Tag Archives: graffiti

On the Street in: Denver

DENVER 2016 ~ On a short trip to Denver, Colorado back in April, I took some time to wonder the streets and captured some of the vibrant street art scene there.

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I stayed on E. Colfax near Park Avenue and the first thing I noticed right off-the-bat was the strong sticker game going on there. Being a big sticker fan myself, I got a little obsessed trying to document all the slaps. Every sign, newspaper box, dumpster and drainpipe were plastered with plenty of great sticker work.

Names like MESR, INVIZ, SPB (Silly Pink Bunny / Jeremy Fish), YESM (tribute?), AEKS and HB9, led me from sign to sign.

YESM ? (tribute?) WKT, EMT

INVIZ, FTSK – Label 228

IMOK (If Mother Only Knew) – Jive

SPB (Silly Pink Bunny / Jeremy Fish)

FTSK Label 228 & Hello my name is BERT

Some nice 228 Labels, hand styles and graphics were seen in some out-of-the way places too.

Then I made my way over to the Larimer Street area near 27th St. where there are tons of sanctioned murals but even more unsanctioned stuff. There are two alleyways on either side of Larimer St. that are chock-full of tags, murals, wheatpastes, throwies, and just about anything else you can think of.

@ElleStreetArt

Trashbird, Lomax and??

One of my favorite discoveries there was the “Kwiatkowski Press” prints. A project by Brian Bradley, working under the name Frank Kwiatkowski, he carves his designs on sections of old traffic cones to make the prints. I saw at least five of them up on walls and other surfaces. He has a very unique style that reminds me of the raw and revolutionary work of Emory Douglas in the 1970s.  Kwiatkowski often centers his work around the healthcare industrial complex and his struggles in dealing with diabetes.

Kwiatkowski Press

                       

Another wonderful discovery was the work of Koko Bayer (@kokonofilter). The grandchild of groundbreaking Modern Bauhaus Artist Herbert Bayer, Koko’s project “brings his work back to life” by reproducing images and getting them up out in the streets, and adding a contemporary twist here and there. Now a whole new generation can be introduced to his masterworks through this collaboration that defies the bounds of time and mortality.

Koko Bayer also documents the weathering of the pieces over time.

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While walking through one of the alleys I was surprised to see a huge piece by one of my longtime favorite artists: GATS (Graffiti Against the System). @GATSPTV

I first came across the work of GATS while visiting ROME in 2010. The East Bay artist has one of the most recognizable styles on the streets. This double-faced piece behind The Meadowlark Bar music venue was so rad, I did my best to move the dumpsters out of the way to get a full shot, but the left one was full of cooking oil, so it was no-go.

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So I shot this Impossible Project / Polaroid of one face.

There was waaay too much wonderful stuff to mention all of it in this post. So I’ll show a few more here, then you can click the link at the bottom of the page (or here) if you’d like to flip through my Flickr Gallery of 80 photos.

CORPSE ART (@c0rpse___)

YEN34

OhYeah !!

Scot LeFavor WHAM! mural

There’s tons more to see, so click through the gallery below to fully immerse yourself in the Denver street scene.

Check back soon for the next installment of our “On the Street in:” series.  Hint: it’s often preceded by “Moon’s Over…”

Stay Up! ~ Peace.

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ALL TEXT AND PHOTOS BY LANCE ARAM ROTHSTEIN

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Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks

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Late in the 1980s, burgeoning New York art collector Larry Warsh acquired a series of eight, common composition notebooks from members of a seemingly-defunct and little-known band called “Gray.” Those notebooks sat boxed in a closet of Warsh’s Manhattan apartment for more than 25 years. Now they are on a touring exhibition from the Brooklyn Museum, with stops at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and the Pérez Art Museum in Miami, and the books are likely reaching a much bigger audience than the band ever attracted back at C.B.G.B.’s in 1980.

Of course, these aren’t just any notebooks. “Gray” isn’t just any band born in the Bowery. And it turns out that Larry Warsh is a damn good judge of groundbreaking art.

The sparsely-filled books contain years of hand-written notes by revolutionary artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and they seem to offer a peep-hole in to the mind of that unconventional genius. This exhibit presents pages from the notebooks alongside a selection of his larger compositions, providing the visitor an in-depth exploration of the Basquiat lexicon that is both verbal and visual.

