William Evertson created one of the most surprising packages we’ve received for the Mail Art Bulletin. His padded envelope covered with grids and stamps of all kinds, including one that read “Will Work for Food” and another of our Hyperallergic “H” logo, arrived bulging and begging us to open it.
Across the street from the Museum of Modern Art at West 53rd Street is an exhibition that might be unexpected for those expecting only Van Goghs and Picassos. Pantheon: a history of art from the streets of NYC is an attempt to create solidified narrative of street art history, to pin down this ephemeral art form into something more lasting, and more didactic. The team behind Pantheon, including co-curators Joyce Manalo and Daniel Feral, have put street art behind glass, creating a visually striking display that actually manages to insulate the art from the viewers, divorcing street art from its natural context. Though this art is visible from the street through the space’s huge plate glass windows, this is not street art in its most literal (and historical) form.
Attention all neighborhood artists! Northside Open Studios is hosting a meet and greet from 7:30 to 10:30 pm this Tuesday night (April 26) at Brooklyn Brewery in preparation for the Northside Open Studios (NOS) bonanza coming up in June. Mix and mingle with fellow artists and curators, plus grab a complimentary local beer.
In our effort to spread the love of art to all corners of the world, even to those who prefer their news printed and not virtual, we’ve started a monthly column in north Brooklyn’s The WG News titled Off the Wall, which will cover the area’s art world outside of the traditional gallery system.
Samantha Beverly (aka @kalofos) has created the funniest example of mail art that has arrived at Hyperallergic HQ yet. In her contribution to the Mail Art Bulletin, Beverly has transformed the greatest piece of contemporary spam — the West African email scam — into a hand-drawn scroll complete with crest and tassled string.
Artist John Fekner recently found this previously unpublished photograph of a subway billboard street art piece from 1983. This work transforms a Newsday newspaper poster in the Ely/23rd Street subway station in Long Island City, Queens, into a more ominous scene. Unlike street art interventions today, Fekner’s work disappeared soon after it was created — he estimates that it survived for a week or two at most — and it did not have an afterlife online … until now.
This anonymous work — the first we’ve received — is the most digital image, and informed by digital aesthetics, we’ve received. While most mail art lends itself to a handmade and analog quality, here the artist has gone to the other extreme and sent us a digital print on photo paper with no indication of context.
From ASCII sunsets to screen-flattened foliage, Artist Laurel Schwulst makes parks for the internet. In a temporary exhibition called Proposals For Future Parks shown on internet-based art space bubblebyte.org, the artist uses different media approaches, both online and off, to explore the abstract idea of a “park,” a loose term that for the artist might signify a constructed landscape that has been made for humans to experience. In this show of four parts, Schwurst designs parks that are meant to be experienced in the manner we are now most accustomed to — through screens, virtually and at a remove.
At 1pm EST today near the Chinese embassy in Manhattan, out by the water at 520 Twelfth Avenue, a congregation of chairs gathered. Art worlders, community members and human rights activists came out in force, to the tune of a few hundred, to protest for the release of Ai Weiwei, the internationally-famed artist who has been detained by the Chinese government for the past two weeks without charge. Click through to check out a photo essay of the protest featuring a diverse group of chairs, Jerry Saltz and protesters young and old (plus a dog concerned for Panda Bears).
There is apparently something about institutional street art shows that move museum folk towards declarations of their firstness. Street Art at the Tate Modern in 2008 was billed as “the first major public museum display of Street Art in London” while just last winter Hugh Davies, Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego, glowed that he was “really proud” to be “the first (American) museum to do an international street art show of this scale and scope.”
Art In The Streets, the latest and of course much buzzed exhibition opening at Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art is billed by MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch as — surprise surprise — “the first exhibition to position the work … from street culture in the context of contemporary art history.”
Last night, In the Use of Others for the Change premiered at the Center for Performance Research in Brooklyn. Choreographed by Julia K. Gleich, the new ballet featured collaborations with some familiar faces on the Bushwick art scene, including Audra Wolowiec, Austin Thomas, Kevin Regan and Andrew Hurst. I spoke to Gleich today about the show, its challenges, its surprises and the differences between New York and London when it comes to contemporary ballet.
Lynn Aquaheart of Conway, Arkansas, mailed us a a small canvas in an envelope covered with objects (and an animal) that fly. Inside was a small canvas painted light blue and covered with an inspiring message. We’re not sure if she meant it as a slogan for art in general or a commentary on mail art specifically, we’re guessing the latter.