In this era of monumental murals, it can be easy to forget that bigger isn’t always better. In a series of new wheatpastes, WK Interact has taken to the doors of New York City. These life-size pieces are bursting with WK’s trademark energy, and they pack more of a punch than murals ten times their size.
These wheatpastes remind me of an old story from Richard Hambleton, although I can’t remember quite where I read it. It goes something like this… Hambleton was once standing on a New York City street corner, preparing to paint one of his shadowmen. Only, there was a man across the street who just seemed to be standing there. Hambleton kept waiting for the man to leave so that he could begin painting. Eventually, Hambleton crossed the street and walked towards the figure, only to realize it wasn’t a man at all but one of his shadowmen painted on the wall!
True, WK’s figure’s are black and white, but Hambleton’s were just silhouettes. Surely a few passersby are going to catch these pastes in the right light and out of the corner of their eye and mistake them for the real thing. That’s an experience that a megamural can rarely deliver. Not to mention these pieces are probably perfect selfies.
WK Interact can work big, but this series is a great reminder that he doesn’t have too. These new wheatpastes are better because they are “small.” You can find them on the streets of New York City. Happy hunting.
A blend of violence, motion and power, WK Interact recently completed this ~400 ft (144 meter) long mural at Paris’ Geode. The wall is a fitting tribute for the 70th anniversary of D-Day; a day that marked a critical turning point in WWII, which initiated the liberation of France. A war which WK’s grandfather fought in.
Barcodes wouldn’t have been around at the time of D-Day, but I find their inclusion among the amalgamation of numbers, blueprints and acronyms as symbolic of the depersonalization of soldiers in the process of programming them to be killing machines.
Back in September of 2011, WK Interact installed a large series of wheatpastes in New York City that paid tribute to the first responders of 9/11. He called this Project Brave. Just this week, a video has gone online with WK and others explaining the project plus some shots of it coming together.
There are a bunch of shows open now or opening in the next month that I’d like to mention, but there are only so many hours in the day. So here’s a bit of a round-up:
Détournement: Signs of the Times is a group show that just opened at Jonathan Levine Gallery in NYC. It was curated by the legendary Carlo McCormick and features artists who “subvert consensus visual language so as to turn the expressions of capitalist culture against themselves.” Some of those artists in Détournement are Aiko, David Wojnarowicz, Ripo, Posterboy, Ron English, Shepard Fairey + Jamie Reid, Steve Powers, TrustoCorp and Zevs.
Chris Stain and Joe Iurato are showing together for a two-man show at NYC’s Mighty Tanaka. The show opens on Friday. These are two great and underrated stencil artists. I highly recommend checking out this show, particularly given the superb quality of Stain’s recent indoor work.
Sweet Toof has a solo show opening this week at High Roller Society a pop-up space in Hackney Wick, London.
Contemporary Wing’s (Washington, DC) latest group show, opening on the 16th, is an exhibit of secondary market work, but there should some nice stuff, including work by Shepard Fairey, WK Interact, Gaia, Faile and Blek le Rat. I must admit that I’ve included a piece in this show, but I’m not going to say which one (so if you want to help me out, just buy the entire show…).
In a funny coincidence, Time Magazine commissioned Shepard Fairey to illustrate their “Person of the Year” issue cover and Arrested Motion reports that Wired commissioned WK-Interact to illustrate their cover. In a further coincidence, Time’s Person of the Year is “The Protester” and Wired’s cover article is “#Riot: Self-Organized, Hyper-Networked Revolts—Coming to a City Near You.” Unfortunately, Wired changed their mind and used this cover, delegating WK’s art to staying inside the magazine.
WK-Interact’s aborted cover for Wired is a real shame. The reasons for the change are not known, but I have seen the cover they used and it pales in comparison to WK-Interact’s work. My low-quality photo of the actual cover does not really do justice to how lame it is compared to what could have been. Sticking with the “rebellious street art/graffiti” vibe, even the Wired logo has been made to look it has been poorly stenciled onto the page, as you may be able to see more clearly in this close-up shot. I don’t know if Wired made their decision before or after news of Time’s cover came out, but maybe the Wired editors just thought that two street artists designing covers for major magazines in one month was too many. It’s too bad though, I think WK-Interact’s cover would have been much cooler than Fairey’s is.
