Exhibits

I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Jason Mamarella, as he readies for today’s print release and his upcoming exhibition at the Living Gallery Outpost.

When I first started exploring NYC’s streets in pursuit of street art —  well over a decade ago — I saw your now-iconic character, dint wooer krsna, everywhere! He was one of the most prolific images around town. He has since been featured in over two dozen books and has made his way onto a range of media including the opening scene of Exit Through the Gift Shop. You’d once told me that dint wooer krsna was conceived as your online identity at about the same time that MySpace was born.

Yes! It was online before it was on the streets. I did not want to reveal who I was. It was critical that my identity remain hidden at that time.  Someone had threatened to shoot me over a woman, and I had reason to believe he was quite serious.

What about the name krsna?  I’ve always wondered about it.

It’s a reference to Hare Krishna. I used to hang out in Hare Krishna temples. The Hindu God Krishna was a vegetarian — as I am. He was a friend of the cow.

What motivated you to hit the streets with dint wooer krsna

I was newly divorced, and I needed to get out of the house. I’d been tagging for years — since I was a teen — but I wanted my character to stand out. krsna was my first wheatpaste.

Have you ever been arrested?

I’ve been arrested three times for vandalism. The first was in 1993 at an after-party at Ferry Point Park. Together with Aones WTO, Kech & James “V.E.” Conte, R.I.P,  I was caught tagging the Bronx Whitestone Bridge. The penalty was  community service and five years ACD. Then in 2008, I was caught and identified online for getting stencils up in Hoboken. After nine summonses, a judge yelled at me for 20 minutes. Nothing more. But I had to pay $3,000 to have a lawyer stand next to me in court. And in 2010, an undercover grabbed me on 2nd Avenue in the East Village for two stickers I’d put up. The cop told me that I was responsible for bringing kids into this “degenerate lifestyle,” and he called the Vandal Squad.

Had you any particular influences? 

James “V.E.” Conte, R.I.P. He got up everywhere. He was obsessive compulsive. I modeled myself on him — trying to get up as much and as often as I possibly could.

For several years you were largely absent from the streets.

Yes, in 2013, I began focusing, almost exclusively, on my studio work.

So what brought you back?

I guess it was always in me. It was just dormant for awhile.

How has the street art scene changed since you first hit the streets with dint wooer krsna?

Just about everything after 2010 is irrelevant; it’s all about legal permission spots. Much of it is devoid of any originality or intellectual merit.

What — do you suppose — is responsible for this change?

Projects like The Bowery Wall and the film Exit Through the Gift Shop have pushed street art so much into the mainstream that it has become trendy. People just want to hop onto the bandwagon.

Yes. It’s certainly lost its subversive appeal to those of us who were initially drawn to that aspect of it. How has your art evolved over time?

I’m leaning more towards abstraction.

You have a new hand-embellished print, Jibb Wibbles, about to be released. I know that your first three prints sold out quickly. How can folks get hold of this new one?

It’s available from House of Roulx at this link. All proceeds will go to benefit Little Wanderers, a non-profit that rescues needy cats.

And can you tell us something about your upcoming exhibit at the Living Gallery Outpost?

I will be showing my new paintings from noon to 9pm on the weekend of June 15th and 16th. They’re dark.

That should be interesting! I’m looking forward to seeing them all!

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

Photo credits: 1 Katherine Zavartkay; 2 Lois Stavsky, 2011, East Village; 3-5 courtesy of the artist

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Inaugurating its New York space with a sprawling, hugely impressive exhibition of a broad range of works by the late Jean-Michel Basquiat, the Brant Foundation has brought the spirit of the legendary artist back to the East Village. Curated by Brant Foundation founder Peter M. Brant with Basquiat scholar Dieter Buchhart and organized in collaboration with the Fondation Louis Vuitton, the exhibition, itself, is a cause for celebration. The image featured above, “Untitled,” was fashioned by the artist in 1981 with acrylic, oilstick, and spray paint on wood, A few more images featuring Basquiat’s raw and largely irreverent aesthetic, captured at this splendid exhibition, follow:

Museum Security (Broadway Meltdown), Acrylic, oilstick and paper collage on canvas, 1983

Big ShoesAcrylic, oilstick and collage on canvas, 1983

Hollywood Africans, Acrylic and oilstick on canvas, 1983

Irony of a Negro Policeman, Acrylic and lipstick on wood, 1981

Arroz con Pollo, Acrylic and oilstick on canvas, 1981

Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump, Acrylic on canvas, 1982

The exhibition continues at the Brant Foundation, 421 East Sixth Street, through May 15. Although admission is free, reservations are necessary.

Photos of images by Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from WideWalls to the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available for Android devices here.

