Archive for the 'Public Art' Category


On the street and on FB.

Street art + art fair = an oxymoron

The Stroke 02 urban art fair was disappointing.  Aside from its overly commercial focus, it lacked the vibrancy we’ve seen and experienced on the streets and elsewhere.  Right from the beginning, we all asked, “Why Munich?” and later learned “that’s where the money is.”

The fair itself was situated in a four storey building next to the well groomed Englischer Garten in Munich, which alone seemed an odd and unfortunate decision.  The most interesting project was a live painting by 11 artists from Switzerland.  They had pieced together a large grid of 80 or so 16 x 20 boards, which they painted, re-painted, and painted over in a very dynamic and fluid manner.  The squares could be purchased as individual works of art, again indicative of the focus on sales.  However, the quality of this group’s work was very high, and the artists’ drawings, paintings, and stencils all worked very well together.

Aside from the Hatch Kingdom booth/room, most of the rest of displays were flat and stiff.  Objects on walls.  Way too much airbrush and cliche’d imagery.

I’ll write more later, b/c I need to go meet the students soon.

“The Man stickin’ it Back” as one of this post’s tags refers to The Money Man.

Alternative Berlin

At Spencer Homick’s suggestion, my SLU students — Kat Dwyer, Bridget Montesanti, and Charlie Reetz — and I signed up for a walking tour yesterday with a group called Alternative Berlin to see and learn about street art.  It was a great way to begin our two week journey — better than I expected, to be honest.  Our guide Mark was extremely well informed, not only of the “scene” itself, but also about the ways in which artists engage the community with their work.  He discussed street art as much more than mere decoration and/or defacement of the public environment.  The work we saw expressed commentary and critique regarding various social-political issues here in Berlin, Europe, and elsewhere.  I’m going to ask the students to choose one artist each and reflect upon and write about what they saw.  Prost, Just, Miss Van–I’ll need to check my notes to list some of the other artists.

We also went to the ATM Gallery to see an exhibition entitled Mutation by stencil artist Czarnobyl.

At the end of the day, Mark had everyone cut an 8-pieced stencil of a gorilla, and we spray painted it onto a piece of canvas to bring home with us.  The students loved it.

Rules of Evidence at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt

A program entitled Rules of Evidence will be presented at the Haus der Kulten der Welt during the first week of June when I’ll be in Berlin with three students to study street art. Curated by Okwui Enwezor, the project is “the first edition of a new biannual encounter at Haus der Kulturen der Welt that will feature five days of thematic programmes, conceived by a group of international filmmakers, curators, artists and theoreticians. A key component of the encounter is the critical re-evaluation of historical processes in the light of the contemporary moment. Also at stake is the role that images and strategies of representation, subsumed under the term ‘documentary,’ have acquired in present-day politics.”

SLU professor Obiora Udechukwu is a colleague of the well-known international curator Okwui Enwezor.

I saw on the HKW Web site that they are looking for readers to participate in a series of public readings that “involve throughout the entire forum live public readings from books on historic atrocities: W.G. Sebald, On the Natural History of Destruction; Antjie Krog, Country of my Skull; Philip Gourevitch, I Would Like to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will All Be Dead.”  I have written to see if my students and I could participate.  Obiora and Chika Okeke-Agulu (AKALA) will be in Berlin next week and now I know why.

Bomit presents “Giant Hype”

Not sure what’s up with this new Web site Giant Hype.

Their first post highlights Shepard Fairey’s mural at Karmaloop in LA.

There doesn’t appear to be any commentary on the new site yet.  Despite the success and glam, I like SF’s work a lot, indoors and outdoors.  Saw a great wheatpaste mural by chance in DC when I was there a couple of weeks ago.  Walking down the street towards Dupont Circle, hidden down an alley, and voila.  Lovely.

BIG SECRET! shhhhhh!

The stickerhead I didn’t want to reveal a couple of weeks ago will be up north this week photographing spring maple tapping.  SnapZ to SapZ.  Har de har.

Written in the subways

Bob Noorda died this past week, the graphic designer for the NYC MTA signage system.  Noorda standardized subway signage using Helvetica, a sans serif type font (see my previous post about Helvetica, the film).

All of which got me to thinking about subway writing (thanks Funkyparty).

Peanut butter and jelly.  Can’t have one without the other….


Check out this story about B.N.E in the NY Times today, forwarded by the tallest ninja in the sticker posse, Grant Cornwell.

From the article: “Peter F. Vallone Jr., of Queens, chairman of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee, condemned the show. ‘This isn’t even someone who’s decided to go legitimate,’ he said. ‘This is an unrepentant criminal who has cost honest taxpayers a lot of money, and he’s profited from it’.”  Sorry, Pete!!

B.N.E. uses a “serious-looking Helvetica Neue Condensed.”  I just watched the film Helvetica a few days ago, which describes the way the font was developed 50 years ago and how it has been used in a variety of social contexts.  One person said, “Helvetica is the perfume of the city.”  I guess B.N.E. is having  love affair with the urban environment.

Metadata madness

After Kevin’s new sticker scans are loaded, I’ll need to figure out how to identify these sticker pranksters without repeating what others have done.  Others have done a lot.  A catalogue raisonne’ might do the trick.

I can’t do a catalogue raisonne’.  There are way too many out there, though everything I’ve seen is online.

Cedar Lewisohn’s STREET ART book is unparalled.  Check him out on Facebook.

More, more, more

Obama graphics everywhere.  Not sure if I love it or hate it.  No, I love it.  Here’s a poster from Smack Mellon’s inaugural ball.  Is SF asking for or making any money on these remixes?




Flickr Photos

December 2022