We are often inundated with images of famous artworks, pieces even the most disconnected art viewer can name on the spot. These portraits however make up a very small percentage of the work in museums worldwide, the majority of faces either nameless or not burned into memory—men, women, and children immortalized by brushstroke but forgotten by time. These anonymous faces are the ones that French artist Julien de Casabianca (previously) is most drawn to, and has been “liberating” for the last few years by placing recreations of the unknown on urban street corners and abandoned buildings as a part of his Outings Project.
Since its inception the project has gone global—Oslo, Geneva, and Warsaw included in the recent cities that have received their own wheatpasted faces. De Casabianca was invited by the Cummer Museum in Jacksonville, FL to create a few pieces, including one that stands two-stories tall, a young girl in a bonnet peering away from the viewer and into the boarded-up brick wall on which she is placed. Other works of his are less conspicuous, characters hiding behind drooped plants or crouched on the ground at knee-level, glancing at the viewer from urban streets rather than behind museum quality glass.
The project has always been intended to be participatory, de Casabianca inviting anyone to photograph and “free” images from museums in their own city. De Casabianca will show his own work in Belgium next year at the Musée d’Ixelles from March 5th to April 10th. More of de Casabianca’s pieces can be found on his online gallery, Facebook, and Instagram.
Puerto Rican artist Alexis Diaz (previously) brings textures and patterns reminiscent of traditional engraving techniques to his murals of phantasmagorical creatures using only a paintbrush. Twisting tentacles, strange fusions of anatomy, beings wrapped in plants, all rendered atop colorful gradients create an unmistakable style Diaz has become famous for. You can see much more of his work here. (via Cross Connect)
While visiting the Louvre last last year, artist and filmmaker Julien de Casabianca was struck by an Ingres painting of a female prisoner tucked unceremoniously into a corner of the museum. He suddenly had an idea: what if he could somehow free her—both figuratively and literally—by reproducing her figure on a public street. People may not know the painting, or even the artist, but at least the image would be seen by potentially hundreds or even thousands more people who may never visit the Louvre. With that single act, the Outings Project was born.
Since sharing photos of the first artwork online, people in at least 18 cities have liberated similar anonymous characters found in master paintings and pasted them up in public spaces in London, Barcelona, Chicago, Rome, and elsewhere. Casabianca says the global participation was completely unplanned and unexpected but he’s embraced the idea wholeheartedly.
When asked about the possibility of an artwork being taken out of context or without attribution he shares via email, “we don’t want to tell you something that you don’t know, and we don’t want people to feel ignorant. You have just to feel that [the artwork] is ancient and shifted, you have just to be touched by the emotion, by the esthetic, by the art.”
Art enthusiasts aren’t the only ones paying attention to the Outings Project. Two museums in Madrid and Poland have also engaged the artist to “play with their art in public.” Casabianca is now on a 12-city tour around the United States bringing more unknown figures in local museums into the light. You can follow the most recent classical art paste-ups on the project’s Facebook or Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness, Slate, Hyperallergic)
A bronze bull head fountain is suddenly transformed into a minotaur. A decrepit corner of an alley becomes a holding pen for ostriches. If any of these odd happenings sound familiar to you, you’re probably living in Paris and have just witnessed the work of French artist Charles Leval (previously). Going by the name Levalet, the artist injects humor into the streets of Paris by gluing animal and human-shaped pasteups onto walls. A lot of thought goes into location too as each piece usually interacts with its environment in one way or another.
Levalet has been updating his site and facebook page with new work he’s created so far in 2015. When not on the streets, Levalet can be found in a classroom (he teaches art) and in a gallery (he held an exhibition late last year at Galerie Geraldine Zberro). “I was looking for places and contexts to operate,” says Levalet, referring to his prime medium: the wall. “The street became a creative space I had to invade.” (via StreetArtNews)
Paris-based artist Ludo (previously) has been active lately with works popping up all over France. His trademark monochromatic paste-ups with dripping green highlights often merge technology with plants or insects to create what he calls a “new order of hybrid organisms”. To see more of his work you can always stop by StreetArtNews or follow the artist’s blog.
I recently stumbled onto the Facebook page of a new wheatpaste artist named Levalet who has been making some pretty imaginative site-specific pasteups in various locations around France since late last year. Almost all of his pieces interact with their direct surroundings and frequently include props or other three-dimensional objects. You can see more over on his blog, and if you happen to be in the south of France he just opened an exhibition at NUNC ! Grenoble last week.