Ah, pandemic-themed street art: I love it. Slum Sex (spray-painted sometimes in Pink, and sometimes not) is a tag by renegade street artist Schizo 27 (@shizo27), who is a member of the 2wo 7even Bandits; a crew that actually rejects the name ‘crew’ and instead refer to themselves as a team of art ‘Bandits.’ This, I also love. All members of the 2wo 7even Bandits add the number 27 to their tags.
The 2wo 7even Bandits occasionally hold free Street Art Shows, where they paint discarded items (also known as trash) and buyers can pick up anything that strikes their fancy. Follow them on Instagram (@2wo_7even_bandits), for more information!
It is appropriate that we were on our way to eat after checking out Beyond The Streets, when we passed right by this Warby Parker eyewear store, the exterior of which just happens to be completely covered with the distinctive artwork of Stephen Powers (aka ESPO), whose work we had seen in the exhibit!
The attention-grabbing two-story mural by the graffiti and sign-painting legend (which covers all four sides of the building) makes the store very easy to spot from a distance! We didn’t go in, but I understand that Powers contributed to the store’s interior decor as well.
Check your Instagram feed now for shots of your friends posed in front of this wall.
Warby Parker By ESPO is Located at 124 North 6th Street (Corner of Berry Street) in Williamsburg Brooklyn, NY.
Since the 1980s, Deborah Kass has riffed on modern artworks by famous white men to reflect her experience as a Jewish lesbian. Here, Kass remakes Robert Indiana’s LOVE (itself a coded homage to queer male desire) with the twinned words Oy (a Yiddish exclamation of alarm or bother) and Yo.
The artist considers herself to be a “total, absolute, 100 percent provincial New Yorker.” This work uses the city’s culturally specific, yet universal lingo to communicate the collective pride and exasperation of living here. Originally conceived as a monumental sculpture, it was installed for limited time in Brooklyn Bridge Park. OY/YO (2017) became an instant New York icon and photo op for tourists and residents of al backgrounds, for whom the pluralist spirit of the double-sided interjection resonated deeply
Photographed in the Jewish Museum in Manhattan. Note that This Work is Currently On View In Front of The Brooklyn Museum (as of 10/1/18).
Bruce Nauman’s neon sculpture, Human Nature / Life Death (1983) is a circle of words corresponding to the defining contradictions of human existence — life and death, love and hate, pleasure and pain — are trisected by the words “Animal,” “Human” and “Nature.”
In the aggregate, the words form a colorful, illuminated peace symbol. Human Nature / Life Death is anything but serene or amicable, however, and not only because of its content. As the words flash and darken erratically, Nauman’s neon devolves into a jumble of disjointed signs that break the continuity of the composition and jerk the eye across the wall.
Available in a signed, limited edition of 120 pieces, Made in China (Pink) by Chinese artist Sui Jiango was photographed in the Taglialatella Galleries on Tenth Avenue between 23rd and 24th Streets in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Claire Oliver Gallery is currently hosting Rules to Live By, new works from Australian artist Matthew Sleeth. This is Sleeth’s fourth solo exhibition with the gallery.
In Rules to Live By, Sleeth seeks to draw attention to how signs program us to behave in a prescribed manner. By adopting their form and aesthetic while misappropriating their ideology, the artist has constructed a series of sculptural works that question the dogma of a politically correct society.
With this new body of work, the artist suggests we delve beyond superficiality for a deeper meaning in life. The texts featured in these works are sourced from a combination of found, combined, appropriated or completely invented signs or instructions.
Rules to Live By builds directly from Sleeth’s pivotal 2011 installation, The Rise and Fall of Western Civilization (And Other Obvious Metaphors), which was also exhibited at Claire Oliver. The Rise and Fall encompased a 120 foot, three-ton concrete and plywood sculpture, representing a freeway system arcing through space (and rising from knee height to over 12 feet in the air) with a road surface populated with various signs, images and objects. Inspired by the public response to the messages portrayed in that installation, Sleeth choose to expand on the irony of the impact mass media has on the population at large.
Sleeth explains, “Over many years, I have explored concepts of ‘algorithmic control’ in my work. I have been particularly interested in signs as a cultural iconography; I am both seduced by their elegance and uneasy with their Orwellian effectiveness.”
