an interview with FAAM’s resident street art expert, and today we have the auction results…
Below, I’ve got coverage of the street pieces that were up for sale, but it wasn’t just street pieces for sale. If you want to see more highlights, I was live tweeting the auction, so you can read some of the other results on my twitter or here.
Some of you might be thinking “Hey, those were for the public to enjoy!” or “Why should an unaffiliated auction house profit from the work/legal risks of these artists?” Good questions. But consider this… Who wouldn’t want to enjoy a literal piece of New York City from the safety of their home?
Ethical qualms aside, FAAM contacted Vandalog with an opportunity that we just couldn’t pass up: An interview with the auction house’s official “street art expert” Sebastien Laboureau of Moonstar Fine Art Advisors. Since many published authors and curators with extensive knowledge of street art and graffiti still don’t consider themselves experts, I decided to see what I could learn from a real street art expert…
Caroline Caldwell: At what point would a street artist be considered a ‘sell out’? If possible, provide examples.
Sebastien Laboureau, Street Art Expert: Art has a market, and street artists also sell their works, as long as artists stay true to their personal style and create from their hearts the concept does not apply. Recently many works from street artists sell at auctions, and in galleries because this art is contemporary and talks to a wide audience and public. Banksy is the leading street artist, and he sells hundreds of works everywhere in the world every year at increasing prices.
CC: The Banksy’s “Bandaged Heart Balloon” from her residency in New York City is a portion of the wall that was physically removed and transported to Miami. How do you suggest or imagine people display large pieces like this in their homes?
Expert: Street art is amazing in the way that there is no set medium, street artists can work on canvas, metal, walls, doors. The beauty of it is to keep it in its original medium, we find that collectors enjoy buying and displaying street art because it feels like the work is created in their home.
CC: How much of the art available in this auction was actually relocated from the street to the auction house?
Expert: Quite a few came directly from the streets, including two Banksy walls, a metal roll down gate by Kenny Scharf, and another large security gate by Lady Aiko & Terror 161. The great thing about these works is most of them were created in the street and will live a second life now. They will be preserved for eternity.
CC: If a street artist paints work on a canvas, should it be considered ‘street art’ or just ‘art’?
Expert: I do not feel the need to differentiate between the two, all is art, street art is art regardless medium it is created on.
CC: What is the difference between a ‘street art’ and a mural?
Expert: Street art is a style of painting and a mural is large scale work done on a building, one is genre and other is a medium.
CC: Who was the first authentic street artist to refer to themselves as a “street artist”?
Expert: The reality is that street art has always been around us. Some say street art was born in the late 70’s in New York City through graffiti art in public places. Some called it vandalism, some are still calling it vandalism… THIS IS ART!
CC: Should street artists in New York have NYC at the end of their Instagram handle?
Expert: Street artists should have any handle they please, to show where they have come from or where they are working. New York City is very active in street art, but Miami has also become a street art mecca, with so many murals painted over the past year with an incredible quality and concentration in the Wynwood District. Street art is everywhere, in the London suburbs, in Barcelona, Paris, everywhere! And even in museums now.
CC: Would it be advantageous for street artists to align their personal brands with current trends in urban wear?
Expert: Historically, street art has been linked to hip hop. Fashion has always been intertwined with art. There is no limitation into what can and should be done!
CC: Is illegal street art graffiti?
Expert: It is still illegal in many parts and areas of the world, but more and more artists have been granted areas where they can create their works. Art is above any law, as art is life! Art pertains to our everyday life, and everywhere I look when I see art I see beauty.
CC: Should there be a different word for street artists who are female?
Expert: There are more and more female street artists. We have great examples at our auction including Bambi and Swoon. Swoon has a museum show set-up in the Brooklyn Museum in April. Kazilla is a very talented street artist from the Wynwood who will be showing works and has brought local street artists together for the exhibition. There are many others! Once again, it makes no difference! ART IS ART!
CC: How long do you need to do the street arts before you’re considered a street artist?
Expert: There is no lead-time. A street artist is an artist that happens to use the streets as their canvas, there is no school. Some artists are better than others, but once again, there is no diploma to become a street artist!
CC: What’s the best city to get blog coverage in?
Expert: Miami is now becoming the street art mecca! But street art is everywhere in the world now.
Nice One shows street artists that you can still do a great character without permission from the property owner (I assume given the other tags and half-finished scribbles on the wall).
Known Gallery will be showing both Cept and Remio later this month. I’m not sold on Remio’s indoor work, but his graffiti is definitely up there, and I’ve been a huge fan of Cept for year. I’m glad to see Cept getting some real recognition in the USA.
I’ve always thought that if I knew how to drive and own a car, I would have an artist paint it. Well, Kenny Scharf has been painting cars for fans lately and posting the pics on Instagram. I love the retro-looking results.
Plenty of photos of EKG’s ubiquitous tag along with an essay by the mysterious artist.
Before this, I would have been content to never see a new flag painting by Saber. He’s an amazingly skillful painter, but I was a bit tired of the theme. And then he made wooden pieces and I changed my mind.
