New York Street Art: Alive & Kicking

by Hrag Vartanian on September 9, 2010

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2010 has begun with some fascinating street art, including works by Bansky, Shepard Fairey, Kid Acne, Ema, El Sol 25, TrustCorp …

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Post image for The Emergence of Real Pop Art: Jeffrey Deitch & Street Art

As the reality of Deitch’s appointment to MOCA sinks in, let’s take a step back and look at his role as a street art advocate. Was he the prophet for the scene or just one of many fans? And where could this all lead?

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Post image for An Experiment in Street Art Criticism

Coming across a work by Gaia on the street is a special experience. His work is intelligent, emotional, well-executed, and informed by the wider world. He looks beyond pop culture, where most street art gets stuck. His linocut prints and drawings, often of animals, are beautifully rendered and react to the intensity of the urbanscape and its manmade fauna.

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Post image for New Museum Ethics Quagmire Gets Its Own Unofficial Ad Campaign

The unfortunately titled Skin Fruit has already opened on the platinum coast of downtown Manhattan, formerly known as the Bowery. And guess what, not everyone is happy.

Last weekend while avoiding the art fairs, I spotted a fantastic poster in Chelsea that lampooned the New Museum and its new found taste for caviar. I did some sleuthing and tracked down the creative geniuses behind the campaign and found out what they had to say.

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Post image for Street Art Politics & Commercialization…How Far Is Too Far?

For a while now, people I come across here and there have cited Dan Bergeron, aka Fauxreel, as an example of a street art sell-out. Why? Because back in 2008 he partnered up with Vespa to post 324 seven-foot-tall Vespa Squareheads wheatpaste ads on the streets of Toronto and other Canadian cities as part of an ad campaign that combined his characteristic “photograffiti” style with a very commercial addition ― Vespa scooter handles. The works caused a backlash from people who thought he went too far. It is an approach to ad marketing that isn’t as original as it may seem and it even has its own name, murketing.

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Post image for Last Night at Wynwood Walls: Fairey, Stelios Faitakis, Los Gêmeos, Swoon & Sissy Bounce

Outside of the major art fairs there’s dozens of other art things to see and do in Miami, including Wynwood Walls, which featured a bootilicious Sissy Bounce performance, art by Fairey, Swoon, Stelios Faitakis, Los Gêmeos, and more.

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Art Burn Report

by Hrag Vartanian on December 4, 2009

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If looking at art is fun, watching it burn is great. There’s something cathartic about attending an event dedicated to the destruction of art in the middle of the world’s largest art fair bacchanalia.

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Post image for Public Space Can Be Used Against You: NY Street Ad Takeover #2

On Sunday, many New Yorkers were probably trying to figure out who whitewashed and pimped out some of the city’s boring billboards. If you liked what you saw then let me introduce you to the man behind the renegade campaign, known as New York Street Advertising Takeover (NYSAT), his name is Jordan Seiler and he wants to return public space to the people.

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Post image for iBlanket: “Ads” That Don’t Sell & Encourage Debate

My husband was walking down Bedford Avenue on Wednesday, and he spotted someone pasting up posters on a wall which is almost always dominated by a giant Shepard Fairey poster, so frequently in fact that it might as well be his permanent ad space. It was lunchtime and no one stopped or cared. Knowing my love of street art, and what can sometimes be inane details, he quickly snapped a pic with his camera phone and emailed it to me with the message, “Someone covering up fairey [sic].”

What at first glance appeared to be a run of the mill “sniping” (i.e. illegal posting of corporate advertising), turned out to be a new street art campaign, iBlanket, though the artist prefers the term public art. The brain child of Bushwick artist Ann Oren, iBlanket riffs off the ubiquitous Apple “i” genre and turns our attention to the problems of homelessness just as the temperatures have started to plummet.

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Flipping through MOMO’s “3am-6am”

by Hrag Vartanian on October 19, 2009

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It’s an epidemic in street art publications, picture books with no little or no text and often no photo credits or explanatory text. The democratization of publishing, accompanied by the popularity of street art, has created a mass delusion that just because anyone could that everyone should publish a street art book. It’s far from the case.

MOMO is one of my favorite New York street artists though I tend to dislike his work outside (or is it inside) of that context. Nowadays, his large abstract paper pieces are plastered on construction sites and sidewalk overhangs throughout downtown Manhattan and northern Brooklyn.

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