Whole in the wall 1970 -- Now “WE GOT NO TIME 4 TOYZ”! This poetic, powerful, and potent a mid-teen, was likely the earliest tagger. Seismically, the primary tools tian writings on catacomb walls in ancient Rome, deepen those linkages. In evolving from the underground to the more hallowed ground of estab- graffiti expression, deftly emblazoned high upon a facade of a once- of taggers would be enlivened by the whoosh and rattle of aerosol spray Some 90 miles south of graffiti’s DNA, New York City, urban youths in lished galleries and museums, the signature street “cred” of graffiti has proud Coney Island building in 1998, greeted all who arrived by sub- cans equipped with customized nozzles having functional names such Philadelphia were similarly motivated. I taught at Tyler School of Art in the morphed into museum “cred”. In recent years, the Whitney Museum of way to South Brooklyn. I marveled at its succinct message, syntactically as skinny, fat, banana, and mop-top. Airborne paint deposited bold and early 1970s and can attest to the strong presence of “old school” graffiti American Art has displayed Haring and Basquiat retrospectives, while memorable, and one which likely cautioned any territorial incursions by wondrous wiggles, drops, and spatter on “canvases” of concrete, brick, in the City of Brotherly Love. the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 2006 mounted an exhibition entitled “Graf- novice taggers, or perhaps, expressed the frustrations of a hardscrabble metal, and wood. A new aesthetic took hold, often producing effects life. If poetry can be described as memorable language, graffiti can ex- more akin to masterful calligraphy than labored cacography. With its ris- quisitely embody the poetic. ing popularity, early graffiti masters attracted an exuberant band of devo- In 1962, the melodic and lilting lyrics of “Up On the Roof” by The Drifters serenaded an urban youth culture with sounds and words which suggested a tamer, passive and outwardly contented populace. World tees, too long marginalized in the national culture and now in search of personal empowerment. At times taggers were members of a gang and their work served a territorial function. Early stylemeisters who emerged from graffiti’s golden period in the 70s were Blade, Crash, Daze, Quik, Ramm-ell-zee and Lee Quiñones, to name but several. Inevitably, the underground success of the movement found a mainstream venue in 1983 at Sidney Janis Gallery on 57th St. NYC. All of the aforementioned names were represented in that hallmark exhibition, to include Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. With the fiti” and in 2004, the Rose Museum (Brandeis University) displayed the work of Barry McGee. Globally, graffiti has re-invigorated museum offerings, providing a hard-earned showcase for both “old school” graffiti and a newer generation of artists and media (e.g. LED throw-ups). WHOLE IN THE WALL 1970 — NOW splashily continues the trend, attracting luminaries from countries beyond America. Included are artists such as the elusive and omnipresent Banksy (UK); Blek le Rat (France), an early events and domestic unrest would soon alter the harmony, and a convul- Anti-graffiti legislation and determined police squads, followed by aggres- exception of the deceased Basquiat and Haring, the others have reunited sive period in our culture would shortly and noisily emerge. Within New sive prosecutions of transgressors, for some time have sharply curtailed for the Whole in the Wall 1970-Now exhibition. In the catalogue for the York City, and most prominently in the boroughs of the Bronx, Brooklyn, the widespread graffiti activity associated with New York City’s extensive 1983 Sidney Janis Gallery exhibition, titled Post-Graffiti, Crash states and Queens, a disenfranchised and marginalized urban youth culture transit system. With great stealth, cunning, daring, and stamina, tag- (p. 7): “My work which I call Post-Graffiti-Pop is much related to the Pop was significantly influenced by break-dancing, hip-hop, and political/so- gers and crews through much of the 1970s, and mainly at night, adorned artist Roy Lichtenstein but also has a powerful color composition that is Indispensably, the exquisite archival photography and scholarly contri- cial activism. Quiet urban rooftops, which once were sleepily described the exteriors and interiors of subway cars, transit stations, and railroad very much extracted from my previous subway work.” Relatedly, the 