File this under pretentious and disgusting:
Guess who's about to move into Jean-Michel Basquiat's old studio in Manhattan's Bowery neighborhood? It's the film star Angelina Jolie, who will pay a monthly rent of $60,000 for the property. From now on, call it Atelier Jolie.
The Manhattan building that once housed the studio and living quarters of late artist Jean-Michel Basquiat has found a new tenant. Last week, actress and humanitarian Angelina Jolie announced that she had secured 57 Great Jones Street, a two-story structure owned by Andy Warhol for 20 years, for a new creative endeavor platforming underrepresented fashion workers. With 6,600 square feet at her disposal, Jolie is working to create “a community of creativity and inspiration, regardless of socio-economic background” by providing resources and support to an international network of tailors through Atelier Jolie.
John Roesch and Garrett Kelly, the two Meridian Capital Group brokers who negotiated the deal, confirmed to Hyperallergic that Jolie signed an eight-year lease on the historic building that had been on the market for $60,000 a month since last November. Pop artist Andy Warhol bought 57 Great Jones Street, situated in Manhattan’s Noho neighborhood, in 1970 before leasing it to his close friend and fellow artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat, in 1983. Basquiat both lived and made art in the space until his untimely death at age 27 in 1988.
Basquiat, a Brooklyn native of Haitian and Puerto Rican descent, worked prolifically in the space as he continued to contest the boundaries between so-called “high art” and “low art” through his signature street art style that addressed themes of race, class, religion, and mortality. During the 1980s, Basquiat and Warhol shared a very close friendship, operating as collaborators, confidantes, and even creative competitors. Their friendship was widely publicized, but became fractured after their joint exhibition’s poor reception also yielded characterizations of Basquiat being “an art world mascot.” Though the two never formally reconciled, Warhol’s death in 1987 reportedly contributed to Basquiat’s downward spiral alongside his intense rise to fame and mistreatment as a Black man in the arts scene. Basquiat was found dead in the Noho apartment on August 12, 1988, from a heroin overdose.
In 2016, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation installed a plaque honoring Basquiat on the building’s exterior, which had long been tagged by graffiti artists paying tribute to the late visionary. Village Preservation’s Executive Director Andrew Berman described the building as “a uniquely significant part of New York City’s cultural heritage and landscape,” expressing pride in its landmark designation.
“It is our hope that this building will remain intact and in some way accessible to the public forever, in order to allow all who wish to the ability to appreciate its historic significance,” Berman told Hyperallergic.
The building’s first floor is home to an exclusive, invite-only Japanese restaurant called Bohemian. Neither Atelier Jolie nor the restaurant could be reached for inquiries.
Roesch told Hyperallergic that Meridian Retail Leasing negotiated the deal with Jolie for about six months. “We had a ton of offers from reputable operators, but her concept seemed best fit for the building and its history,” he said. Perhaps nodding to Basquiat’s reuse of existing materials for the surfaces of his work, Atelier Jolie pledged a commitment to sustainability through the use of “leftover, quality vintage material and deadstock,” focusing on the production of “quality heirloom garments with personal meaning.”
Like all great graf places, the batcave in Brooklyn is slated for demolition to build ... wait for it ... luxury apartments. But here it is as is.
Dating back to the 1950s, the Gowanus Batcave is one of the City's oldest graffiti havens. Similar to its Queens counterpart 5 Pointz, the Batcave is being demolished and converted into residences. In this immersive 360° video from the New York Times, peek inside the graffiti-filled Batcave before it is gone for good.
In this list offered on Atlas Obscura, there are 25 international places that have been reborn through street art and graffiti.
Notice that New York City is not listed. And yet this city had what would arguably be the pinnacle of street art revitalization. That was 5Pointz, an industrial square block dedicated to artists around the world. Destroyed in 2014 it is now the site of two vampire towers of glass, isolation and ugliness that the developers have the temerity to name "5Pointz".
There are endless stretches of abandoned structures scattered around the world, many forlorn and destined to be reclaimed by nature—eventually. In the meantime, many abandoned factories, alleys, hotels, and more have been transformed into living canvases. With every brushstroke and release of spray paint, these places, some officially sanctioned, others not so much, get some injection of new life, as art museums without the white walls.
