Category: Graffiti

Miscellany. 01.30.12.

Ayre and Yok in Manhattan. (Photo by Luna Park.)

On Public Housing

A view of the Marcy Houses. (Photo by NYC-Metrocard.)

Michael Kimmelman has an interesting piece about large-scale housing developments in the New York Times. He takes a look at the fate of the infamous Pruitt-Igoe projects in St. Louis and draws a comparison to the Penn South buildings in New York’s Chelsea, which have been largely successful as a housing development. He discusses how economic and other urban development factors can affect the success or failure of architectural design. All around an interesting piece. But while I dig Kimmelman’s focus on publicly-minded design (a breath of fresh air after Ourossoff’s era of mega-projects), it seems like a bit of an oversight to pen a very long story about these types of constructions and not even mention places like the Marcy Houses in Bed-Stuy or Red Hook Houses in Red Hook — two places with a history that is infinitely less rosy than that of Penn South.


  • In an essay in Vanity Fair, Kurt Anderson says we are in a period of cultural stasis — relentlessly remixing everything that came before, but not necessarily adding anything new: “In our Been There Done That Mashup Age, nothing is obsolete, and nothing is really new; it’s all good. I feel as if the whole culture is stoned, listening to an LP that’s been skipping for decades, playing the same groove over and over. Nobody has the wit or gumption to stand up and lift the stylus.” Sure explains a lot of the art I see…
  • Holy Shit: Dude surfing a 90-foot wave.
  • Interesting essay in the Atlantic on how much information is too much for Google to have.
  • Bytebeats: music from the programming language C.
  • That point where Tony Curtis and Christopher Wool intersect.
  • A proposed turn-of-the-20th-century reconstruction of the Venus de Milo. Amazing and weird. (@giovannigf.)
  • The New York Observer profiles the life and times of artist and ArtNet editor Walter Robinson.
  • And the Wall Street Journal mag takes on Anne Pasternak, the director of Creative Time.
  • The Day in Art Merch: Private jets decorated with graffiti by RETNA.
  • Plus, speaking of airplane graffiti: The Boneyard Project. Making airplane hulls all pretty-like.
  • There’s nothing like a book review that revels in a little dismemberment: Heather Havrilesky on Caitlin Flanagan’s Girl Land. Yowza. (@embeedub)
  • “The main thing to remember is the sunlight, and the immense expanse of sky and earth that it illuminates: it sucks the color out of everything that it touches, takes the green out of leaves and the sap out of twigs, makes human beings seem small and of no importance.” — Mystery writer James Cain, on California in the 1930s.

Stone Age: Graffiti carvings in Central Park.

My partner-in-crime, Celso, was running around Central Park’s North Woods when he stumbled into this (uncommissioned) carving of a face on a rock. I like the Olmec head aspirations and that someone decided to carve (rather than spray) one of the park’s boulders. If you’re the artist and you’re reading this: keep up the good work. (Photo by celso_nyc.)

Miscellany. 10.24.11.

CES53 in the Netherlands. (Via Ekosystem.)

On Occupy Art Museums
There’s been a lively debate online about the whole Occupy Museums protest (starting with Karen Archey’s piece on ArtInfo, Will Brand’s rebuttal in Art Fag City and Hyperallergic‘s follow-up here). As is usually the case, I’m not in 100% agreement with anybody. But I did want to speak out about the blanket way in which the word “museums” seems to be identified with institutions such as MoMA and the Gugg. Those institutions are more the exception than the rule, cultural juggernauts connected to the super powerful. But there are countless other smaller, community-minded institutions — places like El Museo del Barrio, the Bronx Museum, the Queens Museum, teaching museums like the Vincent Price and the Fowler, places that show the kinds of artists that never get seen anywhere else. There’sa lot of grey in this debate. Personally, if there’s one area of the art world that I think needs occupation it’s the art fairs. I can’t think of an atmosphere that’s less amenable to art and ideas than those overpriced flea markets.

