Posts tagged with "Street Art":

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studioSTIGSGAARD designs a “25th century” space for Rammellzee retrospective

Rammellzee (1960–2010), a seminal New York artist, is finally getting his due with the expansive and explosive two-floor retrospective RAMMΣLLZΣΣ: Racing for Thunder at Red Bull Arts New York. The celebration of this multi-hyphenate artist, writer, and musician is no staid, white cube exhibition. The paintings, sculptures, videos, drawings, and ephemera that comprise the exhibition are brought to life in a deservedly elaborate space designed by studioSTIGSGAARD, helmed by its namesake architect Martin Stigsgaard, also of Voorsanger Architects. Though perhaps no longer as well-known as some of his contemporaries, Rammellzee was certainly renowned in the downtown scene in the 1980s and 90s. Referred to as the “King of the A Line” for his tagging chops during his early street art days, he collaborated with the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat (who designed the album art for one of his music releases) and appeared in numerous films, including Jim Jarmusch’s cult classic Stranger than Paradise (1984). At the peak of his notoriety and commercial success, Rammellzee rejected art world trappings and retreated to his Tribeca loft, which he called the Battle Station, where he would spend 20 years working on his Gesamtkunstwerk, a constantly evolving mythical world. Stigsgaard’s design, which was developed in close collaboration with curators Max Wolf, Carlo McCormick, Candice Strongwater, Jeff Mao, and Christian Omodeo, honors the legacy of Rammellzee’s Battle Station, without trying to replicate it, something they felt could not be done by anyone except Rammellzee himself. Instead, Stigsgaard tried to “create a framework...to set his work off,” relying on the body of work to bring visitors into his world while still providing an intelligible timeline and order in an immersive environment. Upon entering the exhibition space you are confronted with a tunnel of mesh walls with irregular, geometric apertures that create a spatial “compression.” Stigsgaard says this references not only a subway tunnel, the site where Rammellzee first began mobilizing language by tagging the A train in Far Rockaway, Queens, but also a tank firing range, apt for an artist who felt that he was leading a war against the cultural tyranny of the alphabet. Down the tunnel are some of Rammellzee’s early visual works, as well as a script he developed, and an original 12th-century manuscript. The manuscript serves as a touchstone for Rammellzee’s approach to language as a visual, and eventually, performative and spatial, practice and his self-identification as a “gothic futurist.” He was constantly fighting against normative order—his own manifesto Gothic Futurist describes the symbolic battle of letters against the alphabet’s stultifying standardization, as realized in his graffiti and his later Letter Racers. The central upstairs gallery manifests Rammellzee’s military obsession and his invented linguistic theory of “Ikonoklast Panzerism.” For this space, Stigsgaard used what he described as Panzerkeil formations, which refer to a V-shaped arrangement of tanks used by the Germans on the Eastern Front. The formation leads to a strong exterior defense with a weaker interior. Here, the formation acts as the parti for the exhibition space; the structure presents a full-frontal approach for larger work with a more intimate interior to observe smaller pieces, simultaneously organizing the space and causing one to be “put off balance.” The formation’s visual logic extends even to the angular vitrines and other details. The final stage upstairs exemplifies the unorthodox use of lighting in the exhibition. Shifting on a timer, the lighting in this last space goes between the usual white light to black light that makes Rammellzee’s paintings and sculptures pop and glow. As you come around towards the stairwell, you see Rammellzee’s Letter Racers, hung ready for battle, spiraling downstairs. These Letter Racers are 26 fighter plane-style assemblages of detritus and consumer goods mounted on skateboards and remote-controlled cars, each a letter in Rammellzee’s invented alphabet. Light confronts you in your face as you take their mass in. This is hardly unintentional. As Stigsgaard says, “It's not about creating a comfortable lighting. I like that you get a big blast in your face. This is not a white box, ordinary gallery. You need to be a little bit thrown off.” The downstairs takes on a more cave-like quality. Ceilings are low and the space is almost unnervingly dark. We have entered the physical realization of the 25th century, a major era in Rammellzee’s extensive cosmology. Metal mesh walls that conceal and reveal—again in Panzerkeil formation—are on islands of what at first appears to be stone or gravel, but upon closer investigation are shredded tires. Here are perhaps the most memorable pieces in the exhibit, his Garbage Gods, full-scale armored sculptural costumes made of found objects and sidewalk trash. This cast of characters each has their own place within Rammellzee’s sci-fi mythology, with personalities he would adapt by wearing and performing the costumes. In the rear of the space is a glowing polystyrene “rock formation” that holds scale model Garbage Gods in its niches. This strange hybrid of natural and artificial, urban and prehistoric, creates a space that Stigsgaard describes as “outside of time.” The gothic meets the space-age, suits accumulate and reconfigure the histories of the found objects that comprise them, boundaries breakdown and time falls into itself—both in Rammellzee’s art and in the design of the space. After passing the final massive Garbage God, slivers of red light hint at an additional space. Though relatively large, tire shreds take up most of the room, allowing you just small passage. At dead center is a pyramid. Suspended on acrylic it seems to be floating. Red light hits its reflective surface, again creating an almost blinding moment. Lurking in the right corner is another Garbage God and at the right is one of Rammellzee’s bricolage luggage pieces. The room certainly feels significant and has a certain stillness, but without reading the wall text the space’s real weight might be missed. This pyramid is an urn, designed by Rammellzee, to contain his own ashes. This Garbage God is Reaper Grimm. This luggage is what he wished to carry into the next life. It is here, with Rammellzee present, that you realize this is no mere exhibition; this is a temple, or perhaps even, a mausoleum. RAMMΣLLZΣΣ: Racing for Thunder Red Bull Arts New York 220 West 18th Street, New York, NY Through August 26th
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Coney Art Walls opens for 2016 summer with new work

