Sticker (see below) of iconic Argentine (or is Argentinian?) political activist and Cuba-revolutionary figure Che Guevara. The surface message here is that Che “Sucks.”
But what’s not clear is whether it’s Che the person who sucks. Or rather if what “sucks” is the over-usage of the image, that is, its co-opting and commercialization and many references in sub- and popular culture (at least since the 1990′s). Or both.
The image in its crassest forms opens the way to some cognitive dissonance to anyone familiar with the historical significance of Che, depending perhaps on one’s politics and the context of the image.
However, the image has become a kind of visual short-hand for rebellion, “fighting the power,” and anti-authoritarianism, etc. Its currency as a signifier for in-the-know hipsters well over decade ago (that is, for a while in the ’90′s). This is was perhaps in part due to Che’s relative obscurity for a younger generation, and his symbolic bona fides as something genuine, authentic, a true figure of an earnest activism.
Eventually he was hitched to the larger political philosophy of an earlier generation. That philosophy was so contrary to the prevailing generational zeitgeist of the post-Cold War, post-Soviet, post-Communism era and the global shift toward western capitalism. Oh, we could go on. But we’ll stop. Hey, cool image.
We’ve been pummeled by snow showers here in New York City the past couple of days. The thick blanket of fresh accumulated powder re-casts the cityscape in a new and softer light (at least for a day or so until it soils and starts melting into an aggravating slush). The graffiti-covered wholesale delivery trucks that are ubiquitous in Chinatown stand out in starker contrast in the context of the whitened landscape.
A blurred pic of the Standard Hotel New York City cast in the late-afternoon light of “magic hour” (a.k.a., “golden hour”) on a recent winter day. The hotel is in the Meatpacking District and is an example of some recent bold, new, avant-garde high-rise architecture in downtown Manhattan.
Lots and lots of these “Joey CI” smiling-face paste-ups in various sizes have recently been appearing around downtown Manhattan, especially in SoHo and Nolita. This one is at the corner of Prince and Mulberry streets.
One recent snowy morning on the way to the office, we caught this Rogue beer truck parked on Spring Street in Nolita making a delivery. We like the logo design and branding and the way the logotype is slapped on the side of the truck in a big, confident way.
A synagogue is “coming soon” to SoHo, in downtown New York City. The future SoHo Synagogue is on Crosby Street, across from the rear entrance to the Bloomingdale’s department store. It’s interesting that SoHo would be the home of any new religious venue given its utter commercialization.
Whatever this is, it’s art and it’s awesome. We call it “Thingy.” Notice that the eyes are Japanese kanji pictogram characters. We found it in Harajuku, in Tokyo, Japan.
Sweet sticker of a cat in the trendy Harajuku neighborhood of Tokyo, Japan. Not sure if the awesome “R” logo is for Rockstar Games or some other brand. We couldn’t identify it. Any ideas?
Another shameless self-promo sticker in Harajuku, in Tokyo, Japan, by Los Angeles-based celebrity and party photographer Mark Hunter who goes by the name “The Cobra Snake.” We like his stuff.
Check out this awesome street-art sticker of an illustrated bunny holding a spray-paint can. A graffiti artist rabbit? Sure, why the hell not. We found this in Harajuku, the trendy neighborhood in Tokyo. Also pictured here is a promo stickie for Akira Ruiz, a photographer who takes pictures in Japan.
The wonderful A.P.C. clothing store in Tokyo, Japan. This is just one of several shops throughout the Japanese capital and the country. The French clothes label is global brand but it’s an especially successful boutique fashion label and retailer in Nippon, and one of our personal favorites. The facade of this branch in Harajuku has some crappy graffiti tags on it. But it’s interesting that the graff is in black on awhite background and as such sort of matches the austere, monochromatic downtown aesthetic of A.P.C., as if it’s part of the design. We love their retail spaces.
Some downtown New York City views of the Lower East Side (and Global Graphica HQ), Chinatown, Tribeca, SoHo, Nolita, Little Italy and the Financial District as seen from the Sky Room. The seventh-floor space has been, until recently, the best-kept secret at the New Museum. Its galleries are devoted to international contemporary art and housed in an avant-garde building designed by Tokyo architects Sanaa on the Bowery in the LES.
More total street-art awesomeness from Primo in the Lower East Side. This wheat-paste poster is too f-ing funny: A person in a bunny-rabbit suit (and sneakers — are this Nike?) sitting on a toilet, taking a crap.
This is way too massively awesome. Over at GamerCrave they’ve posted 20 examples of graffiti art based on video games and characters, like Super Mario and so on. This is a must see. Robby Weiss at website Albotas regularly posts pictures of video-game street artwork. Check ‘em out.
A large street-art piece by Stickman on Eldridge St. in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, downtown New York City. The artist tends to work on a much smaller scale and has more visibility in SoHo and Nolita, so this artwork is a surprise both in scale and location.
An enigmatic, simple and crudely-rendered image on Ludlow St., in the Lower East Side, drawn as if by a child with precocious ambitions and talent for visual commentary. In this street-art poster, an Apple iPhone is as much an unhealthy chemical vice as coffee and liquor. Love it.
An ad for the new Massive Attack album has been banned by the London Underground authorities on the grounds that is looks too much like street art. The advert is for the Brtistol group latest CD “Heligoland” and was to have been displayed in “tube” (subway) stations throughout the British capital. But because the album’s cover art looks too much like the “graffiti” art of popular street artists such as Banksy, it has been deemed unacceptable. The art work in question was created by one of the band’s members, Robert “3D” Del Naja.
Getting word from World Famous Design Junkies about a new street-art poster series called American Pioneers from Shepard Fairey and the OBEY team. Fairey is collaborating with legendary RnB singer Smokey Robinson on a dope new poster.
A recent entry on the Tumblr blogscape: Hipster Puppies. Says what it is. Cute, funny, droll. Must see.
The exterior wall of vintage clothing shop 11 (Eleven) at the corner of Prince and Elizabeth streets has is commissioned art space that changes every few months. The current artwork is this boldly-drawn picture of an eagle coughing. Awesome.
More awesome wheat-paste street art from A.S.V.P. on Wooster St. in SoHo. Love the idea of heart “protection.” Nice work.
Who’d of thunk it: Dayton, Ohio has a street-art scene. It’s being nurtured by the Dayton Circus Creative Collective whose mission is in part to make “street-level culture” more visible in the city. They’re doing so through a series of events and projects. The group is the spawn of the annual Slideshow indie music and arts festival and among their efforts is an “art park” called Garden Station.
Comics Superhero Drawing – Originally posted on February 6, 2010.
Grad Van – Originally posted on January 31, 2010.
This is the work of a skilled illustrator that’s been pasted up as street art. The drawing is in a pencil-sketch style of a comic-book superhero — we think it’s the DC Comics hero the Atom, but we’re not sure, as we’re not huge comics fans so we don’t know. Awesome to find this on the street in SoHo, in downtown New York City.
UPDATE & CORRECTION: Little do we know about comics superheroes. The comic-book characters shown in the street-art drawing is not DC Comics’ the Atom, but rather it’s Captain America, one of the Marvel Comics stable of superpowers-enabled crimefighters. (A big thanks to RobN to putting us right!)
The New York Times reports on how French graffiti / street artist “Andre,” who is known for his character Monsieur “A” (or Mr. “A”), is exhibiting another body of his visual work with an indoor gallery show at the influential clothing-culture shop Collette on Rue de St. Honore in Paris, France.
The artist, whose real name is Andre Saraiva, explains how he thinks it’s patronizing to try to exhibit graffiti or street art on canvas in a gallery setting. Thus his show at Collette features paintings in a style that is completely different from that of his street artwork and totally removed from the Mr. “A” icon and style he’s painted in cities around the world (and which he recently contributed to the “Luxury Reborn” ad campaign for Belvedere brand vodka shot by photographer Terry Richardson with model / actor Vincent Gallo).
“Ink” stencil-on-wheat-paste street-art poster at the famously bombed-out spot on Wooster St. south of Grand, across from Deitch Projects annex gallery in SoHo, in New York City.
Reports have been flooding in the past couple of weeks that anonymous U.K. artist and director Banksy allegedly put up at least five pieces of street art in Park City, Utah, while he was in town to screen and promote his documentary film at the annual Sundance FIlm Festival.
The movie “Exit Through the Gift Shop” screened to much critical acclaim, but it’s now been revealed that its last-minute inclusion in the event was on condition that the artist not put up illegal graffiti artwork on public or private property, i.e., vandalism, while in town to attend the festival.
But at current count five works of art have been discovered in and around Park City that bear Banksy’s unique style, though some have speculated the work is at the hands of copycats or an attempt by hired promotional guns (not Banksy himself) to stir up yet more publicity for the film. In any event , the street-art has been removed, but you can see pictures of it across the InterWeb.
Verdict: FOA … Full of Awesome.
There’s been a lot of buzz the past week about Banksy, the anonymous and at times controversial street artist. His foray into documentary filmmaking Exit Through the Gift Shop got tons of press at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. Now the venerable BBC reports that his movie will screen at the prestigious Berlin Film Festival this month, though it will not be in competition for a prize.