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View from the Basquiat exhibition at the High Museum of Art.

Basquiat started the band, eventually called “Gray” with performance artist Michael Holman in 1979. They, with various other bandmates, played their ambient/industrial music at the usual downtown haunts, but with growing recognition of his visual artistic talent, Basquiat left the band in mid 1980. It was right about then his career seemed to lasso a shooting star and the artist struggled to hold on tight for as long as he could.

Surviving band members reunited to play at Basquiat’s memorial service in 1988 and again more recently for art happenings and music festivals. In 2011 they even released a “new” album “Shades of…” which includes cuts of  the late Basquiat’s voice and music.

GRAY – SHADES OF… from Plushsafe Records.

 

But this is about the notebooks…

View from the Basquiat exhibition at the High Museum of Art.

Since the beginning, Basquiat’s artistic efforts have focused on words and short phrases. The SAMO@ graffiti he perpetrated with school friend Al Diaz in the late seventies often seemed like excerpts of Beat poetry.

MICROWAVE & VIDEO X-SISTANCE
“BIG MAC” CERTIFICATE
FOR X-MAS
-SAMO©

Even after his painting evolved from street walls, to paper and fabric, to canvas and wood installations, these words and phrases infiltrated every aspect of Basquiat’s artwork. In fact they seem to be the actual essence of it, merely enhanced by the more visually dominant graphic elements.

Basquiat – Untitled, 1982–83. Oilstick, colored pencil, crayon, and gouache on paper mounted on canvas. Collection of Fred Hoffman.  Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat.

This first major exhibition of the books displays 160 pages of the artist’s personal writings, sketches and notes, accompanied by other drawings, paintings and historical Basquiat ephemera. The pages on display often reveal a kind of evolution on many of the subjects he used in his more extensive paintings, along with those iconic motifs like figures, faces and crowns.

Page from Basquiat notebooks – Famous Negro Athletes.

Basquiat drawing – Famous Negro Athletes, 1981, oil stick on paper. Collection of Glenn O’Brien.

 

Basquiat developed a unique way of using language the way other artists used paint, or filmmakers use footage. The notebooks seem to be like mental scrapbooks for the artist to collect and manipulate phrases and ideas.

The exhibit presents them as “autonomous works” and not the “preparatory studies” of a sketchbook. But they do have a sketchbook feel to them, only these sketches are made with words instead of line and shadow.

This brings me back to the Beat Poets, and Kerouac in particular. On the back cover of my copy of the book: “Jack Kerouac Book of Sketches“, (Pengiun 2006), it says:

“…Ed White mentioned to Jack Kerouac ‘Why don’t you just sketch in the streets like a painter but with words.’ White’s suggestion is credited with helping to inspire Kerouac’s move to spontaneous prose.”

Here’s an excerpt from a Kerouac “sketch” in Massachusetts.

———————–

Concord River RR
Bridge
Sunday Oct 24 ’54
Lowel
5 PM
     A ridiculous NE
tumbleweed danced
across the RR bridge
     Thoreau’s Concord
is blue aquamarine
in October red
sereness — little
Indian hill towards
Walden, is orange
brown with Autumn
The faultless sky
attests to T’s solemn
wisdom being correct
— but perfect wisdom is Buddha’s

—————-

Many of these Basquiat notebook pages have a very similar feel…

Basquiat Page2

Basquiat – from Untitled Notebook #2, 1980–1981 – Collection of Larry Warsh, Copyright © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Photo: Sarah DeSantis, Brooklyn Museum.

 

Just as other collage artists like Ray Johnson and Robert Rauschenberg collected little snippets physically from newspapers, letters and trash piles, to later assemble and re-arrange in their artworks, – Basquiat seems to have been collecting these snippets verbally instead. He collected them in the notebooks by writing them down when he read them, heard them, witnessed them, or just thought them up.

While many lines are filled with these intriguing collections of phrases, and developing ideas, other pages do indeed feel more like finished works of art on their own.

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Basquiat –  Untitled Notebook Page, circa 1987 – 

Collection of Larry Warsh. Copyright © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Photo: Sarah DeSantis, Brooklyn Museum.

