For more information about this tour, please visit: http://www.freetoursbyfoot.com/new-york-tours/walking-tours/manhattan-street-art-tour/
The area of SoHo in Lower Manhattan was started as a result of imminent domain. Artists squatted in the old, run-down buildings in SoHo. It was the artists who made SoHo great. After the artists came, DJs arrived, parties took place, and the changing culture in the 1980s and the burgeoning fashion scene helped shape SoHo into what it is today.
Graffiti is about messages. A lot of street art I saw used cognitive dissonance to make a statement. Cognitive dissonance is when the artist challenges you to think about something. The artist makes you wonder what their message is all about. The artist, Kai, uses this technique in “Save Urself”. Whereas, on the other end of the spectrum, the art used in advertising and marketing ads, the message needs to be crystal clear. I learned about the term “Artivism,” meaning Art-Activism. Using a social, environmental, or political message in street art. Kai uses Artivism. One of his works is near 52 Spring St. called “Save Urself.” I learned that this is a mold that is made and is just slapped on with adhesive on a brick wall. Check out his website: http://kaiart.com/. Here are some other images of Kai's other artwork that I came across on the tour and later throughout the day! If you look at each piece closely, and give it some thought, you will discover his very clear message about society in general.
Some of the art was political in nature, like this one. But there is street art that is done with the building-owner’s permission. Another unique part of street art is the language used. People would describe how their fellow street artist friends create their art fast, incognito, and without being discovered. They’d say “You Bomb it.”, “You'd hit it.”, or “You'd strike it.” A lot of the street art was created somewhere else and then put up in a matter of seconds with adhesive, or wheat paste. Artists would also have “Style Wars”; Who can do this the biggest, the best, etc. Some artists get permission to post their art, while others do not. I learned that the artist who created "Man on Floor" was arrested for creating this. Many artists are looking to have freedom of expression.
Shepard Fairey’s large OBEY mural below. Fairey is also known to have done the famous Obama Hope election poster of President Barack Obama. To learn more about Shepard Fairey, check out his website: https://obeygiant.com/.
What’s known as the “Keith Haring Wall”, was later turned into the Houston Bowery Foundation in the 1990s, with developer Tony Goldman involved in developing SoHo. Keith Haring made the wall infamous by painting an original mural as a gift to the community in the late 1970's. With ownership of the wall, the Goldman family felt a sense of responsibility to bring art and beauty to the public on a grand scale. On a rolling basis, the wall continues to feature the work of established and emerging street artists. The mural located in that spot during my visit was from the artist, Logan Hicks. It was a huge mural created using stencils, with 6 layers of cutouts. I learned it took 2 weeks to do the painting onsite with about 600 hours of preparation. Check out his website: http://workhorsevisuals.com/new
“Audrey on Mulberry” (Audrew Hepburn) by Tristan Eaton was commissioned by an organization called the LISA Project [see below for more info on the Lisa Project]. Check out Triston Eaton's website: http://tristaneaton.com/
The Vandal was painted by the artist, Nick Walker. http://www.theartofnickwalker.com/ This mural is part of his number series. The British artist, Nick Walker, was one of the first of the British graffiti artists. He’s a stencil artist who uses the free-ness of graffiti coupled with beautiful and intricate stenciling. Here is a photo of the mural as well as a photo showing the detail.
Many artists look to create art at a location what they legally have permission to paint. Little Italy has a nonprofit Street Art Association called The LISA Project. The LISA project is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that brings together a diverse group of street artists to Little Italy creating Manhattan's first and only mural district. For more information as well as links to many of NYC Street Artists, please visit: http://www.lisaprojectnyc.org/. Centre-fuge transforms construction-sites, transitional spaces, and structures in under-appreciated neighborhoods into outdoor gallery spaces in New York City and also in Miami. First Street Green Art Park: Since 2008, First Street Green has converted a derelict building lot at 33 E. 1st Street in Manhattan into an open art space.
To learn more, I highly encourage you to take the Free Manhattan Street Art Walking Tour By Foot. It was a fantastic way to spend 2 hours in New York City. As I walked the streets later that day, at nearly every corner and also in-between, I found new artwork, and began to see more street art of some of my favorite street artists.
As an artist myself, it's fascinating to experience this type of art and understand its context in the New York Art Scene and on the World Art Scene. Many of these artists have made a name for themselves, been invited to participate in Museum shows, secured gallery representation, and/or have become successful in the art world. The Piano I created this past summer gave me a sense of putting art out in the public realm for all to see and experience. Walking through this area reinvigorated me and I hope to find public art projects to be involved with in the future.
In addition to the tour, you can learn more about NYC Street Art at the website: Streetsmartguide.org or http://www.3rdculturecreative.com/. The 3rd Culture Creative also has a great list of bios on many of the street artists: http://www.3rdculturecreative.com/art-street-artists-bios.html.
The main exhibit during my visit was entitled "Pixel Forest," which is the first New York survey of the Swiss artist, Pipilotti Rist. The exhibit opened in October 2016 and is only on view through January 15, 2017. Pipilotti Rist is a pioneer of video art installations that blend visual displays with sound and immerse the viewer in a completely new environment from the moment the museum's elevator doors open! The exhibit takes up almost the entire museum's exhibition space on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Floors of the museum and includes work from the artist’s entire career.
I really enjoyed walking though "Administrating Eternity" which featured video projections on numbers sheets of transparent fabric suspended from the ceiling. Walking through the exhibit, you feel immersed and even part of the experience. You see other people, their shadows, seeing parts of the video and missing segments of others, fabric moving with the breeze as you walk by, etc.
One of her pieces included a chandelier made from undergarments. Another unique and very cool installation was "Pixelwald" and comprises 3,000 LED lights that are suspended from the ceiling and change colors over time. I loved the whole experience walking through, hearing the sounds the artist chose, looking at the uniquely-designed shapes of the lights. Every one was different and beautiful. For all of Pipilotti Rist’s pieces, the sounds of heartbeats, forest sounds, and oceansounds almost put you in a trance. If you visit the exhibit, take some time to sit, and experience some of the videos, which are quite fascinating and visually esoteric. Some of the footage was even filmed underwater. I've included some photos of the exhibit below.
I should also mention Chris Burden's "Ghost Ship" that was part of his exhibit at the Museum in 2013. The ship was conceived to sail autonomously and unmanned off the coast of Scotland. In 2005, the "Ghost Ship" did, in fact, sail 400 miles! It remains on the facade of the museum's exterior as a tribute to his legacy. You can see a photo of the ship in the photo at the start of the blog article. It's quite something to see and represents some of his work other than the permanent installation at Brandeis University in front of the Rose Art Museum and at LACMA.
For more information about the New Museum, check out their website: www.newmuseum.org.
The Art Connection
Welcome to Eddie Bruckner's Art Blog!