Stevio...LA LA Lovin' It?

I'm British-born Chinese from Bristol, UK. I’m LA-based. I’m a hip hop aficionado. After 15 years in London I moved to LA to pursue a new career and outlook on life.

Back in the 80s I was a DJ. In the 90s I contributed to the world's first street style exhibition at London's Victoria & Albert Museum. In 2011, I had my first interviews published. Today, I’m keeping busy with music, art, photos and writing.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Moving Murals: Henry Chalfant & Martha Cooper’s All-City Graffiti Archive

A new gallery opened in the L.E.S. of  New York City earlier this month. Gallery City Lore's inaugural exhibition is uniquely New York from a bygone era. Moving Murals: Henry Chalfant & Martha Cooper’s All-City Graffiti Archive celebrates a “Golden Age of Graffiti." When the city's subway cars became a rolling steel gallery that only the most daring artists got to exhibition in.

Shot in the ‘70s and early ‘80s this artwork has long gone and some of the artists have themselves passed. With over 850 trains covering the gallery's walls, top to bottom, this is the first time such a historic and complete collection of images has been shown in one gallery. (Some of Henry Chalfont's work was shown as part of the Art in the Streets exhibition in Los Angeles.)

We want [visitors] to be astonished by the creativity of these kids who at the time took their life into their hands and risked jail, basically, to be able to go into trainyards to create these beautiful if ephemeral murals,” said City Lore founding director Steve Zeitlin.
What started out as what you might call vandalism, putting up a tag on a wall or a train, evolved into a real art form,” Mr. Chalfant added. “And it’s an art form which has influenced an extraordinary number of people around the world.”

Back to the 21st-century  Henry Chalfont's iBook entitled "Big Subway Archive" was also at Gallery City Lore to offer visitors an insider's look into the art of subway graffiti trains. The iBook experience is immersive with 800 multimedia photos, 50 artist interviews and videos.

"These classic train murals, which have been the inspiration and guide for thousands of youthful artists around the world, did not survive on the trains for long before the city cleaned the cars, or the artists’ rivals painted over them. Chalfant and Cooper’s patience and determination in hunting down and capturing these ephemeral masterpieces with their cameras has left the world with a representative cross section of some of the best work by the most talented young artists who painted New York City’s subway cars in the seventies and eighties. 
These images pay homage to the young artists from the City’s underserved outer boroughs whose work—though often dismissed as vandalism—challenged contemporary fine arts standards, and lit the fuse for the street art and hip hop explosion heard around the world." Henry Chalfont's Big Subway Archive.

Gallery City Lore is part of City Lore, the 28-year old cultural organization whose mission is to "foster New York City – and America’s – living cultural heritage through education and public programs."

City Lore Gallery
56 E 1st St. New York, NY 10003

Exhibition runs until July 10th, 2014.
Opening hours: Weds - Sat 12 PM – 6 PM
(Take the F train to 2nd Ave or 6 train to Bleecker St.)

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

The return of Art in the Streets....moving images

This weekend photographer Anita Rosenberg published her 20-minute video of never-before-seen footage from the historic and controversial, "Art in the Streets," show held in Los Angeles in 2011.

Anita Rosenberg at the "Art in the Streets" photoshoot, 2nd row, far right.  (Patti Astor hidden.) In the foreground is Martha Cooper taking the picture. 

It was worth the wait. See works from contemporary artists like Banksy, Mister Cartoon, Mode 2, Retna, Risk and Shepard Fairey. But, more importantly, take a history lesson on hip hop culture - graffiti, subway art photography and sculpture by checking out Futura, Henry Chalfont and Martha Cooper and Rammellzee, respectively.

Watching this video you'll witness a once in a lifetime recreation of Patii Astor's Fun Gallery (including a painstakingly handpainted gallery sign!) Inside the gallery, classic works by Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf and Fred Braithwaite was installed. As you approached the gallery from the museum entrance you saw the original Jean Michel Basquiat painting that was displayed in the window in 1981 during the inagural show!

Here's Lee Quinones quote from the video:
"The thing about Patti and the Fun Gallery and Bill Stelling was that they the same shoes as Jeffrey [Deitch] is  now...where they were so excited about something that was so new and  needed at that time. That whole thing needed time to marinade and galvanize itself into art history. Jeffrey's at the forefront of an international, global version of that. So, of course, the old meets the new and then you have the splitting of atoms. And, you have a major explosion of greatness!" LEE, Geffen Contemporary at MoCA, 2011.

Going back into time  I went back to the 80s during my interview to celebrate the "Art in the Streets" opening with Patti Astor and Fred Braithwaite. Read it here. This was one of a series of four articles I wrote. Another insightful discussion was with Futura in which he provided his views on the street art scene and his place in it.

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