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Art

In ‘Gothic Futurism,’ Hundreds of Rammellzee’s Works Populate a Mythic, Intergalactic Universe

December 12, 2022

Grace Ebert

A detail photo of an elaborate warrior costume of found objects

All images installation view, Rammellzee: Gothic Futurism, Jeffrey Deitch, Los Angeles, (2022-2023), by Josh White, courtesy of the gallery

At Jeffrey Deitch in Los Angeles, dozens of spacecraft constructed from skateboards, salvaged plastics, and scrap materials descend from the ceiling in a seeming rescue mission. Awash in blue light, the vehicles hover above the galleries filled with assemblages in a similar vein, from small otherworldly troopers to life-sized characters elaborately outfitted with headdresses of fur and spray-painted crowns.

The immersive, post-apocalyptic collection unveils the idiosyncratic workings of the late artist Rammellzee, whose fantastic creations rose to cult status in the 1980s alongside Jean-Michel Basquiat (previously) and Keith Haring (previously). Rammellzee started tagging along the route of New York City’s A train and continually espoused the subversive powers of graffiti and writing as his career ventured into fine art, music, performance, and philosophy. “The letter is armed to stop all the phony formations, lies, and tricknowlegies placed upon its structure,” the artist once wrote. “You think war is always shooting and beating everybody, but no, we had the letters fight for us.”

 

A photo of spacecraft descending from the gallery ceiling

These ideas found Rammellzee’s philosophy of Gothic Futurismauthor David Tompkins describes this as a manifesto “in which the alphabet revolts against being institutionalized, locked into the system that is magnetized to our fridge doors”—and the exhibition draws its title from this ideology. Spanning decades of the artist’s work, the show is broad and enveloping, transporting viewers into an esoteric, linguistically grounded world with references to metaphysics, medieval history, and philology.

Surrounded by dozens of paintings, Rammellzee’s hefty, extravagant suits, which he often wore when in public and termed Garbage Gods, loom over the space. Some of the intergalactic costumes weigh upwards of 100 pounds, and all reflect the artist’s impulse for armor and fighting against convention. The racers appear to culminate at the elaborate “Gasholeer” piece, for example, which is even complete with a flamethrower.

If you’re in Los Angeles, you can see Gothic Futurism at Jeffrey Deitch through January 14.

 

A photo of four small figurative assemblages in front of a painting

A photo of an elaborate warrior costume of found objects

A photo of an elaborate warrior costume of found objects, with a group of figurative assemblages in the foreground

A photo of multiple elaborate warrior costumes of found objects

A photo of an elaborate warrior costume of found objects with paintings in the background

A photo of an elaborate warrior costume in the background with spacecraft descending in the gallery

A photo of elaborate warrior costumes of found objects with spacecraft overhead and paintings on the back wall

 

 

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Art Design

Vibrant Letters Drift and Twist in Bold Typographic Murals by Pref

October 31, 2022

Kate Mothes

“Shake Hands” in Leige, Belgium. All images © Pref, shared with permission

For British artist Pref, the art of decipherment is as integral to his murals as the expressively layered designs. Known for looping and layering blocky text to give the illusion of floating forms, contrasting letters wriggle, tilt, overlap, and cast bold shadows. His training in graphic design spurred an abiding fascination with typography, and while much that field is oriented toward clear communication, Pref is interested in literally twisting messages. He meticulously arranges each letter to form puzzle-like compositions, encouraging the viewer to work out a word or phrase. “The wording for my pieces are usually autobiographical,” he explains, “like clues and relics from my past or a commentary on current times.”

You can see more of Pref’s work on his website and follow updates on Instagram.

 

“Put you in a box” in Liège, Belgium

“Nuture, Nature” in Sand City, California

Left: “You are the one.” Right: “Off and on”

“Remarkable” in Jackson, Michigan

“Here we are” in Los Angeles, California

Left: “Blah blah blah.” Right: “Say bye”

“Drifting” in Ostend, Belgium

“Inspire, Expire” in Bayonne, France

 

 



Art

Graffiti-Laden Shelters Arise From an Uncanny Post-Apocalyptic Universe Crafted in Miniature

November 19, 2020

Grace Ebert

“La Tourelle, IDF2068” (2020), 41 x 14 x 14. All images © Simon Laveuve, shared with permission

Enveloped by trailing vines and mosses, the dilapidated shelters that Paris-based artist Simon Laveuve crafts appear to emerge from a post-apocalyptic universe as eerie safe-havens. Often elevated aboveground, the miniature buildings feature vertical constructions with various platforms and stairs leading upward. “My pieces, for the most part, have this aspect of shelter… I like to work on the height and the inaccessible. Protection and surrender. Fallen icons and their symbolism. Resistance and insubordination,” the artist says.

