Update: gilf! sent me this screenshot from a post on Instagram by @willnyc. @13thwitness is Tim McGurr, the son of Leonard McGurr aka Futura. Futura designed the original Supreme logo. Futura’s daughter Tabatha McGurr blogged for years on the Married to the MOB website. @willnyc’s post went up before Kidult’s image. A case of “it’s a small small streetwear world” and “Suepreme” was an inevitable and obvious gag for people to pick up on, or (and this is a total conspiracy theory) a case of collaboration between Supreme and Kidult, facilitated by Tim McGurr? Thoughts? This isn’t the first time Kidult has been suspected of working for the brand he is supposedly skewering. And of course, even if Supreme didn’t hire Kidult, there’s the argument that even a “Suepreme” parody t-shirt is still a great advertisement for the real Supreme.
Other artists have taken to commenting on the ridiculousness of this suit as well, most notably Kidult. The artist known for painting his name on storefronts (including Supreme’s NYC shop) who have appropriated graffiti aesthetics for fashion or advertising purposes is going to be giving away free t-shirts on his website today with the above “Suepreme” graphic.
The love/hate affair between Kidult and Marc Jacbos (here and here) continues… First Kidult painted the word “ART” on a Marc Jacobs store in New York. Then Marc Jacobs began tweeting about the piece as if it were created intentionally and selling a t-shirt with a photo of the defaced storefront for $698. Now, Kidult is making his own similar shirts, editions of 50 in white and 50 in pink, which will sell for €6.98.
Marc Jacobs’ shirt is available at the Marc Jacobs shop on Mercer Street in New York.
I still can’t figure out for sure of this whole series of events is a secret collaboration between Kidult and Marc Jacobs, or just two parties generating publicity and money through an actual fight/game of one-upsmanship. It’s a bit of a street art soap opera. Is Kidult working for Marc Jacobs? ISN’T HE?
Caroline and I were in Baltimore this week checking out Open Walls Baltimore. If you have the chance, definitely make a trip over there. Full posts about Baltimore coming soon. Point is, between Baltimore and moving this weekend, I’ve been lax this week. Things should return to normal on Wednesday or Thursday, but in the mean time, here’s what I’ve been meaning to post about:
It looks like Kidult hit a Marc Jacobs store in New York, but rather than panic, buff and pretend it didn’t happen like most other stores that Kidult has hit, Marc Jacobs’ Twitter has claimed the work. Of course, they still buffed the piece. The New York Observer has more, and as they point out, maybe Kidult was commissioned to do the piece, as has often been speculated about his work. After all, it’s well-known that KAWS was approached by companies to do ad disruptions for him (which he eventually sort of did, in that he has designed work for use on billboards, but without the illegal look).
Especially given my distaste for Supreme’s annual destruction of graffiti and street art through flyposting (I believe they call it an advertising campaign), I was pleased to see these parodies of their ads by Kidult.
A note from RJ: After writing this, I read Rub Kandy‘s interview in the most recent issue of IdN, where he speaks about street art that is created for and best experienced on the web.
What do Kidult, Blu, Maismenos and Katsu have in common? They are all examples, although not the only examples, of artists using the internet in a similar way to how graffiti writers and street artists have traditionally used the streets. These artists are each trying to spread a message at all costs. That’s standard street art/graffiti. But with these artists, a traditionally static artform is turned into a performance, what they do might be fake or impossible to see in person and, most importantly, they see the spread of their work online as at least as important as the physical pieces.
Check out these videos from Kidult (the first one is hilarious), Blu, Maismenos and Katsu…
With all of those videos, the resulting films are more important than the actual physical artworks. And yet, they were all done by street artists and graffiti writers and include (or pretend to include) art that is generally considered street art/graffiti. Who cares if anyone ever sees any of those artworks in person, or if they are even real? Even in the case of the real works that are depicted in those videos, most of those were seen by far fewer people, or at least art/graffiti fans, than these videos. In the case of Katsu’s tag on MOCA, that was buffed in less than 24 hours and it was a while before the existence of the tag and the story of it being buffed was even confirmed. The important thing for these artists is that the videos get seen. These videos and photos are more impressive than the actual work they capture. The intended audience for these street pieces is not the public on the street. These, and many other, pieces of street art and graffiti were created with an online audience in mind rather than a physical one.
So what does this mean for street art if the streets and a medium for viewing street art are being used in this way? Is street art just as legitimate when specifically designed, executed and documented for an online audience? What about graffiti? Does it even matter if a piece is real, so long as people see it? I would say that, at least when it comes to graffiti, it does not really matter if a piece is real or not. So long as it creates fame. Of course, fake videos won’t work at creating fame forever, but they are a temporary technique that can accomplish one of the goals of graffiti. It seems the case is more murky with street art. Certainly the street art in these is still art and probably still street art, just maybe not “street art” as the term is generally understood today. I consider the work in The Underbelly Project to be street art and graffiti, but others do not because it had to be viewed through photographs. Street art that is specifically designed to be viewed through the filter of documentation is still street art, but it’s an evolution too. As I’ve said before, I think hacking is 21st century graffiti, so maybe the internet is the new “street.” It’s quickly becoming a better avenue for artists to show their work to the public than real life.
French graffiti artist KIDULT released this video documenting some of his work on the streets of Paris a few days ago. For thos who aren’t familiar with him, KIDULT uses a fire extinguisher to spray paint on the side of stores. He is concerned with high end luxury brands, like ZEVS, and how hypocritical their place is in a society that predominantly lives under the poverty level.
Fair warning, parts of it are in French which is a bit annoying at times.