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Reading the Streets

Reading the Streets: Danh Vo's 'We the People'

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Written by ILANA NOVICK, Auction Central News International   
Tuesday, 21 October 2014 14:32
Danh Vo, ‘We The People,’ City Hall Park. Photo by Ilana Novick

NEW YORK – When I was little, there was a restaurant called America on East 18th Street that featured a bright green miniature Statue of Liberty. She was a beacon for tiny diners like myself; when I couldn’t sit still, I tried to climb her.

This memory was my first, though, when I heard about Danh Vo’s We the People, the replica of the famous statue now on view in City Hall Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park., through Dec. 5. It takes artistic chutzpah to create a full-scale replica of the Statue of Liberty, but it helps that Danh Vo’s We the People is no mere imitation.

Vo deconstructed the Statue of Liberty into approximately 250 pieces, now dispersed among 15 countries. The scattered pieces are intended to give viewers a chance to interact with an icon on a human scale. I appreciated the sentiment, but couldn’t place the inspiration without the help of signs at the front of City Hall Park. Fortunately, the design, the placement, and colors of the sculptures are fascinating in and of themselves, whether or not the Lady Liberty link is clear.

The gleaming copper structures look like abstract sunbathers, relaxing and burnishing their tans in the Indian summer sun. Getting closer, I noticed intricate curves and draping, an aspect of sculpture that never fails to amaze me. Vo takes tough copper – also the original material of Lady Liberty – and turns it flexible as fabric, with life-like creases and folds. How Vo and other sculptors do this with stone and metal is an ever-fascinating mystery to me, and even more than the historical connection, makes We The People worth a visit all on its own.

And unlike when I was 5, I didn’t even try to climb any of it.



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
Danh Vo, ‘We The People,’ City Hall Park. Photo by Ilana Novick Danh Vo, ‘We The People,’ City Hall Park. Photo by Ilana Novick Danh Vo, ‘We The People,’ City Hall Park. Photo by Ilana Novick Danh Vo, ‘We The People,’ City Hall Park. Photo by Ilana Novick
Last Updated on Tuesday, 21 October 2014 14:59
 

Reading the Streets: Hearts rain down from Gilf's copters

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Written by ILANA NOVICK, Auction Central News International   
Monday, 29 September 2014 16:09
Gilf, 'To Tehran With Love,' New York City. Photo by Ilana Novick

NEW YORK – Neon pink hearts are the attention-grabbing part of Gilf’s Mott Street mural, To Tehran With Love, but look closely and you’ll see they’re falling from a helicopter, as if bombing the black backdrop and the sidewalk below. The helicopter is painted olive green, eerily like a real military aircraft under cover of the night.

Helicopters with anything raining down from them conjures thoughts of war and bombs in my mind, even if the copter is on a wall next to a cupcake shop. When my anxiety meter calmed down for a minute, I saw what was obvious to most viewers, that the neon pink items raining down from the helicopter are hearts, not bombs. Countless Little Cupcake Bake Shop customers pose in front of it, frosting covered pastries in hand. I wonder if they notice the helicopter too.

But that’s the best part of To Tehran With Love; the hearts and the helicopter are paired to make the viewer consider what else a helicopter could deliver, besides violence. Gilf reimagines a military helicopter as not an agent of destruction, but one of love.



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
Gilf, 'To Tehran With Love,' New York City. Photo by Ilana Novick Gilf, 'To Tehran With Love,' New York City, photo via folioleaf.com, http://folioleaf.com/art/gilf Gilf, 'To Tehran With Love,' New York City, photo via http://ronniespirit.com/eye/are-your-eyes-closed-the-interview-with-street-artist-gilf
Last Updated on Monday, 29 September 2014 16:36
 

Reading the Streets: 21st Precinct Show

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Written by ILANA NOVICK, Auction Central News International   
Monday, 25 August 2014 13:22
Ivanorama at the 21st Precinct Show, New York. Photo by Ilana Novick.

NEW YORK – The irony of a graffiti show in a police station was too delicious to ignore entirely, but it was the sheer variety of styles, colors and the excitement of meeting new favorite pieces that made August’s “21st Precinct Show,” curated by Outlaw Art’s Robert Aloia, one of my favorites of the year. It was proof that even in our detached age, a clever concept is no match for witnessing the results of artists given the freedom to go joyfully crazy.

The former police station on East 22nd Street was most recently a shelter, and is soon to be pricey condos (the most luxurious holding cells in history?). For a beautiful, brief moment, however, it was tagged, spray painted, wheatpasted and stickered by an all star cast of artists including Elle, Matt Siren, Adam Dare, Sheryo and the Yok, Bunny M, RAE, Icy and Sot, and so many more.

In one corner was Ivanorama’s stark black and white wheatpaste of a young girl, pigtailed and wide eyed, screaming with her hands at the sides of her face in that classic Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone pose, with the words “NYC will eat you if you let it” written underneath. Even the children know the rent is too damn high.

On the wall of a room that once fingerprinted gangsters and prostitutes were Dali and Picasso, spray-painted into a boxing ring, with the command to “make art” written above. The piece gave no indication of who would win this particular match.