Kenny Scharf, the 55 year old artist, was arrested this past weekend and spent approximately 20 hours behind bars for the little doodle shown above. Hyperallergic spoke to Scharf and has the full story. Basically though Scharf did not enjoy jail, but some of the cops were fans of his work, and Scharf expects to get community service when he is sentenced this summer.
Okay, I know this is just one small piece and he wasn’t busted after some months-long investigation so these aren’t perfect comparisons, but graffiti writers have gotten sentenced to months or even years of time in prison (10Foot, Oker, Tox, Utah, Ralph Mirabal, Revok…). I’m glad that Scharf isn’t facing months of jail time, but the double standard upsets me. Nobody should be facing jail time for graffiti or street art.
This work from Aakash Nihalani was done during Nuart earlier this fall, and I love it. It’s simple and site specific. Remember, always practice good placement. If you do that, you don’t have to paint 7 stories tall just to catch people’s attention.
Last night The Simpsons aired the highly anticipated episode “Exit Through The Kwik-E Mart”, which guest starred a few of street art’s all-stars: Shepard Fairey, Ron English, Kenny Scharf, and Robbie Conal. The episode has Bart covering Springfield in wheat-pastes of Obey-esque posters of Homer, which eventually leads him to the likes of the street artist guest stars. If you want a full recap of the episode go here.
What struck me was actually something we all already knew- street art is on the market and has seen some fast and steep increases in its value. It’s just weird to see it satirized on The Simpsons: Bart’s street work leads him to show work in a gallery. Bart jumps on Homer’s car and tags the hood, and as Homer starts to yell at him for doing this, Bart points out that he just increased the car’s value by 50x.
Being on the Simpsons is definitely noteworthy for street art history. But this isn’t the first time art vandals have rocked the cartoon world: Obey Giant was on Family Guy. Invader was referenced on Futurama. Shepard Fairey’s Obama poster was featured on South Park. Banksy directed this cool Simpsons’ intro.
If you’ve seen the episode what did you think? If you haven’t, but still feel the need to insert your opinion, what’s your take on street art getting Simpsonized?
Fun side note from my week: William Parry, author of Against The Wall, spoke at my college today. He’s currently on a speaking tour around the USA, so if you happen to hear that he is in a town near you, I highly recommend going to see him. And here’s the link-o-rama:
Speaking of Shepard Fairey, he will be guest-starring on The Simpsons soon alongside Ron English, Kenny Scharf and Robbie Conal. If The Simpsons had not officially jumped the shark before, this is it. Still, I’ll be watching.
I’m baking alive here in Atlanta for Living Walls, but damn things are coming along nicely. Nanook and Gaia have finished a couple of walls, including this one. But Living Walls is a busy event, so I’ve been missing out on a lot this week, including some big news from Banksy. Check all that out here…
Channel4 in the UK has two films of note being shown this weekend: Banksy’s tv special Antics Roadshow (it’s about people behaving badly in public) and Graffiti Wars, which is that Robbo (get well soon man) documentary that people have been talking about for a while.
A group show with a unique and possibly interesting twist is opening today at Eric Firestone Gallery in East Hampton, New York. Curated by Carlo McCormick, Nose Job featured a variety of artists working on old airplane parts, primarily nose cones. The line up includes street artists like Swoon and Shepard Fairey, graffiti artists like Futura and Mare139 and more mainstream artists like Richard Price and Raymond Pettibon. Here’s the full line up… Aiko, Dan Colen, Peter Dayton, Viejas Del Mercado, Jane Dickson, Shepard Fairey, Futura, How & Nosm, Juan James, Ryan McGinness, Tara McPherson, Raymond Pettibon, Richard Prince, Lee Quinones, Carlos (MARE 139) Rodriguez, Retna, Saner, Kenny Scharf, Shelter Serra, Swoon, JJ Veronis and Aaron Young.
Nose Job opens today and runs through August 21st. Here’s a little preview of what to expect…
Kenny Scharf recently painted this mural in Philadelphia. While the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program came out of an effort to eradicate graffiti, they’ve since changed their tune. Besides Kenny Scharf, of course Steve Powers aka the former graffiti writer ESPO from Philadelphia worked with the MAP on his Love Letter project. The press release for this mural even touts Scharf’s graffiti roots, something Scharf himself has tried to distance himself from. Additionally, MuraLAB is a project within MAP that’s trying to do some things beyond standard murals. It’s exciting for me to see a wider range artists working with the MAP besides a small set of traditional mural painters.
This mural was also organized with Goldman Properties, aka Tony Goldman aka the man behind Wynwood Walls aka the man behind the mural at Bowery and Houston in NYC aka the man largely responsible for redevelopment in those areas. According to this article (which I’m pretty sure falsely says that Goldman has worked with Retna in Miami, as if Goldman is taking credit for Primary Flight which he is not involved with), more murals are on their way on his properties in Philadelphia, although it’s not clear which artists he will bring. Shepard Fairey seems like a sure thing, but other than that, it’s difficult to say.