Just outside Las Vegas is a former shopping outlet that has been reimagined as a modern art gallery. Due to financial issues, the Primm Outlets were forced to close their doors, until a new owner stepped in with a new approach. Artists were invited to decorate the walls and remaining storefronts of the now Prizm Outlet, and it’s seen more visitors than ever before. In Stockholm, an abandoned industrial village is now one of Europe’s largest graffiti exhibits. Each spring, graffiti writers and mural artists across Sweden descend on what’s known as the Snösätra Wall of Fame to refresh the artwork and craft new pieces. From an abandoned sniper post to an alley that is the largest outdoor art gallery in the Northwest United States, these are 25 of our favorite places reborn from the end of a nozzle.
Before and After Photographs of 5Pointz Mural Site Show a Bleak Transformation
With all of the empty storefronts, local administrators on Long Island have a great idea - require empty storefront owners to use their space to showcase local artists. And it looks to be a win-win. This from Artnet --
Landlords in a Tony Hamptons Town Must Fill Their Empty Storefronts With Works by Local Artists—Or Else Pay a Fine
Southampton's mayor proposed the initiative, which is now a law, last summer.
It’s not uncommon for storefronts to remain empty during the colder months in Southampton, the quiet eastern Long Island village overrun by beach-bound New Yorkers every summer. But the pandemic has exacerbated the issue, leaving its commercial streets looking like ghost-town versions of their former selves.
Now, the village is turning to local artists to breathe a little life into these tenantless properties.
Last year, Southampton mayor Jesse Warren introduced the Storefront Art Project, an initiative requiring landlords to fill storefront spaces that have been empty for more than a month with creations from community artists, or else be slapped with a $1,000 to $2,500 fine. The idea was signed into village code in July, and its impact is starting to be felt on the streets now.
Artworks can’t be offensive or overtly political, according to the law, and must be approved by the village administrator or come via sponsorship from the Southampton Arts Center or Southampton Artists Association. (The town encourages artists to go through these organizations for support—financial and logistical—in realizing potential projects.)
A grace period for landlords extends through next month, after which fines will be doled out to nonparticipants. But Mayor Warren doesn’t anticipate many of those.
“Our goal is to partner with the landlords, not to fine them. We want to them succeed so we’ve been pretty lenient with the enforcement,” he tells Artnet News over the phone. “We’ve received mostly positive comments. If anything, people are calling us up and saying, ‘Enforce the law more!’”
Among the first fruits of the initiative was a pair of wavelike assemblages made from coat hangers, price tags, and aluminum can tabs by local artist Alice Hope, which went up in the window of what used to be a Chico’s clothing retailer last November. Following that came an installation of photographs by Kerry Sharkey Miller hung in a former J. Crew earlier this month.
“The community has been very enthusiastic about the project,” says Amy Kirwin, artistic director of the Southampton Art Center, which sponsored both artworks. “The installations are providing a safe way for people to enjoy art during these challenging times, and it also benefits local businesses by driving more traffic into the village.”
“Of course the ideal situation would be for all of the shops to be rented, but this is a wonderful alternative in the colder months,” she adds.
Kirwin says three other installations are in the works, one of which—a suite of ceramics resembling baked goods by artist Monica Banks—will be revealed in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, there’s a stack of additional proposals still to sort through as more windows become available.
The artists behind these projects were paid, via honorarium, by the Art Center, but the law doesn’t require landlords to pay installation artists. For most participants, the appeal will come in the form of free exposure—and from that, hopefully, sales.
On this point, Mayor Warren says he encourages landlords to take a note from some of the village’s newest inhabitants—art businesses like Hauser & Wirth, Phillips, and others that have recently opened up Long Island outposts—and market their artists’ work, the way a gallery might. They can even take a cut of potential sales, he says.
As of last week, some 75 storefronts on Southampton’s two biggest commercial stretches, Jobs Lane and Main Street, remained empty, according to the Washington Post.
Just like with the destruction of 5Pointz in Queens, NYC, the VARA act may provide some justice to the destruction of the Cheese Wall --- Thank you to HyperAllergic for posting ---
A 70-foot wall made entirely of cheese, erected near the US–Mexico border as a critique of the current government’s immigration policies, has been destroyed — and the artist behind the work is suing Trump’s border wall contractors for allegedly dismantling it.
Cosimo Cavallaro began working on the sculptural installation, “Cheese Wall,” in March 2019. The Canadian-Italian artist leased a private property in San Diego County to create a barricade out of bricks of expired Cotija, a Mexican cheese named after a town in the state of Michoacan. Cavallaro’s often works with perishable materials to highlight the problem of waste, both in terms of material accumulation and financial extravagance.