1983 butions of long-standing chroniclers of graffiti art, Henry Chalfant (USA) by the dulcet words and sounds of The Drifters, did not reflect, in the yards. Resplendent brightly-colored bubble and wild style pieces, throw- catalogue cover was designed by Crash and Daze and the back cover and Martha Cooper (USA), capture the graffiti movement with grace and mid-60s, the emerging discontent, and discourse of time and place. City ups, platform letters, and re-appearing tags appeared throughout the by Crash. Sidney Janis in his introductory remarks glowingly validates precision. Photographers Jamel Shabazz (USA) and Silvio Magaglio youths adventurously sought rooftops, billboards, railroad yards, sub- city. While the vast fleet of subway cars and its supporting infrastructure graffiti art as a contemporary art movement while linking it to Pop. Janis (France) further enrich our understanding of graffiti art. way cars/stations, city doors, underpasses, and the like to express them- is now largely free of graffiti, its presence is still observed elsewhere in further notes that (p. 2): “Slides showing examples of their earlier subway selves artistically. “Old school” graffiti letter forms, slogans, and tags the city. The microscopic and sweeping curvilinear qualities associated art will be shown.” A recent Christie’s auction in NYC estimated the sell- were first rendered in felt-tip markers, Flo-master inks, and with sponges with letterforms in illuminated manuscripts of long ago may well have ing price of a 1982 Basquiat painting, Mater, to be 5-7 million dollars. Stephen F. Smalley — Emeritus Professor /Art, Bridgewater State College daubed in shoe polish, each insuring a speedy and clandestine applica- a descendant in urban graffiti. Pledges of love inscribed upon a wall of Janis can certainly be viewed as a visionary. (Bridgewater, Massachusetts, USA, May 2009) tion. Graffiti lore points to the markings of Taki 183, who 40 years ago as Juliet’s home in Verona, Italy, over many centuries as well as early Chris- pioneer in stencil graffiti; and Nunca (Brazil) who recently collaborated on a project which colorfully transformed the exterior of Kelburn Castle in Scotland. Tag on! 03 VICTOR ASH was born in Portugal in 1968. He currently lives and works in Copenhagen, Denmark. Fascinated with graffiti since the age of thirteen, his signature is a raw stencil style used with silhouettes that he adapts to walls, glass, and other surfaces. His works reflect current societal situations, prompting the viewer to confront these issues via the environment he has created. Themes often include the contrast between the urban and rural and young people’s quest for identity in subcultures. He has participated in solo and group shows since 1991 in such spaces as Århus Kunstbygning Museum, Denmark, and Kunstraum Bethanien Museum, Berlin. LEFT TO RIGHT: “car mountain with wolf 2”, 79”x 53”; “falling graffiti writers”, 2009, 50’’ x 34’’; “lady and dj in the woods”, 2009, 79’’ x 61’’. 05 BANKSY was apparently born in Bristol in 1975. Though his identity remains unknown, his work is prolific and world-famous. Banksy is well known for his guerrilla street art as well as for surreptitiously exhibiting his works in the world’s most famous museums. His artworks, mainly produced with a distinctive stenciling technique, are often satirical and subversive commentary on politics, culture, and ethics. His auction records speak volumes for the popularity of his art, which is included in some of the most important private collections in the world. LEFT: rat with roller, 2006, 24” x 30”; THIS PAGE (LEFT TO RIGHT): “bombhugger”, 2006, 14’’ x 13’’; “Untitled drawing” (DIPTYCH), 12” x 17’’. 07 BLADE (Steven Ogburn) was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1957. He created his first graffiti in 1972, tagging on the buses and postal vans of New York City. Nicknamed “The King,” he reigned for many years on the 2 and 5 subway lines with the group “The Crazy 5” (TC5), of which he is a founding member. The group’s “Block Busters,” made up of vertically elongated letters, completely covered some trains. Blade is ceaselessly renewing and recreating his style of lettering. He first started painting on canvas in 1982. LEFT (TOP TO BOTTOM): “blade’s mechanical letters from subway art book”, 22’’ x 63’’; “back in the day”, 11/2008, 24’’ x 85’’; UPPER RIGHT: “the buzy galaxy”, 01/2009, 122’’ x 68’’. 