[Dan Witz in Brooklyn – all photos (c) Luna Park]
Dan Witz is an artist whose work never ceases to amaze me. He constantly succeeds in one-upping himself with his works on the street. In the above piece, installed as part of last weekend’s Welling Court project organized by Ad Hoc Art, he realized an idea explored in his infinitely smaller grate series in full, life-sized glory. That he succeeded in crafting an authentic door was evident by the number of people who walked past it, utterly oblivious.
Witz’ attention to detail is also evident in his studio work, in which he moves his hyper-realistic paintings onto canvas. I’ve only seen one of the several moshpit paintings he’s produced over the years, but it made quite an impression upon me and left me wanting more. All the more reason to join me at Jonathan LeVine Gallery tomorrow night for the opening of Dan’s solo exhibition, Moshpits, Human and Otherwise.
Moshpits, Human and Otherwise
June 30-July 30, 2011
Opening: Thursday, June 30, 6-8pm
Jonathan LeVine Gallery
529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10011
As the proud mama of a pit bull rescued from Animal Care & Control of NYC, this breed will always be close to my heart. Sadly, for various reasons, they are also the animals the are filling the shelters of cities all around this country. Luckily there are people in this world like Tia Torres, founder of the Villalobos Rescue Center, the largest pit bull rescue and rehabilitation shelter in this country. Sadly, Villalobos is in danger of being closed down by a single, hateful woman with a prejudice against against this loyal, beautiful and loving breed as well as their handlers.
If you, like me, have a soft spot for animals, I encourage you to take 30 seconds to sign this URGENT petition to stop the closing of Villalobos Rescue Center. As of my writing this, the petition already has almost 9,000 signatures, but their goal is for 15,000. Please support these dogs and enjoy the pictures of my girl, Ava:
2010 has been yet another crazy year, filled with lots of change, adventure, and as always, fun. The highlight for me was the adoption of my dog Ava, who I consider to be New York’s #1 pit bull street art model. I was also very fortunate in getting to meet and spend time with some really fantastic people, such as ECB, Jef Aerosol, Sweet Toof, Ludo, and Roa, during their stays in the city. My trips to Oaxaca, Art Basel Miami, and getting to see Steve Powers bring his Love Letter project to my hometown of Syracuse were a great way to rounded out the year. After taking a look back on this year, I would like to share some of my favorite photos, people, art & events from 2010 (see Luna Park’s list here).
Have a Happy and Healthy New Year!
Photos include work of: El Mac, Retna, How, Nosm, Aryz, Veng, Themo, Deem, ECB, “Sugar Junkie”, Specter, Sweet Toof, The Dude Company, Ludo, Skewville, C215, Dolk, MOMO, Faile, Swoon, Chris Stain, Joe Iurato, Lapiztola, Dan Witz, Gaia, Elbow Toe, Sofia Maldonado, Shepard Fairey, Steve Powers, Over Under, N D’A, Broken Crow, Cern, Cekis, Jef Aerosol, Cash4, Smells, Rambo, Trusto Corp, White Cocoa, Rime, Swampy, Celso, Nekst, Paul Richard, Goya, Faro, Darkcloud, Sadue, Gen2, UFO, Roa, Cahil Muraghu, Tati, and Kid Acne
If you’ve ever been driving down the BQE and caught a glimpse of something that made you think “WHAT THE %$#@?” chances are you just had an encounter with Dan Witz’s latest series. Now, just in time for Halloween, Dan has released a video tracking the installation of his sometimes spooky, sometimes sexy pieces. Trick or Treat indeed!
Dan Witz fans in the New York area are in for a double dose of goodness tomorrow evening when you can not only pick up his new monograph Dan Witz: In Plain View – 30 Years of Artworks Illegal and Otherwise, but you can also have it signed by the art legend himself. Spoonbill, one of my all-time favorite bookstores, will be hosting the book signing event this Wednesday, June 30th from 7-10pm. This is definitely one of those not to miss events for any serious fan of street art!
It is probably an understatement to say that Dan Witz has one of the longest running and well regarded careers in street art…beginning decades before street art could even possibly be considered a career for most artists. For the last 30 years, Witz has been adorning the streets of New York with his hummingbirds, hoodies, shrines, skateboarders, Do Not Enter signs with a twist, and trompe l’oeil-style painted photo appliques that mimic the grates on buildings. The genius of his work is how he can make something so brilliant and intricate appear so simple, accessible, and unpretentious. Well, accessible, that is, if you can even see what he has left right in front of you in the first place! Appropriately enough, the name of his first (can you even believe that?!) book, released today by Gingko Press, is Dan Witz: In Plain View – 30 Years of Artworks Illegal and Otherwise. I was fortunate to be able to view a copy last week during a visit to Dan’s studio, and I was impressed by this monograph in every sense possible. With a librarian for a mother and a New York sized apartment, I am not big on buying books, but this will definitely be a very worthwhile purchase for me this week.
And while looking on Amazon I was excited to see that he also has a calendar of his hummingbird images in pre-order for 2011. Now everyone can afford to have a Dan Witz piece on their wall!
So, moving on from my corny sense of humor and on to something that is actually good: images from Dan Witz’s studio:
Yesterday, members of the Welling Court neighborhood in Queens and a veritable who’s who of the street & graffiti world came together via Ad Hoc Art for a day of eating, dancing, painting & pasting. Wanting to beautify their neighborhood walls and enliven their surroundings, the ethnically diverse melting pot welcomed artists representing over 50 years of the street art movement to do the job. Participating artists include: Alice Mizrachi, Beast, Chris Mendoza, Chris Stain, Celso, Cern, Cey Adams, CR, Cycle, Dan Witz, Darkclouds, Daryll Peirce, Don Leicht, Free5, Gaia, Garrison & Alison Buxton, Greg Lamarche, John Fekner, Lady Pink, Leon Reid, Matt Siren, Michael De Feo, Mr. Kiji, Pablo Power, Peripheral Media Projects, R. Nicholas Kuszyk, Ron English, Royce Bannon, Sofia Maldonado, Swoon, TooFly, Tristan Eaton, and Veng RWK.
If you want to see the walls for yourself, a searchable address is 11-98 Welling Court, Queens, NY 11102. The project begins at the intersection of Welling Court, 30th Avenue and 12th Street and extends north along 30th Avenue and then east along Main Avenue, across the street from the Two Coves Community Garden.
Like most New Yorkers, I’m admittedly obsessed with real estate. If there’s a hole in a fence, I’ll peek through it. If I spy an open door or window, I’ll slow down to take in the view. Seriously, who isn’t curious about how the other 8 million New Yorkers live?!
Since Dan Witz started putting up his latest series of grates and windows, I’ve found myself looking at real estate in an entirely new way. In the past, I would have ignored a window while scanning a door for stickers and tags, but now I constantly have to remind myself to pay attention to the entire door. Service grates and exhausts on buildings are so ubiquitous, it’s easy to habitually overlook them. Dan’s pieces blend so well, they’re easy to miss! Learning to spot them has become a good exercise in being more aware of my surroundings.
Lucky Angelenos will be treated to the entire Dark Doings series when Dan’s solo show opens at the Carmichael Gallery on November 5th, 2009.