Looking closely at the intricate structures of words and lines on the pages, one can hardly resist recalling the obvious influences of seasoned contemporaries like Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly.

Basquiat – detail from page of Notebook #4 – Collection of Larry Warsh.

In addition to these rarely seen notebook pages, some of the more emblematic Basquiat works are traveling with the show. These larger compositions, canvasses and collages add a pleasing compliment to the exhibition.

Views from the show at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta.

Some of the most precious little items in the show are the rare mementos of the artist’s life, such as the Brooklyn Museum Junior Membership Card signed by a young Jean-Michel Basquiat.

And the unforgettable Polaroid photograph by cohort Andy Warhol.

Jean Michel – Basquiat Polaroid 1982 – by Andy Warhol on loan from private collection, seen at The High Museum of Art.

These additions provide a much wider scope for viewing the artist’s work, making this a unique opportunity for both longtime aficionados, and Basquiat newbies alike.

As notebook owner Larry Warsh expressed so perfectly in an April, 2015 Q&A article for Departures by Laura van Straaten:

“No one can have a complete picture of the inner workings of any artist, but the words on these pages give us a glimpse of the soul behind this complex, creative persona.”

While I highly recommend attending this exhibition if you can, I can’t help myself from wondering what else Warsh might have stashed in that closet of his…

Tour Schedule :

Brooklyn Museum, New York

April 3–August 23, 2015

High Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia

February 28–May 29, 2016

Pérez Art Museum Miami, Florida

August 8–October 23, 2016

 

Links, Sources & Recommended reading:

 

Departures: “Q&A: Larry Warsh On Basquiat’s Notebooks” by Laura van Straaten

Financial Times: “Larry Warsh on his approach to collecting” by Peter Aspden

Gray History from the website of Michael Holman

http://plushsaferecords.com/

http://www.basquiat.com/artist-timeline.htm

The SAMO© Graffiti photographed by Henry Flynt

https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/exhibitions/touring/basquiat_notebooks http://www.high.org/Art/Exhibitions/Basquiat-Notebooks http://pamm.org/exhibitions/basquiat-unknown-notebooks

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TEXT AND PHOTOS BY LANCE ARAM ROTHSTEIN (except where noted.)

 

 


On the street in: Key West

On a recent trip to Key West, Florida, (in November 2015) I documented what I came across during my touristic wanderings. Plenty of stickers and little tags, but not many large pieces or murals. Here’s what I found…

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Here’s a decent sticker bomb site including The London Police, buenowun, INFOE, YU 246, CYNE and more.

CYNE was up absolutely EVERYWHERE in Key West. Here’s just a sample of what I came across by this “SouthernmostWanted” graffiti, paste-up & sticker artist…

CYNE - Key West - 8639

CYNE

CYNE - Key West - 9116

These CYNE wheatpastes are really artful.

CYNE - Key West -

CYNE

 

CYNE - Key West -

CYNE

 

CYNE - Key West - 9138

CYNE

CYNE - Key West - 8630

CYNE & TWICE

 

CYNE - Key West - 8803

CYNE

CYNE - Key West - 8609

CYNE

CYNE & Stickers Key West - 8643

Here’s CYNE with SiD, and UTAH & ETHER – VISAH TATER – SODUH

CYNE - YU 246 - Key West - 9006

CYNE – INFOE – YU 246

graffiti - Key West - 9137

Here’s a lovely tag on a utility box. I can’t tell if it’s “Ambrose”, “Aimlose” or what… Anyone know this one?

WILZA Blue Skull Sticker - Key West - 9136

I love this WILZA blue skull paste-up. Good Style!

 

Here are two paste-ups with “Relax, Dude” using Batman & James Bond” I saw another Bond one that was even more torn off.

Relax Dude - Key West - 9070 Relax Dude - Key West - 9069

 

unknown street sticker - Key West - 9011

Here’s a nice little hand-drawn USPS Priority sticker. Anyone know who this is?

Street Stickers Key West - 8969

Here’s another really awesome sticker. I can’t decipher it. Any guesses?

 

 

icon face street sticker - Key West - 8968

Icon face with glasses USPS Priority sticker.

 

face street sticker - Key West - 8952

OK face multicolor sticker.

