Category Archives: Graffiti/Street Art

Executing a site-specific “intervention” in New York City

Jennifer Marman Daniel Borins Maria Kucinski Photo: Joe Leavenworth

Final adjustments to Pavilion of the Blind with Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins. Photo: Joe Leavenworth.

I recently had the amazing opportunity to work with two very talented artists, Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins on their debut New York exhibition, Pavilion of the Blind on view at the Tierney Gardarin Gallery through October 26th. In addition to working with the artists to prepare and install their stellar exhibition, I was tasked with executing a site-specific intervention.

Tenth Ave and 29th Street ChelseaAmongst all the development going on in West Chelsea and Hudson Yards, there are businesses that continue to operate. The gallery is one of those storefront businesses with demolition and construction affecting daily life. In talks to beautify the block and perhaps subtly notify the passersby of our existence in the outpost that is 29th Street, we decided to do an intervention on the construction hoarding.

Tenth Avenue and 29th StreetWet posters to be wheat pasted proved to be too costly. Next best option? Painting vertical stripes in the style of of Marman + Borins latest works, utilizing the color palette they have developed for the past five years. Daniel and I picked out the exact colors and finish. We thought “Daredevil” red was a suitable choice. There were five colors in total with one vertical stripe to be left blank – a commentary on the site and its existing artwork.

Nick Hugh Schmidt

Malcolm BarrettI hired two fantastic artists, Nick Hugh Schmidt and Malcolm Barrett to execute the stripes. They began at 10th Avenue between 28th and 29th Street and wrapped around the corner of 29th Street towards 11th Avenue. In a couple hours, they had made an unsightly construction site into something worth looking at, something worth noticing.

Nick Hugh Schmidt Malcolm Barret 10th Ave and 29th St

Jennifer Marman Daniel Borins 10th Ave 29th StreetAll in all, I think the piece is a stunning tribute to what a little paint and a sharp aesthetic can add to a city block.Tenth Ave 29th Street

Jennifer Marman Daniel Borins

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Gravity Sleeps at the Factory

I don’t really have much to say about the party hosted by Gravity Sleeps at the Factory on Saturday night except that it was awesome. There was so much energy surrounding the artworks on display and the performances happening throughout the building. I just really let myself enjoy it all.

I came across this party through friends – turns out I know the cool guys who founded Gravity Sleeps Samuel Baumel and Wesley Wingo through NYU. They are currently in residence at the Factory, using it to create films, record music, host photoshoots and do other awesome stuff. More details about their work here.

The best part of the night was running into so many cool people. I saw lots of old friends and some recent friends that I hadn’t seen in a while who happened to have work in the show, I made some new friends, and I saw a star of a reality show who held his head in shame when I recognized him (when I think I should be the embarrassed one for admitting to watching reality tv).

All in all, it seems like there is a great vibe of young and talented artists, producers, and entrepreneurs in NYC that are making things happen.

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Filed under Art, Dance, Film, Graffiti/Street Art, Music, Painting and Sculpture

Looking at Music 3.0 at MoMA

“I’m not perfect, but I’m perfect for you.” – Grace Jones

Maybe that is what music is. Everyone has different tastes, but somehow one finds the kind of music they love whether it’s pop or underground. I saw Looking at Music 3.0 at MoMA in a small room filled with compact discs of Public Enemy and Kraftwerk attached to the walls, music videos by Spike Jonze and Spike Lee for display, and the analytical aspect of music in visual form. I can’t say that I learned so much from this exhibition. I already knew most of the ties between early techno music, video, and sampling of the 1990s. Nothing really surprised me in this exhibition but it was nice to see an attempt at musical history in one place.

All in all, I wouldn’t have paid $20 to see this exhibition (or Andy Warhol: Motion Pictures) by itself. Thankfully I had a friend with a membership who also has a vast knowledge of music and the arts from the 1980s and 1990s.

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Exit Through the Gift Shop

Banksy Exit Through the Gift Shop

As anyone knows, Style Wars is the ultimate film about graffiti. It gives an inside scoop to the art that came from the streets and lived on the streets. 20 years later, in a very different world, Exit Through the Gift Shop illuminates the world of street art’s most famous players. At first, I felt excitement about the underground art world but that feeling quickly dissipated as I realized that this film was just about notoriety, manipulation and commercialization.

With such huge names as Invader, Shepard Fairey, Ron English, and, of course, the famed Banksy, I did not expect the film to take such a drastic turn as to highlight the birth of Mr. Brainwash – an overnight sensation. Looking back, it seemed like a normal evolution and – not knowing anything about it before watching – maybe I was duped into thinking that it was a real documentary.

I must say that my jaw dropped halfway through the film when – SPOILER ALERT – it is revealed that the crazy, French, “street-art documentarian,” Thierry Guetta is Mr. Brainwash. How could it be that this man is Mr. Brainwash?

While in Miami for Art Basel this year, I saw Mr. Brainwash’s work Under Construction – from a distance – in a cab. My friends groaned that Mr. Brainwash was a poser and that his art was bad and fake. I had never seen his work before and based on the size and scale and audacity of this work, I assumed – regardless of the caliber of the work – it had to be someone who like street artist Banksy said had spent “years perfecting their craft” and “finding their style.”

It comes to be known – or maybe not known – that Mr. Brainwash is an art piece masterminded by Banksy. How else would someone draw 4,000 people to their first show and produce $1 million dollars in sales? But the real question to ask yourself is – Does Thierry Guetta know that he is just Banksy’s pawn? Further, do you think that Thierry Guetta really cares if he’s being used as along as he is cashing in? Like he said at the end, “Life is like chess and I don’t know how to play chess.”

All in all, I found Exit Through the Gift Shop to be a thrilling, jaw-dropping, and thoroughly entertaining film. I wonder when/where we’ll see Mr. Brainwash next…

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Filed under Art, Film, Graffiti/Street Art, Painting and Sculpture