I'm psyched to check out Dirty Hands, a new documentary about artist David Choe. I'm usually skeptical about "street art" films, but the trailer looks pretty great, and I've heard that Choe is kind of a madman. I compare everything in this street/art vein to Video Days — which, by the way, did you know that can watch all of Video Days on Google Video? — and I'm always hoping that new stuff will somehow advance the form that Spike Jonze laid out all those years ago. Maybe this will? Maybe other stuff has? Choe worked some watercolor magic for a movie called Black Dynamite that just made some waves at Sundance.
Being car-less keeps me (mostly) around the southeastern neighborhoods of San Francisco, but every once in a while I'll venture out to the frontiers. Last Friday, we went out to Mollusk, the arty surf shop on 46th-ish Avenue and Irving, (i.e. WAY Outer Sunset), for an art opening and a performance by Peggy Honeywell, i.e. local art star and beautiful loser Clare Rojas. The surf shop setting was informal and cozy; the acoustics actually weren't bad; there were dogs walking around; all in all, it makes me wish that I got out there more. This intimate setting was lots better than the cavernous, loud, obnoxious-people-filled place I saw her perform last, Barry McGee's opening in Melbourne, Australia a couple of years ago.
So it seems I'm a couple of years late to this particular artist, but some recent conversation on the Book Arts list turned me on to Swoon, a NYC street artist. Her medium is the cutout — from paper, wood, linoleum — and she attaches these to walls all over NYC. The paper ones are the most amazing to me; they're like those snow flakes you make in grade school, but life-sized and really elaborate and of people. Check out this Flickr cluster to get a sense of the way that the paper ages on the wall, and the way that this fragility and sense of impermanence reacts with the rest of the wall. This interview in the Morning News has some good detail about her process:
There's something particular to the images that make me choose that material … A lot has to do with the limitations of the material. The linoleum you can get so much more detail from. Everything that has more nuances, I use linoleum. The wood is rougher, but a good roughness. The paper is really hard to think about, and so it tends to be simpler. With paper, you'd choose simple subjects because it's hard to create an expression. The challenge is to make the cutout so that it can get on the wall as a solid unit in two minutes or less.
Thanks to howmuchlongerkillmenow for the photo.
I was in Springfield, Missouri for work last week, and I was really surprised and impressed with the number of old, unique signs. Over on Flickr, you'll be amazed by two shots of some amazing Glo Laundromats signs, and a strip mall called "Country Club Plaza" that has an old orange sign with an analog clock on it. Good stuff.
Soon, the garage outside the LA County Museum of Art is getting torn down to make way for some big new building. Unfortunately, it's got some really excellent murals by Barry McGee and Margaret Kilgallen that I checked out when I was there a couple of summers ago.The LA Weekly says:
Now's the time to check out the celebration of street art it has become since October 2000, when husband and wife team Barry McGee and Margaret Kilgallen were commissioned to bomb the second floor of the structure in commemoration of the show "Made in California."Over the last five years, Kilgallen's smoking, trudging, scowling women and McGee's signature sad-sack faces and meticulously drawn messages have inspired uncoerced homages from several locally and internationally known artists: N.Y.-based graffiti trio FAILE's collage stencils; Spanish tagger PEZ's bubbly alien figures, and Obey Giant guru Shepard Fairey's looming wheat-paste policeman.
It wouldn't be as sad if Margaret K. was still around to bomb another garage, but the fact that she's not makes the disappearance of this free and public place even harder to take. Sucks.The whole story: "Oil on Concrete".UPDATE: An excellent critique of LACMA's decision to tear down the garage, written by art critic and blogger Tyler Green.
If you're like me, one of your favorite parts of seeing new cities is checking out the logo(s) of their public transit system. Nowadays you don't even need to travel to these cities to appreciate their variety; here's a site with an amazingly thorough catalog.
The British street artist Banksy just painted nine provocative murals on the wall that separates the West Bank from Israel. The sardonic quote in the title is Banksy's reflection on his work there. He goes into a little more detail on his site. The Guardian and BBC both covered it, and there is at least a little disagreement over the meaning and relevance of politically-motivated street art here and here.While we're on the subject of Banksy, here's my previous favorite project of his. As the BBC sub-head describes it, "Fake prehistoric rock art of a caveman with a shopping trolley has been hung on the walls of the British Museum."