ALL BIG LETTERS Opens in Haverford, PA

January 30th, 2017 | By | No Comments »

Photo by Caleb Eckert

If you’re in the Philadelphia area, head out on to the burbs for ALL BIG LETTERS at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, probably my most ambitious curatorial project to date. The exhibition features specially-commissioned work from CURVE, FAUST, EKG, Egg Shell Stickers, and Evan Roth, plus contributions from dozens more artists and photographers.

Photo by Kendall Whitehouse

ALL BIG LETTERS investigates the tools and strategies of graffiti writers. My hope is that visitors can walk into the show with next to zero knowledge of graffiti, and leave with the ability to see a tag on the street and roughly understand how it came be there and why it looks the way it does. Was it made with spray or a marker or something else? Is the style something city-specific, like a wicked? Why did the writer choose that spot? How did they get there? How long did it take to paint? Curve’s installation in particular functions as both an artwork and a teaching tool. A similar thread runs throughout the exhibit, like in Evan Roth’s Graffiti Taxonomy series, which highlights 140 S’s from each many different tags, all written with a variety of different styles and tools.

Photo by Caleb Eckert

For people already immersed in the culture of writing, ALL BIG LETTERS is a different take than your typical graffiti group show. This is not tags or throw-ups on canvas. Rather, it’s a show for the graffiti nerds who understand that style is an important part of writing, but it is just one element, and it serves a particular purpose. A collection of homemade tools from MOMO, stikman, Fumakaka Crew, Biancoshock (yes, I know that a handful of the artists in the show fall more towards the street art spectrum, but I swear they fit in), plus commercial graffiti products, is paired with a series of photos by Martha Cooper of writers and street artists that highlight their tools.

Photo by Kendall Whitehouse

From a new diagram by EKG to photos by Luna Park and Steve Weinik (among others) to an investigation into the development of BLADE’s style over time to never-before-scene work by Adam VOID, ALL BIG LETTERS covers a lot of ground that is all-too-often ignored in more commercial settings, and I would like to think that it’s a pretty unique exhibition. On opening night, a handful of Philly writers all told me a similar story: I came out to support a friend in another group exhibition, but this is unlike any graffiti show I’ve ever seen.

So, if you want to see an exhibition about graffiti that’s truly different, an exhibition where the whole of graffiti is acknowledged (the repetition, the drive for fame, the performance, the risk, the competition, the hacking…), I hope you’ll stop by ALL BIG LETTERS. It’s open through March 3rd.

ALL BIG LETTERS is open at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery through March 3rd. Contributors include Adam VOID, Aric Kurzman, BLADE, Biancoshock, CURVE, DB Burkeman, Egg Shell Stickers, EKG, Evan Roth, FAUST, Fumakaka Crew, Jordan Seiler, Katherine “Luna Park” Lorimer, Lee George Quinones, Loiq, Martha Cooper, MOMO, NTEL, Smart Crew, Steve Weinik, stikman, and more. Learn more, and read essays related to the exhibition by RJ Rushmore and Carlo McCormick, here.

Photo by Kendall Whitehouse

Photos by Caleb Eckert and Kendall Whitehouse


Category: Art News, Gallery/Museum Shows, Vandalog Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ALL BIG LETTERS: Exhibiting graffiti tools and strategy

January 6th, 2017 | By | No Comments »

Philadelphia graffiti. Photo by Steve Weinik/@steveweinik.

On January 20th, I hope you’ll join me in Haverford, PA for ALL BIG LETTERS, an exhibition I’ve curated at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, just a few minutes outside of Philadelphia.

ALL BIG LETTERS includes art, photos, tools, and ephemera from Adam VOID, Aric Kurzman, BLADE, Biancoshock, CURVE, DB Burkeman, Egg Shell Stickers, EKG, Evan Roth, FAUST, Fumakaka Crew, Jordan Seiler, Katherine “Luna Park” Lorimer, Lee George Quinones, Loiq, Martha Cooper, MOMONTEL, Smart Crew, Steve Weinik, stikman, and more.

Generally speaking, when galleries try to bring graffiti indoors, the focus is on style. Those shows portray graffiti writers as designers, illustrators, the new pop-artists and calligraphers… Headlines along the lines of “Can you believe what he does with a spray can? Now you can buy it on canvas!” still seem all too common. But style is just one component of graffiti. Or maybe the shows focus on writers who have gotten up a lot, trying to capitalize on their fame. Or, as in the case of someone like Barry McGee or Boris Tellegen, the art is (largely) removed from graffiti, a separate practice.

For ALL BIG LETTERS, I took a different approach. To write graffiti is, at its most pure, the performance of an illegal act; the performance is as important as the product. The best graffiti is also strategic. It relies on a combination of repetition, longevity, visibility, degree of difficulty, novelty, and style. ALL BIG LETTERS explores all of those strategies, and the tools writers use to realize them.

Because of the show’s angle and some deep digging over the last year, it’s full of surprises. New work from FAUST, Curve, NTEL, and EKG, never-before-seen photos of two Philadelphia graffiti legends at work (you’ll have to come to the show to find out who), homemade graffiti tools dating back as early as the 1960’s, and more.

ALL BIG LETTERS opens January 20th (4:30-7:30pm) at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery in Haverford, PA. The exhibition runs through March 3rd.

On a personal note, I worked at the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery for just about my entire time as a student at Haverford College. It’s humbling to be invited back to exhibit at the space where I learned so much, and where we exhibited the work of so many amazing artists and curators (Hank Willis Thomas, Natasha Logan, the Dufala Brothers, Sam Durant, Pete Brook, Raymond Pettibon, Christine Sun Kim…). I can’t say thank you enough to everyone at Haverford for this opportunity.

Photo by Steve Weinik


Category: Featured Posts, Gallery/Museum Shows, Vandalog Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

MOMO at May

December 23rd, 2013 | By | 1 Comment »

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MOMO‘s latest show, Butt Joints, opened earlier this month at May in New Orleans. I really love what MOMO has done with this show. It’s almost like there are two shows trying to coexist simultaneously in the same space: An installation and a series of paintings and drawings. Okay, I realize that sounds terrible, but from the photos I’ve seen, I think it actually works. The different components of Butt Joints complement each other since it’s clear how the paintings and the drawings are connected to the installation. Still, as you can see in the above photo, the sculptural pieces of the installation are placed seemingly without concern for the drawings or paintings, forcing visitors to make decisions as they walk through the space. This doesn’t seem like the kind of show you can just view with your brain turned off.

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One skill that the best street artists really hone by working outdoors is an understanding of how to utilize spaces in interesting ways. They learn to highlight nooks and crannies that the rest of us might ignore and reactivate long-forgotten spaces. Butt Joints looks to be a prime example of how that knowledge can be taken into a gallery setting.

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But hey, these are just some thoughts I had from looking at photos of Butt Joints, and it really seems like the sort of show that should be experienced in person. Still, for those of us who won’t be in New Orleans anytime soon, here are a couple more photos, and you can find even more on Graffuturism.

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Photos courtesy of MOMO


Category: Gallery/Museum Shows | Tags:

The future is here with Re+Public 1.0

November 29th, 2013 | By | No Comments »

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Re+Public, a new app from The Heavy Projects and Jordan Seiler’s PublicAdCampaign, offers a glimpse of a future where the everyday is augmented by digital readouts and signage, and Re+Public makes sure that art has a place in that future. Basically, Re+Public is an app for iPhone and Android platforms that reads certain walls like QR codes, but instead of sending you to a URL, scanning a mural pops an image onto the screen of your phone, overlaid on top of the mural. We teased this technology back in January when it was in beta, but here’s a reminder of what it looks like when the app is doing its thing:

And now Re+Public is available for free public download on Google Play or in The App Store. There are new walls that activate it too. The mural by MOMO at the top of this post is one, and if you download the app, you can test it out on that image.

This is some pretty amazing stuff. I’ve been listening to Jordan Seiler talk about the possibilities of Re+Public for a while, and eagerly awaiting its release. Yes, Re+Public 1.0 is definitely an early version of the software since you have to tell it to look for a specific mural before you hold it up to a wall and there are only a handful of sites that will activate any augmented reality content, but Re+Public is a fantastic proof of concept. Some day augmented reality will be the norm. Like in sci-fi movies, we’ll walk around with little implants in our eyes that will act as heads-up displays for everything around us. Do we want those displays to be showing us ads with deals for nearby restaurant deals, or art (or maybe both)? I vote for art.

If you’re in Miami next week, a lot of the murals that activate Re+Public are in Wynwood Walls (unless all that is getting painted over), so try it out. You can see all the locations where Re+Public works and test it out for yourself over on Re+Public’s website.

Photo courtesy of Re+Public


Category: Art News, Videos | Tags: , ,

MOMO and Angelo visit Jamaica and Cuba

July 18th, 2013 | By | No Comments »

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Earlier this year, MOMO and Angelo Milano (the man behind FAME Festival and Studiocromie) went to Jamaica and Cuba on a sort of art-making journey / vacation. MOMO posted some photos from the trip last month. This week, Angelo posted a short documentary film about the trip. It’s definitely worth a watch if you’re a fan of FAME Festival or MOMO. Check it out:

Also, MOMO has a solo show that just opened with Studiocromie in Grottaglie, Italy. Juxtapoz has some great photos of that show, which looks absolutely stunning.