Reading the Streets favorites Icy and Sot contributed a stencil of a boy, faced obscured by a bandana, carrying a Coke tray filled with Molotov cocktails in the shape of soda bottles.

Upstairs, photographer Jesper Haynes recreated his ’90s era darkroom, complete with red lights, red drapes, and photos of the East Village in the late 80s and early ’90s. The Velvet Underground played in the background, as the people next to me chatted about nightclubs and friends and artists who moved on. I may or may not have teared up, but if anyone asks, I blame the heat.

Composure regained, I ended my trip with a visit to Queen Andrea’s room, all abstract neon shapes, including what looked like a sun who decided that yellow was just too limiting, and pink and blue and green and orange were much more appropriate for its special rays.

NYC may eat you if you let it, if you don’t, it just might give you some thrilling art.



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
Ivanorama at the 21st Precinct Show, New York. Photo by Ilana Novick. Icy and Sot at the 21st Precinct Show, New York. Photo by llana Novick. Jesper Haynes at the 21st Precinct Show, New York. Photo by Ilana Novick. Savior El Mundo at the 21st Precinct Show, New York. Photo by Ilana Novick.
Last Updated on Monday, 25 August 2014 13:47
 

Reading the Streets: 'Las Bicicletas' in New York

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Written by ILANA NOVICK, Auction Central News International   
Monday, 11 August 2014 12:59

‘Las Bicicletas’ by Gabriel Aceves Navarro, New York City, photo via http://www.nycbikemaps.com/spokes/las-bicicletas-public-bike-art-exhibit/

NEW YORK – Suddenly New York City is crawling with bikes. It was a slow trend, but cycling in the city went from the domain of the original “Fast and the Furious” crew, the all- powerful and much feared (by me) bike messengers to that of health and environmentally conscious residents looking for an MTA alternative. They’ve become a living street art all on their own, plain or fancy, Citibike blue or simply silver, with endless varieties of gear and helmets on their riders.

Mexican artist Gilberto Aceves Navarro was way ahead of New York. He sees as a solution to Mexico City’s famous traffic and crowded subways. His sculpture series, “Las Bicicletas,” first installed in Mexico City in 2008, is spending the summer in New York City, with some help with the New York City Department of Transportation’s Art Program, and NYC Parks’ Arts in the Park program.

More than 120 cheerful red and white bikes are installed in ten locations around Manhattan and Brooklyn. They are clustered together on black platforms, and all include riders of varying shapes and sizes, some with long, Gumby-like arms, others hunched over, with shorted limbs, looking a little bit tired in posture, but still resolutely biking away.

For reasons beyond the reach of my own arm-chair psycho-analysis, I find street art makes animals, concepts, or objects that make me nervous, into something thought provoking, approachable, even, in the case of my much-discussed birds, adorable. Navarro’s bikes, in their own small way, take the edge of my fear of two-wheeled vehicles and the people who ride them.



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE

‘Las Bicicletas’ by Gabriel Aceves Navarro, New York City, photo via http://www.nycbikemaps.com/spokes/las-bicicletas-public-bike-art-exhibit/

‘Las Bicicletas’ by Gabriel Aceves Navarro, New York City, photo via http://www.nycbikemaps.com/spokes/las-bicicletas-public-bike-art-exhibit/

‘Las Bicicletas’ by Gabriel Aceves Navarro, New York City, photo via https://www.facebook.com/lasbicicletas

Last Updated on Monday, 11 August 2014 14:37
 

Reading the Streets: Joe Iurato

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Written by Ilana Novick   
Wednesday, 09 July 2014 10:11
Joe Iurato at the Bushwick Collective, New York City. Photo via downtowntraveler.com

NEW YORK - Joe Iurato captures children in a way that balances wonder and mischief. In his hands, kids are not entirely "The Bad Seed," or complete sweetness and light. I saw his work for the first time at the Centre-Fuge Public Art project, which involved a meeting between a toddler-size boy and a bird, increasing my appreciation for both. They’re looking at each other a bit suspiciously, but more out of curiosity than malice.

Iurato’s pieces are small, spray-painted wood cutouts that often reference skateboarding, or art, or other interests he’s had throughout his life. Over the July 4th weekend I spotted one at the Bushwick Collective, on Troutman Street. A boy, his face in a downward gaze and hidden by a baseball cap, crouches down on the street.

He’s outlined so clearly and vividly in blacks, with such accurate shadowing, he looks like a still from an animated movie, like he would soon get up and flicker across the wall, a movie for passersby. And then there’s the action coming from a tiny spray can in his hand, out of which flow the words, “Never let go,” in blue spray paint.

He’s a little bit mischievous, as one might imagine his parents would not approve of his graffiti, but I bet they’d also impressed at his initiative. I wondered if the boy was a graffiti artist in training, if maybe one day he’ll not only be hanging out by the wall, but also creating pieces of his own.

#   #   #



ADDITIONAL IMAGES OF NOTE
Joe Iurato at the Bushwick Collective, New York City. Photo via downtowntraveler.com Joe Iurato at the Bushwick Collective, New York City. Photo by Ilana Novick Joe Iurato at the Bushwick Collective, New York City. Photo by Ilana Novick Joe Iurato at the Bushwick Collective, New York City. Photo by Nora Nussbaum
Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 July 2014 10:40
 
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