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Art

Basketball Courts Transformed Into Large-Scale Artworks by Project Backboard

October 10, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Project Backboard began in 2014 when Daniel Peterson, a former college basketball player and employee of the Memphis Grizzlies, noticed the neglected state of several basketball courts scattered around the city. To revive these spaces, Peterson began to refurbish the courts with small improvements—filling in cracks or repainting the basic lines needed for a regulation game.

As Peterson began updating courts across Memphis, his interest widened to include ways he could not only improve his local courts, but generate excitement in surrounding neighborhoods for their public parks. After learning local artist Anthony Lee was already designing an installation for a nearby court, he partnered with the artist to paint the park’s gray asphalt with bright blue and pink designs. The collaboration marked the beginning of Project Backboard, while also inspiring Peterson work with local artists who were already engaged within a chosen community.

“I prefer to work with artists who have a connection to the park or city where we are working,” Peterson told Colossal. “Having the artist on site is very helpful for installation and, especially if it is a city I am not as familiar with, a local artist can create a work with more meaning and context. That said, there are artists I have worked with in the past that I would love to work with again if the right opportunity comes along!”

After reviving several basketball courts in Memphis, Project Backboard has moved on to produce projects in St. Louis and Los Angeles. Currently the organization is working with cities along the East Coast, specifically Baltimore and New Rochelle, New York. To explore other updated courts, and how you might be able to collaborate on an installation in your own city, visit Project Blackboard’s website or Instagram. (via Artsy and the National Endowment for the Arts)

 

 



Art

A Mountain of Nesting Heads at the Foot of the Alps by Andrea Casciu

October 3, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Artist Andrea Casciu just finished work on this crisp new mural of nesting blue heads titled “The Soul of the Mountain” in Pinerolo, Italy as part of the Street Alps festival. He says the work is a metaphor of sorts that represents our relationship to the mountains through various “realities” we each encounter there. You can follow more of his work on Instagram. (via StreetArtNews)

 

 



Art

Banksy Unofficially Collaborates With Basquiat Outside the Barbican

September 18, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Just days before the opening of the first large-scale UK exhibition of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat’s work at the Barbican, Banksy stopped by in the night to put up two new murals. The first, which he refers to as a “portrait of Basquiat being welcomed by the Metropolitan Police,” depicts a figure isolated from Basquiat’s famous 1982 painting, Boy and Dog in a Johnnypump, being frisked by two police officers as a dog watches nearby. The second shows a line of customers queuing for a ride aboard a ferris wheel of Basquiat’s iconic crowns drawn in oil pastel.

Basquiat rose to fame in the late 1970s on the streets of New York as half of the graffiti duo SAMO©. Banksy’s new pieces seem to simultaneously reference the prevalence of racial profiling in targeted stop-and-frisk procedures (Basquiat sometimes referenced police brutality in his own work), while also coyly challenging the Barbican’s strict graffiti removal policy. Basquiat: Boom for Real opens September 21, 2017. (via Arrested Motion)

Photo © Patrick Nguyen, courtesy Arrested Motion.

Photo © Patrick Nguyen, courtesy Arrested Motion.

Photo © Patrick Nguyen, courtesy Arrested Motion.

 

 



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

Michael Pederson’s Lighthearted Street Art is Hidden in Plain Sight

September 11, 2017

Laura Staugaitis

Using the nom de guerre Miguel Marquez Outside, Michael Pederson (previously here and here) tucks art installations in unexpected locations around Sydney. The artist’s plaques, signs, and miniature architecture tend to center around ideas of escape, isolation, and our relationship to social norms. But he approaches these heavy subjects with a a sense of humor and brings a lighthearted pseudohistory to various structures and spaces. And if Pederson’s shovel piece, shown below, has you wondering, you can use this site to find out what location is on the opposite side of the world from you. See more of the artist’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

Crystalline Artworks Grow from Cracks in Urban Walls by Paige Smith

September 1, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Artist Paige Smith A.K.A. A Common Name (previously here and here) has been filling the gaps, cracks, and corners of LA with hand folded paper crystals since 2012. Her Urban Geodes are painted in bright purple, pink, and other jewel tones. They are most commonly inserted into areas that are crumbling or could use a bit more care, allowing Smith to patch holes with art instead of a monotone spackle.

“Geodes are formations made and found in nature and my process of using manmade materials and placing them in major cities concurrently signals the tension between nature and industry and celebrates the beauty of urban space,” says Smith in an artist statement about the project. “My work is infused with a magical realism that encourages us to pause, to discover, to be present and to find beauty in the mundane.”

Similar to the Atlanta-based project Tiny Doors ATL, each of Smith’s installations are mapped on her website for easy finding. In addition to LA, Smith has also installed works in Philadelphia, San Francisco, Dubai, Madrid, Bali, and Istanbul. You can see more of her crystalline interventions on her Instagram.

 

 

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