Why is it that when artists depict lady astronauts they are always wearing a full face of make up, I ask yez. Is it to let the viewer know that the character is merely a work of fiction and could never exist in real life? Am I thinking about this too hard? Probably.
When David Bowie was alive, he spent his time in NYC living in the SoHo neighborhood; specifically, in a luxury apartment building located at 285 Lafayette Street. Since Bowie’s passing in 2016, various pieces of street art have popped up on the block as a continuing homage to the late icon. The mural above is the latest. At first glance, it looks like just a random collage of images with the featured one being some sort of monster or alien being. But if you stop to take a closer look, you can’t miss the visage of David as Ziggy Stardust over on the right.
Not only that, lyrics from the song “If You Can See Me,” (off The Next Day) are visible just below Ziggy’s chin. Other Bowie motifs include an astronaut (possibly a nod to Major Tom / “A Space Oddity”) as well as the Planet Earth, which is mentioned in the chorus of that same song. Circling back to the blue Alien creature, that could refer to “Loving The Alien.” As far as the preponderance of mushrooms and butterflies, they could be references to drugs or spirituality, but your guess is as good as mine. I wasn’t able to identify the name of the artist anywhere on the piece, and a Google image search turned up zero results. Feel free to leave your thoughts about this enigmatic piece of street art in the comments
In the early days of the Covid 19 lockdown, most of us — not just here in Manhattan but around the globe — were spending close to 24 hours a day in our homes. It was during this time that photos began appearing on the Internet and Instagram depicting places like Times Square and other generally heavily-populated ‘tourist destinations’ in states of complete abandonment. It was as if civilization as we know it had ceased to exist, and our cities been left to the elements. The world was looking more apocalyptic by the day. The only thing missing were the zombies.
Street Artist BD White painted a few of his Astronauts on Bowery just south of East Second Street. This one is my favorite.
If you travel all the way to the back end of Freeman Alley (right by the city’s most secret restaurant) you may still be able to find this Astronaut floating amid a constellation of stickers, stencils and paste ups, accompanied by the phrase “Fly me to the moon!” spray painted in vibrant pink. How delightful. The artist, Poet (#poetwastaken on Instagram) offers that, “the astronaut is both an ode to Ol’ Blue Eyes‘ lyric of love, yet a modern nod to the Coachella Moon Man.” “After all,” he concludes, ” love is out of this world!” Amen to that!
A cacophonous summary of the grand aspirations and unrest of the late 196os, Robert Rauschenberg’s Signs (1970) was originally commissioned as a cover for Time Magazine. When the collage was rejected by the publication, Rauschenberg turned it into a print “conceived to remind us of the love, terror, and violence of the last 10 years. Danger lies in forgetting.” United States soldiers in Vietnam, peace protestors and the anonymous victim of an urban riot are combined with the images of five public figures, three of them recently murdered: President John F. Kennedy, presidential candidate Senator Robert F. Kennedy, and the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. They are joined by Buzz Aldrin, the second person to walk on the moon, and the singer Janis Joplin, who died from a drug overdose a few months after Signs was made.
Photographed as part of the exhibit Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends, at the Museum of Modern Art Through September 17th, 2017.
Jonathan LeVine Gallery is currently hosting Invisible World, a series of new works by Detroit-based artist Glenn Barr. Although his work has appeared previously in group shows, this is Barr’s debut solo exhibition at the gallery. It was worth waiting for.