 

Sorria (or Soffia) sticker (Nasck?) - Key West -8833

Sorria (or Soffia) sticker. Is this NASCK???

sick street sticker - Key West - 8814

SICK double priority sticker.

 

Here are two cool skulls with hats. Reminiscent of dia de los muertos.

skull with hat street art - Key West - 8800

skull with hat & p-nut street art - Key West - 8796

Skull with sunglasses & hat (dia de los muertos) and little p-nut.

 

peat (or peal?) sticker - Key West - 8719

nice white on black peat (or peal?) sticker. Anyone know this one?

wheel painted on wood - street art - Key West - 8711

Very cool little painted wooden wheel screwed onto a telephone pole. 

 

d1NYC & more street art - Key West - 8661

d1NYC – #duelris – Adventures of Rainbow Bush & cool green stripey spray dude with his tongue out.

VISAH & (Papa George?) other stickers - Key West - 8660

Visah & Papa George?

SID sticker - Key West 0 8655

INFOE & SiD w/ Gnarles Jr. (band)

INFOE & Show Drawn stickers - Key West - 8653

INFOE & SHOWDRAWN.com

unknown street sticker - Key West - 8650

heres a very cool little tag sticker. Anyone know??

utah & ether  visah tater & grill stickers - Key West -  8647

UTAH ETHER & VISAH TATER with a nifty little GRILL sticker.

utah & ether  visah tater & grill stickers & more - Key West -  86478634

Another one of thole little grill stickers, UTAH ETHER & VISAH TATER

@infoe_stv stickers - Key West - 8646

INFOE stickers.

unknown framed street art Key West - 8638

This was a very cool little photograph, framed in wood and bolted to a street sign post.

byoungz sticker - Key West - 8631

sticker quote from @byoungz

Street Stickers Key West - 8619

RENONE

pawn works street sticker - Key West - 8612

CYNE & PawnWorks

hello my name is??? - Key West - 8611

and to finish it off, here’s an unknown “Hello my name is” hand drawn sticker.

This was a quick trip to Key West, my first time there. I put up some of my RayJohnsonFanClub collage work and also a couple of my Picturecrossing Polaroids. I’ll be posting them up here a bit later…

Ciao


Ray Johnson Fan Club hits Florida

RJFC sticker #42

RJFC sticker #42

Ray Johnson Fan Club hits Florida with trashy street art.
Read the article here: http://rayjohnsonfanclub.com/2014/01/29/fla2013/


RJFC Hits Brussels with Trashy Street Art

RJFC Hits Brussels! ~ Stickers #38, #39 & #40

Ray Johnson Fan Club sticker #40  Ray Johnson Fan Club sticker #39  Ray Johnson Fan Club sticker #38

On two separate trips to Brussels recently, I made these stickers using only trash found on the streets there.

RJFC sticker #38

RJFC Sticker #38 was completed using trash found on the streets of Brussels.

I made it while sitting at Le Pain Quotidien in the Galerie de la Reine in Brussels.

RJFC sticker #38 (left in Brussels)

I left it the same day on a wooden construction barrier beside the Montana Shop & Gallery Brussels along Rue de la Madeleine. (above)

RJFC sticker #39

RJFC Sticker #39 was also completed using trash found on the streets there

and made while sitting at Le Pain Quotidien in the Galerie de la Reine in Brussels.

RJFC sticker #39 (left in Brussels)

I left it the same day on a Taxi Parking sign in Brussels near Rue du Marché aux Herbes.(above)

RJFC sticker #40

RJFC Sticker #40 was completed a few weeks later, also using trash found on the streets of Brussels.

I made it while sitting at Café de la Presse on Avenue Louise near Ixelles in Brussels.

RJFC sticker #40 left in Brussels

I left it the same day on a Dior perfume advertisement outside the Ici Paris XL perfume shop

on Chaussée de Waterloo at the intersection of Rue Vanderkindere.

Brussels is a great place to find materials on the ground to work with and also a great place for stickers. I see new and interesting ones every time I visit.

More coming soon!

——————————————————————–

Do you LIKE me? www.facebook.com/rayjohnsonfanclub
USING TRASH OFF THE STREETS TO MAKE ART ON THE STREETS.
I use only trash and found items to collage these handmade, signed & numbered stickers. They are made to compliment my larger works which in which I use trashy paperback book covers, record & magazine covers, CDs, posters, postcards and other mass-produced media as a base for my hand-cut & paste collages, which I usually leave out on the streets for anyone to enjoy (or destroy.)

