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"the aim of every artist is to arrest motion..." -Faulkner
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    Recently in Los Angeles, Jen Stark unveiled an outdoor public sculpture commissioned by the Santa Monica Cultural Affairs and curated by LeBasse Projects. Entitled Tunnel Vision, the 20ft x 5ft x 5ft installation features a cascading series of ring shapes that bring to mind her paper cut pieces when viewed directly on, utilizing the same vivid colors and familiar forms. From the opposite end, the sculpture follows a black and white gradient adding another unique perspective. As part of the ROAM series of temporary art installations, the piece will be on view through late May (120 Colorado Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90401). Discuss Jen Stark here.

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  • 03/04/18--04:00: Overtime: Feb 26 – March 4
  • More stories below (compiled with the help of YESNIK) from this week (click on bolded words for more information):

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    Following a collaborative wall with Shepard Fairey (covered) while in Los Angeles for his solo show (covered) a couple week ago, Vhils recently created another mural with a high profile artist. The latest piece (with support from Branded Arts) features one of the Portuguese artist's signature chiseled portraits surrounded by RETNA's (featured) instantly recognizable urban script. If you are around Echo Park (Alvarado & Sunset), stop by for a look yourself. Check out more photos and a video below... Photo credit: @metalzombieman (top image), @streetartfocus@streetartdistortion, and the artist. Discuss Vhils here. Discuss Retna here.

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    More stories below from this week (click on bolded words for more information):
    • JR mounts a towering monument to refugees at The Armory Show.
    • A tour of NADA New York 2018. How NADA helps young galleries in hard times.
    • At Independent Art Fair, emerging and established artists share the stage.
    • Searching for trends at The Armory Show with empty pockets and a drink in hand
    • The 20 best booths at The Armory Show.
    • How the 1913 Armory Show dispelled the American belief that good art had to be beautiful.
    • Phillips notches its best sale ever with record-beaking Mark Bradford and £42 Million Picasso.
    • £109 million Sotheby’s Contemporary sale shows market stability—even without sparks.
    • Christie’s £137 million night breaks record for a contemporary art sale in Europe.
    • The rediscovery of Picasso’s Designs for a 100-Foot-Tall Bust in Florida.
    • Team Gallery’s Jose Freire on new zero-sum art market - “I’m not Gagosian - I’m just a loser with a gallery."
    • How many people does it take to run a mega-gallery? We found out.
    • How Oscar weekend launched a buying spree for L.A.’s art collectors
    • The Shed’s commissions for 2019 include Gerhard Richter, Steve McQueen, Trisha Donnelly, and more.
    • Artist Vera Lutter is using camera obscuras to photograph LACMA’s old buildings before they get torn down.
    • Leading Ladies of Art: 13 women who influenced art history.
    • After 5Pointz, can artists and developers ever work together again? Experts lay out the way forward.
    • Public school students are creating art to protest gun violence - with help from the Bronx Museum.
    • England’s Great Exhibition loses arms industry sponsor after artists protest.
    • How the Dana Schutz controversy - and a year of reckoning - have changed museums forever.
    • Eric Fischl’s Presence of an Absence at Skarstedt, London
    • The wondrously detailed paintings of Alice Lin show the complex relationship between self and surroundings.
    • Long exposure photos capture the light paths of drones above mountainous landscapes.
    • Spike Jonze directs mind-melting new dance video for Apple.
    • Someone yarn-bombed a Guggenheim Museum toilet with gold crochet.
    • Meeting the first black woman to have work in MoMA’s permanent collection.
    • Five lessons creatives can learn from Andy Goldsworthy.
    • Arts sector contributed $763.6 billion to U.S. economy - more than agriculture or transportation,

