It’s officially spring break, which meant the last week for me has primarily consisted of sitting at my desk where I read and type furiously until my eyes are tearing up and my fingers are sore. It also means I could only blog when procrastinating and that the next few days should be a chance to write some longer posts that I’ve been sitting on. In the mean time, here’s what I’ve been finding around the web this week:
The Living Walls Conference has two great announcements this week: 1. They are now a 501(c)(3), aka an official non-profit organization. 2. In addition to the annual conference, there will be 6 “Living Walls Concepts” mini-events throughout the year, starting in March.
Craig Ward wrote a letter critiquing Banksy’s critique of advertisers. Given: Banksy is one of the world’s best marketers himself. Beyond that, the letter is a bit of a mess and Ward points out that he has worked in advertising himself. Clearly, it’s written from the perspective of someone who has lost his perspective and seems to boil down to “There’s worse stuff in the world, so umm, please leave advertisers alone.” No doubt that there are greater evils in the world than the public advertising that seems to be the primary target of Banksy’s critique of advertising, but that sure as hell doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. Additionally, one of Ward’s points as to why traditional advertising isn’t as bad as Banksy’s advertising is that traditional advertisers pays for the locations they use. With that argument, Ward completely disregards both the negative externalities of massive ad campaigns that occur regardless of how much the advertiser pays (compared to the documented positive externalities of Banksy’s street art) and the illegal nature of many advertising campaigns which do not pay the government for the space that they use. By his standard, hiring an assassin to kill someone might be better than doing it yourself, because at least there’s money involved and somebody is getting paid for their time.
Usually I have something to say here about my week, but it’s all kind of a blur and I’ve been struggling to find any words to describe what’s been going on or excuses for not blogging about everything interesting I’ve seen this week. So let’s skip the pointless pleasantries and here’s the stuff I missed:
Some thoughts from Alone One on graffiti and street art coexisting (and the inherent superiority of graffiti, according to the author). While I agree with the author that, in the case pictured, Aakash Nihilani and Posterboy did the smart and respectful thing by utilizing a piece of graffiti in their street art rather than covering it unnecessarily, the all-to-common argument that graffiti is always always always superior to street art really upsets me. Is there something beautiful/powerful about a tag that street art cannot capture? Sure. Are there street artists (and young graffiti writers) who stupidly go over important graffiti? Definitely, all the time. But warning that street artists can never go over graffiti under any circumstances is narrow-minded and naive, especially today when so much work blurs the line between street art and graffiti. It’s too bad when such a talented writer has such a narrow view of things.
Back again this year at Village Underground in London, the Moniker Art Fair is opening today and will be open through Sunday. In contrast to the Frieze art fair (also on this weekend in London), Moniker is free and focuses on work by street artists and low-brow artists. This year, galleries exhibiting at Moniker include Stolenspace, Scream, LeBasse Projects, Shea & Ziegler (Frankie Shea of Moniker/CampBarbossa teaming up with Tina Ziegler) and Andenken Gallery.
The program at this year’s fair is packed, so make sure to check it out before heading over, as there are a number of special events like print releases and artist talks going on. Hooked Blog is running tours of the fair and the surrounding street art on the weekend, something I had a lot of fun doing on a more informal basis last year.
In addition to gallery booths, the fair includes project spaces for individual artists. This year, Matt Small, Beejoir, Best Ever, Peeta, Dabs and Myla will be showing work in the project spaces.
Freshman year is almost over and soon I’ll be leaving Philadelphia for NYC and London (just for the summer though). And yet, I still have finals to study for, so I didn’t get time to write about these things…
Dreweatts is holding their next Urban Contemporary sale on Wednesday, April 6. Whilst I continue to struggle to understand why works by artists such as Lucien Freud, Russell Young and Damien Hirst are included in a sale with the aforementioned title, there are certainly a few lots that are both worth taking a look at and actually fit the sale’s theme. These include eight Banksy prints and one of his Family Target canvases from 2003 (est. 30-50k GBP), a cool Martha Cooper photograph of Shy 147 precariously balanced between two train cars as he paints (est. 1200-1800 GBP), a haunting Guy Denning canvas (est. 3-5k GBP), a Jonathan Yeo Leaf Study (est. 4-6k GBP) and a really beautiful Adam Neate Self Portrait on cardboard (est. 8-12k GBP). The Neate is probably the highlight of the auction, at least in my opinion. It’s my birthday on Friday if a Vandalog reader out there is feeling generous. I’ll take you out for a drink next time you’re in LA to show my gratitude.
One of the more interesting aspects of this sale, however, is the final group of works, which will be auctioned in aid of Haven House Children’s Hospice. The twenty-five lots that comprise this section were curated by 15 year old, London-based Liam Patel. I don’t normally reprint press releases, but the text below sums up Liam’s endeavors fairly well so I recommend reading it. Stand-out works include those by Mantis, Herakut (pictured above), Remi/Rough and Matt Small.
Liam Patel has been collecting Urban Art since he was 12; now at the ripe old age of 15 he has brought together an extraordinary group of 25 cutting-edge lots to be sold at Dreweatts’ Urban Contemporary sale on Wednesday 6th April, to raise money for the Haven House Children’s Hospice.
Unable to do physical charity work for his Duke of Edinburgh Award because he had a broken arm and shoulder, Liam decided to ask some of his favourite artists to donate their work to raise £10,000 for the Children’s Hospice, which offers vital support to children with life-limiting conditions and their parents. Liam then approached Dreweatts to host the sale in their central London branch at 24 Maddox Street W1 and they were only too happy to help by offering the venue, and any extra expertise.
