Famed Art Critic Jerry Saltz’s Doesn’t Think Much Of Banksy

street artist

street art

Spray Paint

Street artist Banksy has famously made his way to NYC. For the past few weeks he’s sprinkled his work throughout the city. Everyday, he posts photos on his Instagram feed of new pieces and where people can find them. The response, so far, has been staggering. His reputation and widespread media coverage has people turning out in droves to view his art.

Not everyone is impressed, though. Jerry Saltz, famed art critic for New York Magazine, calls him “Mr. Meh,” and is generally underwhelmed by the message of Banksy’s work. Saltz writes in a recent post on Vulture,  “His black silhouette figures, surreptitiously painted on walls around the city, strike me as formulaic tweaked political cartooning, and anarchy-lite.” He goes on to say that Banksy is a repetitive thinker; If you’ve seen one, then you’ve seen them all. Additionally, Saltz notes that artists like Kara Walker have been creating silhouette works for nearly 20 years and Banksy’s work, “…doesn’t pack anywhere near the formal or psychological incendiary wallop” as Walker’s does.

In the above video, Saltz takes to the streets. He found a crowd of people surrounding Banksy’s work on the side of a DSW. Interestingly, the piece was vandalized. Another street artist screwed a large sheet of Plexiglas over Banksy’s work and painted “Let the Streets Decide” over top. Once it’s removed, Saltz talks with the crowd about what they think of Banksy and the particular piece:

From the conversation, Saltz has a realization. He writes, “I suddenly got what the reaction to Banksy is about: It’s being part of the reaction to a Banksy. It’s a multiplying communal occasion, friendly, a way to talk to strangers and share a piece of New York. It’s anti-Establishment, anti-capitalist, and anti-art-world enough to add a frisson of libertarian rebellion and take-it-to-the-street cred.

Where do you stand with Saltz and the people on the street? Do you think Banksy is interesting?

Kevin Peterson’s Portraits Of Girls With Graffiti Backdrops

“Graffiti Girls” is a stunningly beautiful portrait series by Austin TX-based artist Kevin Peterson. His blend of both hyper realistic portraiture and natural graffiti penmanship is a new one, and his command of both styles is impressive. Peterson uses the rough and jagged shapes of wall tags to directly juxtapose the soft beauty of young girls; the ragged and worn versus the innocent and clean. Though subject and backdrop are polar opposites, the girls seem empowered by the art behind them, instead of shying away from it. They may live in a world that’s tagged up, but they aren’t scared of it. The color and design of the spraypaint behind them seems to enhance the girls’ beauty and personalities, especially with Peterson often coordinating the tags with the girls’ outfits.  These portraits help to make the argument that graffiti is becoming a more normalized form of public art, and though it’s not always pretty, younger generations growing up in this world are used to its presence, instead of threatened by it.

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Rae Martini’s Evolved, Graffiti-Inspired Paintings

 

Rae Martini‘s work combines expressionistic urban texture with graffiti-infused flourishes of color. Throw ups, tags, and gradients are partially obscured by grime of every variety. Everything’s happening at once. What’s great about these is that they present an evolved aesthetic within the realm of graffiti without abandoning some its more classic techniques. See more from the Italian artist after the jump.

Video Watch: Fashion Designer Jeff Staple Interviews Jose Parla

A little over a week ago, we featured an interview between James Jean and Jeff Staple. This week, check out another vid of Staple stirring up some insightful chatter with a talented artist.

NYC artist Jose Parla is known for bringing the most subtle graff references to his abstract expressionist paintings. Tags and drips meld seamlessly with texture and scale in his atmospheric work, eschewing the familiar graffiti-aesthetic-as-gimmick-syndrome.

Full interview after the jump.

Progress Photos Of Large Murals in Boston from Os Gemeos

Renowned Brazilian brothers/collaborators Os Gemeos, known for their huge street art murals featuring vivid colors and strange, yellow dudes, just opened a show at Boston’s ICA. While the bros are in town, they’re getting up with two large pieces that are starting to look like some of their best work yet. If your grandmother still thinks that public art is a nuisance, then show her these gorgeous process photos. And if you’re on the east coast, a road trip may be in order before the summer’s out. The show at ICA/Boston runs until November, 25.

Jasper Geenhuizen Creates Graffiti Using Light

 

This isn’t the first time anyone’s ever used long exposure photography to make compositions with light, but Jasper Geenhuizen (Netherlands) is doing some of the best I’ve seen. Strong colors, and perfect set up and location. This is how you do it right. There’s no gimmick to these either- I would dig these pictures with or without the light work. They emit a damp, nocturnal atmosphere that’s not easy to reproduce. In Geenhuizen’s words, “Everybody can make light graffiti, but it is truly art to be able to combine the light with the place.” Hope to see much more from this guy going forward.

Origami Street Installation from Mademoiselle Maurice

Based in Paris, Mademoiselle Maurice creates colorful installations on the street by conglomerating a bunch of origami. A lot of “street artists” love to talk about how important the ephemeral nature of their work is. Well Mlle. Maurice’s delicate origami doesn’t look like it will last long in its original state. But somehow these works seem really natural in their setting, like a growth of delicate lichen on the shadowed side of a rock. It’s almost as if they appeared on their own. Be sure to check out her website for many more images and projects. (via)

ALMA’s Haunting Work On The Street

 

Brazilian artist ALMA has been getting up a lot lately with these haunting, stark, sometimes figurative pieces that move in and out of decaying urban environments in an incredibly natural way. I like that he mixes it up between extensive, symmetrical work that kind of reminds me of Richard Colman, and flat black stuff that’s really hard to define but affective nonetheless. South America is always killin’ it.