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Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

Nike AM90 x Dizzee Rascal x Ben Drury Video

Friday 18th September, Nike and Mercury recording artist Dizzee Rascal will release the very special, and strictly limited, Nike Air Max 90 ‘Tongue N’ Cheek’ sneaker.  The shoe has been created in a special partnership between Dizzee, Nike Design and long-time Dizzee collaborator and creative director, Ben Drury and will go on sale exclusively at Nike’s 1948 store in London’s Shoreditch, ahead of the release of Dizzee’s fourth LP, Tongue N’ Cheek (Monday 21st September).

Posted by pirovino | Filed in London, New Infos, Preview, Product | Comment now »


Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Pop-Up Art :: Street Cool, Turned Economic Tool


Ja Pay, 2009 is one of several collaborative works created by artist Peter Harris and musician Lee Scratch Perry that will be on display at the Higher Power art show on Sept. 10 in London.

This September marks three years since Banksy captured the art world’s attention with Barely Legal, the now legendary three-day Los Angeles warehouse show, whose location was not disclosed until opening day. Looking back, its as if the exhibit’s mammoth success spawned the beginning of pop-up art show mania. What was once regarded as a guerilla marketing move used by street-hip artists and dealers a few years ago is quickly catching on. In the past few years, companies like Nike, Scion and Campari have been particularly adept at promoting their brands to young audiences and tastemakers by using such art-events.

Yet, while pop-up galleries – temporary art shows held in vacant commercial spaces – are now a mainstream marketing tactic, they may quickly become a financial necessity in a shaken economy, where both the real estate and art markets have been dramatically impacted.

Earlier this summer, Ad Hoc Art partnered with community development organization, Metrotech BID, to transform a vacant Brooklyn, NY block into a storefront gallery of street art, inviting 15 artists including Chris Stain,Greg Lamarche, Lady Pink and Logan Hicks to create site specific installations in the windows of former businesses. (Its worth noting Ad Hoc has since announced its closing, joining a growing list of galleries who have been unable to fight off the recession)

Artists Cycle and Chris Stain contributed to the Willoughby Windows project

Artists Cycle and Chris Stain contributed to the Willoughby Windows project. Image: Dave Pinter

This week, the New York Times reported on the recent proliferation of temporary galleries in London, noting “the British government, worried about the economic, psychological and criminal hazards of retail vacancies, announced a $5 million “revival fund” for local governments in hard-hit areas to transform empty shops into something useful, like showrooms for local artists, and another $800,000 to help artists and arts organizations turn vacant high street shops into artistic spaces.” The story was also picked up by Artinfo.

London based Watch This Space has taken advantage of this new space, going beyond the curatorial and acting as facilitator between up and coming artists, who are finding it increasingly difficult to secure galleries willing to take on any new risk, and landlords who find themselves with empty space. The organization launched in June with a group exhibit in a three-story former restaurant that had been empty for two years, and is currently playing host to DIY London Scene (previously reported) in a vacant storefront in London’s Covent Garden shopping district.


Lee Scratch Perry and Peter Harris

Moving outside of the traditional gallery setting also offers opportunities for more varied and ambitious undertakings. Take Higher Ground for example, a one-day multimedia collaboration between reggae pioneer Lee Scratch Perry, legendary dub producer Adrian Sherwood, and artist Peter Harris. The interactive art and music event will take place September 10 at the historic Tabernacle Theater in London’s Notting Hill. Perry will perform songs that relate to themes from Harris’ film Higher Powers, while  a ‘VJ’ will respond with live visual interpretations of Perry’s songs. Collaborative works between Perry and Harris will be on display, and the two artists will be complete a live painting on stage, with Sherwood conducting a live mix. Tickets to the event are available here

While many galleries struggle to stay afloat, with some closing their doors for good, perhaps there is hope in a wave of more innovative, cooperative events and exhibits, where synergies between creative and business communities can nurture both the arts and wallets.

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in Events, Exhibition, Galleries, London, Market Talk | 1 Comment »


Monday, August 17th, 2009

Making Something from Nothing :: Beautiful Losers Released in UK, Inspires London Exhibit

Ivory Serra – Installation View of Alleged Gallery, 2001 (via: Watch This Space)

If you are reading this, chances are you are already familiar with Beautiful Losers, the traveling art exhibit turned documentary film celebrating a group of artists who emerged out of New York’s Alleged Gallery in the early 90s, joined together by the DIY aesthetics of punk rock, hip-hop and skateboarding. The marks of artists like Barry McGee, Shepard Fairey, Geoff McFetridge, Mike Mills and Harmonie Korine are widely acknowledged in popular art, design, film, and fashion. Now, a new exhibition in London takes up the Beautiful Losers calling to “Make Something From Nothing,” featuring a group of emerging UK artists.

DIY London Seen, an exhibition documenting the work of, and inspired by the artists featured in the film, opened today, coinciding with Beautiful ‘Losers UK DVD release and run at the London Institute of Contemporary Arts. Organized by Watch This Space, the show features a group of young London artists whose work embodies the spirit of the film, alongside the photography of original Loser, Cheryl Dunn, and Ivory Serra, who documented the rise of the Beautiful Losers’ artists throughout the 90s.  DIY London Seen runs August 17 –  September 5 at  2009 at The Market Building in Covent Garden.

August 17 – Sept 5
The Market Building
Covent Garden
London, UK WC2 8RF
Participating Artists: Arran Gregory, Aidan O’Neill, Best One, Chrissie Abbott, Clare Shilland, Charlie Woolley, Cheryl Dunn, Gustav Svanborg Edén, Graham Hudson, Harry Malt, Ivory Serra, Jethro Haynes, Marc Silver, Marcus Oakley, Niall O’Brien, Nick Jensen, Robin Clare, Sam Ashley and Toby Shuall, Ricky Adams, Rita Bored, XXXXXX, Mat Pringle and Sam Szulc


Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Remi/Rough – Lost Colours and Alibis Book


The new Remi/Rough book is available for pre-order from Agents of Change with hundreds of artworks, including collaborations with other talented artists. The foreword is by New York legend, Mare 139. The book also contains a full catalog of the Lost Colours and Alibis painting exhibition. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by pirovino | Filed in Editions, Graffiti, London, New Infos, Publications | Comment now »


Monday, July 27th, 2009

The Rise and Rise of Steve Lazarides

Steve Lazarides – Image: Jorn Tomter/The Art Newpaper

In a recent glowing profile, the Times Online dubbed UK art dealer Steve Lazarides the Jay Jopling of graffiti. With his recent expansion into a third gallery – a five floor townhouse on London’s Rathbone Place –  the comparison is worth considering. In fact, upon the opening of Jopling’s third White Cube space in  2006, the Independent declared him to be “the man who brought – and sold – Britart to the world.”  Many would agree Lazarides has done the same for what he prefers to call outsider art. However, what Jopling did over the span of thirteen years, Lazarides has done in a mere three, leaving one  to wonder if such rapid growth is sustainable over the long term.  Other factors aside, in the end it will be up to collectors of Laz’s staple of artists to decide.

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in London, Market Talk | Comment now »


Friday, July 24th, 2009

POW Releases New Banksy Print

Image: P.OW.

Pictures on Walls announced today the upcoming release of Donuts by Banksy, a new screen print measuring 30 x 22 inches, available in “strawberry” and chocolate” editions of 299 per color, and priced at £465. In a somewhat egalitarian approach, P.O.W. has set up a new lottery system that will randomly select winners from a pool of registered eligible buyers. Registration is open now through 12pm London time on July 28, so start calling all your friends to have them sign up on your behalf.

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in Editions, London | Comment now »


Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

National Portrait Gallery Claims Copyright Violation Against Wikipedia User

A 1544 portrait of Mary I housed on Wikipedia and credited to the National Portrait Gallery.

The Independent reports that The National Portrait Gallery of London is taking action against a Wikipedia user for violating copyright laws. In question are some 3000+ images owned by the state-funded gallery that were uploaded to Wikipedia by Derrick Coetzee, a Seattle based PhD student.  Several issues complicate matters. First, the centuries old portraits in question are long out of copyright and within the public domain, while the Portrait Gallery claims they retain the rights to the reproduced images of them and are entitled to licensing fees. Second, with Coetzee in the U.S. and the NPG in England, there is dispute concerning jurisdiction and conflicting international copyright laws. As if all this wasn’t enoug, the gallery argues that Wikipedia’s servers are housed in the UK and therefor fall under their nation’s jurisdiction. Yet, upon investigation of  its own Wiki entry, we report that the non-profit parent Wikimedia Foundation is located in California, organized under Florida law where it was initially based, and holds servers across three nations – 300 in Florida, 26 in Amsterdam, and another 23 in South Korea. None, according to the company, are in the UK.

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in Europe, Legal, London, Uncategorized | Comment now »


Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Trio Charged with Counterfeit Banksy Operation

An outdoor wall stencil by Banksy imitator, Bonksy (unrelated) takes on new meaning with the recent investigation. Image: Johnny Vulkan

Police have arrested three individuals in the UK for conducting a counterfeit Banksy print operation, as well as selling fake Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren designed clothing at auction. A statement issued by the Metropolitan Police identifies the accused trio as Lee Parker, Grant Champkins-Howard and Vesna Grandes-Howard, who face charges of fraud and money laundering. The crimes have ignited a firestorm on several online art discussion boards, where investigators are attempting to reach out to victims.

The statement encourages “anyone who has purchased ‘Banksy limited edition’ prints (except if bought directly from Pictures On Walls) or ‘Banksy back door’  prints in the past three years” to contact DC Ian Lawson by telephone at +44 (0)20 7230 2150 or email via Ian.Lawson@met.police.uk

Posted by ATARMS | Filed in Artist Talk, Europe, London, Market Talk | 1 Comment »


Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

Jeff Koons Keeps Criticism Alive with Serpentine Survey

Jeff Koons with Triple Popeye, 2008. Image: Getty Images via Telegraph

There has been plenty written lately on the turbulence of the art market. Major auctioneers are noticiably scaling back on guarantees and offerings from contemporary art titans like Hirst or Murakami, whose seemingly unstoppable growth finally appears to be tapering off. Even Jeff Koons, whose rise to fame predates both of the above mentioned artists by more than a decade, has been affected by the market slump. In April, 2009 the NY Times reported that one of Koons’ five Hanging Heart sculptures was quietly sold for $11 million in a private sale. This was little more than a year after he set the world record for a living artist when Gagosian Gallery bought another color from the same series for $23.6 million during Sotheby’s November 2007 contemporary evening sale (view auction result here).

In the midst of all this pop art-star uncertainty, Serpentine Gallery is hosting Jeff Koons’ first public (nothing’s for sale) gallery exhibition in London. Jeff Koons: Popeye Series presents a survey of works conceptualized by Koons and painstakingly executed by the employees of his some 100 person NY studio team.  The focal point of the show are Triple Popeye (2008) and other recent paintings infusing iconic cartoon characters in a hyper dense mash-up of abstracted imagery generated with computer aid, but meticulously painted by hand (not Koons’ own). Also on view are the artist’s well-know cast aluminum “inflatables” sculptures that take on the appearance of cheap mass-produced plastic pool toys. These have been updated and combined with “readymades” – that’s Koons-speak for every-day household items like a stepladder and garbage can.

For more than twenty years, Jeff Koons has been the subject of much praise and ridicule.  His ultra-modern style of pop has been simultaneously applauded as some of the most culturally relevant  and revolutionary art being made today, and attacked for being intellectually void, utterly low-brow kitsch that epitomizes the speculative glitz of the last several years. This new show is no different. Writing for the Telegraph, Richard Dorment suggests that “Koons’s subject matter may appear to be innocuous, but he is the most subversive artist alive today.” Adhering to the more cynical view, is the Guardian’s Adrian Searle, who says Popeye Series “is art for a world with deep pockets and a short attention span.”

Via Channel 4

Taking the middle ground is art critic Michael Glover, who calls the show “a mind-numbing spectacle…quite difficult to know whether to laugh or to cry at,” and that “it seems preposterous, almost beyond the most absurd critical joke, that anyone should take this stuff seriously at all, or have the gall to stick the label of art on it.” Yet, In the same breath he ponders the notion that “Koons wants to get rid of all that kind of old-fashioned guilt by making an art that is readily approachable, understandable and enjoyable. He wants to be entirely non-judgmental. He doesn’t want people to have to feel that they are nervously looking up at something that they don’t quite understand. He doesn’t want people to have to think and worry about pesky things like meaning. What you see is what you get. Koons brings us all together, in one big happy family. He makes us feel good about ourselves in the presence of art.”

Should Jeff Koons be heralded for democratizing art for the masses, or chastised for ushering in an over-inflated balloon of meaningless and shallow art? Koons himself might agree with both sides of the critical spectrum, and has said his art should readily evoke immediate reaction and not be contemplated or deconstructed for deeper meaning. Talking with Glover, Koons reflected on his own works: “They don’t have to bring anything with them other than exactly what they are, and they’re perfect for that experience because it’s about them…I want people, when they look at my art, to have engaging moments. I want them to feel that everything about their lives is perfect – their history, their culture, their selves. Everything is in play. Everything is possible…”

Jeff Koons: Popeye Series
July 2 – September 13
Serpentine Gallery
Kensington Gardens
London W2 3XA

Lead Image: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images via Telegraph. Triple Popeye painting with Acrobat (Lobster): Ray Tang/Rex Features. All other images: Serpentine Gallery/Jeff Koons.


Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Ways of Seeing @ Black Rat Press

Photos courtesy of Remi/Rough.

London’s Black Rat Press unveiled its July show, Ways of Seeing, on the 2nd. It will run until the July 24th. Featuring Swoon, Matt Small, and Brian Adam Douglas, the exhibition explores the different approaches of these three stylistically cohesive contemporaries.

Posted by pirovino | Filed in Exhibition, London, Openings | Comment now »