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Art

Dublin’s Sweep of Public Mural Removals Prompts Wave of New Artworks

April 18, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Mural by @ADW

For the past several months, a collective of artists in Dublin known as Subset has been coming up against the letter of the law, as the Dublin City Council (DCC) issues orders requiring Subset to paint over their colorful murals with swaths of monochromatic paint. Blindboy Boatclub, an Irish comedian and hip hop artist who was the subject of a Subset mural, points out the conundrum in an interview with JOE:

Subset have been brightening up dull spaces all over Dublin. People were engaging… taking selfies, having craic [fun conversation]. That’s what art is supposed to be, socially engaged. A genuinely engaging spectacle for real people, not just hidden away in a gallery for those with an art education. Dublin council have disappointed me. How is it OK to paint a wall one dull color of paint? But it’s illegal to paint the same space with multiple colors.

The sweep of mural removals began in late 2017, despite previous successful collaborations between DCC and Subset, as cited in the Irish Times. Although the murals are created on private property and with explicit permission from property owners, under current law the artists are still required to apply for permits for each painting. These permitting fees are calculated by square meter, and can cost thousands of euros.

As explained by RTÉ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) Ireland’s national public-service media organization, “The permission available to the artists at present is fixed and rigid whereas they require a more fluid process allowing them to apply for spaces on an ongoing basis and vary their artwork in response to changing events. As it stands, the collective must apply separately for each mural. The amount of time, bureaucracy and expense required to do this detracts from the spontaneity and impact of their art, so they don’t apply.” In contrast, the more up-to-date and efficient licensing processes in Irish cities like Limerick and Waterford have been beneficial for both artists and the city governments.

In response, members of the Subset collective have teamed up with other artists to paint new murals throughout Dublin, with a goal of adding twenty five new works. Some are vibrantly colored, drawing attention to the role that such large-scale public artworks play in enlivening urban environments. Others feature grey palettes in solidarity with the #greyareaproject hashtag, which is being used to unite the pro-mural movement, and you can see examples of both below.

Residents are also using the hashtag on social media to document pre-existing murals, as evidence of the city’s rich mural scene. You can follow the conversation on Subset’s Twitter and Instagram and via #greyareaproject on both platforms.

 

Mural by @Subset

Mural of Irish president Michael D Higgins by @Subset

Mural by @Subset

Mural by @KinMx

Mural by @Ominos_Omin

Mural by @Subset

Mural by @Subset

Mural by Dan Leo

Mural by Subset with additional Banksy-esque intervention as commentary on removal summons

 

 



Art

Banksy Emerges in New York and Calls Attention to Imprisoned Turkish Artist Zehra Doğan

March 15, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Banksy (previously) has emerged this week on the streets of New York, creating at least two new artworks, his first pieces in the city since his ‘residency’ five years ago. In one large work spanning the length of the famed mural space at the corner of Houston Street and Bowery in Manhattan, tally marks form prison bars, symbolically counting the days of imprisonment for artist Zehra Doğan. The Turkish painter is currently serving a nearly three year prison sentence for the creation of a single painting. The mural is a collaboration between Banksy and street artist Borf.

Doğan, who also worked as a reporter for the now defunct Dicle news agency, created the painting in 2016 which depicts operations carried out by Turkish security forces against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The artwork, derived from a photograph, shows buildings reduced to rubble, plumes of smoke, and gathered military trucks, all part of a multi-year effort in Turkey’s southeastern towns and cities to clear out PKK militants. 

The aspect that the Mardin 2nd High Criminal Court deemed a crime are the Turkish flags that Doğan included, draped over the facades of some of the standing buildings, elements that also appear in the original photo.

As a result of her artistic rendering of the destruction in Mardin province Doğan may the only person in the world imprisoned for the act of painting. In Instagram posts about his depiction of Doğan’s sentencing, Banksy is encouraging people to repost her work and tag Turkey’s president, who is also active on Instagram. 

Zehra Doğan’s painting

The photograph that Doğan’s painting is based on

Update: A previous version of this article did not attribute Borf as a collaborator.

 

 



Art

A Massive Mural by Ella & Pitr Depicts a Refugee Seeking Passage in France

September 13, 2017

Laura Staugaitis

All images courtesy of Galerie Le Feuvre

French duo Ella & Pitr (previously) tackle the gravity of the global refugee crisis in their latest mural, Le Naufrage de Bienvenu/The Shipwreck of Bienvenu. The massive outdoor work reaches over 47 meters (154 feet), scaling the surface of Piney’s Dam in La Valla-En Gier, Rhone-Alpes, France.

Ella & Pitr frequently highlight neglected societal groups such as the elderly and homeless by placing them on highly visible urban canvases like snowy hillsides or old airport tarmacs. Their choice of a dam―a huge aquatic blockade―could be interpreted in reference to the swelling crisis of displaced people crossing the Mediterranean from Africa.

The artists and their team spent ten days suspended from the dam to complete the painting. You can follow more of Ella & Pitr’s work on Instagram.

 

 



Art Photography

A Child Peers Over the US/Mexico Border Wall in a Giant New Photographic Work by JR

September 7, 2017

Christopher Jobson

French artist JR just unveiled a new work in progress at the US/Mexico border. The large photographic piece depicts a child peering over a border fence from the Mexican side, apparently in reference to Trump’s effort to rescind the DACA program which protects the children of undocumented immigrants from being deported. The artist is known for his towering photographic installations backed by scaffolding such as his pieces at the Louvre and the Rio Olympics.

JR will be in LA tonight at Blum & Poe for a discussion with curator Pedro Alonzo about “immigration in the artist’s practice.” Admission is free.

 

 



Art History Photography

Why Dozens of U.S. President Statues Sit Deteriorating in a Rural Virginia Field

February 16, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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All photos courtesy Patrick Joust.

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Somewhere in Virginia on the outskirts of private farmland sits the completely bizarre sight of nearly 40 giant U.S. president busts crumbling amongst the weeds. The mammoth heads—each estimated to weigh in excess of 7,000 pounds—were originally commissioned from Houston artist David Adickes as the centerpiece for Presidents Park, a ten-acre open-air museum with presidential sculptures and informational plaques located in Williamsburg, Virginia. First opened in 2004, the museum closed just 6 years later due to lack of attendance and most of the heads were eventually moved to a private farm where they sit today.

Photographer Patrick Joust recently made a trek to the presidential graveyard and shot these amazing photos of the eroding statues. The pieces are already faded and peeling from the elements and display a number of structural scars from repeated moves. The post-apocalyptic scene is reminiscent of the final moments of Planet of the Apes, or a modern take on the giant mysterious heads sprawled across Easter Island. The artist also sculpted a second set of presidential busts which were on display near Deadwood, South Dakota in an outdoor park setting operated by the artist himself. After closing the heads are now scattered—Abraham Lincoln’s bust now rests in front of the the Lincoln RV Park in Williston, North Dakota, and Theodore Roosevelt’s bust sits outside the Roosevelt Inn in Watford.

You can see more of Joust’s photography on Flickr and by following him on Facebook. (via The Virginian-Pilot, Smithsonian)

Update: This post has been updated to include the artist’s name as well as refer to a second set of presidential busts that were originally on display near Deadwood, South Dakota.

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Art

Humorous and Political Street Art by Escif

July 25, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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On-Off (Katowice, Poland)

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On-Off (Katowice, Poland)

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Wikileaks (Valencia, Spain)

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Ne travaillez jamais (Besancon, France)

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Gentrification (Valencia, Spain)

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HELP (Praghe / Czech Republic)

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El rescate del euro (Niort, France)

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The Enlightened Vandalism (Vila-real, Spain)

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Lock (Montreal, Canada)

Spanish muralist and street artist Escif hails from Valencia, Spain but is actively globally with recent works popping up throughout Canada, Italy, and France. His use of subdued colors and simple lines helps the artist communicate his humorous and often direct commentary on capitalism, politics, the economy and other sensitive social issues. His work is much more about the message than style. In an interview with Unurth the artist shares:

Although sometimes is not easy to separate, I try to focus my work around concepts, not just shapes. I try to found my style like the consequences of my own ideas. I understand the painting as an exercise of reflection that can be shared with people. I’m not looking for decorative paintings, I try to wake up viewers minds.

Above is just a tiny fraction of Escif’s work over the last two years or so. You can see much more on his blog Street Against, on Facebook, or over on Flickr. (via arrested motion)

 

 



Art

Guy Denning Sketches Occupy Wall Street

October 31, 2011

Christopher Jobson

Artist Guy Denning is a self-taught English artist currently living in France. Mostly known for his gritty and brooding paintings, Denning has heartily embraced various internet outlets such as YouTube where he demonstrates how he paints, as well as a Facebook page where he posts a new drawing each day. Recently he posted a number of powerful images inspired by the Occupy Wall St. protests—capturing moments in Oakland, London, New York and elsewhere. His uncanny ability to illustrate powerful emotion in the simplest gestural sketches is incredible. Definitely worth subscribing. (via nick)