contemporary art

First conceived in 2017 when Billy and Mernywernz curated a collaborative and immersive exhibition inspired by shrines they had seen in their travels, “The Shrineing” has continued its project with the publication of eight limited edition artist books.

One of eight books recently released by “The Shrining”  is Pink, a charming, beautifully curated selection of artworks by Berlin-based Argentine artist Caro Pepe.  Several more images from Pink follow:

Her signature one-eyed lady

Full-page collage of images

On the streets

The other booklets in “The Shrining’s” current project include:

Salt In The Caramel by DAVE THE CHIMP

Chairs & Stairs by BILLY

Lines & Metal by GLOTES

Wot Vargen #4 by MERNYWERNZ

Neukölln by PABLO BENZO 

Free As A Bird by BUE THE WARRIOR 

and Pictures Born In Chaos by BLO  (not pictured)

Images in the booklets range from studio shots and paintings to street art works and musings — from the cleverly comical to the sublimely solemn. All intrigue! And any can be purchased here.

Photos of images: 1 & 6 courtesy “The Shrineing”; 1, 3, 4 & 5 Lois Stavsky (from Pink)

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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Currently on view at GR Gallery, one of our favorite Downtown art galleries, is Geometric Heat, a tantalizing exhibition showcasing the works of four international artists who share an inventive approach to geometric abstraction. The painting featured above, From the Top on Down, was fashioned by NYC-based Adam Lucas, known to many of us street art aficionados as Hanksy. Several more images we captured on our recent visit to Geometric Heat follow:

Italian artist Marco Casentini, On the Streets, Acrylic and glaze on canvas

Berlin-based Daniel Rich, Palestine Meredian Hotel, Baghdad, Acrylic on Aluminum Dibond

Czech artist Jan KalábDark Purple Ameba, Acrylic on canvas

Wide view with  Marco Casentini (side) and Adam Lucas (back wall)

Located at 255 Bowery, GR Gallery is open Wednesday – Sunday | 12 to 7pm. Geometric Heat remains on view through August 18.

Photo credits: 1-4 Lois Stavsky; 5 Ana Candelaria

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Working with shades of reds, blues and grays, the legendary Kenny Scharf has fashioned a tantalizing new body of paintings. On view through July 28 at TOTAH on the Lower East Side, the artworks feature a series of alluring, surreal landscapes. The exhibition, aptly titled blue blood, both entertains and provokes, as it raises questions as to the future of our planet. Featured above is Out of the Void, painted with oil and acrylic on linen with aluminum frame. Several more images I captured while visiting the exhibit follow:

Greysvillandia, 2019, Oil on linen with aluminum frame

Fuzzjungle, 2019, Oil, acrylic and spraypaint on linen with aluminum frame

What Me Worry? (Red), 2019, Oil, acrylic, silkscreen ink and mylar on linen with aluminum frame

In the Beginning, 2019, Oil, acrylic and diamond dust on linen

Segment of Funderworld — mesmerizing installation with fluorescent spray paint submerged in black-lit darkness

Located at 183 Stanton Street, TOTAH is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11am – 6pm.

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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Based in Bari in the South of Italy, Nico Skolp is a masterful designer, graffiti writer and muralist with a particular passion for working in public spaces. As he readies to visit and share his talents with us in New York City, I had the opportunity to pose a few questions to him:

You began painting on the streets as a graffiti writer while still a teenager. How has your style evolved since?

I still paint graffiti, but I am always searching for new inspiration. I’m interested in the possibility of communicating with a larger audience — one outside of the graffiti community. My murals blend shapes and colors into elaborate site-specific abstractions. Although graffiti is composed of  letters, it is more difficult to understand and more abstract than some other types of art. It is an interesting paradox!

You’ve been increasingly collaborating with other artists. What is that experience like? Is there any artist — in particular — with whom you’d like to collaborate?

I like collaborations. I like sharing visions and methods. It helps sharpen skills. If I could choose anyone with whom to collaborate, I would definitely say MOMO. His works are so interesting!  I admire his research and his experimentation.

Have you a formal art education? 

I graduated  with a degree in Industrial and Communication Design. In fact, I feel more like a designer than an artist. In 2006, I set up a visual arts and design agency, Ff3300.

Do any particular graffiti/street art memories stand out?

There is no one memory — in particular — that stands out. But I feel that my crew — Sorry Guys — contributed to the growth of a new generation of writers. Younger writers often enthusiastically tell me how much we have influenced them, as they grew up following us. It is an honor to think that I have inspired other writers, as  others — who came before me — inspired me.

When you paint in public spaces, do you work with a sketch-in-hand or just let it flow?

It depends. If the work is a commission, frequently I must first produce a sketch. Otherwise, I don’t, but I do seek inspiration beforehand. I used to work spontaneously, but recently, I’ve been using a method based on the rules that represent my style. It was from my style that the software open-source — based on shapes that are controlled by certain variables — was conceived. With these, you can make infinite compositions. You can download the software here. I designed it with Piero Molino, a close friend — an engineer who works for UBER in San Francisco.

Are you generally satisfied with your finished piece?

In general, yes! I’m satisfied, but I’m always striving to improve. Technically, I think I’m at a good level, The skills I have acquired have boosted my self-confidence. I’m happy with my life choices.

Have you exhibited your work in gallery settings? 

I’ve never had a solo exhibition. I’ve just contributed canvases to some graffiti exhibitions such as the one held at the 2010 Meeting of Styles in Tessalonica, Greece.  I’ve been thinking recently about showing in a solo exhibition and hopefully start with one in Bari. I love this city and it is where it all started for me. It has recently become a hub for tourism, and I love the idea of making a cultural contribution to it. 

What’s ahead?

I just finished my latest work in Matera, the 2019 Capital of Culture in Europe, and I’m heading now to  New York City, where I’d like to explore its urban art culture and make a contribution — why not a wall? — to the city! I will make myself available for any opportunities.

Yes! That would be wonderful!

Note: Nico Skolp can be contacted via his Instagram or his email nicoff3300@gmail.com.

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky; all images courtesy of the artist

Featured images:

  1. Matera, Italy
  2. Bari, Italy
  3. Bari, Italy
  4. Corato, Italy
  5. Matera, Italy

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Late last year — when I was out of the country — the Painting Center presented Symbols, Totems and Ciphers. Curated by acclaimed artist Scot Borofsky, who had been active on the streets of the East Village back in the 80’s, the exhibit featured works in a range of media by those artists who had pioneered the street art movement. As I had missed that historical exhibit, I was delighted to discover that a variation of it is now on view at the National Arts Club on Gramercy Park South. Featured above is one of the legendary Keith Haring‘s subway drawings, photographed by Fernando Natalici. It was Keith Haring, noted Borofsky, who brought “the idea of street-art into the consciousness of every New Yorker.” What follows are several more images I captured while visiting Studio in the Street: Symbols – Totems – Ciphers at the National Arts Club.

The noted Italian multi-media artist Paolo Buggiani, Street Hanging Sculpture, Mixed media

The late Chicano stencil artist Michael Roman — captured by  Scot Borofsky

Multi-media artist and writer Bob Dombrowski, Thirteen, Silkscreen on paper

The prolific Florida-based artist R.V. (Robin Van Arsdol), RV’s Images, Acrylic on canvas, 1985

Artist and curator Scot Borofsky, whose site specific works on local ruins often referenced Pre-Columbian patterns

Other pioneering street artists featured in Studio in the Street: Symbols – Totems – Ciphers include: AVANTRichard Hambleton, Ken Hiratsuka, SAMO and Kevin Wendall.  The exhibition continues at the National Arts Club, 15 Gramercy Park South, through June 14 and is open to the public Monday to Friday, 10am – 5pm. Admission is free.

Photos of artworks (and photos) 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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The first exhibition ever dedicated to the legendary Basquiat‘s Xerox’s works, Jean-Michel Basquiat: Xerox, continues through this coming Friday, May 31, at Nahmad Contemporary on the Upper East Side. Curated by Basquiat scholar Dieter Buchhart, who had also curated Basquiat’s recent exhibition at the Brant Foundation, Xerox presents over 20 of Basquiat’s key Xerox works from 1981 to 1987, many shown publicly here for the first time. Featured above is King of the Zulus, fashioned with acrylic, oilstick and Xerox collage on paper mounted on canvas. Several more images from this significant exhibition follow:

Untitled, Acrylic and Xerox collage on wood, 1981

Peter and the Wolf, Acrylic, oilstick and Xerox collage on canvas, 1985

Brother’s Sausage, Acrylic, oilstick and Xerox collage on canvas, 1983

Natchez, Acrylic, oil, wood and Xerox collage, 1985

Red Joy, Acrylic, oilstick and Xerox, 1984

Wide view, segment of installation

Nahmad Contemporary is located at 980 Madison Avenue, off 76th Street, on the Upper East Side and is open Monday – Saturday, 10AM – 6PM.

Photo credits: 1 Courtesy Nahmad Contemporary 2-6 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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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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In what is certain to be the Living Installation show of the year, Jadda Cat becomes our country’s first female President replacing our current toxic one. With scored music created by the inimitable Michael Alan Alien, the talented Jadda will morph into various living sculptures — using every material she can find — as she shares her wisdom with us. All will be on view both in Michael’s Bushwick studio and online tomorrow — Saturday evening — from 8pm to midnight. Ticket information is available here.

Scenes from recent Living Installations

And a sample of Michael’s ingeniously conceived and executed visionary artwork

All images courtesy Michael Alan

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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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