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Entries in street art (3)


preserving belkin's mural: new york

Murals are about the communities and neighborhoods that they becomes a part of—not to mention the building walls. Whether indoors or outside, inherently they’re one of the most fragile types of artwork created.

And as public art, or street art, there’s no museum staff or board of directors to protect them. Or to preserve them—one of the biggest challenges for outdoor works which are exposed to harsh elements 24/7.

Thankfully, the Heritage Preservation—a DC based national organization—is recognizing the need for such preservation and restoration at the local, community level.

Earlier this month it assessed Against Domestic Colonialism, a 50’ x 60’ outdoor mural in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. Painted in 1972, the stucco—or canvas of the mural—is separating from the building’s wall, most likely due to water seepage between the two. Over time, colors have faded and large areas have simply fallen off looking like missing puzzle pieces.

Over the past few years, Hell’s Kitchen has been getting more attention and rehabilitation. But it was over 30 years ago that CITYArts, inc., found Belkin to create a work on one of the building walls overlooking May Mathews and Alexandra Palmer Park.

Other major cities also have mural arts programs such as Los Angeles and Chicago—but in Philadelphia, where hundreds of murals can be found, their Mural Arts Program employs hundreds of artists, gives tours, and generates millions for the local economy.

Referring to artist Arnold Belkin’s mural as not only his only outdoor work in the US, but also one of the most endangered public murals in the country in need of urgent preservation efforts. Today, Heritage Preservation considers about a dozen equally significant murals to be highly endangered.

Thanks to skip, soho sales, for the photo.


material world: street art

photo by: BotheredByBees

Los Angeles, 2011 Art that seems to have derived from cave paintings, dating anywhere between 30,000 and 40,000 years old, has come full circle to a recognized art form that lives outside museums and galleries—that is post-graffiti or street art.

Mainly symbols or depictions of animals, primitive cave paintings, like those found in southern France or outside Sydney in the Black Fellows Hands Reserve—a protected national park featuring ancient aboriginal art in the form of cave paintings—later gave way to a wider variety of mediums and subjects as man evolved.

photo by: deflamOver time paintings made their way on to fabric, and etchings to paper, as those materials became more readily available.

Invented in the 1400s by the Holy Roman Empire, the printing press not only changed societies as information and ideas were shared with a broader audience, images and words could be mass produced from metal or lithographic plates—scratched limestone. Revolutionary since art had always been a singular, unique piece.

And as paintings evolved into large murals, such as Diego Rivera’s commissioned works in New York in the 1940s, perhaps they inspired artists—with natural talents who didn’t fit the mold of studio artists—to become street artists.

photo by: kudumomo

Milan, 2009Whether the word graffiti originated from the Greek graphein, to write, or the Italian graffiato, scratched, graffiti artists “write” on urban surfaces—walls of buildings, bridges, or the sides of rail cars—to express themselves. And they’ve been increasingly regarded as artists in their own right with voices yearning to be recognized, but often unable to expose their true identities ironically because of the medium.

But times are changing—in 2009, 150 artists exhibited 300 pieces of graffiti art at the Grand Palais in Paris—an obvious acceptance of the art form by the art world. And in 2011, Exit Through the Gift Shop, a Banksy film, was nominated for an Academy Award.

Street art has evolved in and of itself—from 2-D paintings, stencils and stickers, to 3-D mosaics, yarn bombs, installations and video projections.

And in the meantime, traditional graffiti art has been adopted as its own graphic art style.

photo by: Bikejuju Three-dimensional installation, Brooklyn

additional films on the subject:
Stations of the Elevated, 1980, the earliest documentary about subway graffiti in New York City features music by Charles Mingus
Against the Wall, aka, Quality of Life, 2004, was shot in the Mission District of San Francisco, stars and was co-written by a retired graffiti writer.
Piece by Piece, 2005, the history of San Francisco graffiti is documented from the early 1980s to present day.
Infamy, 2005, graffiti culture is defined by the experiences of six graffiti writers and one graffiti buffer.
NEXT: A Primer on Urban Painting, 2005, covers the graffiti culture on a global scale.
RASH, 2005, features street artists in contemporary Melbourne, Australia.
Bomb the System, 2002, a drama about a crew of graffiti artists in modern day New York City.
Bomb It, 2007, a graffiti and street art documentary filmed on five continents.
Jisoe, 2007, shares a glimpse into the life of a Melbourne graffiti writer Justin Hughes.
Roadsworth: Crossing the Line, 2009, features Montréal artist Peter Gibson.


one of a finds: le chiot

First discovered in a 2009 gallery exhibition, French Ink by TT Crew staged at the Babù Gallery, le chiot—a papier mâché dog—made a lasting impression and two years later, have finally made it to CB2’s one of a finds.

Babù Art Co. Ltd is a professional art institution located in the Art Zone of Shenzhen, China. With a commitment to contemporary and concept art, it consists of Babù Gallery and Babù Space.

Babù Gallery is focused on the dissemination of contemporary art and Babù Space covers a wild range of contemporary fashionable arts like Street culture, design, installation and video, as it’s been promoting international art.

Featuring the four artists that make up the TT Crew, it was the drawings by one artist in particular that were so compelling and which were later added on to the papier mâché dogs.

Made by hand of wood and layered with Chinese ink paper, each is unique as are the small scale drawings embellishing them.

One of a Finds original works are offered one time only as a limited edition for collectors and enthusiasts—le chiot has a release of 448.

Note: this one of a find will be available mid-October.