In a complaint filed in San Diego federal court, Cavallaro claims that employees of the construction company SLSCO, hired by the Trump administration to fortify the US-Mexico border wall, “knowingly and willfully trespassed onto the site and destroyed the Cheese Wall” on or around October 2019.
The suit rests on a potential violation of the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, conversion, private nuisance, and trespass. Cavallaro also claims he was “deprived of the opportunity to communicate his artistic message through the Cheese Wall” and “to see the Cheese Wall, at its full length, stand in contrast to the border wall.”
“The loss of Cos’s work has been devastating to him,” Melinda LeMoine of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, who is representing Cavallaro, told Hyperallergic.
“For years, he worked to bring his vision of the Cheese Wall to life, only to have trespassers tear it apart and bury it in the dirt. He has never sued anyone before. But he felt that he had no choice here. He cannot recreate what is lost, but he can stand up for what is right,” she added.
The artist is seeking damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs.
When Trump took office, he promised to build a “big, beautiful” wall along the Southwest border to keep out what he falsely described as an influx of Mexican criminals. According to recent analyses, the (now possibly lame-duck) president has built 15 miles of new primary barrier and 350 miles of replacement or secondary barrier; another 221 miles are still under construction. That is a far cry from the 2,000-mile stretch of concrete he had committed to during his 2016 campaign.
In a 2019 interview, Cavallaro said that his installation was meant to “show and expose waste.” The sculpture was supposed to stand at 1,000 feet and was still under construction when it was torn down. By then, it stood at six feet high and contained more than 400 Cotija bricks.
“I don’t like walls,” Cavallaro said. “This is a wall that I can handle, that I’m willing to live with. This wall is perishable, it will not last.”
The Times of Israel sheds light on an international travesty. Artist neighborhoods filled with street art are being over run by developers and destroyed. One such neighborhood is the Florentin in Tel Aviv. Read more here --
The hub of Tel Aviv’s street art scene remains Florentin. Operators regularly offer guided street art tours for foreigners and Israelis alike to view the art spread throughout the neighborhood. Abarbanel Street and its surrounding industrial zone of wood and metal workshops — as well as art galleries — are the street art epicenter.
But with Florentin’s ongoing, fast-paced gentrification, the art on its streets is dwindling. In several parts of the neighborhood, in fact, street art was recently painted over by the municipality. Due to soaring real estate prices, rival developers are battling over the land in their haste to build residential housing. And as they do this, they are stripping away the neighborhood’s soul, driving real estate prices even higher, while offering little to the public — apart from more living quarters in an overcrowded section of a city that is in dire need of cultural spaces.
“Street Art Tel Aviv” — the first in our series of books documenting Tel Aviv’s urban art scene — captures the streets of the city when they still largely belonged to us.
Check out this great doc on the clash between Street Art and gentrification in Bushwick Brooklyn:
Some people have no shame - as noted by The Observer:
As one of the most famous artists in the world, Banksy is used to people making attempts to pilfer his creations: last September, a stencil drawing made by Banksy of a rat disappeared from its perch outside the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and it still hasn’t been determined whether Banksy himself was involved in this caper. More recently, however, a painting made by Banksy honoring the hospital workers battling at the front lines of the coronavirus was reportedly almost stolen from Southampton General Hospital in the UK. According to The Sun, a mysterious man was spotted loitering around the painting, which is called Game Changer, by guards watching via CCTV. He was subsequently removed from the premises before he could do any damage.
“The man just walked in brandishing a cordless drill,” an unnamed source told The Sun. The attempted robbery apparently took place on May 8, only two days after the painting was originally installed in the hospital. “Security spotted him and asked a supervisor if they should stop him. They were told to watch him and he was seen walking past the picture at least five times, clearly having a good look. Security stepped in and he was removed.” It was originally planned that the painting should remain in the hospital, at which point it’ll be auctioned off in order to raise money for the U.K.’s National Health Service.
Game Changer, which depicts a small child playing with a doll in a nurse’s uniform while neglecting superhero figurines in an adjacent basket, could eventually draw as much as $6 million at auction, which would be a hugely helpful influx of cash for the NHS, especially given the volatility that the pandemic has unleashed. Given the fact that the Banksy painting holds so much potential value for the U.K. hospital system, it seems as though it should be guarded carefully in the future.