Random Linkage

  • “The wealth of resources we apply to entertainment serves only to shield us from the poverty of the product.” —Tony Judt, on austerity.
  • Britain’s draconian visa procedures for artists is making U.S. customs enforcement look warm and fuzzy. (Alec Soth wasn’t allowed to take pictures on his last visit.) Criticismism has a story about the arbitrary nature of the process.
  • The rise of the robot writer.
  • This story about the growing use of emoticons is fucking hilarious: “If anybody on Facebook sends me a message with a little smiley-frowny face or a little sunshine with glasses on them, I will de-friend them. I also de-friend for OMG and LOL. They get no second chance.” LOL.
  • “I attribute my salvation to books.” Reading American literature in Castro’s Cuba.
  • I love nothing more than a Shakespeare scholar on a tear. Though I will say that the bong joke is a low blow. #StonersArePeopleToo.
  • Love digging up old stories on the internetz, such as this 1993 New York Times article about “The Art World Bust.” The piece is entertaining all around (and strangely relevant). But my favorite bit has to be the quote from Julian Schnabel’s assistant, to Deborah Solomon of the Times, who was seeking an interview: “Julian says he doesn’t have the mind space to think about your questions. He’s busy with renovations.”
  • Bruce Davidson’s subway shots.
  • Infected needles. Chimpanzee-to-human scrotum transplants. And the Haitian secret police chief who was known as the “Vampire of the Caribbean.” An absolutely amazing story about how AIDS came to be.
  • The Art of Film Criticism: The New Yorker rounds up five classic Pauline Kael reviews.
  • Today’s Graff: Escif, in France.
  • Awwccupy Wall Street. Plus: Writer Caleb Crain, on why he signed the Occupy Wall Street petition.
  • Nice profile of Esther McCoy, the “mother” of Southern California architecture writing.
  • Speaking of which, I’m insanely jealous that Edward Lifson got to spend the day inside Rudolf Schindler’s Lovell Beach House in Newport Beach, Calif.
  • The Day in Art Merch: Guggenheim house paint. For serious.
  • The Art of Letterhead.

C-Mon Giveaway Extravaganza: Graffiti Edition.

Hey Folks:

This is a good one. The kind folks at Abrams have given me five (yes, five!) copies of Jay Edlin’s Graffiti 365 for giveaway on the blog. This is a hardback doozy (it retails for $32.50), clocking in at more than 700 pages and weighing as much as a small boar. It’s an excellent compendium of graffiti and street art: an exhaustive alphabetical gathering of the movement’s players, large and small, with lots of pictures to boot.

Leave a comment below and you could be one of five very lucky people.


Miscellany. 09.30.11.

Bonus, in Buffalo. Love the choners. (Photo by celso_nyc.)

Miscellany. 09.19.11.

Miraflores graffiti, by Ultraclay! (Find more of his stuff here and here.)

Miscellany. 08.22.11.

Smells, reflected, in NYC. (Image courtesy of BruceLaBounty802.)

From a story on the slipping American Middle Class
“Over time, the United States has expected less and less of its elite, even as society has oriented itself in a way that is most likely to maximize their income. The top income-tax rate was 91 percent in 1960, 70 percent in 1980, 50 percent in 1986, and 39.6 percent in 2000, and is now 35 percent. Income from investments is taxed at a rate of 15 percent. The estate tax has been gutted.” — More in The Atlantic.

And America’s Hero Complex
“’America needs heroes,’ it is sometimes said, a phrase that’s often uttered in a wistful tone, almost cooingly, as if we were talking about a lonely child. But do we really ‘need heroes’? We need leaders, who marshal us to the muddle. We need role models, who show us how to deal with it. But what we really need are citizens, who refuse to infantilize themselves with talk of heroes and put their shoulders to the public wheel instead. The political scientist Jonathan Weiler sees the cult of the uniform as a kind of citizenship-by-proxy. Soldiers and cops and firefighters, he argues, embody a notion of public service to which the rest of us are now no more than spectators. What we really need, in other words, is a swift kick in the pants.” — From a must-read by William Deresiewicz in the New York Times Opinion section.

Random Linkage