  Coney Art Walls, the creation of Thor Equities CEO Joseph Sitt, has 21 new wall projects for the 2016 season. According to the outdoor gallery’s website, all of the walls will be completed in time for the Mermaid Parade scheduled for June 18. The site, which opened Friday of the Memorial Day weekend, now features the work of artists Nina Chanel Abney, John Ahearn, Aiko, Crash, Timothy Curtis, Gaia, London Police, and Sam Vernon among many others. The bold and vibrant murals—curated by Sitt and Jeffrey Deitch—are situated at 3050 Stillwell Avenue in Brooklyn. Last summer was the site’s inaugural season and Sitt, who owns the property of the site, announced that he has larger scale ideas for the site long-term in an interview with Jeanine Ramirez, a reporter for Time Warner Cable News NY1.
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Move over, Jesus: skateboarders convert a historic Spanish church into a “temple of urban art”

The Spanish Church of Santa Barbara, designed by Asturian architect Manuel del Busto in 1912, faced severe deterioration from years of abandonment, until Church Brigade skate collective slid in. The collective's transformation, Kaos Temple, is a skate park completely immersed in geometric street art. With support from online fundraising and energy drink maker Red Bull, Church Brigade designed, built, and installed skate ramps inside the church. Church Brigade commissioned Spanish street artist Okuda San Miguel to paint the interior. In one week, San Miguel, with the help of three assistants—Antonyo Marest, Pablo Hatt, and MisterPiro—finished the transformation. Light filters in through stained glass windows, illuminating walls colored with geometric skulls, wildlife, and human faces. “I fell in love with it, even more after finishing it," San Miguel said of the church. "The contrast of my contemporary painting over the amazing classic architecture is incredible.” The street-artist called his completed transformation a "temple of urban art." Thanks to Church Brigade and San Miguel, the Spanish Church of Santa Barbara is, once again, a place of pilgrimage. Watch videos of the transformation here, and visit Okuda San Miguel's website to see his other works.
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Signs of life: Artist Steve Powers tacks thought-provoking ‘ICY Signs’ around New York City

Manhattan-based artist Steve Powers is offering a non-caffeinated pick-me-up for weary NYC commuters with his pop art–style street signs mounted on light poles around the city. Bearing food-for-thought slogans with themes of life and love against a pictograph or logotype, such as "I get lost to get found" stamped on a briefcase, the signs are designed to inspire smiles and/or introspection.   Titled ICY Signs, the temporary public art signage project takes after traditional handpainted signs. Powers uses the common sign as a tool to overstate the importance of signs to guide us through a confusing world. "It’s drag yourself to work day," reads one. Another depicts a lighthouse stamped with the word "You" beaming light onto the word "Me." The artist envisioned the signage as an emotional wayfinding system which encourages pedestrians to not only navigate the city streets but explore their own inner alleys and avenues. The 30 signs are being exhibited at four of the intersections earmarked as Summer Streets – part of an annual celebration of car-free NYC streets in which seven miles of streets are reappropriated by pedestrians and cyclists for three consecutive Saturdays in August. Powers’ artwork will go up at four Summer Streets rest stops: Midtown at 25th Street and Park Avenue; Astor Place at Astor Place and Lafayette Street; SoHo at Spring Street and Lafayette Street, with the majority to be displayed at Foley Square at Duane Street and Center Street.
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After years of delays, BKSK is set to revive this half-built luxury tower in New York’s artsy Noho district

