Last December, I had the pleasure of spending a week in Paris with my parents. Between visiting art museums, touristic sightseeing and getting to know my local boulangerie & fromagerie, I managed to catch some great graff trucks, largely in the 11th, 13th and 20th arrondissements.
With my employer’s headquarters based in Munich, I regularly make trips to the Bavarian capital. Though I’m there for work, I always make time to take in some of the local sights. On a visit in September 2014, I was delighted to come across a giant wall by the Berlin-based artist, Kripoe. It was a perfectly serendipitous moment: bleary-eyed, jetlagged and rushing to work for an early morning continuing education session, this wall greeted me as I stepped off the tram outside the office.
With a little digging, I discovered this wall was a 2012 joint initiative between Amnesty International and the Munich-based non-profit arts association, Positive-Propaganda, who are “dedicated to establishing contemporary and socio-political art in urban spaces”. Amazingly, they had been able to convince the notoriously aloof artist to paint his first legal wall, titled “Hände hoch für Waffenkontrollel!” (“Hands Up For Gun Control”).
Around the corner, also on the grounds of the Schwere Reiter art center, I came across another Positive-Propaganda wall by the Spanish artist Aryz.
After an absence of two years, I returned to Munich in November 2016 for a 3-day software training. With only a Sunday afternoon of free time at my disposal, I hit the ground running, determined to see the walls Positive-Propaganda had helped produce since my last visit. With walls by Blu, Escif, Ericailcane, and Shepard Fairey, the organization had managed to attract some of the most socially conscious artists active on the streets to their cause. No mean feat in an era of increasingly vapid and purely decorative mural festivals…
Seeing how we’re already into February, I thought I’d share some of the first images from Art in Ad Places, a year-long ad takeover project I’ve committed to documenting. Once a week for 52 weeks, an advertisement in a NYC telephone booth will be removed and replaced with art.
Outdoor advertising is visual pollution.
Outdoor advertising can be psychologically damaging.
Outdoor advertising is pushed on viewers without their consent.
Outdoor advertising marks underutilized venues for other messages.
By replacing advertisements with artwork, Art in Ad Places provides a public service and alternative vision of our public environment.
My new year is starting off with a flurry of activity, the first of which is my participation in the ALL BIG LETTERS group show curated by Vandalog‘s RJ Rushmore at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. If you are in the Philadelphia area, I hope to see you at the opening on Friday, January 20.
The exhibition focuses on the tools & strategies of graffiti and features art, photos, tools, and ephemera from Adam VOID, Aric Kurzman, BLADE, Biancoshock, CURVE, DB Burkeman, Egg Shell Stickers, EKG, Evan Roth, FAUST, Fumakaka Crew, Jordan Seiler, Katherine “Luna Park” Lorimer, Lee George Quinones, Loiq, Martha Cooper, MOMO, NTEL, Smart Crew, Steve Weinik, stikman, and more.
My contribution are photographs of graffiti executed with rollers, extinguishers, mops and welds.
ALL BIG LETTERS
January 20–March 3, 2017
Opening: Friday, January 20, 4:30-7:30pm
I’m very proud to announce my first book, (Un)Sanctioned: The Art on New York Streets, the culmination of a decade of obsessively keeping up with NYC graffiti and street art. (Un)Sanctioned presents a photographic overview of art found on NYC streets, covering a vast spectrum of styles, mediums and techniques, running the gamut from illicit handstyles to guerilla sculptural installations to full-blown production murals done with permission. The 192 page hardcover volume, published by the UK’s Carpet Bombing Culture, is set to be released October 28. (Un)Sanctioned includes an introduction by art critic Hrag Vartanian, an essay by yours truly, and contributions from artists Elbow-Toe, Leon Reid IV, Jordan Seiler, Garrison and Alison Buxton, and Fade.
A book launch and signing will take place in conjunction with the 10 Years of Ad Hoc Art anniversary exhibition at 17 Frost Gallery on October 22.
(Un)Sanctioned: The Art on New York Streets
Release date: October 28, 2016
Publisher: Carpet Bombing Culture
Book Launch: October 22, 2016, 6:00-10:00pm
Location: 17 Frost Theater of the Arts, 17 Frost Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211