The Art of TATS CRU Opening This Week at BronxArtSpace

Internationally renowned graffiti artists, TATS CRU, will be the subject of a new exhibit at  BronxArtSpace. It’ll kick off with a block party this Saturday, June 3rd and an artist talk and documentary screening on June 22nd.

From BXNYCreative:

The Art of TATS CRU will show a representation of past projects through photographs and videos produced by Miguel Teck Arteaga. There will be works on canvas by NICER, BIO, and BG183, and a new mural collaboration reproduced as a poster to commemorate the exhibition. “We are looking at a unique rise to art world success. It’s inspirational in that it illustrates that every artist doesn’t need to follow the standard, art school, gallery system, connection-based path,” says co-curator Eileen Walsh.

The Block Party will feature homegrown, Bronx entertainment. DJ Pusha will keep the party going, with additional dance performances by BBoy & Emcee Chief69, and Hip-Hop legend Rokafella’s Full Circle Souljah‘s dance troupe.

Live music performances by up and coming Bronx MINDIE artists Statik Vision, and alternative music group, The Nobodies, and a presentation by spoken word artist and rapper, Safiel Vonay.

The exhibition for this event is sponsored by JCAL Development Group. Neighborhood businesses participating in the block party include ID Studio TheatreZaro’s Bakery, La Grata Italian RestaurantFiltered Coffee, and Bronx Native. We are also happy to have the support of Port Morris Distillery and The Bronx BreweryThe Bronx Children Museum will host creative activities for children and families, and will have their museum on the Go Bus parked on the street outside the gallery. The event is free of charge and all are welcome.

tats cru

Photo Courtesy of BXNYCreative

Recap: Blade at the Museum of the City of New York

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Friday I headed to the Museum of the City of New York  to hear Bronx graffiti artist Blade discuss his work and his newly released book, Blade: King of Graffiti. It was super cool to hear about how he scaled the Allerton station to tag his name and even cooler to see some veteran graffiti artists in the crowd. Blade discussed the importance of recognizing graffiti as a legitimate art form and increase its presence in museums such as the Guggenheim – a view I totally agree with. A couple of months ago, I attended a professional development workshop at the museum an got to see the City as Canvas exhibit (which is AMAZING and has a book to go along with it, that Blade signed for me). In addition to sparking my dormant interest in becoming a graffiti artist myself (lack of artistic talent be damned!!!), I was also exposed to the idea that some people are morally offended by graffiti, which I never knew before. A woman in our group literally walked out of the exhibit. Now, I understand how it could annoy people if someone tagged their property or even the fact that money had to spent to repaint the trains that were bombed. Sure. Fine. But I never knew people had such a strong reaction to it as to leave a room in its presence.

It’s important to understand that graffiti takes talent and skill. It sends a message and is, particularly in the 70s, an outlet for people to express themselves. Why not give people a real space to do that and showcase/recognize it?  *steps down from soap box*

Anyway, I had a great time and strongly encourage you to check out Blade’s book AND the City as Canvas exhibit while its still open featuring work from Keith Haring, Lady Pink, and one of my favorites, Lee Quinones.

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What I’m Reading/Giveaway!

With grad school finally wrapping up next week, it’s been hard the past few weeks (months!) to enjoy any downtime and read for fun. Luckily, the book I’m reading is mostly images!

A Love Letter to the City by Stephen Powers captures a graffiti artist turned street artist’s work in cities around Love Letter ot Citythe world such as New York (of course!), Philadelphia, Sao Paolo, and Dublin. For a look at the nuances and differences between graffiti and street art, check out Project Bronx’s latest video on the topic. 

Powers went from tagging his name by the elevated trains in Philadelphia to working with business owners and community organizations to create breathtakingly vibrant works of art that spoke to the community. In a great line from the introduction, Powers says “For all its [graffiti’s] efforts to communicate, most people don’t understand it, and if people don’t understand, they don’t take ownership, and your name gets taken down like a campaign poster in December.” This really struck me particularly after what happened to 5Ptz.I can’t claim that I spent a lot of time there, but when they took everything down, I felt it and I didn’t even have any art up there! I can’t imagine how the artists, especially those from around the world, felt.

The photographs of Powers’ work run alongside interviews with some of his colleagues and partners who helped him with the projects and wonderful anecdotes of the background stories behind the artwork and his travels.  What I like best about Powers’ work besides it brightness and the curvy shapes of the letters, are the kitschy, sweet messages themselves. Phrases like – ” I Paid the Light Bill Just to See Your Face” (Syracuse) and “All I Need is You and New Shoes” (Brooklyn) stand  boldly emblazoned on various surfaces – billboards, bridges, walls, buildings, the list goes on.

Though the Bronx is sadly not featured, our borough’s rich history of graffiti and street art and our constant exposure and familiarity make this book a fascinating read. I’ve always wanted to tag along with some graffiti artists and watch them at work and this is the next best thing. It’s amazing to see how much thought, preparation, time, effort, and planning went into all of the works featured and hearing it from Powers himself, makes everything more personal.

TWO LUCKY READERS WILL WIN A COPY OF A LOVE LETER TO THE CITY AND A SET OF 12 NOTECARDS WITH PRINTS OF POWERS’ WORK ON THEM. 

HOW TO ENTER: 

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WINNERS WILL BE CHOSEN ON FRIDAY, MAY 23, 2014

 

Disclaimer: The wonderful people at Princeton Architectural Press sent me this book to review and giveaway. I was not paid for this review and all of the opinions are, of course, my own.