One thing leads to another, as they say. I was actually in the middle of an urban Art Safari for this project when I looked west across Chrystie Street and saw something that looked very familiar to me.
The interwebs tell me that back in August of 2015, the Brazilian twin aritsts Os Gemeos joined up with French wheat-paster JR to decorate the brick facade of 199 Chrystie Street. You can see the three trademark Os Gemeos characters: two interacting with / tagging the architecture, with one holding up a sign bearing JR’s signature eyeball graphic. Fun!
A reminder to look up more often!
This Mural is Located at 199 Chrystie Street, LES, NYC.
Over the course of three weeks in September (though the exact beginning and completion dates are unknown to me), I watched Brazilian street artists (and twin brothers), Os Gemeos, paint the above murals, which cover the exposed facades of two buildings that border a vacant lot, located on the north side of West 14th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues. The murals portray two rival break dancing crews from the ’80s. I imagine that this fun piece, which is a great example of Os Gemeos very distinctive style, will stay up until someone decides to put up a building. Which could happen at any time.
This is what the murals looked like when I first walked past them, during the weekend of September 9th.
Above Image Courtesy of Lehmann Maupin. All Other Photos and Video By Gail
Each year, at least one of the Chelsea galleries hosts an exhibit so impressive and over-the-top in size and scope that we like to refer to it as Art Disneyland for the duration of its run. One year, it was Yayoi Kusama’s I Who Have Arrived in Heaven, with its multiple, mirrored infinity room installations. Another, it was Takashi Murakami’s In the Land of The Dead, Stepping on the Tail of a Rainbow: a sort of Greatest Hits of the Japanese Superflat artist. And last year, we would nominate Mike Kelley’s mind-blowing Superman Origin Story that filled the cavernous spaces of Hauser & Wirth with otherworldly delights. Those were all fantastic exhibits worthy of multiple visits, no doubt about it.
This year’s Art Disneyland is over at is Lehmann Maupin on 22nd Street, and you have just under 2 weeks to check it out before you miss out. Silence of the Music, starring the whimsical, elevated street art of Brazilian artist duo Os Gemeos was virtually impossible to gain entry to during its opening reception on September 8th, and four weeks later it’s still drawing huge crowds and endless tour groups. It’s easy to see why as soon as you enter the gallery.
At their first New York solo show with Lehmann Maupin, twin brothers Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo have transformed multiple rooms into an immersive installation that combines drawing, painting, collage, mixed media sculpture, and kinetic and audio elements. These newest works represent an evolution of the style Os Gemeos has honed over decades, while also returning to their early experimentation with diverse mediums, including new oil paintings. This exhibition offers a heightened multi-sensory experience that embraces the power of human imagination and the vast possibilities in visually interpreting the subconscious.
Os Gemeos broke onto the art scene in the late 1980s as graffiti writers in their São Paulo neighborhood of Cambuci, and are now internationally recognized for a figurative style that typically features their signature yellow characters, thin dark red outlining, and intricately patterned designs. Initially influenced by the graffiti movement coming out of New York, they were ultimately inspired by the ingenuity and resourcefulness evident in their working class neighborhood. They made their art accessible to the community as a way to contribute a sense of optimism in the midst of the economic disparity, violence, and drug use that proliferated.
They believed that the popular Brazilian art movements of the time, which favored conceptual, minimalist, and concrete art, were limiting to a wider audience. Instead, they embraced work by self-taught artists like Arthur Bispo do Rosario, who created all of his work from a Rio de Janeiro mental institution during the 1930s. Following a 1993 visit with the prominent San Francisco-based artist Barry McGee, the twins developed a rigorous studio practice while continuing to make murals. This allowed them to extend their unique artistic vision beyond the streets to an international audience that includes galleries, museums, and private collections. Os Gemeos’ practice continues to be marked by a commitment to the accessibility of art and to exposing the realities of the working class while also celebrating its resilience.
Photo Op: 2 Gs on the Moon
Silence of the Music extends Os Gemeos’ approach to an exhibition as a total work of art, a concept exemplified in their Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston solo exhibition in 2012. Conceived as a site-specific installation, each room contains a unique grouping of paintings and objects that cover the wall, floor to ceiling.
The exhibition pays tribute to music in particular. Included in their B-Boy room are boom box paintings — canvases with embedded speakers that play tracks linked to the imagery on the canvas — and interactive sculptures that play LP records.
O Dia Da Festa de Break (The Break Party’s Day), 2016
For Os Gemeos, the era during the 1970s and 1980s was an influential time of discovery and sharing; the improvisational structure, descriptions of everyday life on the streets, and bravado in sharing these stories that this golden age of hip hop fostered is intrinsically linked to their practice.
Here’s a little video I took of the kinetic sculpture pictured above, which is called O Iluminado (The Illuminated)!
Similar to the surrealist artists of the early 20th century, Os Gemeos seek to defy conventions and push boundaries in art and society through the unbridled exploration of the subconscious and imagination. In direct contrast to the surrealist notion of a solitary dream space, however, the twins have described a shared intuition and subconscious experience that is translated visually through their collaborative process. They often allude to this notion of duality with their incorporation of the sun and moon, which is representative of masculine and feminine forces.
