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…
French outdoor installation artist (call it “street art” if you must) extraordinaire JR continues his epic 28 MILLIMETER: WOMEN project with the unveiling this week of his most recent series of street-level installations in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In town to photograph local women in the country’s capitol city, JR continues on his mission to portray the unseen and unempowered women of the world in and around the streets of their own neighborhoods. Reproducing the resulting imagery on a massive scale underscores the importance of these marginalized citizens and is intended to draw the eyes of the world to their often-unseen lives. A participant in the upcoming “Stages” art show to benefit LANCE ARMSTRONG’s anti-cancer LIVESTRONG charity, JR continues on with his next stop in Delhi, India before rolling into Paris in July to celebrate Tour de France and the biggest art project cycling has ever seen. Meanwhile, HAVE A LOOK: Read More
Launching tonite at NIKE's MONTALBAN THEATER is news of the upcoming "Stages" art show that will debut in July at GALERIE EMMANUEL PERROTIN in Paris during LANCE ARMSTRONG's run in this year's TOUR DE FRANCE. An exhibition curated to reflect the personal art collecting tastes of Lance himself, the exhibition was developed by Nike to illustrate LIVESTRONG's expanded global outreach in the fight against cancer and as a means of engaging the creative community in the shared struggle. Launching on July 16th, the show will feature nearly thirty original artworks reflecting on some aspect of the cancer struggle by a diverse roster of emerging and established artists including ED RUSCHA, RAYMOND PETTIBON, KAWS, ROSSON CROW, JR, TARYN SIMON, CHRISTOPHER WOOL, JULES DE BALINCOURT, SHEPARD FAIREY, JOSE PARLA, AARON YOUNG, MARC NEWSON, KENNY SCHARF, OS GEMEOS, YOSHITOMO NARA, ERIC WHITE, and DZINE, to name just a few. To highlight the event, Lance will be riding a special series of "art bikes" in the Tour de France created in collaboration with TREK and designed by none other than modern art and design masters MARC NEWSON, TAKASHI MURAKAMI, and DAMIEN HIRST. To put a giant face on the campaign, SHEPARD FAIREY wrapped the side of the Montalban theater in his new artwork for Livestrong depicting Lance as the two-wheeled cancer fighting machine that he was born to be. Stay tuned for more "Stages" details coming from ST soon...
In a racing world where carbon fiber is the holy grail of track performance, San Francisco-based artist BARRY McGEE (aka: Twist) takes us back to the days of cold hard steel with his incredibly unexpected graphic treatment on this TREK Madone 6.9. Created (with the help of our homies at RVCA) in commemoration of LANCE ARMSTRONG’s competition in the TOUR OF CALIFORNIA for the first time this year, Barry’s signature characters populate a carbon fiber frame masterfully altered to resemble a vintage metal race cycle literally “ridden hard and left out in the rain” one too many times. One of Lance’s personal favorite artists, Barry was chosen for the task because of his unique aesthetic sensibilities and acute love of cycling, particularly fixed gear riding which have melded here in new and truly unexpected ways. Launched tonite as Lance's main ride in his public anti-cancer ride in Hollywood tonite, the bike went on display in NIKE's MONTALBAN THEATER as part of Lance's public announcement of the new “Stages” art campaign being waged to help expand the LIVESTRONG foundation’s global anti-cancer fight (more news on that coming to ST soon). HAVE A LOOK: Read More
BAKSY's back in 2009 with a couple fresh hits in Fogtown. Unsurprisingly, his sense of humor remains undaunted by these dark days...
Huge LANCE ARMSTRONG art news coming your way this weekend. Meanwhile, SHEPARD FAIREY's new art mural depicting the champion cyclist as cancer fighter in the tireless LIVESTRONG army is underway on the side of NIKE's massive MONTALBAN THEATER at the corner of Hollywood & Vine. Keep an eye on ST for updates throughout the week...
In an effort to raise awareness for his LIVESTRONG foundation's endless fight against the cancer burden worldwide, Supertouch buddy LANCE ARMSTRONG has commissioned a series of "Open Roads" street level chalk art installations that began in LA this weekend with the work of nascent art star JAMES JEAN. Attacking the Venice boardwalk on Saturday, Jean quickly grabbed public attention with his incredible yellow chalk mural that in turn inspired over 600 passers-by to pick up chalk themselves and break loose with their own impromptu yellow "street art." Keep your ears peeled for some huge Lance art news coming later this week on ST. Meanwhile, HAVE A LOOK: Read More
...and it hits stands Monday, March 2nd. Don't sleep.