‘I came up with the idea to curate an Urban Art charity auction as the Haven House Children’s Hospice needs to raise around £2m each year to provide fantastic support for children and their families. Even though I won’t be able to raise that amount, every little helps.’ Each piece comes with a certificate of authenticity from the artist and estimates range from £100 to £1,200. The group to be sold for the charity includes works by the likes of Matt Small, Schoony, Handiedan, Mantis, Nick Gentry, Herakut and Arkiv Vilmansa all of whom were delighted to be able to help by donating the proceeds of their pictures.
Image via Dreweatts‘ Urban Contemporary catalogue.
Last night hosted a packed opening at Black Rat Projects entitled Printmaking Today. Normally print shows tend to be a bit tedious, since they are usually reproduced images of originals or have been so before upon their initial releases. But Black Rat hosted a refreshingly eclectic display of prints by artists ranging from Damien Hirst, Banksy, Matt Small, D*Face, Shepard Fairey and more. As much shit as I got for a previous post of mine about street artists becoming accepted into the art canon, this show only adds further evidence to my point. While many high end fine art establishments look down on street art and find it a passing trend in galleries, this show saw Hirst’s work next to D*Face and Bridget Riley (whose work is in the Tate) close to a Shepard Fairey, without any work looking out of place. My friends and I were discussing how not only does street art borrow from fine art, but fine artists are definitely borrowing from the work of street and outsider artists. The lines are quickly blurring between low brow and fine art, so it is finally nice to see the two in such a show, and not just in an auction.
The show also boasted an incredible pop-up project space by ROA. Each angle showed a new image, and I swear you could walk around it ten time and would still see something different. The works may not be new, quite similar to the LA and NY shows, but the concept is so much more complex and is worth checking out just for that reason.
My favorite of the night had to be Pure Evil‘s “Dripping Liza” work that culminated with a puddle of teal paint down on the floor near the canvas. Andy Warhol may be done to death, but Pure Evil still manages to put a new spin on an over-saturated piece of art that needs to be seen in person to attain the full effect.
This Thursday, Black Rat Projects has their first show of 2011. Pritmaking Today is their annual group print show. There’s a long list of some talented artists with work in the show, including Swoon, Know Hope and Matt Small. There will be new prints from Swoon, Candice Tripp and Matt Small. There’s also something from Hirst, but that should be easy enough to ignore. We’ve got a couple photos of Swoon working on her print:
In addition to the prints, there’s also an installation from Roa. His installation is part of a new project space/artist residency project at Black Rat Projects.
And all this opens on this Thursday night at Black Rat Projects in London.
Photos by C-Monster and courtesy of Black Rat Projects
This link post is definitely going to be a weekly thing. Hopefully it will allow me to link to things that I just haven’t had the time to cover here on the blog, my Twitter or Vandalog’s Facebook page. So here’s what you may have missed in street art this week:
Nychos’ solo show at Pure Evil Gallery (in cooperation with End of The Line) opened on Thursday. Go here for the press release sort of info or go here for photos from the opening.
That I May See, Matt Small’s latest solo show, opened last week at Black Rat Projects and it looks absolutely stunning. My family and I can’t thank Matt enough for his support of the Robert Shitima School in Zambia, which is where Matt and Black Rat Press have decided to donate 40% of the proceeds from this show.
OFFSET has once again put together an interesting conference of creatives who will be speaking next month (October 1st-3rd) in Dublin. OFFSET 2010 will have presentations from Gary Baseman, Steve Powers, Marc and Sara Schiller of Wooster Collective and many more. Early bird tickets are available online for 150 euros (with discounts for students thankfully).
Just Seeds has put together Resourced, a set for political posters that you can download and print at home. There are designs by Gaia, Armsrock, Chris Stain, Josh MacPhee and many more artists.
When I first heard about JR’s new Unframed project, I didn’t really care for it. Basically, JR is wheatpasting other photographers (often famous) photographs around in cities. To me, this sort came out of left field. I don’t mind when Blek le Rat does similar things, but with JR, I always liked the stories behind the photos as much as the images themselves. I thought that with Unframed, that aspect of the art would go away. Luckily, Angelo at FAME Festival reassured me in an email and said once I learned more about the project, these would be just as interesting as the rest of JR’s art. Because I trust Angelo, I waited and didn’t write anything about Unframed or JR’s piece at FAME Festival. Earlier this week, Hi-Fructose’s blog posted a better explanation of the project as well as some photos of Unframed taking place in Switzerland. As usual, Angelo was right and after reading that post on Hi-Fructose, I’ve been convinced about Unframed.
Today I have to break my usual rules for posting on Vandalog. I’m trying to stick to cover “street artists” and not “urban artists,” but I have to make an exception for this. It would make no sense to ignore Matt Small’s upcoming solo show at Black Rat Projects. That I May See is a show based on Matt’s trip to the Robert Shitima School in Kabwe, Zambia and it opens next Thursday (September 9th). Matt, Swoon, Mike Snelle (who runs Black Rat) and I spent some time at the Shitima school earlier this year. You can check out my video of the trip here, but Mike’s post about the trip on Arrested Motion is probably the best place to learn about what we did and where we were.
Since getting back to London, Matt has been painting portraits of students that we met in Zambia, and those will be shown for the first time at That I May See. This is a really special show to me, because my mother and sister are very involved with the Shitima School and having visited myself, I have seen just how vital their work is. Anyone who has met Matt knows what a kind person he is, so it should come as little surprise that Matt and Black Rat Projects have kindly decided to donate 40% of the proceeds from sales to the school. Unlike a lot of charity art shows where a hodge-podge of artists donate work that has been sitting around their studio for a year or two, this really is a proper solo show from a talented artist, and it happens to also be supporting a great cause.
If you’re in London next Thursday, I hope you have a chance to check out this show.