O Beijo (The Kiss), 2015-2016
The room Kiss is painted in bright hues that exude a sunny splendor and is anchored by a mechanical sculpture, representative of the masculine, which plays compositions arranged by Os Gemeos together with their brother.
A sculpture affixed to the ceiling directly above it, depicting a female, moon-shaped face, seemingly kisses the floor sculpture to trigger the music played. This imagery and their installations are meant to conjure a lucid dream state and empower the audience to consider their own subconscious.
Os Gemeos’ symbolism extends to their characters as well, whose indiscriminate yellow tone is meant to defy racial associations, an artistic decision meant to emphasize unity and the establishing role that diversity plays in their native Brazil and abroad. The twins often incorporate masks, instruments, and musicians in their work as a way to visualize the folk customs, festivals, and crafts that represent the myriad of cultural influences that make up the social and cultural landscape. Silence of the Music combines folk art, pop culture, and urban detritus in order to offer an expansive impression of the artists’ unique artistic perspective and creative process.
Os Gemeos Silence of the Music will be on Exhibit Through October 22nd, 2016 at Lehmann Maupin Gallery, Located at 536 West 22nd Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.
I pass this mural often on the way to the Chelsea Art Galleries, but yesterday was the first time I’ve stopped long enough to photograph it. A collaboration between Brazilian Street Artists and twin brothers, Os Gemeos, and American graffiti artist Futura, this fun piece went up in early 2015.
Located Adjacent to the Play Yard of PS 11, at 320 W 21st Street (between 9th and 10th Avenues), in Manhattan.
The Brazilian twins and street artist duo known as Os Gemeos have put up this fun mural on Houston just West of Bowery, which shows one of their signature characters tagging the building with the name Os Gemeos. Very meta indeed!
The Brazilian mural artists – twin brothers – known as Os Gemeos have painted another one of their epic murals in the East Village on the south-facing facade of 26 Second Avenue at 1st Street, on the vacant lot that formerly housed one of the of rare gas stations that you never see in the city. The mural went up around the third week of August.
The hip-hop influenced old school B-Boy appears to be emerging from inside the building through the concrete wall, while carrying an eighties-style boombox. The new mural will likely remain intact until the new ten-story residential development begins to rise next door. Sigh.
One of our favorite Galleries in the Chelsea Arts District, Joshua Liner, has just moved from an upper floor at 540 West 28th Street to a 2,600-square-foot street level exhibition space that completely transforms the environmental aesthetic of the gallery. To celebrate the move, Joshua Liner is currently presenting Direct Address, an inaugural group exhibition featuring works in diverse media by longtime gallery figures as well as new additions to the program. Participants include the following artists:
Alfred Steiner, Clayton Brothers, Cleon Peterson, Dave Kinsey, David Ellis, Evan Hecox, Greg Lamarche, Ian Francis, Jean-Pierre Roy, Kris Kuksi, Oliver Vernon, Pema Rinzin, Richard Colman, Riusuke Fukahori, Shawn Barber, Stephen Powers, SWOON, Tiffany Bozic, Tomokazu Matsuyama and Tony Curanaj.
While I missed last week’s opening reception, I did drop by to see the show early last evening and was blown away not only by the gorgeous new space, but also by the fantastic artworks; some by artists I have come to know well through the Liner gallery, and other artists whose work I was seeing for the first time.
Here are some of my favorite pieces from the show:
What you see here is neither real fish nor real water, but a micro-layered acrylic painting by Japanese artist Riusuke Fukahori, which is viewed as a solid object. Pretty cool!
All That Glitters by David Ellis
This kinetic sculpture/chandelier by David Ellis is equipped with motors as well as recorded music, so that it plays various original instrumental pieces at random, accompanied by the tinkling or clinking of the bottles and other suspended pieces of the sculpture. Gallery assistant Lizzie told me that Ellis will have a full gallery show in September, so I will be looking forward to checking that out.
Daily Metaltations by Stephen Powers
We’ve seen a fun show by former-sign-painter-turned-graphic-artist Stephen Powers at Liner just this past summer and his work is colorful and full of dry humor.
Neo-Roman Opera House By Kris Kuksi
Ah, Kris Kuksi: He is just the best. Check out a detail of this insane work below.
You could look at just one of Kuksi’s worlds within worlds sculptures for weeks and never see everything.
The Long Shadow to Put to Use, Once Recognized By Jean-Pierre Roy
The Joshua Liner show has one of Jean-Pierre Roy’s paintings of futuristic, urban dystopia. His work is always thought provoking.
The Clayton Brothers have contributed a dozen works to this show, which are mostly clustered in a row along the front of the gallery’s main desk. Here is a close up of two panels from this series, which is called Reality Waits for Natural Light. These paintings reminded me a bit of Brazilian street artists, Os Gemeos.
Thalassa (Pink Seahorse) by SWOON
Street artist SWOON contributed this nice piece.
Bottle Rocket Bouquet
I’m not sure who the artist of this painting is, but I liked that I was able to guess the title just from observing the contents of the picture.
Direct Address: An Inaugural Group Exhibition will be on Exhibit Through April 20th, 2013 at Joshua Liner Gallery, Located at 540 West 28th Street. Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM.