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
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:
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: