Gripes Feed

An Atrocity Rises From the Ashes of 5 Pointz

Before and After Photographs of 5Pointz Mural Site Show a Bleak Transformation


Fill Empty Storefronts with Local Art - A Great Idea

Monica-Banks-in-Window-768x1024With 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


Artist Sues Trump’s Border Wall Contractors for Destroying His “Cheese Wall”

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.

Cosimo Cavallaro’s “Cheese Wall,” built of blocks of Cotija cheese, before it was destroyed. (photo by Alan Shaffer; courtesy of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP)

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.

Cavallaro standing at the former site of his destroyed “Cheese Wall” near the US-Mexico border. (photo by Alan Shaffer; courtesy of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP)

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.”


Tel Aviv's Florentin District is Losing Its Wonderful Street Art

Florentine 04-Rami-Meiri-Photo-Lord-K2-scaledThe 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.

 


Banksy’s ‘Game Changer’ Painting Was Almost Stolen From a UK Hospital

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 Suna 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.


Philadelphia Mayor Wants to Defund City Arts Agency in Wake of Covid-19

Philadelphia mural projectI can understand the terrible choices city administrators must make in the wake of COVID-19 but defunding the arts is an area where I think we should reconsider. There must be other options like getting wealthy donors in Philadelphia to help assist the arts at this time, providing, perhaps, services to children who are at home and out of school. Philadelphia boasts a wonderful murals project and is also the home of mosaic artist Lazar whose home and workspace, The Magic Garden, delights and attracts many visitors.

Artforum reports:

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has eliminated the city’s Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy, slashing funding for the arts by $4 million, in his proposed $4.9 billion budget for the 2021 fiscal year. If the budget is passed, defunding the agency would also mean that the Art in City Hall exhibition program, the Percent for Art program, and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund would cease operations, ending grants and financial support to hundreds of artists and cultural organizations.

“These programs provide invaluable service to artists and arts organizations, and it’s a tragedy that they have all been deleted—STARTING JUNE 1, 2020—presumably since art is ‘non-essential,’” reads an open letter published by the online publication Artblog, which covers arts and culture in the Philadelphia region. “This proposal sends a horrible message about how the arts don’t matter in Philadelphia and more to the point, it implies that the arts have nothing to offer the community at this time, when we know the arts are helping many of us get through the pandemic.”

A petition to save the city’s arts funding body, which had more than 5,400 signatures at the time of publication, has been launched on change.org. Organized by Philadelphia’s Internet Radio Community, iradiophilly, the campaign acknowledges the hardships facing the city as it tries to recover from the economic turmoil ignited by the Covid-19 outbreak, but it calls the decision to shut down an office that “supports vital industry in the city of Philadelphia, especially one that has been hit hard during this crisis,” as “short sighted” and demands its reversal.

In defense of the budget plan, Kenney cited the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and told the Philadelphia Inquirer that the “drastically revised” proposal for the coming fiscal year prioritizes “core municipal services.” Mural Arts Philadelphia will still be funded but will be allocated just over $2 million—a decrease from the $2.45 million it was previously awarded—and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which is housed on city property, will also see its budget reduced from $2.55 million to a little more than $2 million.

According to the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, the arts and culture sector injects $4.1 billion into the local economy annually and supports 55,000 jobs. In response to the news, Maud Lyon, president of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, called the moment “difficult and extremely distressing” in a letter to prominent arts leaders in the city. “We know that many of the recommended cuts and funding reductions will tear into the essential fabric that makes our sector so vibrant and diverse.” She added that the loss of the Office of Arts, Culture, and the Creative Economy and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund has the “potential to destabilize our community in a way we have never experienced.”

Philadelphia’s City Council approved a $5 billion budget for the 2020 fiscal year, a $300 million boost from the previous year—at the time, the mayor said that the budget hike was actually the result of the restoration of funds that had been cut since the 2008 recession. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the city’s spending has increased by $1 billion since Kenney was elected in 2016. Kenney had originally drafted a $5.2 billion budget for the 2021 fiscal year, but he revised it following closures and revenue shortfalls due to the coronavirus pandemic. The council will vote on the 2021 fiscal budget by July 1.

On Tuesday, May 5, Philadelphia reported that there were no new Covid-19-related deaths, making it the first day since March 24 on which no one died from the virus.


Breaking News-- Appeal Upheld in 5Pointz Artist Lawsuit

Great news--

 

Appeals court backs $6.7M award to Queens' 5 Pointz artists

 

 

Twenty-one graffiti artists are due $6.7 million under a court judgment upheld Thursday against a developer who destroyed their works at the famed 5Pointz art mecca in Queens. The artists sued developer Gerald Wolkoff, taking their case to an unprecedented trial arguing their work at the old Long Island City factory was work of “recognized stature” protected by the federal Visual Artists Rights Act, a federal law that took effect in 1990.

 


Gripes - The Sequin Wall at Hudson Yards

Touted as a street art instagrammable wall in the Dubai-on-the-Hudson Hudson Yards Mall, this pathetic effort at cred leaves me cold. First they gentrify a neighborhood and chase all of the street artists out and then they construct a do-it-yourself "graf-wall" nicely situated among luxury retailers. Oh really?

Sequin wall

 

 

 

 

 

 

In my opinion, a better, more authentic wall would be similar to the gum wall in Seattle. Now that is art!

IMG_1937

 


A Street Artist Is Suing Walmart and Ellen DeGeneres for Allegedly Stealing His Signature Heart Logo

From artnet:

Who owns “love”? It’s a question posed by Julian Rivera, a street artist known for his signature heart symbol surrounding the word, in a lawsuit against Walmart and celebrity TV host Ellen DeGeneres. He claims the company and media personality appropriated his signature design for a line of apparel.

Earlier this year, the retail giant released a clothing line made in collaboration with DeGeneres called EV1. Each piece featured a heart logo that rounded off into a cursive “love” at the bottom. The design bears a striking resemblance to Rivera’s own, which he often uses as a signature on his artworks and apparel, much of which is sold through an online shop.

In a complaint filed in a California District Court this week, Rivera’s lawyer, Jeffrey Gluck, accused the company of copyright infringement, demanding that they remove the items from their shelves and pay monetary damages. 

The use of the design is “particularly damaging,” the complaint states, “because Rivera has carefully avoided any association with corporate culture or mass-market consumerism.” 

“Despite offers, he has very rarely made his original art available as part of corporate advertising campaigns—partly for artistic reasons but also because doing so would diminish the value of his work,” the complaint alleges. “Indeed, nothing is more antithetical to a street artist’s credibility than association with mass-market consumerism—of which Walmart is the epitome. People who recognized his design in the EV1 Collection would have concluded that Rivera ‘sold out,’ diminishing the value of his work and reputation.”

Apparel from Walmart's EV1 line, made in collaboration with Ellen DeGeneres.

Apparel from Walmart’s EV1 line, made in collaboration with Ellen DeGeneres.

Rivera first brought the issue to the company’s attention this May, according to the complaint. After stating on multiple occasions that they “needed more time to investigate the matter,” Walmart’s attorney’s issued a full response to the artist this month, claiming that they had not copied the work, that their design was significantly different, and that—according to the complaint—Rivera’s logo “reflected no appreciable creativity.” The case may ultimately hinge on the court’s determination of the uniqueness of the “love” symbol. 

“Walmart is an intellectual property owner and respects the intellectual property rights of others,” the company said in a statement to artnet News. “Once we are served with the complaint, we will respond appropriately with the court.”

Rivera’s lawyer, Gluck, has represented a number of designers and street artists who have allegedly been ripped off by corporations. In 2016, he represented the estate of Dash Snow in a lawsuit claiming McDonald’s used the late artist’s “SACE” graffiti tag in a marketing campaign. Before that, he helped the street artist RIME bring a case against Jeremy Scott for supposedly copying one of Rime’s designs for a Moschino clothing line. Earlier this year, Gluck fought on behalf of a graffiti artist whose illegal street painting was used as a backdrop in an H&M ad. 

Gluck did not immediately respond to request for artnet News’s request for comment on the Rivera suit.