With some financial maneuvering, the long-delayed construction site at 22 Bond Street in NoHo will finally see some action. For years, a 14-story super structure has been lurking at the coveted corner as a blatant reminder of a hotel project that went south. Now, with some refinancing, BKSK Architects will adapt the existing skeleton into an 11-story, block-through condo building. The Commercial Observer reported "developers Second Development Services and Richport Group have refinanced their $28 million acquisition and construction loan on 22 Bond Street from Starwood Capital Group with new debt from Glacier Global Partners." So this means that the $52 million project is now moving forward—but there is still no completion date just yet. "Taking advantage of the site’s expansive exposure on Lafayette Street, the building will become a literal canvas for art with a giant, site-specific mural," BKSK wrote on its website. "Additionally, the deep site is bracketed by two facades of weathered steel on the north and south ends, framing an 'art garden' within, visible to passersby through a large vitrine near the entrance on Bond Street. This building-as-art concept continues the neighborhood’s legacy as an incubator for art, where beginning in the 1970s, some the city’s most prominent contemporary artists emerged." This will be BKSK's second major project on the architecturally potent Bond Street. The backside of 22 Bond faces the firm's 25 Bond, a stately condo building clad in stone, bronze, and glass. And right across Lafayette Avenue from 22 Bond are two nearly-completed buildings from other big name design firms: Selldorf Architects and Morris Adjmi. The Selldorf-designed 10 Bond Street is clad in sculpted terracotta panels, while Adjmi's 372 Lafayette has an aluminum skin. Check out the photos and renderings of 22 Broad street below to see the building's sorry state today, and where it's headed soon. [h/t YIMBY]
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New York City converted this dingy subway tunnel into a colorful underground museum of street art

For a long time, the 900-foot pedestrian tunnel that leads to the 1 train in Washington Heights was one of New York City's creepiest spaces. Now, it's been transformed into one of the city's best places to see art—or at least take some impressive Instagram photos. As part of the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) Beautification Project, the dingy tunnel was recently transformed into a colorful, art-filled corridor. NYCDOT picked five teams of artists (out of 150 submissions) and gave them each a 200-foot piece of the tunnel to use as a canvas. As you can see, the result is pretty dramatic. NYCDOT has a nice rundown of what visitors and commuters should expect as they make their way through the tunnel:

At the entrance to the tunnel, local Washington Heights artist Andrea von Bujdoss, also known as Queen Andrea, welcomes pedestrians with her mural entitled, 'Primastic Power Phrases,' a series of typographical designs that include phrases such as, 'Today is Your Day,' 'Live your Dreams' and 'Estoy Aqui!' As one travels further into the tunnel, Maryland-based artist team Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn have created, 'Caterpillar Time Travel,' a series of colorful, geometric designs. Next, Queens-based artist Nick Kuszyk takes viewers through 'Warp Zone,' a geometric design that plays with perspective and 'warps' the tunnel walls. Chilean artist Nelson Rivas, also known as Cekis, has created a dense jungle landscape with, 'It’s like a Jungle/Aveces es como una jungla.' At the end of the Tunnel, local artist Fernando Cope, Jr., also known as Cope 2, created 'Art is Life' to remind pedestrians to 'Take Your Passion, Make it Happen' and to 'Follow Your Dreams.'

If you're wondering why the DOT oversaw this project, it's because the tunnel is technically mapped as a city street. Anyway, onto the pictures!
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This graffiti-covered Bowery landmark is about to turn luxury, but developers plan to preserve years of spray paint on its walls

In December, AN wrote that prolific developer Aby Rosen had picked up 190 Bowery—a six-story, graffiti-covered Renaissance Revival building that had been the private home and studio of photographer Jay Maisel since 1956. Maisel purchased the building for $102,000 and repeatedly turned down offers to sell it despite its skyrocketing value. Rosen's RFR Realty ultimately purchased the landmarked property for $55 million. So, you can understand that when 190 Bowery sold we predicted that its graffiti would be "power-sprayed into oblivion." Well, turns out we were wrong about that: The graffiti-covered building will continued to be a graffiti-covered building even as it transitions into an commercial property with ground floor retail. NY YIMBY reported that Higgins Quasebarth & Partners and MdeAS Architects recently presented their conversion plan to the Landmarks Preservation Commission which includes the "restoration of metal gates, wooden doors, stained glass, and other elements, but not removing the graffiti or cleaning the facade." The project's light touch pleased just about everyone. Landmarks commissioners loved it, the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors was pretty happy with it, the Historic Districts Council was smitten, and Community Board 2 approved it, as did the Landmarks Preservation Commission.
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Meet Elmar, the giant pedestrian pasted onto a New York City pedestrian plaza by artist JR

The artist JR described his latest gargantuan artwork best in a Tweet sent out this morning, "People walked on him all day without noticing him...now he is on the cover and everyone else is in the shadow." That cover is the new special issue of The New York Times Magazine, which features the larger-than-life pedestrian completely filling up the Flatiron pedestrian plaza next to Madison Square Park. https://twitter.com/tminsberg/status/590916655003369474 The cover and the artwork were announced this morning by Times Magazine Editor-in-Chief Jake Silverstein, who explained that the plaza was just photographed with a helicopter. The magazine's Director of Photography Kathy Ryan described the cover as in terms as big as the artwork itself, "Our biggest, wildest, most fun cover ever." JR is known for his larger-than-life pasted-paper faces and bodies that often appear on the sides of buildings and other monumental objects. Over time, the images fade and disappear. "Last month the New York Times Magazine...reached out to me to think about a project together," JR said on his website. He had been working on his Immigration series and chose to continue the theme. "So, we started looking for people who arrived less than a year ago," JR continued. "We pasted Elmar, 20 years old who came from Azerbaijan, on the floor of Flat Iron Plaza in New York City." The 150-foot-tall Elmar is now on view in the plaza and the new issue of The New York Times Magazine will hit newsstands this Sunday.
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Detroit city council asks, graffiti: art or vandalism?

Graffiti: art or vandalism? For some there's an absolute answer to that question, but for most there's room for debate. In New York City, police chief Bill Bratton calls graffiti "the first sign of urban decay," while work from Banksy (and sometimes lesser-known street artists) fetch hundreds of thousands of dollars at New York auctions. Detroit became the latest city to grapple with this question in an official capacity, with city council members previewing ordinances designed to cut back on blight that have brought a somewhat philosophical question into sharp legal focus: How do you distinguish between blight and art in a city renowned (or reviled) for both? Council member Raquel Castañeda-López told Detroit's MetroTimes she and her colleagues are considering a variety of ordinances. One would fine building owners for not promptly removing graffiti on their property, and offer tax incentives for installing deterrents like security cameras. To exempt legitimate works of art, Castañeda-López also said they're looking into creating a citywide registry for street art. That's a complex task, however, especially for a cash-strapped city like Detroit. They're trying to avoid repeating an embarrassing mistake made last year, when city officials issued more than $8,000 in fines to commissioned graffiti galleries along the city's Grand River Creative Corridor. Collectives like the Heidelberg Project and individual artists like Brian Glass, known as Sintex, continue to battle with city officials who must enforce vandalism statutes while enjoying the creative community's substantial tourist draw. Funding for the citywide registry could come from a “one percent for art” program that earmarks public development money for cultural programs. "We're deciding what makes the most sense for the city," Castañeda-López told the MetroTimes' Lee DeVito. The city will schedule public meetings later this month to continue the conversation.
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Satellite captures the world’s largest street art GIF from 430 miles above Earth

