Banksy's "Are You Using That Chair," oil on canvas, from 2005. A steal at $1.5 mil, or just a painting deserving to be stolen?...
Despite the ripple effect of the economic crisis on the art world and the rapid deflation of the vastly overhyped “Street Art” scene in general, London-based ANDIPA GALLERY is currently staging a secondary market “flipper” show of work by BANKSY, the centerpiece of which carries a sticker price of nearly $1.5 million USD. No need to stop and re-read that sentence, you read it correctly the first time. Flying in the face of all rational thought, the gallery’s namesake dealer Acoris Andipa remains undaunted by modern reality and is determined to see “Are You Using That Chair,” a 14-foot-wide canvas dating from 2005 that depicts a drunken hooligan inserted into a copy of the famous Edward Hopper painting from 1942 titled “Nighthawks,” fetch a price that would have been expensive even in the overheated 2008 market. The piece is one of 35 high-priced originals currently on offer by the 400-year-old art institution (Andipa was established in 1593) and the first significant—if unsanctioned—show of Banksy’s work in 2009. Obviously hesitant of wading into the currently chilly waters of the modern art market, Banksy himself has been a ghost since late last year, keeping an incredibly low profile with only a few minor street pieces to his name so far. Despite the fact that values of Banksy originals have dropped a minimum of 30% – 50% since late last year, Andipa’s attitude on the artist’s bankability remains unshakably optimistic: “We’re still doing good business for originals,” he said recently. “We feel the long-term picture for Banksy is still rosy. He’s the artist who perfectly sums up the early 21st century. We aren’t dropping our prices” To date, the record price paid for a Banksy original remains the $1.9 million tag attached to the artist’s collaborative painting “Keep It Spotless,” executed with Damien Hirst for Project RED’s charity auction at Sotheby’s in NYC in early 2008. Until Obama pulls a magic rabbit out of his hat, we’re willing to bet that’s a record that holds true for quite some time to come. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Supertouch buddy AARON ROSE opened the doors to a little show he curated at the venerable CIRCLECULTURE GALLERY in Berlin this past Saturday, titled simply "McGee, Templeton, Pettibon." Bringing "Zee Germans" a healthy dose of American street culture, the show aptly surveyed the recent work of all three of these iconic artists (all of whom also took part in Rose's previous "Beautiful Losers" exhibitions), and included photographs and paintings by Barry McGee and Ed Templeton and a nice display of recent ink drawings by elder statesman Raymond Pettibon alongside a large array of neatly framed examples of his ultra-seminal Black Flag photocopied gig flyers (whose ever-elusive matching original artworks remain the ultimate holy grail for Pettibon collectors). HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Underground art stars BARRY McGEE (in the guise of alter ego LYDIA FONG), CLARE ROJAS, and ANDREW JEFFREY WRIGHT came together last weekend at West Hollywood art hotspot NEW IMAGE ART to present the artistic tour-de-force that was their stunning joint "American Realities" exhibition. Punctuated by a comedic performance by Mr. Wright (how many times has he introduced himself to the ladies as such?) and folk singer PEGGY HONEYWELL (who looks an awful lot like Clare Rojas), as well as the mandatory lengthy autograph session by Twisto (with daughter Asha Kilgallen-McGee tagging alongside him like a pro), the scene was one of the highlights of 2009's spring gallery season with an appropriately massive (and sweaty) crowd of admirers to match. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
This year's installment of the legendary SOUTH x SOUTHWEST music festival in Austin, Texas again proved to be one of the last fleeting moments of relevancy in a modern music world gone post-apocalyptic. Aside from washed-up metal has-beens Metallica playing a gig in honor of their new signature Guitar Hero video game (if only Satan would rise up and strike them down now, lord), the dusty Texas town played host to a staggering array of ripping new talent proving there might still be hope for Hollywood—if not the big box chain record store—yet. On the scene to wheatpaste the town red, white, and black was Supertouch's own SHEPARD FAIREY who went big on the side of LANCE ARMSTRONG's personal bike shop, MELLOW JOHNNY'S immediately after touching down. He pretty much slammed the rest of the town too. HAVE A LOOK: Read More
It was only a matter of time, Supertouch's own SHEPARD FAIREY's iconic OBAMA campaign artwork finally made its way to SOUTH PARK last nite where the Big O received the typical Matt & Tre makeover on the season's latest episode. Watch it HERE...
Supertouch buddy JR continues his global street art installation, "28MM: WOMEN" campaign with a new residency in Delhi, India. He checks in with us from the ancient city this week with a sneek peek at his latest handiwork. Fresh off an epic run of installations in Cambodia and Kenya, JR will no doubt have claimed all of Delhi as his personal outdoor art gallery by the time this new stage of his grand global plan is complete. Stay tuned to ST for more updates from the road...
BOSTON VANDALISM CHARGES STIR DEBATE ON ART’S PLACE
By Abby Goodnough, NYTimes
BOSTON — This may be the only place in America where Shepard Fairey, the street artist whose omnipresent portrait of Barack Obama has become a touchstone, is not fully feeling the love.
Mr. Fairey appeared in two municipal courts here this week to fight a cascade of vandalism charges accusing him of pasting his work on public and private property from the Back Bay to Roxbury. While this is not his first encounter with the police — Mr. Fairey has been arrested more than a dozen times for posting his art on whatever surface catches his eye — it appears to be his biggest legal tangle to date.
By Wednesday, Mr. Fairey, who lives in Los Angeles, had pleaded not guilty to one misdemeanor and 13 felony charges; his lawyer said the police were pursuing 19 more counts.
In a statement Tuesday, Mr. Fairey accused the police of “gratuitous piling on” and suggested he was being punished for advocating that public space “should be filled with more than just commercial advertising.” On the advice of his lawyer, Jeffrey Wiesner, he declined an interview request.
Mr. Fairey’s court appearances came a month after he was arrested on Feb. 6 as he arrived at the opening-night party for his retrospective at the Institute of Contemporary Art. His cab was approaching the museum when the police stopped it, handcuffed him and took him to jail overnight. Click HERE to continue reading…
Amid the current wave of doom and gloom that washed over this year's annual ARMORY art expo in NYC last week, OG Manhattan art star KENNY SCHARF reminded everyone that the art world was once a fun place to be with his one man "Scharfland" show at PAUL KASMIN's booth. Consisting of a wide array of beautiful new paintings, a bronze cat sculpture, an outdoor installation of live spray paintings, and even a golf kart transformed into one of Sharf's characters, Kenny brought back the spirit of the days when he and friends like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Andy Warhol were literally writing the rules of the art world as they went along. Scharf is yet another artist participating in the “Stages” charity art show to benefit LANCE ARMSTRONG’s anti-cancer LIVESTRONG foundation during his run in this year’s Tour de France. Keep an eye on ST for more details coming soon. Meanwhile, HAVE A LOOK: Read More
A wise man once said "writing about art is like dancing about architecture," but in a world where oceans of self-aggrandizing "artspeak" usually says much about an author's ego and little to nothing about artwork itself, Supertouch's own resident legendary art writer CARLO McCORMICK is the exception to the rule. This month finds him penning an incredibly astute piece on SHEPARD FAIREY for ART IN AMERICA from the rarified perspective of a genuinely street-level art world insider more at home on the Bowery than in Chelsea. At a time when the slow-moving mainstream art world and its legion of stiff-jointed scribes are playing years of painful catch-up on the "street art" game, this is a must-read:
By Carlo McCormick | Art in America
In a thank-you note written by Barack Obama to street artist Shepard Fairey for the pictorial provocateur’s singular contribution to branding his campaign for the presidency, the then senator wrote: “The political messages involved in your work have encouraged Americans to believe that they can help change the status-quo. Your images have a profound effect on people, whether seen in a gallery or on a stop sign.”
High praise indeed from such a highly regarded public figure. But what it ultimately says—that there is a cultural equivalence between fine art shown in established venues and artistic expressions put up illegally on private or government property—represents a tacit sanction of street art from the leader of the free world that is a dramatic shift in the perceived role of art as a radical tool of social intervention.
Emblazoned in our collective mind’s eye as a defining icon of optimism and change, Fairey’s Obama Hope poster, certainly one of his most endearing and personable images, is such a signature work that the original collage was recently acquired by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, and related images graced the covers of Time and Esquire. It is, however, not a fleeting pop-culture sensation but simply the latest crossover hit in a long line of underground classics.
Fairey has made such an indelible mark on our visual landscape that it is difficult to avoid the platitudes we might otherwise eschew in the discourse of contemporary art. As he comes under greater scrutiny from the art establishment with a major retrospective of his work, now on view at Boston’s Institute of Contemporary Art, it is worth noting that his renown has grown organically from the streets and a global youth culture that the mainstream art world has only a vague grasp of. Click HERE to continue reading...
In town for the opening of his eponymous solo show at MARIANNE BOESKY GALLERY, Japan’s YOSHITOMO NARA just couldn’t help himself in the Subway at Union Station when the graffiti urge overtook him. Unfortunately, New York’s “Finest” don’t exactly see drawings as “art” when they’re on walls instead of paper and the delicate art star spent two days in the slammer. Ouch:
POP ARTIST YOSHITOMO NARA ARRESTED FOR GRAFFITI IN NEW YORK
March 10, Japan Today
Yoshitomo Nara, a contemporary Japanese pop artist known for sculptures and paintings of doe-eyed figures, was arrested in late February for tagging graffiti in the Union Square subway station, a New York Police Department official said Monday.
Nara was arrested at 3:10 a.m. on Feb 27 and charged with criminal mischief, possession of graffiti instruments, making graffiti and resisting arrest, detective Martin Speechley told Kyodo News in a phone interview. An official at a New York art gallery where Nara’s exhibits are currently on display said the artist has already been released.
Nara, 49, who lives and works in Tochigi Prefecture, was in New York for a solo exhibition of his work at the Marianne Boesky Gallery that runs Feb 28 through March 28. The online edition of Art in America magazine said Nara was caught tagging a graffiti portrait of two Japanese friends in the subway station and he was optimistic about his two days in lockup.
It was ‘‘a nice experience in my life,’’ the artist was quoted as saying. He said the environment in which he found himself was like something in the movies. Nara emerged on the art scene during Japan’s pop art movement in the 1990s and has held solo exhibitions worldwide. His works are on display at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Click HERE to read more…