Banksy + 5: October 13th

Once again, people such as myself are the butt of Banksy‘s joke for a Better Out Than In piece (and once again I’m late posting about a piece). This may be my favorite work in the show so far. Banksy arranged for a man to sell original Banksy artworks on the street next to Central Park. The paintings weren’t labeled as Banksy pieces in any way, and were available for $60 a piece (although one woman haggled a bit and snagged 2 for $60). The obvious comparison is to Joshua Bell playing in the DC Metro, though the parallels are not exact.

This piece by Banksy is great because, like so much of Better Out Than In, it’s about the crowd that follows Banksy’s work and the system in which Banksy exists. Jeffrey Deitch recently called Banksy a conceptual artist, and I think he is spot-on. This piece, and so many others in Better Out Than In, are not the physical art objects themselves but about the relationships that people have with the objects.

Most Vandalog readers will have heard people complain, or have complained themselves, about how mediocre Banksy pieces can get covered in plexiglass and preserved while masterpieces just around the corner by any other artist can get ignored or painted over. Even work by Banksy has been accidentally painted over when not identified as his work. For 99% of street art and graffiti, the vast majority of people see it without the context of “This is a work by Artist X, whose history is Y. It is important because Z,” but fewer and fewer people see Banksy’s work in that random way, as just another artist among thousands, as just another piece of visual information on a crowded streetscape. For a brief moment this past Saturday, Banksy was just another artist, not a media sensation. Any hey, for just another artist, $420 isn’t bad for a day’s work.

Of course, now I’ve got friends and relatives emailing me asking why the hell I didn’t give them a heads up about this and asking how they can get a Banksy for $60 in order to quickly flip it and possibly make quite a few thousand dollars. But while the works at the stall were authentic, I wonder whether or not Pest Control will authenticate them. Without that authentication, even the people in the video can’t really be trusted if they attempt to sell their “authentic” artworks. Those stencils would be easily enough to fake. But who really cares if the works are real or fake, so long as you’re not paying more than $60 for them?

Speaking of street artists being unappreciated when their name isn’t Banksy, here’s our + 5. These five works that range from very big to quite tiny and are by Ludo, 616, UFO, Cane Morto edit: with Insurrectionize, Royce Bannon and Russell King:

Ludo in Paris. Photo by Carlos Ribeiro.
Ludo in Paris. Photo by Carlos Ribeiro.
UFO. Photo by Hrag Vartanian.
UFO in NYC. Photo by Hrag Vartanian.
616. Photo by Alex Ellison.
616 in London. Photo by Alex Ellison.
Cane Morto and Insurrectionize in Bergen. Photo by svennevenn. Click to view large.
Cane Morto and Insurrectionize in Bergen. Photo by svennevenn. Click to view large.
Russell King and Royce Bannon. Photo by Ellen King.
Russell King and Royce Bannon in Philadelphia. Photo by Ellen King.

Photos by Carlos Ribeiro, Hrag Vartanian, Alex Ellison, svennevenn and Ellen King

From street art to sculpture


From the Street Up is a show coming up soon at NYC’s Woodward Gallery. The gallery invited artists Royce Bannon and Cassius Fouler to co-curate the show, which focuses on sculptural work by street artists and public artists. The line up includes John Ahearn, 
Richard Hambleton, 
NohJColey, Leon Reid IV, 
Skewville, Gabriel Specter, 
Stikman, UFO and more. That’s one of the most interesting and impressive lists for a group show that I’ve seen in a while. Some of my favorite artists will be in this show, including a few like Hambleton, UFO and Stikman who don’t show their work indoors very often.

From the Street Up opens July 6th from 6-8pm.

Weekend link-o-rama


The week isn’t over yet, but this week’s news is going to be old if I don’t mention it soon. Here’s some of what I missed this week:

Photo by SMKjr

Pantheon now open in NYC

Pantheon: A history of art in the streets of NYC, opened recently across the street from MoCA in NYC and runs through the end of this week. It looks like a fantastic underground alternative to MOCA’s Art in the Streets show opening this week in LA. I’ve got a lot of respect for show who puts a group like John Fekner, Richard Hambleton, Don Leicht, Freedom, Stikman, UFO and John Ahearn all together. Check it out at 20 West 53rd Street, b/w 5th & 6th Avenue in NYC this week.

Photos by Luna Park

Pantheon: A history of art from the streets of New York City

Matt Siren 

UPDATE: There are just a few days left for the Pantheon fundraiser on Kickstarter. There are some cool rewards for supporting this show, so check it out.

Abe Lincoln, Jr., John Ahearn, Adam VOID, Cahil Muraghu, Cake, Darkclouds, Droid, El Celso, Ellis Gallagher, Faro, John Fekner, Freedom, Gen2, Goya, Groser, Richard Hambleton, infinity, Ket, LSD Om, Matt Siren, Nohj Coley, OverUnder, Oze 108, Quel Beast, Royce Bannon, Sadue, Skewville, Stikman, Toofly, UFO, and even more artists are all part of a group show opening in New York on April 2nd. Pantheon: A history of art from the streets of New York City aims to bring together multiple generations of street art (and, to a lesser degree, graffiti) from New York City and tie them together into a cohesive history. There are some real under-appreciated gems in that line up like Richard Hambleton, Skewville, John Fekner, Don Leicht and Faro.

Pantheon will take place in New York City at chashama/Donnell Library Building, right across from MoMA and run through April 17th. I’m really disappointed that I won’t be able to see this show in person. It should make a nice counter-point to MOCA’s Art In The Streets show opening in LA around the same time. If you do make it to Pantheon, be sure to check out the catalog, which Vandalog’s Monica Campana has contributed to.

Here’s a little preview of some of the street work from artists in Pantheon:

UFO and Gen2
Royce Bannon
Abe Lincoln Jr. and infinity

Photos by Luna Park

General Howe in NYC

General Howe emailed me recently about his work, and I think it’s something well worth checking out. My friend and I glued some toy soldiers to the street last year, but we just did it for fun. I like the fact that General Howe actually has a point to his work. Here’s what he said:

For just about two years now I have been spreading the streets of Brooklyn with British colonial toy soldiers in locations where Americans and British fought in the Battle of Brooklyn.  The Commanding General of the British was General Howe, which I have taken as my street art identity.

The research and experiences of doing this work has led me to my most recent project, Remains of Wallabout Bay.  I have been making linoleum cut images of bones and remains of dead American soldiers from the Revolutionary war.  The British captured thousands of American soldiers and would keep them on prison ships docked in Wallabout Bay a.k.a. Brooklyn Navy Yard.  When these unfortunate soldiers would die, their bodies were discarded over the side of the ship, I imagine in similar fashion to trash and waste that is discarded in this same area today.

This work stemmed from having so many different emotions about the U.S. being in Afghanistan and Iraq.  My thoughts kept bringing me back to past wars we’ve been involved in and thinking of the question, what would we do if foreign armies invaded and occupied our own country?

This work has been fun and meaningful and I look foreword to making work on the street for years to come.

And here’s some of his work…

General Howe

Remains of Wallabout Bay
Remains of Wallabout Bay
General Howe and UFO
General Howe and UFO
Remains of Wallabout Bay
Remains of Wallabout Bay

Check out more at General Howe’s flickr