“These roadmaps of sorts are the rules we live by; they are the software that controls the way we negotiate our environment. I have long been fascinated by these sets of instructions that hold such sway over us. Why is it so difficult to ignore a sign?”
The contested behaviors being negotiated in each sign are either encouraged or discouraged by the assumptions embedded or coded in the text. Many of the conventions explored in these works depend on a range of cultural assumptions in order to function. Part of the rationale of this project is to make these assumptions visible through the process of pattern recognition within and between the insignias.
The images in Rules We Live By appropriate the formal qualities and exacting methods of fabrication of their cultural referents. The viewer is meant to recognize the codes of persuasion being used in each work and how these refer to the social contexts from which they are drawn.
Matthew Sleeth’s Rules to Live By will be on Exhibit Through December 3rd, 2016 at Claire Oliver Gallery, Located at 513 West 26th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.
F.U. MONEY By Wayne White (All Photos and Video By Gail)
Joshua Liner Gallery is currently hosting its second major solo exhibition of work from Los Angeles based artist Wayne White, entitled I’m Having a Dialogue With The Universe, And You’re Just Sitting There. This exhibition is White’s most ambitious project to date with the Gallery, featuring all aspects of the artist’s multidisciplinary practice: including kinetic sculptures, murals, work on paper, a wallpaper installation, and White’s signature Word Paintings on vintage offset lithographs.
HAD IT GOIN ON BUT LOST IT THEN GOT IT BACK THEN FUCKED UP AND LOST IT
From puppeteer, to painter, illustrator, sculptor, wordsmith —and even typographic artist —the enormous breadth of White’s creative output is part of a career spanning over 35 years. For this body of work, the artist deconstructs themes surrounding vanity, hubris, and the inflated egos of artists, as he explains, “I’m drawn to the humor of vanity. The title of the show is an artist’s private, nasty thoughts about how he or she is superior to the public and is so worthy of praise and attention. It’s my way of popping bubbles and kicking pedestals.”
THOSE GUYS ARE PUSSIES
Humor in particular is among the strongest touchstones of White’s work, explored throughout the entirety of his practice, and most discernibly in his word painting series — painted, often with profane epithets, on vintage offset lithographs of kitschy landscapes. Cleverly wry phrases such as “THOSE GUYS ARE PUSSIES,” and “HAD IT GOIN ON BUT LOST IT THEN GOT IT BACK THEN FUCKED UP AND LOST IT,” interrupt the scenery, often integrated within the formal compositions of the offset prints.
White pays special attention to the structure of each letterform in the word paintings, creating dynamic optical interactions. This arrangement of forms requires careful reading, as letters transform from clearly legible words into objects with vanishing points and buoyancy. In contrast to recent word paintings from White, these new works revisit an earlier style from the artist that evokes strong influences of Surrealism. Meanwhile, F.U. MONEY elicits Dadaist influences with its mixing of letterforms and unorthodox punctuation, superimposed on a Parisian scene at dusk. Adding to the Surrealist undertones, and echoing the walls of Peggy Guggenheim’s art collection, the installation of the works will extend from the gallery walls, held upright by oversized plywood hands.
Other works engage with the artist’s nostalgia for his youth, and Southern heritage. In Covered Wagon, White paints a pre-industrial American carriage, spiraling into the center of a found lithograph, while a series of works on paper explore various commercial signage from mid-century America.
White’s most recent collaborative work — a wallpaper installation with Brooklyn-based Flavor Paper — is also installed in the Gallery. Entitled Waynetopia, the wallpaper design is adapted from a mural in the artist’s dining room at his home in Los Angeles. Inspired by 19th century French scenic wallpaper, the design features a fantastical landscape with tropical foliage, mountains, majestic skies, and White’s trademark painted words.
You’re Just Agreeing With Me So I’ll Shut Up
Here’s a video of one of White’s Kitchen Word Sculptures.
Wayne White’s I’m Having a Dialogue With The Universe, And You’re Just Sitting There will be on Exhibit Through October 8th, 2016 at Joshua Liner Gallery, Located at West 28th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.
I wish I had gotten to this mural before the D-Bag taggers did. Don’t Call Me Baby by Baron Von Fancy is part of #TheNewAllen murals project on the store fronts along Allen Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. You can see many of them if you take the M15 Bus route south of Houston Street!
NOTE: Since this photo was taken, the mural has been repainted with identical text, but with different florescent colors highlighting each word.