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.”
Posts tagged with "Street Art":
An abandoned, decaying Miami stadium that once hosted the likes of Gloria Estefan, Elvis Presley, and Richard Nixon may finally be coming back to life. Since AN visited the 6,566-seat Marine Stadium last year there is new momentum to revitalize the iconic venue. And just as graffiti symbolized the stadium's decline, street art could help secure its future. PBS reported that Friends of Miami Marine Stadium—the group advocating for the 60s-era venue—invited 20 street artists from around the world to cover the space in murals. Why exactly? Well, the organization is now selling prints of those murals to draw attention to the building and raise cash for its transformation. And it turns out that initiative is strongly supported by the stadium's original architect—Hilario Candela. The revenue from those pieces, though, will likely only represent a small piece of the $30 million that needs to be raised before January. Estefan recently helped chip away at that figure with a gift of $500,000. To get a sense of what the stadium could look like if that $30 million goal is met, check out these conceptual renderings below from architect and designer Arseni Varabyeu.
A new, mid-rise, rental building on Pacific Street in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn looks like many of the new, mid-rise, rental buildings in the borough—at least from the front. The GF55-designed building’s brick and glass facade is fairly nondescript, but around the corner, on the building's eastern flank, a new 45-foot-wide, 75-foot-tall mural could become one of the most iconic—certainly the most Instagrammed—pieces of public art in the neighborhood. The mural, titled Sign Language, was created by Cre8tive YouTH*nk—an arts-based, youth development collective—and overseen by street artists Chris Stain and Billy Mode. The building’s developers, Quinlan Development Group and Lonicera Partners, commissioned the project, which was unveiled at the under-construction building in May. The mural is an adaptation of a 1978 photograph taken by celebrated photojournalist Martha Cooper and depicts a young boy climbing up a street sign to grab a bicycle tire. Cooper worked with the students on the mural and appeared at its unveiling. To take her photo and turn it into a multi-story mural, the young artists essentially broke the image up into about 90 pieces. Those pieces became panels that were individually painted offsite. Putting those panels in place added another challenge because they were installed before the building was actually completed. “Normally with a mural you paint directly to the building, so you adjust your design to the building on-site,” said Mode at the unveiling. “With this, there was a bunch of back-and-forth with the architect. We gathered a lot of information about where windows were going to land, the colors, the cutouts.” The developers said that they commissioned local artists for the mural as a way to add something unique to the project, and to the neighborhood. “They wanted to do something cool that had some aspect of the community,” said Jerry Otero, the founder and director of Cre8tive YouTH*nk. “Not just about it, but that was it somehow.” As new developments continue to rise in Downtown Brooklyn and its surrounding neighborhoods, there will be many opportunities for developers to do something like this—to turn an otherwise blank wall into a canvas. And if at least some of them do, it could go a long way in adding design into an area many believe is being overrun with generic architecture.
An art installation along Philadelphia’s Northeast Amtrak corridor is adding some color to the travel experience for 34,000 daily riders. Berlin-based artist Katharina Grosse has been commissioned by the city’s Mural Arts Program to transform seven sites alongside the tracks with vibrant (and environmentally friendly) coats of paint: Orange and white streak across a warehouse, green and white do the same on an abandoned brick structure, and hot pink cover brush and boulders. The installation, titled psychylustro, began unveiling itself in late April and will “unfold in a series of seven passages—from vast, dramatic warehouse walls to mall buildings and stretches of green spaces—meant to be framed through the windows of the moving train, creating a real-time landscape painting that explores shifting scale, perspective and the passage of time.” The Mural Arts Program has committed to maintain the work in “world-premier conditions” for its first six months. After that, the installation is intended to age, weather, and disappear altogether.
Since long before Adolf Loos published his seminal Principles of Cladding, architects have pondered the relationship between the surfaces of our environment and the secrets that lie beneath them. With his new installation at the Rokko Meets Art festival in Japan, street artist Jun Kitagawa has playfully un-zipped our curiosity. Through a series of giant, oversized zippers grafted onto the surfaces of everyday life, Kitagawa offers a glimpse into the world that lies only a few inches beyond our perception. Painted on walls, cutting through a house, and traversing a lake, Kitagawa’s giant zippers allow passersby to whimsically interact with their surroundings. [H/T Spoon & Tamago]
Finally. Los Angeles' City Council on Wednesday passed a new mural ordinance, legalizing murals on private buildings after a decade of banning them. Of course would-be public artists still have to go through an extensive permitting process, and pay a$60 fee, but if they're persistent they can finally go crazy. That is, as long as their murals don't contain commercial messages. "It’s a big victory and we’re thrilled," said Isabel Rojas-Williams, executive director of the Mural Conservancy of Los Angeles. The group has been protecting the city's murals and muralists since 1987. "Despite the recent restrictions, the city has remained one of the country's mural capitals." Don't believe us? Behold a selection below of our favorite (finally-sanctioned) murals from around the City of Angels, courtesy of the Mural Conservancy. They range from political to historical to street art / graffiti, to, well...the undefinable.
As children love to imagine, what if we actually built our cities out of Legos? A bridge in Wuppertal, Germany, a city of 350,000 to the northeast of Cologne, offers one vision of what that city might look like. Street artist Martin Heuwold, or as he tags, MEGX, created the grand illusion last fall when he painted a dingy concrete span in the bright hues of every architect's favorite toys. The city appears to be banking on the High Line Effect. Faced with the prospect of a declining population, Wuppertal has been looking for ideas to reinvigorate the city and increase residents' quality of life. The Lego Bridge is part of a 10-mile pedestrian and cycle path called Wuppertal Bewegung e.V. being built through the city on what was once the Wuppertal Northern Railway. Plans are also on the boards for a heritage trolley to run atop the viaduct. [H/T Colossal.]
EVOL: Repeat Offender Jonathan LeVine Gallery 529 West 20th Street, 9th floor New York Through May 5 While his artwork might be hanging on the walls of a gallery in Chelsea, Berlin-based street artist Evol adds a distinct element of urban grit to his used-cardboard and spray-paint stencil works now on display as part of his Repeat Offender exhibition. The incredibly detailed views capture the abandonment of low-income German neighborhoods, using the texture of the cardboard base to enhance the paintings' architectural qualities. “Clean surfaces don’t speak to me, so recording these marks is a process of visually remembering the charm of a place that will soon be painted over,” Evol said in a statement. Besides his cardboard paintings, Evol is also showing paintings on metal and photographs on his 2009 installation from a slaughterhouse in Dresden, Germany. [h/t Colossal.]
Portuguese artist Alexandre Farto, aka Vhils, sculpts architecture. Using mallets, picks, and jackhammers, Vhils chips away layers of plaster to create large murals in relief. His series of wall etchings called Scratching the Surface appears around the world from Moscow to Italy to the United States. Via Today and Tomorrow.
Things have gotten pretty wild in Times Square, what with the permanent plazas, aquariums, and ice sculptures on the horizon—that last one is going up tonight—so what about a good old fashioned billboard? Well, not exactly old fashioned. In January, Cuban-born street artist Sofia Maldonado took up residency in Times Square's BLANK SL8 space, where she began work on a clutch of murals that will be installed in the square come march, bringing a bit of graffiti grit back to the area. Our friends at LOOSEWORLD swung by and put together this video of Sofia at work, and there's another on the way, so stay tuned.