09 BLEK LE RAT (Xavier Prou) was born in France in 1951 and studied engraving and architecture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. Widely considered the godfather of modern street art, he was the first to use stencils to create street silhouettes. In 1981, inspired by New York City’s graffiti and a stenciled WWII portrait of Mussolini, he sprayed small black rats running along the streets of Paris. With this work and his silhouette of an old Irish man two years later, his stencils became recognized all over France. Blek’s works attempt to link his intimate characters with the surrounding environment, engaging the beholder to interact with the image and his or her surroundings. LEFT TO RIGHT: “sheep in the city 3”, 44’’ x 69’’; “urban angel”, 82’’ x 46’’; “master’s red”, 32’’ x 32’’; “homeless in NYC”, 46’’ x 82’’. 11 CRASH (John Matos) was born in the Bronx, New York, In 1961. He lives and works in New York and is considered a pioneer of the Graffiti movement. He has prolifically created graffiti works since 1975 with Daze and Kel 139 in the New York City subways; his work was first exhibited at Real Art Ways in 1981. His work is in the collections of MOMA New York and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. LEFT TO RIGHT: “dream a little dream”, 04/2009, 72’’ x 72’’; “after broadway boogie woogie”, 04/2009, 70” x 73”; “blink and you’ll miss it”, 04/2009, 72’’ x 30’’. 13 DAZE was born in New York in 1962. His work has provided a powerful and continuing record of the graffiti movement. He has successfully conveyed an ongoing message about the mean streets, a segment of the urban cultural experience ignored by more conventional painters. Many of his paintings and watercolors are peopled by characters that simultaneously frighten and amuse, with street scenes intermixing artists, cops, hookers, pimps, and musicians. These cartoon-like figures are humorously drawn, but there exists a more serious subtext. His later works have taken on a new sophistication, depicting the excitement of the street and recreating the spontaneity of the subway paintings, which were the direct precursors of the post-pop phenomenon. FAR LEFT (TOP TO BOTTOM): “the four seasons”, 02/2009, 78” x 120”; “untitled”, 06/2007, 46” x 56”; MIDDLE: “agenda painting #24”, 11/2007, 40’’ x 50’’; UPPER RIGHT: “steeplechase dream”, 06/2009, 68” x 120”. 15 HENRY CHALFANT is a sculptor, photographer and filmmaker, born in Sewickley, Pennsylvania in 1940. His photos have been exhibited at the OK Harris Works of Art, the landmark “New York - New Wave” show at P.S. 1, and other high-profile galleries and museums worldwide. His photos of graffiti on New York City subway trains were exhibited at the Whitney Museum’s “An American Century.” Henry co-produced and documented photos for the film Style Wars (1984); co-directed the documentary on South Bronx gangs, Flyin’ Cut Sleeves (1993) with Rita Fecher; and directed the documentary From Mambo to Hip Hop (2006). He also co-authored the definitive account of New York graffiti art, Subway Art (Holt, 1984) and a sequel on the art form’s worldwide diffusion, Spray Can Art (Thames and Hudson, London, 1987). TOP: “Blade”, 1980, 10” x 40”; BOTTOM (LEFT TO RIGHT): “Skeme Daze”, 1982. 10” x 40”; “Quik”, 1980, 10” x 40”. 17 IKON was born in Paris in 1970 with surfing in his blood. From the age of 16, he began to travel the world in search of the best waves on earth. It was during this elusive search that he started painting on surfboards, and decided at the age of 24 to return to Paris to further develop his artwork. Highly inspired by street and urban culture, he blends figurative painting with colorful animations and witticisms. He has been exhibiting throughout Europe and is becoming a strong influence in today’s street art movement. LEFT TO RIGHT: “good morning kids!”, 2008, 40’’ x 80’’; “bboy py-D-man”, 2009, 82’’ x 63’’; “Bboy hulk”, 2009, 80’’ x 73’’ . 19 JAMEL SHABAZZ, born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1960, started his career in photography in the late 1970s in his hometown. During the 1980s Jamel embarked on a photographic journey documenting the AfricanAmerican and Hispanic community. His work has been exhibited at Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Museum of the City of New York, and Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. He has been a guest lecturer at International Center for Photography, Howard University, The New School of Art and Design at Parsons, and The Studio Museum in Harlem. His work has been published in The New York Times, The Village Voice, Vogue, and many other publications. He currently works as a documentary photographer and is a member of the photo collective Kamoinge, Inc. LEFT TO RIGHT: “Friends”, Brooklyn, 1985; “Busted” 1980, NYC; “Chilling on the D Train”, 1980, Brooklyn. (All works PICTURED are 16” x 20” digital c-prints matte p99 with aluminum brace.) 21 JONONE (John Andrew Perello) was born in the Harlem area of New York in 1963, and has been living between New York and Paris since 1987. He has the most personal artistic style of his generation, halfway between graffiti and abstract painting. He started tagging in the city and the subways in the 70s, with the juxtaposition of colors streaking on the moving subway trains being a fundamental element of his style. Strongly influenced by other street artists including A-One and Phase II, he is also influenced by American abstract expressionists such as Pollock, Motherwell and De Kooning. His first exhibition was in 1990 and he has exhibited with Helenbeck Gallery since 2003. LEFT to right: “havoc in da city”, 2008, 124” x 79”; “a long time ago NYC - Jackson Pollock à NYC”, 2009, 57”x 79”. 23 LEE QUIÑONES (Lee George Quiñones) was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, in 1960 and was raised in New York. He is considered one of the artists who have advanced graffiti by pushing the technical and aesthetic limits of street artists. After the risky work of painting subway trains, he started to paint on canvas and has had several exhibitions. Several of his works are now part of the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art. LEFT TO RIGHT: “Send the clowns” (detail); “A Midsummer’s Dawn”, 65” x 50”. 25 MARTHA COOPER was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in the 1940s and currently lives in Manhattan. She has specialized in documenting urban vernacular art and architecture. Starting in 1977, she worked as a staff photographer for New York Post for three years. During that time she began to shoot graffiti and breakdancing, subjects that led to her extensive coverage of early Hip Hop as it emerged from the Bronx. Martha’s books are bibles of hip-hop, graffiti, breakdancing, and subversive culture of the 70s, and include Subway Art, R.I.P. Memorial Wall Art, We B*Girlz, Street Play, New York State of Mind, Tag Town, and Going Postal. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide and published in numerous magazines from National Geographic to Vibe. She has also served as the director of photography at City Lore. left: “Dondi in New Lots yard”, Brooklyn, 1980; “Duro, Doze, Mare 139, Shy 147, Daze, Pink and Crash jumping from Lower Eastside amphitheater painted by Lee for Charlie Ahearn’s movie, Wild Style”, 1981; “Vaughn Bode style nude character on subway”, 1981. 27 NUNCA (Francisco Silva) was born in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1983. He lives and works in São Paulo. He started painting in the streets of São Paulo in 1995 at the age of twelve. From the unique Brazilian form of tagging called “pichação,” his work developed to incorporate Brazilian native Indians. Whether on canvas or murals, Nunca’s art creates a dialogue between Brazilian ancestors and contemporary Brazil, addressing the influence of globalization on native cultures, the inner character of the Brazilian people, and the fight for survival in the modern metropolis. In 2007, he exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art of São Paulo, and in 2008 he was commissioned by the Tate Modern in London to participate in its “Street Art” exhibition. LEFT to right: “Murals in São Paulo”, 2007. 29 PLATéUS (Frédéric Platéus) was born in Liège, Belgium, in 1976. A self-taught artist who started off as a graffiti writer, Plateus established himself on the arts scene with his markedly original work. The almost sociological characteristics of his work have often been interpreted as an on-the-spot representation of a popular movement. He integrates a social environment with precise visual codes and transposes them into another milieu — a strategy he has used since the beginning of his career. By neutrally creating these links between the shapes that interest him, he questions the surrounding visual hierarchy. LEFT to right: “Slam Dunk Case” Exhibition view, mixed media, 2006 (various sizes); “Bomb R Yellow”, 2006, Polyester, 55” x 55” x 25”. 