The SCOPE art fair’s Miami iteration should, as always, have a few booths of interest to Vandalog readers to year. SCOPE opens on the 29th and runs through December 4th. Make sure to stop by these booths: Mallick Williams for Skullphone and Love Me/Curtis Kulig; Jonathan LeVine Gallery for Olek, WK Interact and Aakash Nihilani; Dorian Grey Gallery for Richard Hambleton (and maybe LAII); and New Image Art Gallery for Maya Hayuk and Retna. Of course, all those galleries will be exhibiting other artists as well, those are just some highlights. And there should be plenty of else of interesting. For the last two years, SCOPE has been where I’ve seen some of the most interesting indoor art in Miami.
The other day, I mentioned that WK Interact was collaborating with New York firefighters on a mural in Brooklyn. The Project Brave mural has been installed at 149 Kent Ave and North 5th St in Brooklyn and is scheduled to stay through October 11th. Matthew Kraus made this video of the mural:
You know what’s really nice? Sleep. Hence, this weekend is a blessing. For now, life is school school school and more school. Hopefully there’s still a trip to NYC in my near future though… Here’s what has been going on around the internet and on the street:
OverUnder and Chris Stain have gotten things started at Living Walls Albany. OverUnder’s portrait looks kinda like an Ethos piece, but it still looks cool. And Chris’ tribute to the 9/11 first responders was painted on wood and has just been moved to the New York State Museum.
A few years ago, there was a castled painted in Scotland by some of Brazil’s best street artists: Nina, Nunca and Os Gêmeos. It was supposed to be temporary, but the owners of the castle want to keep it.
Jim Carrey and Shia LaBeouf are both trying to do some street art. Yep, the guy from Ace Ventura and a Disney Channel star are now technically street artists. Melrse&Fairfax says, “Interesting how street art seems to be more and more an exciting ‘escape’ for celebrities.” I’d like to replace interesting with some other word or words…
Hyperallergic and Don’t Panic have interview with Voina, the group of activists artists in Russia that Banksy supported with his most recent print release.
Toasters have a film coming out next year. I’m not sure I need to see 90 minutes of Toasters, but the trailer looks cool.
This essay on the origins of street art is an interest read.
Like cities around the world, Atlanta is increasing efforts to buff graffiti. At first, their proposal sounds like the city is at least trying to avoid removing “good” street art and “good” graffiti, but a. that’s hypocritical and b. Atlanta residents only have until January 17th to come up with a list of pieces that they don’t want the city to remove. That’s not nearly enough time, and any “good” graffiti painted after January 17th, is also at risk of being buffed. The city seems to be trying to please both sides here, and that’s just not going to work. If you live in Atlanta, help figure out which walls you want saved before it is too late.
With so much of the art world migrating to Miami this week in a frenzy, there seem to be too many events and parties (and I promise not to blog about the parties in detail. This isn’t a gossip site) and exhibits and festivals and everything else to keep track of. Here’s a roundup of some of the things that I’m most interested in seeing (or not seeing).
Things that have already been mentioned on Vandalog:
Last year, OHWOW Gallery’s It Ain’t Fair show was one of the most interesting shows in Miami. Once again, they have a killer line up for the show including José Parlá, Rey Parlá (José’s brother who is, I believe, a filmmaker), KAWS, Phil Frost, Barry McGee and Neckface.
Carmichael Gallery, Joshua Liner Gallery and others will have booths at SCOPE, and I think Maya Hayuk is painting a mural there, which should be awesome if I’m remembering that correctly.
And of course there’s all the fairs I haven’t mentioned, because there are just so many. So many. Too many. It’s gonna be art overload. But if I’ve missed anything that you think is particularly special, please leave a comment.