  INSA, as the undercover street artist is cryptically known, is the net generation’s equivalent of the legendary graffiti artist Banksy. While INSA’s doodles also dapple the walls of buildings in London as well as around the world, the artist creates GIFs—or “GIF-ITIs” as he calls them—based on photographs of his own graffiti paintings. He shoots these over and over with slight alterations in each frame in a technique not unlike stop motion animation until he can make a loop of images—essentially what a GIF, or Graphic Interchange Format, is. In a cyber wasteland of GIFs composed of cat pictures and film snippets, INSA’s artistic “GIF-ITIs” have made waves online. Recently, Scotch whiskey brand Ballantine's commissioned INSA to create the world’s largest GIF in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, inspired by INSA’s trademark "Looking For Love" motif. Four days of work, a 20-person team of painters and over 619,000 square feet worth of paint went into creating a mural of repeating yellow and pink hearts. The mural was then photographed over two days with a camera-equipped satellite orbiting 430 miles above the earth. Given the massive wherewithal that went into the project, the result is a little underwhelming—to say nothing of the fact that it’s only viewable online. The end result is an animation of moving hearts with the before-and-after shots of boats pulling in and out of the harbor and the receding sunlight reflected on the water. INSA’s GIF-ITIs have even inspired an iPhone app, which enables the user to point the iPad at a GIF-ITI and watch it animate on-screen. Take a look at some of INSA's other work below.
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Eavesdrop> Taking A Name in Vain: Petition launched to stop 5Pointz trademark

5 Pointz, the Long Island City, Queens graffiti mecca, might not have been lucrative enough for developer G&M Realty to keep on its property, but it sure makes for a nifty marketing ploy to attract potential renters to its soon-to-be constructed pair of residential towers. Jerry and David Wolkoff, the father-and-son owners of G&M, filed an application last spring to trademark the street art name for the new development. The application has been denied twice, but the Wolkoffs are still determined to figure out a way to capitalize on the 5 Pointz name. The artists whose work once covered the walls of the demolished warehouse are none too pleased. 5 Pointz curator and artist Jonathan Cohen (a.k.a. MeresOne), has launched a petition on MoveOn.org, seeking to fight the trademark. (As of this publishing, the petition had nearly 2,500 names.) According to the New York Daily News, the developers, who’ve pledged to dedicate 12,000 square feet to artist studios and exhibition space, are befuddled by the protests. Well, why would the artists take issue with the condo building using the beloved 5 Pointz name? All G&M did was surreptitiously whitewash the building in the middle of the night, erasing any trace of art.
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SLO Architecture helps preserve New York City’s disappearing graffiti walls

Demolition of the graffiti mecca known as “5Pointz” in Long Island City, Queens has become a flashpoint in New York City development. The iconic arts institution was literally whitewashed by the developer last spring and has since been turned to rubble to make way for two rental towers. As the controversial project continues in Queens, the destruction of another world-renowned graffiti forum, just a few miles away in the South Bronx, has gone largely unnoticed. The graffiti-covered walls of Boone Avenue are currently being demolished to make way for a massive housing development. For decades, some of the world's most respected street artists came to this desolate, industrial stretch, turning warehouses into canvases. The result was a constantly-evolving public gallery, curated by Cope2, a living legend in the street art world. But, let's be clear, this is not the same story as 5Pointz—the new development will not be luxury towers, but much-needed affordable housing. Still, the loss of a cultural institution is the loss of a cultural institution. Since the city broke ground on the development, a coalition of artists, architects, and students has formed to preserve as much of the site's history as it can. The project is called The Boone Room and its being run by SLO Architecture, the Bronx River Art Center, and students from Fannie Lou Hamer High School in the Bronx, and The New School in Manhattan. Last spring, students conducted video interviews with local artists and photographed existing work as part of an online exhibition that will go live in January. To create new, permanent street art in the neighborhood, artists, under the curatorship of Cope2, were commissioned to paint an interior wall of the Fannie Lou Hamer High School. The team behind The Boone Room has also worked with the developer to preserve some of Boone Avenue's colorful, roll-down gates which are being repurposed into a canopy for a performance space outside of the Bronx River Art Center. When AN recently visited Boone Avenue, local artist and resident David Yearwood, was working on what's known as Boone Avenue's "practice wall.” (This wall is expected to be demolished by a later stage in the development.) “Doing art in the neighborhood is a hard thing to do,” said Yearwood. “I’ve got a lot of friends that don’t like art, so you’ve got to find things to do get out of the neighborhood.” So Boone Avenue is where Yearwood comes, almost every single day. Finding somewhere else like Boone won’t be easy. "It’s basically a rough life right now for a lot of people,” he said. “There’s nowhere else to go.”