Exhibits

The following post is by student/intern Samantha Sabatino

On view now at Vanderplas Gallery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side is “Messenger.” Featuring an eclectic selection of works by artists who have been active on the streets of NYC and beyond, the exhibition continues through February 26th. Featured above is an untitled mixed-media work by self-taught artist Will Power. A small sampling of artworks by artists showcased in “Messenger” follows:

The NYC-born graffiti artist and SAMO© collaborator Al Diaz, “In the Future All Art Will Be Fake,” 2023, Mized media on canvas, 23″ x 20″

NYC/Buenos Aires/Miami — itinerant artist Magda Love, “Galaxy Inside 1,” 2023, Painting with Embroidered Frame, 24″ x 19″

Veteran Bronx graffiti artist Cope2, 8th Street R W Lines Subway Sign with blue Cope2 bubble, 2023, Mixed media on original metal subway sign, 27″ x 55″

NYC-based Argentine artist Sonni, “Starman,” 2022, Acrylic on canvas, 60″ x 48″

Located at  156 Orchard Street, the gallery is open Wed-Sat: 11am-6pm and Sunday: 11am-5pm.

Photos of artworks by Samantha Sabatino

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With its fusion of graffiti, comic and fine art aesthetics, ChrisRWK‘s artworks — both on and off the streets — have long captivated us. His beloved robot character has made its way onto just about every surface — from stickers to canvasses to huge vehicles to massive walls. Opening this Saturday evening at Harman Projects is his solo exhibition, “Promise Made. Promise Kept,” showcasing a range of new artworks, including a 3D rendition of his iconic robot.

Featured above is ChrisRWK‘s mixed media painting “Tale Be Told,” one of his 12 x 12 inch artworks on exhibit. Several more images of artworks from “Promise Made. Promise Kept” follow:

True to the Blue, 12 x 12 in.

Lost Amongst Ghosts and Shadows, 12 x 12 in.

Beat the Odds, 6 x 6 in.

At the Top of My Lungs, 12 x 12 in.

For Giving, Bronze Sculpture

A reception for “Promise Made. Promise Kept” will be held this Saturday evening, February 11, at Harman Projects from 6-8pm.  Located at 210 Rivington Street on the Lower East Side, the gallery is open Tuesday – Saturday from 10am – 6pm. “Promise Made. Promise Kept” remains on view until Saturday, March 4th

And be sure to check here to read Gallery Director Raul Barquet‘s illuminating interview with ChrisRWK, published this past week in Juxtapoz.

All photos courtesy Harman Projects

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Tomorrow evening, Saturday, February 4, Sister’s Uptown Bookstore & Cultural Center and James Top Productions will host a book signing of James Top‘s autobiography, My Life, along with an opening reception to “Life Is Sweet on Sugar Hill,” a solo exhibition of his artwork. If you don’t already own a copy of James Top‘s memoir, this is the ideal setting to pick up a personally autographed one.

James Top, My Life not only celebrates the life of one particularly passionate graffiti artist, curator, educator and activist, but it illuminates elements of the hip-hop culture that NYC birthed.

Growing up in the projects in East New York, a neighborhood plagued by poverty and violence, it was all too easy to succumb to the fiercely brutal life of the streets. But James Top was determined from early on to somehow escape the “war zone” that was his everyday reality and “make it to the top.”

One of the last of his friends to pick up a marker, James — then JEE 2, the writer — went, within a relatively short span of time, from tagging the walls of his building to hitting trains non-stop. In 1974, along with several other writers, he founded TOP, The Odd Partners, a graffiti crew “with a mission to take over every train line and give Central Brooklyn an all-city graffiti presence.”  And that TOP, The Odd Partners did, as its members — principally IN 1, MICKEY729, HURST and JEE 2 — perfected the art of the throw-up as they gained recognition as Kings.

As life evolved, so did the TOP Crew. Members died or were imprisoned; DONDI and NOC 167 were among those inducted; and whole train cars began to roll by. JEE 2 was soon JAMESTOP, and he began actively tagging the streets. “As JAMESTOP, I was a combination of a Central Brooklyn gangster and a Harlem Shaft,” he writes in My Life.

While James Top had found himself enmeshed in a range of personal struggles in the late 80’s, he effectively triumphed over them by the late 90’s after leaving Brooklyn for Harlem. Several hugely impressive accomplishments followed: he curated his first exhibition ever — a DONDI Memorial Show; he launched Graffiti NYC, a TV show centering on NYC’s graffiti art culture; he converted a wall of an abandoned school property into “The People’s Wall” — an open-air gallery,  and he began to lecture on graffiti in various venues, including City College, CUNY.

In 2008, James Top had his first one-man show, “AFROLOGY,”  showcasing adult versions of his signature AFRO character.  And in the late 2010’s, he became actively involved in the Graffiti Hall of Fame, both as a co-director and artist.

You can meet the legendary James Top, view his artwork, and purchase an autographed copy of his memoir tomorrow evening, February 4, from 5-9pm, at Sister’s Uptown Bookstore & Cultural Center, 1942 Amsterdam Avenue @ 156 Street.

Images: 1. Cover photo  Jamel Shabazz; 2-5 ©James Top, My Life

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Born in 1986 in São Paulo, the hugely beloved Brazilian artist Enivo began getting up on his native city’s streets at age 12. His artwork has, since, surfaced on walls, in festivals and in galleries worldwide.  It has been presented, too, in such prestigious institutions as Museu de Arte Sacra de São Paulo and National Museum of Brasilia.

As an art educator, Enivo has inspired and trained hundreds of young people from “underprivileged neighborhoods.” And, together with a group of other artists, he founded the A7MA Gallery in Vila Madalena, where he has curated over 70 exhibitions, providing artists with opportunities to showcase and sell their art.

During his recent NYC residency, Enivo created a body of new work, Eyes of the Street. “In the art studio, I combine my street and academic knowledge, mixing graffiti materials with oil paint,” he explains.

Featured above is the artist posed next to his recent oil painting, Jacaré — fashioned with oil, spray paint and pastel on canvas. What follows are several more images captured at the reception following Enivo‘s talk with “Eyes of the Street” curator Simon Watson.

Self Portrait (Arrive in NYC), Oil, spray and pastel on canvas,

Sleeping! Oil, spray and pastel on canvas

Tudo Joia, Oil, spray and pastel on canvas

“O Circo Novo” Jonato, Oil, spray and pastel on canvas

Queen Bee, Oil, spray and pastel on canvas

Self Portrait / Julião Máscaras, Oil, spray and pastel on canvas

Enivo’s canvases will remain on display at the Brazilian Consulate, located at 225 East 41st Street, until the end of February.

Photos: Lois Stavsky

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Curated by Kate Storch, “Landmark” is both aesthetically stirring and culturally enriching. Featuring artworks in a range of media by Joe Conzo, Charlie Doves, Bluster One, Peter Paid, Jeff Henriquez and Danny Cortes, the exhibition continues through this Sunday, January 29 at One Art Space in Tribeca. While visiting yesterday afternoon, I had the opportunity to pose a few questions to Kate.

This exhibition is a wonderful homage to hip-hop and to its iconic locations. What spurred you to curate it?

I’d been wanting to curate an exhibition on this theme for awhile. And the beginning of 2023, the year that celebrates the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, seemed like the ideal time to make it happen.

How did you decide which artists to feature?

I chose artists whom I admire as professionals and as people. They are all different, yet all are related to the culture in their own distinct ways. Joe Conzo photographed hip-hop from its early days in the South Bronx. His contributions to the culture are invaluable. I’ve been a huge fan of Charlie Doves for years. He is a master of the craft. I love Bluster One‘s signature style. Music runs through it. Peter Paid brilliantly captures the aesthetics of graffiti in his signage. I had a wonderful experience working with Jeff Henriquez several years ago at the Summer Classics Block Party For National Hip Hop Day at First Street Park. And Danny Cortes‘s expertise, energy, patience and humility increasingly impress me.

What were some of the challenges that curating this exhibit presented?

There are always challenges when curating, but in this case, they were limited. Everything has gone remarkably smoothly. All of the artists are great people — and easy to work with!

The exhibition is so beautifully installed. Can you tell us something about that?

The installation is entirely my vision. I had given the placement of the art considerable thought, and I had the artistic freedom here at One Art Space to make it happen. I wanted it all to come to life! I wanted it to be an experience.

How can folks see the exhibit?

One Art Space is located at 23 Warren Street in Tribeca. The exhibit continues through Sunday from 1:00 PM – 6: 00 PM daily. Easily reached by just about every subway line, the gallery can be contacted at 646-559-0535.

Congratulations, Kate!

Featured images:

1 Peter Paid

2 Bluster One

3 Charlie Doves

4 Jeff Henriquez

5 Joe Conzo

6 Danny Cortes

7 Kate Storch, curator; typography by Peter Paid to the right of miniature art by Danny Cortes

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; photos 1-4, 6 & 7 Lois Stavsky; photo 5, courtesy One Art Space

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Opening this evening, Friday, January 13 and running through February 5 at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn is POSITIVE VIBRATIONS. Curated by Collect with Lulu and Silvertuna Studios, it is an exhilarating exhibition featuring an eclectic scope of works by a range of contemporary artists from legendary graffiti writers to pro skaters.

The image featured above was fashioned by the wonderfully talented Bronx-based Zimad, who also painted a huge, brightly-hued mural at City Point’s Flatbush Atrium as a tribute to the approaching Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rabbit. A limited-edition of Year of the Rabbit coloring book calendar will be also available for purchase at the gallery.

A small selection of images of additional artworks on exhibit in POSITIVE VIBRATIONS follow:

Bronx-based Eric Orr

American Pro skater Christian Hosoi

NYC-based Australian artist Damien Mitchell

Bronx-based legends Cope 2 (top) and T-KID 170

Greek artist Andreas Rousounelis

Chicago-based Rubén Aguirre

The gallery is welcoming to children, as well. Among the exhibition’s highlights are classes scheduled for children by the legendary Al Diaz on “How to Create Your Own Graffiti Alphabet.”

Located at 445 Albee Square West, the gallery is open Monday – Wednesday by appointment and Thursday – Sunday 12-7pm. Gallery contacts are lulu@collectwithlulu.com and silvertunastudios@gmail.com

Photos of images: Lois Stavsky

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Rigorously researched and handsomely presented, City of Kings celebrates the rich graffiti culture that began on the mean streets of  NYC in the late 60’s and has since evolved into a worldwide phenomenon. Curated by first generation graffiti artist and SAMO© partner Al Diaz, along with graffiti archivist and artist Eric ‘DEAL CIA’ Felisbret and graphic designer and arts educator Mariah Fox, City of Kings appeals not only to us graffiti aficionados, but to anyone curious about the history of an illicit art form that has not only become legitimized in the “art world,” but has impacted just about every aspect of our culture — from advertising to fashion design to education.

Spanning over six decades, a comprehensive illustrated timeline traces the history of NYC graffiti beginning in 1967 with JULIO 204, whose tag and street number captured the attention of his peers in Washington Heights/Inwood. Four years later, when fellow Washington Heights tagger TAKI 183 was profiled in The New York Times, graffiti went on to gain the attention of a wide, diverse audience.

By the mid-70’s, graffiti had evolved into a “firmly established cultural movement with clear principles.”  Whole-car train pieces began to roll by and the publication of Norman Mailer’s The Faith of Graffiti lent validation to the art form.  But by the early 80’s, Mayor Koch waged outright war against graffiti writers, accusing them of “destroying our lifestyle and and making it difficult to enjoy life.”

Yet despite the war against graffiti, key talented and passionate photographers, documentarians, filmmakers and curators increasingly began to celebrate the culture which continues to make its way not only onto public space but into galleries and museums worldwide.

In addition to the exhibition’s graffiti timeline,  there is also a timeline of “Key Current Events,” such as the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968, the election of NYC Mayor David Dinkins in 1989 and the outbreak of COVID-19. – all lending socio-political context to the graffiti movement. And homage is given to the many “Fallen but not Forgotten Players in the Game.”  Included among those many writers are such noted ones as: A-One,  Don 1, Dondi, Iz the Wiz, Sane 182, and Stay High 140.  On view too are black books, graffiti paraphernalia and varied tools of the trade, along with videos, documentaries, recordings and first-person accounts.

Accompanying Part I of the exhibition is an invaluable catalog — published by Howl Arts — that includes: both the graffiti and the current events timelines; key essays by Al Diaz, Eric Felisbret, Mariah Fox and Chris Pape; a glossary of graffiti terms by Eric Felisbret, and learning tools and resources for educators by Mariah Fox.  The catalog can be purchased at the gallery or by emailing books@al-diaz.com.

On view in Part II of the exhibition at the nearby Howl! Arts/Howl! Archive are original artworks of largely of graffiti tags by such pioneers as Coco 144, Lava 1 & 2, Noc 167, Snake 1 and Futura, along with photographs by several noted documentarians of the culture including Martha Cooper, Henry Chalfant, Charlie Ahearn, David Gonzalez and Flint Gennari.

Among those on exhibit by the legendary photojournalist Martha Cooper is her 1982 Bronx capture, DUSTER/LIZZIE: 2 top to bottom whole cars in straight letters and wild style.

While Part I — located at 6 East 1st Street — closes this coming Sunday, the 15th, Part II of the exhibition continues through January 29 at 250 Bowery. Both spaces are open Wednesday-Sunday, 11am-6pm.

Photo credits:  1 & 2 Lois Stavsky; 3 & 4 Rachel  Fawn Alban, 5 © Howl Arts Inc & 6 © Martha Cooper

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I first came upon Brothers of Light’s winsome, witty aesthetic on the streets of Jerusalem several years ago. I was an instant fan. Currently on view at 30 Yefet Street — a stately, atmospheric building in Jaffa — is From Dirt, a delightfully intriguing exhibition featuring dozens of artworks fashioned this past year from metals found outside the brothers’ studio space. Featured above is Crossing the Bridge — fabricated with industrial paint on salvaged metal. Several more images I captured while visiting the exhibition earlier this week follow:

“Everything Is Temporary,” Industrial paint on found metal

“No Pain No Gain” and “Cuchara” to its left, Industrial paint on found metal kitchen utensils

“What Do You Eat?” Industrial paint on found metal kitchen utensil

“Time Sinking,” Industrial paint on found metal

“Suddenly,” Industrial paint on found metal

“Throwback,” Industrial paint on found metal

Segment of exhibition largely featuring small works–

Produced by Brothers of Light — real-life siblings, Elna and Gab — and curated by Hadas Glazer, From Dirt is at once  environmentally conscious and aesthetically engaging. It continues through Saturday evening with a closing party beginning at 6pm. A short film by Amalia Zilbershatz-Banay and Dan Deutsch accompanies the exhibition.

Photos of artworks: Lois Stavsky

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On view concurrently with LeCrue Eyebrows’ solo show at Van Der Plas Gallery is ROYAL FLUSH, a group exhibition featuring delightfully intriguing artworks by ten remarkably creative artists.

The huge mixed-media artwork featured above, Numb, was fashioned by Clown Soldier, whose now-iconic signature character I first encountered on NYC streets over a decade ago. Several more images of artworks — all by artists whose works have also surfaced in public spaces — now on view in ROYAL FLUSH follow:

The ever-inventive Al Diaz presents the wonderfully sardonic philosophical and political musings of SAMO©, the project that began in the late 70’s in collaboration with the now-legendary Basquiat

Brooklyn-based Canadian artist Jason McLean, “Gold Home,” 2022, Acrylic paint and acrylic ink Pental brush pen over found canvas

Legendary Lower East Side documentarian and visual artist Clayton Patterson, “Blue Knife,” 2021, Embroidery on fabric

London, Ontario-based ceramic artist Susan Day, “Untitled Mosaic No. 2,” 2022, Ceramic, glaze and underglaze

Toronto-based multimedia artist Devon Marinac, “Alpha Mantle Peace,” 2022, Acrylic on canvas

ROYAL FLUSH continues at Van Der Plas Gallery‘s  downstairs showroom through October 23. Located at  156 Orchard Street, the gallery is open Mon-Tue: 12pm-5pm, Wed-Sat: 11pm-6pm and Sunday: 11am-5pm. A closing reception will take place on Friday, October 21 from 6-8pm.

Photos of images and artists: Lois Stavsky

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When I first came upon LeCrue Eyebrows‘ artworks on the streets of my city, I was struck at once by its singular authenticity. Each piece intrigues, as it exudes a distinct aura of mystery. Visual meditations on such universal themes as love, loss and longing, the works are subtly strong and strikingly beautiful.

Not to be missed is the Queens-based artist’s first solo exhibition at Van Der Plas Gallery. At once quietly raw and soulfully elegant, each work tells a story – to be freely interpreted by its viewer.  And each piece was created freely and spontaneously, as nothing that Lecrue creates is premeditated. The act of painting, itself, is to the artist “an intense form of meditation.”

The beguiling image pictured above, “Move with Me,” was fashioned this year with acrylic on canvas. Several more images I captured while visiting “Primitive Form” last weekend follow:

“Own Storm,” Acrylic on canvas, 2022

“Stand With Me,” Acrylic on canvas, 2022

“Her Breath in Time,” Acrylic on canvas, 2022

“Just Beyond the Window,” Acrylic on canvas, 2022

And on a somewhat different note — “Together,” Mixed media on cold press paper, 2022

“Primitive Form” continues at Van Der Plas Gallery through October 23. Located at  156 Orchard Street, the gallery is open Mon-Tue: 12pm-5pm, Wed-Sat: 11pm-6pm and Sunday: 11am-5pm. A closing reception will take place on Friday, October 21 from 6-8pm.

Note: You can take a 3D tour of “Primitive Form” here.

Photos of artworks, Lois Stavsky

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