31 QUIK (Lin Felton) was born in Queens, New York, in 1958. Influenced by subway graffiti at the age of eleven, he started tagging in the streets under the pseudonym “Star 10.” Encouraged by the words of sociologist Hugo Martinez, who declares graffiti artists have the right to produce works on canvas, Quik completed his first paintings in 1975. He brought his engaging themes and American roots to Europe in the 90s, settling in the Netherlands where his works have been exhibited successfully in recent years. A quiet and solitary artist, his distinctive works are marked by a subtle irony — delivering gentle yet subversive messages. left: “I’m So Happy”, 70” x 112”; MIDDLE (TOP TO BOTTOM): “Everybody... I Love You”, 76.5” x 88.5”; “Untitled”, 76.5” x 88.5”. 33 RAMMELLZEE was born in Queens, New York, in 1960. He is a graffiti writer, performance artist, rap and hip-hop musician, and sculptor. Rammellzee’s artwork is based on his theory of Gothic Futurism, which describes the battle between letters and their symbolic warfare against any standardization enforced by the rules of the alphabet; his treatise, “Iconic Panzerisms,” details an anarchic plan by which to revise the role and deployment of language in society. During the early 80s he was also instrumental as one of the original New York hip-hop artists to introduce specific vocal styles — performing and recording music as a member of several bands. His artwork has been shown in art galleries throughout the United States and Europe. LEFT TO RIGHT: “MC DJ Blackout’s Mask”; “Customized suit cased storyboard of multi medias”, 30” x 15” x 9”; “Doll Sculpture of MC DJ Blackout”. 35 SHARP (Aaron Goodstone) was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1966. He created his first graffiti in 1979 and his first work on canvas in 1983. He finds much of his inspiration in the ancient scripts; the only element of the graffiti movement that influenced his work is the comic strip. After having focused on writing his name in the early 80s, his work is now evolving into a more abstract style. LEFT TO RIGHT: “Les affamÉes”, 2009, 55” x 67”; “Black Prayer”, 2009, 47” x 96”; “untitled”, 2009, 55” x 71”. 37 SILVIO MAGAGLIO was born in Paris in 1975. His photographs have appeared in books and magazines such as Radikal and exhibitions as “The Law Against the Street” (with JonOne) at Helenbeck Gallery. LEFT TO RIGHT: “Mr. Giant”; “Voies Liège”. 39 SOZYONE GONZALEZ (Pablo Gonzalez) was born in Brussels in 1973 and started out as a forger by painstakingly recreating an old Belgian banknote in two days. His brother was able to buy a pack of Lucky cigarettes using the forged banknote. His artistic talents later lead him to pursue graffiti art during the 90s’ European hip-hop movement, adopting the pseudonym “Sozyone,” and forming his crew R.A.B. In 1996 he became a founding member of the UltraBoys International, defining a new form impregnated with Marvels, abstract futuristic mathematics, alphabetical constructivism, and facial Picassonic cubism. He has been exhibiting his work since 2004. LEFT TO RIGHT: “Henry Amsterdam, Novus Ordo Seclorum”, New York, 2007, 79” x 79”; “André Bellaiche 1983”, 2009, 47” x 79”; “Bruno Berliner 1981”, 2009, 47” x 79”. 41 Antiquaire À PARIS JEAN GISMONDI GALLERY PARIS - 20 Rue Royale, 75008 Paris; Tel: +33 (0) 1 42 60 73 89 ANTIBES - 12 Promenade Amiral de Grasse, 06600 Antibes; Tel : +33 (0) 4 93 34 06 67 Jean GISMONDI: [email protected]; Divina GISMONDI: [email protected] LEFT Page: “BOULLE” Marquetry Commode By Nicolas SAGEOT, Cabinetmaker. End XVIIe - XVIIIe Century. Pair of Louis XVI Giltwood Armchairs. Paintings by the Artist QUIK, “Monster 2008”; This page: Beautiful Commode Attributed to Renaud and Nicolas GAUDRON. Louis XIV period, XVIIIe Century. Paintings by the Artist JonOne . “La substance de qui je suis (The essence of who I am)”, 2008. 43 HELENBECK GALLERIES Galerie Helenbeck - NEW YORK @Splashlight 529-535 W 35th Street New York, New York 10001, USA Tel +1 (646) 453-4337 Galerie Helenbeck & Galerie Gismondi - PARIS 20, rue Royale, 75008 Paris, France Tel: +33 (0) 1 42 60 73 89 Galerie Helenbeck - NICE 6, rue Defly, 06300 Nice, France Tel: +33 (0) 4 93 54 22 82 www.helenbeckgallery.com [email protected] [email protected] [email protected] Designed by chronicallyaskew for icube-newyork.com. Printed by Chantal Helenbeck would like to thank all the amazing people who have helped to make the Whole in the Wall - New York exhibition possible.
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