Martyn Reed, the man behind Nuart, is finally opening up a gallery space. Reed Projects, like Nuart, will be based in Stavanger, Norway and draw in contemporary artists from the world of street art and beyond. The Re-Jects will be the first show at Reed Project and it features a sampling of artists from past editions of Nuart: Vhils, Dolk, Escif, Evol, Brad Downey, Dan Witz and Roa. Nuart has never come across to me as something done half-assed, so I’m sure Reed Projects will be no different and I can’t wait to see how it develops. The Re-Jects opens this Thursday (7-10pm) and runs through June 22nd.
The Nuart festival of Stavanger, Norway is one of a handful of trailblazing street art festivals that have been popping up over the last decade or so. Actually the predate most, if not all, of the significant festivals. Last year, the organizers of the festival put together a book documenting Nuart’s history, Eloquent Vandals: A History of Nuart Norway.
Extensive photographic documentation of Nuart is already available, but Eloquent Vandals also has texts that you won’t find anywhere else. Essays by Logan Hicks, Carlo McCormick and Brooklyn Street Art’s Steven Harrington and Jaime Rojo provide some context for the festival and the festivities that happen there.
Hicks gives the inside scoop on what it is like to be a participant at Nuart. He acknowledges what so many artists and festival organizers really love about places like Nuart: The best festivals are made up of the best people, and the best parts of the festivals are the unexpected fun bits, not the murals. The artwork mostly just facilitates the good times and helps to justify to the rest of the world why a bunch of people getting together in a small city in Norway.
McCormick’s essay begins with one of my new favorite quotes about public art “Public art, when it is commissioned and produced according to some vague idea of the public good, is by and large really lousy art – and as such arguably the very last thing people need.” He goes on to show how festivals like Nuart can breath new life into the realm of public art.
Harrington and Rojo’s essay is not only the most important in the book, but one of the most important essays written about street art in this decade. They lay out what so many of us have thought about, but few have written about so eloquently and with such serious consideration: THE INTERNET IS REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT IN THE DISTRIBUTION OF CONTEMPORARY STREET ART. Sounds simple and obvious right? Well, it’s a bit more complicated than what I just wrote and the complicated aspects of this obvious fact deserve serious consideration, a conversation that Harrington and Rojo have now begun.
If you are interested in street art festivals like Nuart, and especially if you are one of the many people out there thinking of starting a street art festival, I highly suggest that you pick up a copy of Eloquent Vandals: A History of Nuart Norway.
Ron English has two great new sculptures that are well-worth checking out: Fat Tony (the tiger) which will be for sale as a toy and Hulk Obama, which looks like a customization by Ron that may or may not ever be for sale.
While David Choe and his collaborator DVS1’s contributions to Nuart 2011 were mentioned a couple of months ago, Nuart has just posted this video of all the work coming together. It’s cool to see these two talented guys at work, plus be reminded of what a great installation they put together for Nuart.
Happy almost Halloween. It’s been a week of wasted energy, or so it seems. A potential legal wall that I was organizing has fallen through for the time being, but hopefully things are just delayed rather than cancelled. Here’s some of what I should have posted about this week:
Reported, this sculpture at Occupy London was made and left there by Banksy, but that claim is unconfirmed by Banksy so far. Nonetheless, Zeus added this modification to the piece. And Above has also made some work in solidarity with the Occupy movement. Similarly to K-Guy’s work at Occupy London, I’m conflicted here. On the one hand, it’s great when artists who know how to get headlines do so in solidarity with a political movement of sorts, but on the other hand these artists are of course latching on to the movement and associating themselves with it in a way that they know will get headlines and potentially help them sell some paintings. Of course the same could be said of many of the celebrity speakers who have been generally well-received at Occupy events. So there’s that dilemma to think about.
Last time I was in NYC, I saw this billboard for Hennessy cognac with designs by Kaws. Just interesting to see the flip from a decade ago when Kaws would have modified that billboard illegal to insert his work onto it in an effort to associate with the Hennessy brand, and now Hennessy pays Kaws to associate with their brand. Also, this new Kaws/Snoopy toy goes on sale today on Kaws’ website. Okay, one last bit of Kaws news: I love this new painting by him.
With fall approaching (hopefully quickly after all the time I’ve been spending in 100 degree weather), another edition of Stavanger, Norway’s Nuart festival is just around the corner. This year, Nuart will break away from the murals that its become known for in favor of an event more like The Underbelly Project or Hell’s Half Acre: While there will still be some walls painted around the city, most of the festival will be indoors where artists will focus on painting directly on the walls of “seven abandoned 17x5x5 meter tunnels [and] a 50meter long access tunnel with an entrance hall equal in size to the cities largest gallery.”
Seems really interesting that this piece has text in English even though it’s placed in Iran. As if they intended for a good number people to see it online in the Western world and placed as much importance on that as on people seeing it in person.
Stavanger’s Nuart festival is well under way right now with some huge walls finished or in progress. This year’s Nuart is called The “Landmark” Series, and artists are not taking the challenge lightly. While in Stavanger last year, I thought that the city had been pretty transformed by street art, but now things are getting bigger than ever. A few weeks ago, Elisa posted here about Dotmasters’ Toy piece, but that’s just the start of what’s been going on.
And I mentioned this piece by Blu and Ericailcane a while back, but didn’t actually post photos, so here are some photos of it:
Been in NYC for the last few days. Besides being busy, it seems like the hotel I was at still hadn’t quite figured out the concept of wifi extending to all rooms in the hotel… So now I’ve got a lot of stories to post about. Here’s what I missed while I was away, though you may have read about it elsewhere:
I’ve actually been meaning to post about this for a while. Ken Harman from Arrested Motion and the Hi-Fructose Blog, just curated one of the better group shows I’ve seen. Some artists of particular note would be Emory Douglas (a major influence on Shepard Fairey and important propaganda-maker in his own right), Dabs, Myla, Mike Shine and Monica Canilao. A Decade With No Name is open on Saturdays and Sundays through September 12th at 54 Washington St. Oakland, CA. My Love For You Is A Stampede of Horses has photos of Monica’s installation, and Spoke has photos of everything else and is where you can purchase the artwork.
Papergirl NY is bringing Germany’s Papergirl concept to the USA. Basically, artists get together to distribute a bunch of free art to members of the public by riding around on bikes. Their YouTube video shows what happens in a bit more detail. Papergirl NY events are taking place in New York City this week. On Tuesday and Wednesday they will be at the DUMBO Arts Center, and then Papergirl will move to The Armory where you can find them Friday through Sunday.
Blu and Ericailcane are in Stavanger for Nuart, and their wall is one of Blu’s boldest political statements yet (after all, Stavanger is an oil-funded city, and oil money from taxes pretty much funds Nuart). Nice stuff.