[Clet Abraham in NYC – all photos (c) Luna Park]
[Toynbee Tiles – all photos (c) Luna Park]
It’s always a pleasure to photograph Cern‘s work… here’s a selection of some murals painted around New York this year. His colorful flora and fauna (kitties!!) always put a smile on my face.
It’s been just a little over a year since the world’s most high profile street artist, Banksy, manifested Better Out Than In, his October 2013 show in New York. His residency proved to be a runaway sensation, achieving an unprecedented media saturation by enthralling legions of increasingly rabid fans with a calculated, daily presentation of new pieces citywide. In all my years of documenting street art in New York, I’d never experienced anything quite like this residency. The month-long spectacle rolled out largely via social media, with seasoned documenters and newbie, self-proclaimed Banksy hunters alike sharing their experiences each day in a frenzied race against the clock and against the myriad forces that conspired to cut each piece’s longevity short. For those in the know, the #banksyny hashtag became the mainline for the daily Banksy infusion. And as documentation from each daily scene showed, many New Yorkers got hooked… on the art as well as the ensuing sideshow.
Via his well-respected Carnage imprint, fellow street photographer and long-time Banksy fan, Ray Mock, recently published Banksy in New York, an account of the residency from the point of view of a quintessential graffiti insider. I can’t recommend this volume enough.
And this past Friday, on the one year anniversary of the close of the residency, filmmaker Chris Mourkabel’s documentary Banksy Does New York was released on HBOGo, with the premiere, cable TV broadcast on HBO scheduled for Monday, November 17th at 9pm EST. The bulk of the footage for the film was crowd-sourced, allowing for multiple, unique perspectives on the residency as it unfolded. I’m honored to have been interviewed for the film alongside Jaime Rojo & Steve Harrington of Brooklyn Street Art, RJ Rushmore & Caroline Caldwell of Vandalog, Hrag Vartanian of Hyperallergic and others. You can watch a short trailer below:
Visitors to Jersey City and surrounding Hudson County, NJ will have noticed that more than a dozen murals have sprung up in the last two years. These large-scale murals – produced by international visitors (Pixel Pancho, Case, Alice to name a few) as well as local favorites (LNY, Mataruda, Li Hill, Mr. Mustart, and more) – are the fruit of Savage Habbit’s labor. Having exhausted their own financial resources, Savage Habbit now turns to you, the art-appreciating public, to help support the production of the next cycle of murals. Please consider making a modest donation to their Savage Habbit Murals Project Kickstarter – it’s already 40% funded, so your contribution can make an enormous difference. It’s simple: all funds go directly towards purchasing paint and supplies to make more murals happen.
I recently ran into artists Leon Reid IV and Ryan Seslow installing newly cast pieces from their collaborative project Technophemera at Welling Court. Curious to learn more, I asked them a few questions about the genesis of the project.
LP: How did this collaboration come about?
LR: The collaboration came about in an organic way. Ryan reached out to me around 2012 by inviting me to speak as a guest lecturer during his “History and Emergence of Street Art & Graffiti” course at LIU Post. From there we connected on alot of conceptual levels and decided to work collaboratively in some capacity. As with many collaborations, the concept for a work isn’t finalized in the beginning of the relationship, but rather over the course of many conversations and exchanges.
LP: What are you saying about art and technology with this installation?
LR: Previous to our meeting, Ryan had already begun casting old computer hardware in concrete – suggesting a fossilization process. After seeing these, I decided to bring my installation background to the table and came up with the idea that the hardware casts should be buried in an excavation site to create the illusion of ancient history.
The central theme behind the project is that technology is invented at such a rapid pace that devices even 5 years old may as well be treated as fossils.
RS: I coined the term “technophemera” in late 2011 when I started placing casts in and around the NYC area. I leave them in public places free for people to take and/or become aware of their presence and displacement. The displacement is both obvious and also contextual. It questions they way we dispose of old technologies and hardware as well as our personal relationships to those devices and who we are becoming over time through this new consciousness. I still continue to leave various casts in and around and have also expanded to other objects like old aerosol cans – this gets a bit more specific, as it speaks directly to graffiti artists, how everything changes and evolves, with us or without us. We must choose who we are in relationship to those changes to maintain authenticity.
Leon and Ryan are hoping to realize a collaborative installation of Technophemera on the LIU Post campus in connection with the Steinberg Museum of Art at Hillwood starting this fall. For more information, please visit http://www.leonthe4th.com/technophemera/1.html.
UPDATE: A Kickstarter has been launched to support the initiative as well: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/leonreid/technophemera.
Judging by his website, Spanish artist Art is Tra$h has been extremely prolific since arriving in New York City. His whimsical, trash-based installations are very short-lived, which make them a welcome and powerful antidote to the recent proliferation of permissioned murals.
[Art is Tra$h – all photos (c) Luna Park]
Mark you calendars for the 5th Annual Welling Court Mural Project and Block Party, going down Saturday, June 14th from 12-8PM!
Participating artists include: Abe Lincoln, Jr., AM, Alison Buxton, Beau Stanton, Billy Mode, Brian Life, Cake, Caleb Neelon, Cern, Cey Adams, Christopher Cardinale, Chris RWK, Chris Stain, Clown Soldier, Col Wallnuts, CRASH, Cycle, Dan Witz, Danielle Mastrion, Dennis McNett, Don Leicht, El Kamino, Ellis Gallagher, Free5, Fumero, Garrison Buxton, Gilf!, Greg Lamarche, Hellbent, Icy & Sot, Jamie Hef, Joe Iurato, John Breiner, John Carr, John Fekner, Katie Yamasaki, Kimyon Huggins, Lady Pink, Lmnopi, LogikOne, Mare139, Mensen, Mike Fitzimmons, Never, ND’A, Pablo Power, Peat Wollaeger, Queen Andrea, R. Nicholas Kuszyk, Rene Gagnon, Rex Dingler, Royal Kingbee, Rubin, Russell King, Ryan Seslow, SeeOne, Sheryo, Shok-1, Sinned, Skewville, Sonni, SpazeCraft, Subtexture, Steven Cogle, Thundercut, TooFly, Veng RWK, Vera Times, Vexta, Wane COD, The Yok, Zam, Zed & more.
11-98 Welling Court
(at 30th Ave & 12th Street)
Astoria, NY 11102
1) By Public Transit: Take the N or Q train to 30th Ave. Then go west down 30th Ave to 12th St. by a) walking 10-15 minutes or; b) taking the Q18. You are there!
2) LIC Art Bus: Weekends only 5/10-9/14: socratessculpturepark.org/visit/bus/
3) By Car: Here is a link to the street map: tinyurl.com/2e7whgo
[Queen Andrea x Wane at Welling Court, 2012 – photo (c) Luna Park]