Tag Archives: london

How High-Low Can You Go? New Banksy Mural in London Rips Basquiat for Basquiat’s Sake

There’s a new Banksy in London!   Okay, okay, okay — calm down! We know how exciting this must be for you. Us, too! But let’s take a moment and catch our breath, ’cause this is no ordinary new piece of street art from the world’s most mysterious artist.

The latest Banksy is ripping off one of the most famous and original popular post-modern artists to emerge from New York City in the heady 1980s.

You know the ’80s, right? It’s that era when people did lots of coke and wore lots of pastel-colored clothing in America, say, like a a pink linen blazer with the sleeves rolled up past the elbow (’cause in the ’80s they figured out that wearing your blazer that way made it all the easier for you to drive your convertible white Ferrari Mondial around the broad and desolate mean streets of Miami at midnight with a moody expression on your face).

Anyways, that important ’80s artist was the late, great Basquiat, as in Jean-Michel Basquiat. In the 1990s, Hollywood produced a biopic about him with Jeffrey Wright, Dennis Hopper, and David Bowie (who played artist Andy Warhol in the film).

So Banksy is ripping off Basquiat for his latest work. Well, “rip off” is a harsh term. Did we really say that? Kind of, maybe, not really. We meant “riffs” off. (Or is it “riff on”?). Or rather what we meant was Banksy is giving “a nod” to Basquiat.

Let’s clarify. Banksy has created an original Banksy artwork that depicts two police officers in his usual style of monochromatic black and gray graffiti-painted stencils.

The police are patting down and writing a citation for a very authentically-rendered impressionistic black figure painted in a style that is mind-blowingly like a Basquiat painting.

Nearby is a painting of a very Basquiat-esque dog growling, as well as a mash-up of a very Keith Haring-esque (as in Keith Haring, another late, great ’80s NYC art star) and a very Basquiat-esque human figure leaping into the air.

Is Banksy ripping off Basquiat (or Haring for that matter)? No, Unequivocally, “no!” we say.

The artwork is an homage and a site-specific work referencing a new massive exhibition of Basquiat’s work at the Barbican Centre in London. The show is awesomely titled “Boom for Real.”

Banksy’s artwork here is fucking brilliant. It’s a collision of high-brow and low-brow in a way that makes so much sense and says so much.

Basquiat, a street artist who became a legit art star and darling of the art world, if he were alive today and walking down the streets of central London might not be able to go see his own exhibition at major museum without being stopped by police or racially profiled as suspicious. There’s some bitter irony here.

Go see it while it lasts or before the neighborhood becomes so much more expensive that you’ll need to take out a mortgage to buy a flat-white coffee.

 

Video … Fascinating Archival Film Footage of 1890s London Traffic Scenes

From the earliest days of film, this fascinating archival footage shows traffic scenes from 1890s London and other places in the age before cars. What’s striking is just how much traffic there was — a lot — and how much horses were a part of the densely populated urban landscape and how vital their role was the city’s public transportation of the day.

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Video … Pepsi Max Bus Stop Billboard in London is Prolly the Best Use of Augmented Reality

So many uses of augmented reality (AR) in media and advertising have been too lame or to gimmicky or both, the novelty having worn off quickly and long ago. This Pesi Max bus stop billboard ad in London, however, is an example of the technology being used in a cool, fun, and effective way, as seen in this short video below. Maybe there’s hope for AR yet.

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Cool Video … London to Brighton, Side by Side

The BBC recently filmed the train journey as seen by from conductor’s point of view from London to Brighton, England. The journey was filmed twice before by the BBC, once in 1953 and again in 1983. The 2013 film marks 30 years between each of these three films. For this recent project, the Beeb screened the three films side by side, allowing viewers to see how much (or how very little) the landscape and  journey have changed in 60 years. The film has been sped up and shown in fast motion, such that viewer can experience the trip in about four minutes.

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Photographer Stephen Gill’s Photos of Removed Graffiti at FOAM Amsterdam

Last week we paid another visit to FOAM, the wonderful, influential photography museum in Amsterdam, where there is currently a major exhibition of photographs by Stephen Gill. Included in the show were several images from the British photographer’s “Covered or Removed” series, a collection of photos of urban spaces in the U.K. where graffiti has been scrubbed or painted over. Great stuff.

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