Between two projects launching at Creative Time and preparations underway for two major personal projects (more on one of those in just a moment), Vandalog has been pretty quiet lately. Taking a step back has allowed me to get excited about all the good things happening in street art, graffiti, and public art over the last month or two, and there’s lots more goodness still to come in through the fall. So here’s a bit of a round up of what I’ve been working on, the great things some friends of Vandalog are doing, and all the interesting stuff that people who I were were my friends are doing.
Over at my office job at Creative Time, we just launched Doomocracy, an immersive artwork by Pedro Reyes. Basically, it’s a haunted house in Brooklyn, themed around the state of American politics. I’llet the folks at artnet News explain. I’ll just add that I am consistently amazed by the epic projects that the production team at Creative Time is able to pull off. Tickets to Doomocracy are free, but right now they’ve all booked up. You can sign up here to get an email if we release more tickets.
Simultaneously, we’ve also got the Creative Time Summit coming up in DC next week. Dozens of amazing speakers coming together to talk about art, social justice, and the state of democracy. And tickets to that are still available. See you there?
In January, I’ll be returning to Haverford College in suburban Philadelphia to curate ALL BIG LETTERS, an exhibition about the tools, strategies, motivations, and innovations of graffiti writers. It’s an honor to be curating a show at Haverford’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, where I worked for almost four years while I was in school there. More info on ALL BIG LETTERS as that approaches.
Wooster Collective is releasing a book to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their historic 11 Spring Street exhibition. Although I missed the original 11 Spring Street, I’m looking forward to celebrating the project with this book.
Luna Park, one of the most important photographers of contemporary street art and graffiti, is releasing her first book. (Un)Sanctioned: The Art on New York Streets will launch next month as part of the 10 Years of Ad Hoc Art show at Brooklyn’s 17 Frost Gallery, and you can pre-order the book on Amazon. This is LONG overdue. We all know that there’s a glut of generic street art and graffiti photography books already on the market, but (Un)Sanctioned seems likely to be an essential purchase on par with Trespass, Subway Art, and Stuck Up Piece of Crap.
Wooster Collective announced tonight that they have been and will continue to be working with Art.com to solve a very frustrating problem that many street artists face: Photographers will take pictures of street art and graffiti and then license those images to online and physical shops around the world so that they can be printed onto t-shirts, canvases, posters, bags, clocks, and other knick knacks. The street artists and graffiti writers get no money from the sale of these photographs. While I’m not a big fan of our current copyright laws and I’d rather they be much more lax, this is pretty clearly a case where the morally right thing to do would be to pay the artists whenever possible.
Art.com is a major online seller of these offending photographs. According to Marc and Sara Schiller of Wooster Collective and at the couple’s urging, Art.com “has agreed to remove every photograph of street art in which the artist who’s work is in the photograph is not being compensated, and does not want photographs of their street work to be sold in this manner.”
As for how things will work under this new arrangement, the Schillers write:
While we’re still working out the details, in the coming weeks we will be working with Art.com to help identify the artists who’s work is being featured in over 600 street art photographs currently being sold on the site. If the artist wishes to have the photograph removed, Art.com has agreed to remove it. If the artist wishes to replace the existing unauthorized photograph with a new photograph or image that they own themselves, we will be assisting the artist in putting a licensing agreement in place for their work to be sold on the site.
This is exciting news for street artists and graffiti writers everywhere. It doesn’t solve the problem entirely since Art.com is not the only company currently selling street artists’ work in this manner, but it is a step in the right direction. The exact copyright issues could be debated in court, but Art.com has done the right thing in offering artists the opportunity to control their work if they wish to do so.
This all came about because the Schillers and Evan Pricco (Editor-in-Chief of Juxtapoz) will be having a public conversation this coming Thursday evening in NYC at an event sponsored by Art.com.
This year’s OFFSET conference is less than a month away. OFFSET is a conference in Dublin for creative folks. For this year’s line up, they have some really interesting speakers including Shepard Fairey, FriendsWithYou and Conor Harrington. You can find the full lineup here. The conference takes place March 9th-11th. Tickets are available now for as low as 50 euros for a day pass (if you’re a student).
We first noticed Dal’s distinct — almost-spiritual — aesthetic a number of months back when we came upon a stunning mural that he had done in collaboration with Faith47 in Chelsea. We were thrilled to discover that he is one of the artists participating in Hybrid Thinkingcurated by Wooster Collective at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery. Here’s a glimpse of his amazing work fashioned from his intricate play with lines that we captured on the street and on canvas at Jonathan LeVine.
If you are anywhere in the NYC vicinity, Hybrid Thinking is certainly worth checking out, as it also presents work by several other first-rate emerging street artists from around the globe including: Herakut, Roa, Sit, Vinz and Hyuro. The exhibit continues through February 11th at 529 W. 20th Street.
For (I think) the first time, Marc and Sara Schiller of The Wooster Collective have curated a show at a commercial gallery. For about a decade, the Schillers have been behind the most popular and well-respected street art blog on the web, they’ve been behind such events as 11 Spring Street and they are reputed to have one of the best collections of art by street artists in America, so I’m excited to see what they’ve put together for this show. Hybrid Thinking includes some Wooster Collective regulars and some surprises: Dal, Herakut, Hyuro, Roa, SIT, Vinz.
Next Saturday (April 9th), I’ll be hosting an event at my school, Haverford College, which I hope you will be able to attend. I’ll be moderating Street Discussions, a panel with Gaia, Jordan Seiler, Marc Schiller and Sara Schiller. We’ll be looking at what roles and responsibilities there are on the street for both artists and advertisers. Gaia is a street artist and blogger for Vandalog. Jordan is the artist/activist behind PublicAdCampaign. Marc and Sara started Wooster Collective and their book Trespass was published last year. The event is open to the public, and, contingent on me getting organized, there might be a video uploaded afterward for anyone who can’t make it.
For those in Philadelphia, Haverford College is really easy to get to via SEPTA.
Random side-note: This is one reason why I love Haverford College. Two groups on campus (The Collection Fund and the Humanities Center’s Student Arts Fund) have come together to sponsor this event. They are fantastic.
It looks like Taschen is about to publish the first street art book to seriously compete with Cedar Lewisohn’s Street Art. Ignoring an irrelevant cover image, Cedar’s book provided an overview of street art’s history and considered the art with the same level of seriousness that you might see in a book on Renaissance art. Now, Carlo McCormick (arguably the world’s foremost street art expert) has teamed up with Marc and Sara Schiller of Wooster Collective to write Trespass: A History of Uncommissioned Urban Art. The book brings together what they consider to be four generations of street artists (150 artists in total). That means Trespass will have to go back to the artists seen in Allan Schwartzman’s Street Art book from 1985 (also an essential book for fans of street art history) like Gordon Matta-Clark and Jenny Holzer and then tie that to the present with artists like Blu. This is the street art book that I’ve been waiting for. Oh, and the book has an introduction by Banksy, so that’s pretty unique.
I’m just in the middle of watching this video myself, but I’m liking it. Marc and Sarah Schiller of Wooster Collective did a talk at the Tate Modern (a similar one I think), and I was devastated to miss it, so this video was a very exciting find for me. It’s their recent talk from PSFK: