urban interventions

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A range of artworks and writings — by members of the Harlem Art Collective aka HART and the East Harlem community — on the theme No Rezoning, No Displacement, No Gentrification have made their way onto the Guerrilla Gallery on East 116th Street. The image pictured above — painted by Kristy McCarthy aka DGale and Zerk Oer — features a color-coded map with median prices of real estate sales and incomes of East Harlem residents, illustrating how increasingly difficult it is for working-class folks to afford to live in their own community. Several more images follow:

The following two images — featuring actual people who live in the neighborhood, including the homeless man who sleeps in front of the Guerrilla Gallery every night and the woman who sells tamales on the corner — were painted collaboratively by Rosi Mendoza, Maire Mendoza, Marisa Steffers, Harold Baines, Samuelson Mathew, O’Sheena Smith, Michael Mitchell, Amar Bennett, Shani Evans, Anni Merejo, Ralph Serrano, and Nathan Zeiden. The “Derecho A Techo” and “El Barrio No Se Vende” (further down below) signs were fashioned by Mi Casa No Es Su Casa: Illumination Against Gentrification.


The Trojan Horse — centerpiece of project


 Earlier on — Ralph Serrano at work


Kristy McCarthy aka DGale prepares wall for public comments —


The community contributes: a poem by the Poets of Course from Urban Innovations, assorted artwork, an article about the cost of keeping one person in prison for one year ($60,000 +), prints of paintings depicting the arrivals of Christopher Colombus and Hernán Cortéz and other depictions of colonizers “discovering” new lands.


 Adam Bomb with an announcement


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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Speaking with BR1

May 14, 2013

Italian artist BR1 is committed to creating work that transmits a message and raises awareness.  His artworks have not only made it onto public spaces in Italy and beyond, but increasingly into galleries, festivals and art fairs, as well. Intrigued by his images that surfaced in Bushwick during his recent visit here, we were delighted to have the opportunity to meet up with him and ask him a few questions.


When did you start getting up?

I was about 14 when I started tagging in my native town of Torino, Italy. Then I gradually moved from stickers to posters to full size images.

What motivates you to get up on the streets?

Everything about the streets inspires me. I’ve always been attracted to walls. Walls talk to you. And I like to raise questions.

Like what kinds of questions?

I’m particularly interested in the image of the veil and all that it represents, particularly the clash of cultures. I’m intrigued by paradoxes.


As someone from South Italy, how did you become interested in this theme?

My grandmother wears a black scarf. Her sensibility is similar to women who wear veils.

Where have you gotten up besides Italy?

I’ve gotten my work out in England, France, Turkey and Spain. And here in the U.S. — in Boston and New York City.

Any favorite cities?

I like Paris as its people are generally open-minded.  Istanbul was my least favorite.


What are some of your other subjects besides the veil?

I’m interested in billboard intervention. Billboards are a natural spot and easy to work with.

Do you have a formal art education?

No. My degree is in Law and my thesis was on the veil.

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Any favorite artists?

I’m particularly inspired by Iranian photographers. I find Shirin Neshat’s work especially strong.

How do you feel about the movement of street art into galleries?

At first I did not like it, but now I see it as an opportunity. But I prefer to work with nonprofits.


What’s ahead?

I want to return to the U.S. and spend some more time here. I’d also like to continue studying the veil and work on installations, particularly using found objects.

The first image featured was photographed by Tara Murray in NYC; all other images are courtesy of the artist.

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