See all my stickers here!

or find out more at: www.rayjohnsonfanclub.com SERIOUSLY TRASHY STREET ART!


I was unknowingly part of an experiment (and liked it!) Illegal August at Vandalog.

I was unknowingly part of an experiment (and liked it!)

Illegal August: Vandalog’s month-long experiment revealed and explained.

 


La Biennale Friday Highlights

Just a few quick highlights from our first day at the 55th Art Biennale in Venice.
We woke up late as usual, not good when trying to cram in as much art as possible. I’ll include many, many more examples and other artists in my comprehensive review later next week.
But for now, here’s a glimpse of what we encountered
Our first stop was at The Museum of Everything where we had nice coffee & cakes before seeing the magnificent paintings of Italian “Outsider” artist Carlo Zinelli in their back garden:
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Then we moved quickly over to the Giardini where we hit the pavilions of Spain, Belgium & Holland before entering the main exhibition hall.

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Lara Almarcegui at the Spanish Pavilion. (above)
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J.M. Coetzee curates Berlinde De Bruyckere at the Belgian Pavilion. (above)
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And Mark Manders presents a
Room with Broken Sentence in the Dutch Pavilion. (above)
“Outsider Artists” or Art Brut, was a major component of The Encyclopedic Palace (this year’s theme.) there were many intriguing works in Giardini’s main exhibition hall.
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Above, Jack Whitten’s large abstract painting hangs behind 387 model houses presented by Oliver Croy and Oliver Elser.

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And the re-imagined tarot cards of Aleister Crowley and Frieda Harris (above) are very striking.

I’ve so much more to show and discuss from this part of the exhibition so keep an eye out for my comprehensive review next week.

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Popping into the Finnish Pavilion gave us a look into the wooden mind of Antti Laitinen. (above)

At the U.S. Pavilion, Sarah Sze has transformed the entire building into her “Triple Point,” a conglomeration including thousands of objects, both natural, commercial, and faux that stagger the mind. (below)

20130817-024305.jpgAs the Giardini was about to close, we dashed into the Venezuelan pavilion (below) and were really excited to see that they had chosen to highlight “Urban Art” from their fine tradition of graffiti artists.
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After being herded out the gates of Giardini, I headed over to Arsenale, which was open till 9pm, to get a head start on tomorrows coverage.
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Marino Auriti’s model plan for his Encyclopedic Palace of the World greets you as you enter the main exhibition hall at the Arsenale.

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Nearby are photography exhibits by several different photographers. One of the most interesting ones is a series of mind boggling, early aerial shots by Swiss photographer and balloonist Eduard Spelterini, like this image above, showing the city of Cairo in 1904!

One of the next things that astounds the brain is an entire room filled with 207 pages of illustrations by notorious American comic book artist R. Crumb. The Book of Genesis!
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and then this happened!
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The Japanese artist Shinichi Sawada, who suffers from severe autism, creates these intricate clay sculptures that seem to have appeared from another dimension. (above) An entire menagerie is on display here.

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One room not to be missed is filled with Venitians. (above) Polish artist Pawel Althamer cast the faces and hands of dozens of actual local Venetians in plaster and then used grey plastic to represent their bodies in his sculptural installation called, you guessed it, “Venitians.”

20130817-081527.jpg
One of my favorite discoveries of the day was a wall of large scale collages (above) by German artist Albert Oehlen. He uses the familiar language of mass media and advertising to create an interesting assembly of juxtaposed imagery.

And just after viewing these works, the bells began to sound and I was instructed, in several languages, to head for the exit.

So that’s a cursory glance at some of the great work from Friday’s wanderings. As I stated before, I’ve got so much more to show and discuss, so keep an eye out for my more comprehensive reviews next week, which will include many individual reports on some of the other exhibits and more in-depth info on the ones covered here.

Ciao for now! See you tomorrow.

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ALL IMAGES AND TEXT COPYRIGHT 2013 BY LANCE ARAM ROTHSTEIN FOR LABEAURATOIRE.
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