Sweat the Technique: Art Battles at (Le) Poisson Rouge

Cern

See this article published on Flavorpill

Art hung inside the white walls of a gallery is enjoyed in its finished state—the artist is only known through the indexical signs left behind that originally inspired the form and content of the work. Seeing the artist in action is quite a different experience than viewing the finished object inside of a cultural institution, however. Watching the process unfold transforms a static piece into a visceral experience that gives an inanimate object life and sheds light into the many cryptic strategies of creating contemporary art. ArtBattles is one event that allows viewers to glimpse behind closed doors into the artist’s individual methods that define artistic creation. What makes this event even more exhilarating is the underlying competition as viewers are invited to witness a battle of creative hubris on stage.

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Advocacy and Advertisment in the Art of Kenny Scharf

Kenny Scharf WAT-AHH! mural located in SoHo, NYC

Kenny Scharf WAT-AHH! mural located in SoHo, NYC

From Banksy’s NYC residency to tagged facades devouring NYC, Graffiti is breaking through the Art Canon’s glass ceiling and maturing into a socially conscious art form. SoHo is undoubtedly the king of street art on Manhattan, and it will be hard to miss the new addition to this neighborhood’s graffiti skyline at the intersection of Lafayette and Prince by artist Kenny Scharf. This psychedelic 2,500 sq. ft. mural is not just a treat for the eyes but was sponsored for an altruistic cause by WAT-AAH!, a brand of water encouraging the youth of tomorrow to live healthier, more active lives.

See this published on Metro New York April 7, 2014

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#Banksy and his NYC Residency takes an inevitable turn towards Commodification with his Greenpoint #Graffiti

October 8, Greenpoint. The door is now reported to have been removed.

October 8, Greenpoint. The door is now reported to have been removed.

Greenpointers are really missing the mark.

October 2, Banksy tagged a Chelsea garage door located on 25th and 10th underneath the High Line and across the street from Pace Gallery. Since the tags inception, his graffiti took on many styles and transformations. I enjoyed walking past it the few times I did that day to see a new perspective on his original art because of its tagged acquisitions. However, Banksy’s ephemeral nature did not please all that witnessed the transformations during what he defines as “Restoration” Phases (Please see my previous Blog Post to see Restoration Phases of Banksy’s Graffiti). I overheard a group of girls sulking over how someone would destroy such an important piece of art. Destruction? I would not go as far as to say Banksy’s mark is devalued; his mark is only taking an inevitable course that he either dictated, approved, or simply did not care to stop.

October 8, a Banksy popped up in Greenpoint. However, it did not undergo restorations like his previous tags. Instead the owner of the door covered the graffiti up to “protect it.” The Hyperallergic article written by Hrag Vartanian stated, “A person named Robert Dunning from Park Slope, Brooklyn, offered the man who was directing the crew $1,000 and a new door for the piece. The man, who refused to be identified, asked, “$200,000?” The man was obviously not tempted by the $1,000 and a door.” It is now being reported that the door has been completely removed.

People are missing the point. Banksy is an elusive street artist that works in the public realm. His graffiti art is not meant to be bought or sold, but is meant to change with time, grow with its surrounding space, and eventually be forgotten after new tags continually appear. My friend did bring up an interesting counterargument affirming the actions of the gentlemen trying to buy the door as only natural. Allow me to paraphrase my colleague: “Banksy should probably be smarter than to tag on a potentially removable object, he’s a commodity.” Banksy should know better as to his status of Contemporary Art Star and should act accordingly to the only natural actions of misinformed viewers.

On a side note, it seems Banksy is inclined to tag moveable and/or removable objects. His tag in Chelsea on 25th and 10th is on a garage door, and he created two on-the-move exhibitions using utility trucks: one with a complete waterfall oasis touring the East Village, another with stuffed animal farm animals peering our of a truck moving around the Meatpacking Distract. Maybe this is a quip on society’s obsession with possessions, or that art commodification is inevitable. I like to think Banksy intends transience to permeate graffiti’s total ethos; art that changes with time, moves through time as well.

If you have seen “Exit through the Gift Shop” you will understand Banksy’s satire in his title. When perusing a museum show, we exit through a gift shop where we can purchase posters, mugs, books, and other merchandise plastered with the exhibiting artist’s artworks. Banksy is right; even when we are unable to own or purchase a piece of art, we can own or possess its image.

Society today has a problem with temporal art. We want to take its photos to remember its existence. We care just as much about the Image as we care about the Art. We want to buy graffitied doors so we can own a “Banksy”. When it comes to art in the public sphere, and especially Graffiti, it is not meant to last, or live on forever: it is meant to change with the times, metamorphose through the seasons, and eventually fade away. Give up the Image, and you can have some fun with the Art.

#Banksy and his NYC Residency

I dub October: The Month of Banksy!

Each day during the month of October this elusive street artist will be tagging (a) different spot(s) around the city.

I will be traveling the expanses of New York City to document Banksy’s “New York City Residency”. Stay tuned for Photos of his original tags and updated images during each “Restoration” phases, and of course, my 2 cents.

Day 2, October 2, 25th and 10th Ave, Chelsea

Day 2, October 2, 25th and 10th Ave, Chelsea

Day 2, October 2, 25th and 10th, Chelsea, a "Restoration" phase

Day 2, October 2, 25th and 10th, Chelsea, a “Restoration” phase

Day 2, October 2, 25th and 10th, Chelsea, a "Restoration" phase

Day 2, October 2, 25th and 10th, Chelsea, a “Restoration” phase

Day 3, October 3, 24th and 6th, Chelsea, a "Restoration" phase. This photo was taken on October 5.

Day 3, October 3, 24th and 6th, Chelsea, a “Restoration” phase. This photo was taken on October 5.