Marked with signage and advertisements plastered on the walls, the decaying dioramas showcase an alternate world now abandoned. Graffiti marks the siding, and thick vegetation cradles the remaining environments. Each sculpture displays the destructive qualities of humanity, while ultimately showing the natural world’s ability to survive.

Laveuve’s shelters are featured in Small Scale, Big World: The Culture of Mini Crafts, which is available from Bookshop. Explore more of the uncanny works on the artist’s site and Instagram, where he also shares glimpses into his process.

 

Detail of “La Tourelle, IDF2068” (2020), 41 x 14 x 14

“Vestige IV” (2020), 26 x 10 x 8

“Station 9/4, IDF2068” (2019), 20 x 20 x 45

Detail of “Station 9/4, IDF2068” (2019), 20 x 20 x 45

“Le Navigator, IDF2068” (2020), 25 x 15 x 39

 

 



Art

Interactive Event with Paint Kartel Teaches Seniors to Create Bold Graffiti in Belgrade

June 29, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Street Art Belgrad and Paint Kartel, by Nemanja Stojanović, shared with permission

A recent workshop hosted by Street Art Belgrade paired up members of the Serbian collective Paint Kartel with seniors interested in the public art form. Throughout the interactive event, participants learned about graffiti and its history, in addition to some practical tips for creating their own largely spray-painted works. “Although street art has been an indispensable part of the urban environment, the wider community is usually unfamiliar with the development and value of this visual expression,” organizers said. ‘The older generations connected with the younger ones in a unique way and challenged the stereotype that street art is only for ‘young people.'” See some of the works-in-progress below, and for more of Paint Kartel and Street Art Belgrade’s community-based initiatives, follow them on Instagram. (via I Support Street Art)

 

 

 



Art

A Graffiti-Covered Mural by PichiAvo Converts a Pipe into Cupid’s Arrow

April 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

Mural in Port Adelaide, 9 x 17 meters. Image © PichiAvo, shared with permission

French artist François-Joseph Bosio notably left his iconic marble sculpture Cupid with a Bow (1808) without the actual weapon. In a recent rendering by Valencia-based duo PichiAvo (previously), though, the Roman god is outfitted with a long arrow fashioned out of a preexisting horizontal duct. The graffiti-laden mural was PichiAvo’s contribution to the 2020 Wonderwalls Festival in Port Adelaide.

Known for Urbanmythology—a style that blends urban artwork and Greek and Roman mythology—PichiAvo seamlessly merges the two into vibrant, large-scale compositions. The street artists also depicted Cupid in a 2018 project in Italy, and they tell Colossal that their recent mural is an extension of their fascination with the deity of love and lust. Head to Instagram and YouTube for a deeper look into the duo’s processes, and pick up a print from their shop. (via Street Art News)

 

Image © PichiAvo

Image © Luke Shirlaw – Artillery Projects,

Image © Luke Shirlaw – Artillery Projects

Image © Luke Shirlaw – Artillery Projects

Image © Luke Shirlaw – Artillery Projects

 

 



Art

A Subversive Village of Urban Miniatures Covered in Graffiti and Tiny Murals

November 23, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Antony H Haylock, 2019. Images courtesy of Emily Paxton

Photographer Emily Paxton and artist Pam Glew of PaxtonGlew have curated an exhibition of tiny houses, stores, and train cars that is unlike your typical model village. Instead of pristine new buildings, each model is hand-painted with graffiti and colorful murals. Together the miniatures form a well-worn city from the collective imagination of over 40 urban contemporary artists from around the world.

Titled Urban Miniatures, the pop-up opened on November 23, 2019 as a part of the Artists Open Houses Christmas Festival in Brighton, England. The roster of artists tapped to contribute include train-writers, muralists, designers, and painters, most of whom typically work at a much larger scale. From an optical illusion mural painted on a mini hotel by Peeta (previously), to architectural jewelry by Tiny Scenic, the scale of each piece in the exhibition forces the viewer to look more closely and appreciate the details. That level of intimacy is not always possible when a piece is ten stories tall or speeding down a track.

For those able to visit Brighton, Urban Miniatures is scheduled to run through December 22, 2019. The curators are also offering miniature-themed workshops for those who visit the gallery space. Limited edition prints, models, and other art gifts are also available via their online store. For more information, follow @paxtonglew on Instagram.

DONK, 2019

Peeta, 2019

Ange Bell, 2019

Remi Rough, 2019

Tiny Scenic, 2019

Tiny Scenic, 2019

Eelus, 2019

Mark McClure, 2019

Shuby, 2019