Photo courtesy of MOMO


Category: Gallery/Museum Shows, Photos, Random, Videos | Tags: , ,

Weekend link-o-rama

July 5th, 2013 | By | 1 Comment »
Kuma

Kuma

Okay I’m gonna write this quickly and get outside, because it’s basically been cloudy and rainy for two straight weeks in Philadelphia and now there’s finally some sun. But just in case the weather where you are isn’t so nice, here are some links:

  • I haven’t had a chance to listen to this yet, but Jowy of Subway Art Blog has started a new podcast, Jowy’s Blackbook, and gilf! is the guest on episode 1.
  • Rowdy has a new print out. I really like that the print is laid out on the page so that the whole thing looks like a blown-up polaroid photo. The print is pretty massive though, which could make it difficult to hang.
  • And Escif has a new print as well.
  • Check out this post over at Melrose&Fairfax for some hilarious shit-talking about Anthony Lister. Apparently, Greg is not a fan…
  • MOMO has a solo show with StudioCromie/FAME Festival next week in Grottaglie, the little Italian town that is home to FAME Festival. This show is the culmination of a months-long project that MOMO has been working on with FAME Festival which included traveling to Cuba and Jamaica.
  • Ron English has a new resin version of his MC Supersized toy available on his website (technically this is the MC Lover variation of the character). Not that there aren’t already about a million variations of this character out there, but it’s great to see such an iconic image by English available for just $40.
  • I love this new mural in Poland from Blaqk.
  • Honestly, I wouldn’t have selected Revok and Pose to paint the Bowery/Houston wall if I were the curator. Especially not right after How&Nosm and Crash. And as the mural was coming together, I kept thinking that it looked like it wasn’t really coming together. But then I saw the finished piece. Revok, Pose and the other members of MSK who joined in absolutely nailed it. The result is a mural that fans of graffiti and random New Yorkers can all love. This is one time where I’m very glad I didn’t speak out sooner, because my initial thoughts were completely wrong. I just with the wall itself weren’t a hoarding that pops a few feet off the building, inevitably making anything painted there look a bit like a billboard, but I guess that can’t be helped (after all, there’s an Os Gêmeos mural behind that hoarding).

Photo by carnagenyc


Category: Gallery/Museum Shows, Interview, Photos, Print Release, Random, Toys | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Weekend link-o-rama

June 22nd, 2013 | By | No Comments »

It’s that time again. Enjoy the rest of the interwebs…

Photo by Wayne Rada


Category: Gallery/Museum Shows, Photos, Random, Videos | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Re+Public’s augmented reality app at Wynwood Walls and Bowery and Houston

January 14th, 2013 | By | 5 Comments »

From the great minds of The Heavy Projects and Public Ad Campaign, Re+Public has emerged as the collaborative effort to revision and “democratize” public space through the use of their Augmented Reality app. Two new videos have recently been released which show this technology in full effect: (above) the app reacts to preexisting murals by How & Nosm, AikoRetna, and Ryan McGinness at Miami’s Wynwood Walls by turning the murals into giant 3D animations, and (below) the app unveils the timeline of New York City’s Bowery and Houston wall, including the work of Keith Haring, Faile, Barry McGee, Aiko and others who have historically left their mark on the wall.

You can sign up to download the beta version of Re+Public’s Augmented Reality app on their website. Follow them on Facebook for updates.

Keith Haring’s wall depicted in place of How and Nosm’s wall at Houston and Bowery

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Photos courtesy of Public Ad Campaign


Category: Featured Posts, Photos, Videos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

El Tono and Momo’s “Impropables”

January 7th, 2013 | By | 1 Comment »

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El Tono and Momo have teamed up to install 52 of these small sculptures around Besancon, France for a project they call “Impropbables”. On El Tono’s website, there are a few photos showing how they installed the pieces, which shows how they really worked with the space to fit the materials in with few extra tools. The two also produced a zine documenting the project, which is available here.

What’s beautiful about this project is the subtlety of the work. It might not jump out to a lot of people, but I think to come across one of these pieces and realize that it was placed there intentionally would be a really special and thought provoking find.

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Photos courtesy of Momo

Via Graffuturism


Category: Photos | Tags: , ,

RJ’s favorite 25 murals of 2012

December 26th, 2012 | By | 3 Comments »
MOMO in Baltimore for Open Walls Baltimore

MOMO in Baltimore for Open Walls Baltimore

Earlier this month, I wrote about my 25 favorite murals of the year over at Complex.com. Check out the list and let me know what you think. One caveat: I submitted the list to Complex before Miami, so nothing from Miami this year was considered for it.

Photo by Geoff Hargadon


Category: Art News, Featured Posts, Vandalog Projects | Tags: ,