In the spring of 2014, the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program installed psychylustro, a multi-site artwork by Katharina Grosse, across sections of the Northeast Rail Corridor in Philadelphia. Grosse treated walls, warehouses, and even trees as her canvas. psychylustro‘s bold colors and brush strokes certainly changed the scenery for Amtrak commuters, and Hyperallergic described the work as “a mysterious, puzzling, and surprising presence.” But psychylustro was also an intervention at a site usually controlled by graffiti writers.
There was graffiti along the rail corridor before Mural Arts and Grosse got to work, and it’s no secret that psychylustro was tagged and bombed. For six months, Mural Arts regularly revisited the walls to apply fresh coats of neon paint. And then… they stopped, leaving psychylustro to the elements, the writers, and the buff.
Although psychylustro did cover notable graffiti (including works by Retna, Nekst, Skrew, Curve, and Ntel), it also presented an opportunity: Before installation began, Mural Arts invited Martha Cooper to document the graffiti at the sites where psychylustro was going to be. And recently, a little over a year after Mural Arts stopped maintaining psychylustro, they sent photographer Steve Weinik to revisit the installation. The result is a likely unparalleled documentation of graffiti along the Philadelphia section of the Northeast Rail Corridor in 2014 and 2015.
One nice perk of working at Mural Arts is that I have access to those photos. Since I’m about to leave Mural Arts for New York City, it seems like the perfect time to show the evolution of the psychylustro walls, from the graffiti captured by Martha through to how they look today. The photo captions are incomplete, but hopefully useful nonetheless (thanks to NTEL and Air Rat for help with captions). Enjoy!
This event sounds amazing. Between the hype in New York, London, Los Angeles and Paris, Vienna has enthusiastically been trying to put itself on the map in the global street art scene. The history of the city is one that has shown support of international street art for years but all that suddenly seems fairly small-scale in comparison to this festival. Cash, Cans & Candy has invited some of the big names of street artists (Shepard Fairey, Faile, Retna, Roa, Robbie Conal, Jaz, Dan Witz, etc) as well as some newer or lesser known talent to paint 800 meters (a half mile) of wall space around Vienna.
Shepard finished his wall at the end of May. Kicking the festival off with Shepard was probably a smart move in setting the tone for the rest of the events. The space he was given to work with definitely suited his style and the image is beautiful but I don’t think he incorporated the existing architecture as much as he could have. You can catch Faile painting their wall on June 20th.
The gallery exhibition of the same name at Galerie Hilger Next looks worth seeing. They’ve posted photos of a number of the exhibited works here.
The festival closes September 13th. To keep up with the ongoing events, including talks, tours, workshops, performances and block parties, check out the Cash, Cans & Candy Facebook page.
It’s not my intention to shame artists who collaborate with labels and “big brands” to support themselves, however I feel that there is a distinct line between using a brand’s notoriety to proliferate one’s own art and “selling out”. D*Face is an example of good corpo-collaboration as he seemed to have a lot of freedom when he worked with Smirnoff on a project which allowed him to do things he would have never been able to do on his own. By definition, selling out is what happens when an artist is willing to compromise their personal goals (i.e. propagating a message, promoting a distinct style, nurturing certain ideas/reactions, etc.) because of cash cash cash cash cash.
Louis Vuitton has invited Aiko, Os Gemeos and Retna to help design a series of scarves. Aiko refers to her work as having a graffiti influence and says ,”We break the law with wildstyle”, which seemed a bit ironic given that she is the only artist involved who does not come from a graffiti background and yet was the only artist to mention such things. As one commenter says, “Just waiting for Kidult to hear about this…” 12ozProphet has an interesting little read on some more examples of graffiti in couture, including a previous line from Louis Vuitton. Similarly, Krink and Coach will be releasing a collaborative line of bags this spring. That might just be coincidental timing or it maybe it was some Devil Wears Prada-esque trend carefully planned by the cigar smoking board members of some fashion-world back room.
Who do you think will buy these products?
Do you think they will know the significance or want to learn more about the artists?
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, Aiko, Retna, 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.
Retna‘s latest solo show opens on April 24th at Art Careyes Gallery at the Costa Careyes resort in Careyes, Mexico. And yes, I just repeated “Careyes” 3 times, but it’s not my fault that everything relating to this show seems to have that in the name. Anyway, the show is called Time Traveler. Here’s a beautiful video trailer for the show:
GrafRank is an attempt to graph the popularity of street artists and graffiti writers online using data from flickr. Interesting idea, but they need your feedback to make sure they are getting things right.
Keith Haring. Daze. Os Gemeos. Barry McGee. All of these artists have painted murals at the same spot at Bowery and Houston in New York City. The Street Spot has a history of the spot over the last five years, but it’s been being painted since at least the 1980’s. This week, Retna became the most recent great artist to paint at Bowery and Houston. Unfortunately, I’m not on the east coast right now because I would have loved to have seen this mural being painted, but plenty of New York photographers have been over to document the new mural both in progress on Monday and Tuesday and as a completed piece. Check out some of my favorite shots by Matthew Kraus after the jump… Continue reading “Retna at the historical Bowery/Houston wall”
The Boneyard Project at the Pima Art & Space Museum in Tucson looks absolutely fantastic. Saner, Faile, Bast, Aiko, Shepard Fairey, Tristan Eaton, Nunca, Futura, Retna and many other artists have been brought together by Eric Firestone Gallery to paint old airplanes and airplane parts. Of course, the full-sized planes look to be the most impressive parts of the show. Just imagine watching Nunca’s plane, shown above, landing at your local airport. The Boneyard Project is on display at the museum through May 31st. For more photos of the show, check Arrested Motion and TheFlopBox
There are so many interesting shows opening in the next week or two that I thought I’d just throw them all together into one post. Here’s what I think looks worth checking out:
Yesterday, the Museum of Sex in New York opened a show that sounds absolutely awesome called F*ck Art. It’s on through June 10th and features artwork by Aiko, El Celso, Lush, Mode2, Cassius Fouler, Miss Van and many more.
Love & Hate is a group show opening at StolenSpace this week and runs through March 4th. D*face, Dan Witz, Ronzo, Word to Mother, Jeff Soto, Eine, Charles Krafft and others are included.
Another collaborative group show will be in Da Mental Vaporz‘ (Bom.k, Blo, Brusk, Dran, Gris1, ISO, Jaw, Kan, and Sowat) show at Melbourne. That show, Le Venin, will be at RTIST Gallery from February 16th through March 4th.
All Talk at Pandemic Gallery will include Aakash Nihalani, Cassius Fouler, Gabriel Specter, Jesus Saves, NohJColey and others and runs from February 17th through March 11th.