Monthly Archives: February 2010

Che Sucks

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.

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Snow Day Graff Truck

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.

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Joey

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.

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Going Rogue

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.

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SoHo Synagogue

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.

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Thingy

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.

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Rockstar Kitty

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?

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A.P.C. Harajuku

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.

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Sky Room

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.

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Stickman Epic

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.

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Pick Your Poison

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.

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Massive Attack “Street Art” Ad Banned

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.