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Continuing through April 28th at Hashimoto Contemporary on Manhattan’s Lower East Side is “Spotlight: Stencil,” a thoroughly delightful exhibition featuring a range of works by several outstanding artists celebrated for their stylish stencil art. Pictured above is the work of multidisciplinary artist Joe Iurato, whose infectious aesthetic has graced many public spaces here in NYC and beyond. Several more images from “Spotlight: Stencil,” follow:

UK-based muralist and  screenprinter Eelus, The Great Unknown, Aerosol  and silver leaf on panel

UK-based PennyIllusions of Grandeur, 2 layer hand-cut stencil, spray painted onto a 10 Pound note

Colorado-born Mando Marie, Been Both Ways, Acrylic and aerosol on paper

Austro-French duo Jana & JS, La Femme Aux Fleurs, Acrylic, spray paint and stencil on wood assemblage

Anonymous French artist OakOak, Orange’s RevancheSpray paint and acrylic on palette

Located at 210 Rivington Street on the LES, Hashimoto Contemporary is open Tuesday – Saturday, 10AM to 6PM.

Photos of artworks: 1-3 & 5 Lois Stavsky; 4 & 6 Courtesy the gallery

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Dedicated to expanding skateboard culture and education throughout the globe, Learn and Skate — the non-profit founded in France in 2012 — is now on a mission to build a cultural center in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia that will host a library, along with English, music and art classes. Earlier this month, Learn and Skate joined forces with the Museum of Les Abattoirs in Toulouse to launch a skateboard exhibition, featuring works — now online for bidding on Paddle 8 — designed by a diverse range of first-rate urban artists. Featured above are decks designed by Abstrk, Skount, Zalez and Ricardo Cavolo. The following images were captured at the festivities that accompanied the exhibition’s launch:

Exhibition opening

Musicians at play with decks by Mr Cenz, Liard Arnaud, Poni and Hush

Young artists at work

Proud young artist

Works created for Paddle 8 auction by (left to right) French artists Siker, Der, Korail, Superstop and Zalez

Limited edition signed and numbered  photograph by legendary skater and artist Steve Olson

You can view all of the artworks and bid on them here to help support the production of  a cultural center in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Bidding ends on April 24 at 12pm.

All photos courtesy of “Learn and Skate”

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Curated by Laura James and Eileen Walsh, who work under the name BXNYCreativeLook Closer features deliciously diverse surrealist artworks fashioned by three NYC-based artists: Alexis Duque, Rafael Melendez and Juanita Lanzó. Reflecting such themes as connectedness, kinship, colonial influence, environmental decay and sensuality, the works on exhibit invite us into the subconscious minds of the artists. The image featured above, Dwelling, was fashioned by the Colombian artist, Alexis Duque, whose work I first encountered on the streets of the Lower East Side awhile back. Several more images of artworks on view in Look Closer follow:

Also by Colombian artist Alexis Duque

Puerto Rican native Juanita LanzóUntitled

Chicano artist Rafael Melandez, Order of the New Star, detail

Look Closer

Located at 755 East 133rd Street in the Mott Haven/Port Morris section of the Bronx, Hell Gate Arts , a handsome, welcoming space, is open Fridays and Saturdays, 12PM-5PM or by appointment, For further information, contact Bxnycreative@gmail.com.

Photos of images by Lois Stavsky

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Emerging in the mid-80’s as one of the most prolific writers in his native Copenhagen, Bates has since made his mark across the world. With his swooping patterns, vibrant abstract shapes and masterful manipulation of letters, he has attained legendary status. Here in NYC to celebrate his birthday, he has graced the Lazy Susan Gallery with a selection of works fashioned largely with spray paint, acrylic and roller paint. Several more images from his solo exhibition Bates New York Bash— that opens tonight and will remain on view through Thursday — follow:

Bates on Blue with Yellow

Bates with Gold Outline

Camoflauge

You can meet the Great Bates and celebrate his birthday with him tonight — starting at 6pm — at Lazy Susan Gallery, 191 Henry Street, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

All images courtesy Lazy Susan Gallery

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A visual ode to the early days of hip-hop and the city that birthed it, Will Power‘s first solo exhibition, wRAPped N BLACK, features 10 large-scale, hugely impressive artworks — each fashioned with white charcoal on black wood panel. Curated by Anthony Bowman, the exhibit continues through Sunday, April 7, at Lichtundfire, 175 Rivington Street on the Lower East Side. Featured above is King of Funk, a  beautifully executed portrait of Parliament-Funkadelic leader George Clinton.  Several more images from wRAPped N BLACK follow:

Hoop Dreams, White charcoal on black wood panel, 60″ x 48″

Da Original BBoy, White charcoal on black wood panel, 60″ x 48″

Child at Play, White charcoal on black wood panel, 60″ x 48″

On Da 1&2, White charcoal on black wood panel, 60″ x 48″

Concrete Summer, White charcoal on black wood panel, 60″ x 48″

The gallery will be open today and tomorrow, Saturday, from 12-6pm and on Sunday, from 1-6pm. For further information, contact gallery director Priska Juschka at info@lichtundfire.com.

Photos of images by Lois Stavsky

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LIMINAL SPACE, Dave Persue‘s first solo exhibition at GR Gallery, showcases the varied and ever-evolving aesthetic of the acclaimed, pioneering West Coast urban artist. Along with works on paper and large canvases are images painted directly onto the gallery walls. On display, too, is a sampling of  classic merchandise — including a children’s book — featuring the legendary Bunny Kitty. Pictured above is the exhibit’s exuberant title piece, Liminal Space, fashioned with acrylic on canvas and glued onto a board in the artist’s frame. What follows are several more images I captured while visiting the gallery:

Dreamstate (Reprise), Acrylic on canvas

A series of artworks inspired by the West Coast artist’s current city, NYC, and its sprawling subways

Luck Dragon painted onto gallery wall

New York Wet Paint, acrylic on canvascollaboration with WANE

And from graffiti art to the aesthetics of fine art with Lafayette, Acrylic on canvas

LIMINAL SPACE continues at GR Gallery, 255 Bowery, through next Sunday. The gallery is open Tuesday – Sunday from 12-7pm.

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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Presented at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale 2018 and continuing though March 30 is Red Crown Green Parrot, a public art project by Kashi Gallery — conceived and fashioned by Jerusalem-based artist Meydad Eliyahu, a descendant of Malabar Jews, in collaboration with Dubai-based Thoufeek Zakriya, a Muslim who was born and raised in Kochi. I recently had the opportunity to speak to Meydad about this impressive project.

First, can you tell us something about the project’s title — Red Crown Green Parrot? What is its significance?

The title is inspired by the themes of the crown and the parrot which frequently appear in the  cultural expressions  of Malabar’s Jews — such as women’s folksongs, illuminated Jewish marriage contracts and synagogue decorations.The parrot is also a symbol of the storytelling in ancient local literature and culture.

What is the project’s principal mission? 

The presence of the Malabar Jews has almost completely disappeared — not only from Mattancherry’s physical space, but also from its collective memory. The project’s primary missions are to preserve the memory of Malabar Jews and to shed light on the loss of the unique multicultural dialogue that characterized Mattancherry in the past.

How did you go about trying to accomplish this?

Through a public intervention of a series of paintings and calligraphic wall works in Malayalam, English and Hebrew. The project is a walking route through the neighborhood that the Jews once lived in,  It includes a demolished cemetery with only one tomb left in an abandoned synagogue from the 14th century, along with several other hidden sites.

What were some of the challenges you encountered in seeing the project through?

We were uncertain as to how local residents would react to our reawakening a memory of a chapter that had ended 70 years ago. We did not know if and how they would accept it and whether they would want it to play such a prominent role in their present-day visual lives. That was one challenge.  Another challenge was  securing permission to work on the walls that we wished to use. That was something we couldn’t do until we arrived. But Thoufeek and I were determined to overcome any obstacles that came our way.

How have the city’s residents and visitors responded to the project?

Our most generous partners were the local residents. They welcomed us with great warmth and enthusiasm. When we were hesitant to put the first brush stroke on the first wall, they prodded us to start painting. Some helped us choose the right motifs and helped us secure walls; others helped with ladders and assisted with the clean-up. And we feel that we accomplished our mission.

“I’ve been living in Kochi for over 40 years, and this is the first time I’m seeing and learning about the Malabari Jewish sites,” commented one of the local residents.

Note: Created and performed in ‘Jew Town’, the historical Jewish urban area of Mattancherry, Kochi, India, Red Crown Green Parrot was supported by the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture and curated by Tanya Abraham.

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; all photos courtesy Meydad Eliyahu

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A brilliant community-based arts and health collaborative, Martinez Gallery / Pediatrics 2000 is codirected by longtime associates Hugo Martinez and Juan Tapia, MD. Its current exhibit, Methodology, featuring a broad range of global artists, is an exuberant visual ode to my favorite art genre. Several images I captured while visiting yesterday follow:

French artist Bob 59

Amsterdan-based Bortusk Leer, segment of paste-up installation of his signature monsters

 Bulgarian artist MazeOne

French artist Fake

Spanish artist Roice

Bulgarian artist Glow, center 

And outside Staze and Super 158

According to the Martinez Gallery Instagram, the exhibit continues through March 10 with gallery hours 10-5,  Monday through Friday. Martinez Gallery / Pediatrics 2000 is located at 3332 Broadway and 135th Street.

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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