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    Art historian Hector Campbell sat down with British artist Daniel Sparkes aka Müdwig to discuss his early street works, artistic influences, the evolution of his gallery work and his collaborations with fashion brands. The British artist also recently teamed up with art collective Fluorescent Smogg to release a new limited edition printed silk pocket square, available here. Hector Campbell (HC): Many people will have first encountered your artwork around 15 years ago through your series of altered billboards, which became known as the ‘Mudverts’. What drew you to this outlet for artistic expression? Daniel Sparkes (DC): Just before I started painting the billboards around Bristol, I was doing a lot of digital drawing on the old photoshop, biro forms scanned in and assembled over photos, all done meticulously on my computer in the comfort of my boudoir. When a graffiti writer moved into our house with his hundreds of spray paint cans, I was inevitably encouraged to start enlarging my work into walls. Billboards were unusual targets at the time, and were the logical phase-up from my computer montages. Comparatively, they were a huge thill to paint, as their highly visible positioning meant I had to work fast, at night, often with bystanders watching and having to mentally block out constant traffic presence. I only painted them for about a year as I got policed enough times for me to have to stop. [caption id="attachment_330021" align="alignnone" width="1024"]Mudwig - Altered Billboard, Bristol c. 2003 Müdwig - Altered Billboard, Bristol c. 2003[/caption]   HC: You gained a name for yourself in the UK graffiti and street art scene, under the pseudonym Müdwig, through the aforementioned subvertisements as well as your work as part of the Wet Shame Krew. How do you feel this street work still influences your fine art practice today? DS: I’m still using a lot the same visual tropes in my own work today as I used within WSSK, I still paint with those guys occasionally and we can revert to what we did together in the past. There’s an invented language that still exists individually and collectively for us, it’s timeless as it never really fitted into the rest of the street art thing that was going on at the time. My ‘street work’ was about simplifying, streamlining and emboldening the more complex abstractions I was making on my computer, whilst cultivating an obscure yet familiar set of visual totems. Now that I’m making large-ish oil canvases, a lot of the ‘rules’ I made for myself when painting murals and billboards still apply and inform the current studio paintings. [caption id="attachment_330022" align="alignnone" width="940"]Mudwig ‘Teddy’s Edge’, Acrylic on Poster, 2010 Müdwig ‘Teddy’s Edge’, Acrylic on Poster, 2010[/caption]   HC: Your fine art practice often includes painting onto found photographs, juxtaposing captured reality with your surreal, cartoonish additions. How do you go about selecting which images to doctor into original works? D.S: It does vary with what I’m trying to suggest conceptually, but as a rule I’ve always been drawn towards what I consider to be quite banal, domestic contexts to use a backdrop. Images from old cookery books, pet grooming books, 1970’s National Geographic magazines, and model making annuals all have a rich and familiar nostalgia. There cannot be too much visual noise otherwise anything you add only over-eggs the eye pudding, so I often crop the images right down, sometimes reducing the photograph to tones and textures and an abstraction in itself. On the other hand, I can go crudely in the other direction comically lopping limbs off Playboy models. Dogs have been an ongoing subject/symbol in my work for years. They intrigue me, how man-made they are, how funny they look, how they sit so happily in car passenger seats and how we pick up their bum-nuts in tiny carrier bags. I’m sure I will artistically meddle with them for years. HC: You recently released a set of prints with Fluorescent Smogg which featured your signature imagery transplanted onto two Gustave Doré Bible woodcuts from 1866 (Samson Killing a Lion and The Temptation of Jesus). Do you find that art history often influences your work? DS: Totally. I think I often try and go a bit further back into art history to avoid being too caught up in the aesthetic art trends going on around me. I’ve always pinched inspiration from a wide range of old culture: cartoon characters, tree-stumps, Nazi bunkers, wood-chipping machines, Caravaggio, Bruegel, Hokusai, Happy-meal toys, Asterix, Seuss and submarines. This has probably meant I have not really fitted into one easily defined genre and due to medium tweaks, I have a few visual styles that I constantly traverse. I don't consider myself unique in this at all, I think most artists worth their salt will have wide range of points of reference. [caption id="attachment_330025" align="alignnone" width="768"] Müdwig x Fluorescent Smogg, ‘Indigenous Goblin Straddles Meat {Consu} Beast’, 4 Colour Screen Print, Edition of 25[/caption]   H.C : Your work has featured in exhibitions at some prominent UK art institutions, including the Royal West of England Academy (Crimes of Passion, 2009) and Somerset House (Mapping the City, 2015, covered). Do you see a strong future for genres such as Comic Abstraction and Urban Art? DS: Yes, because the comic/lowbrow element has played a lead role in art for a long time already. Since Pop Art’s acknowledgement, cartoon icons are now as reference-able as the cast of the biblical/classical narratives were in the art of previous centuries. The appeal comes from the integral part those characters play within our visual culture past and present, the comic aesthetic can be seen as a visual shorthand that we have all been aware of since childhood. It has an instant levelling, a cutting purity and a power and relevance, with an applicable finger in, not just all art genres but, most aspects of our visual culture. In that respect, without listing 100’s of artists and examples of comic abstraction in art, I’ll just quote Helen Marten [2016 Turner Prize Winner] in saying, ‘The line of the cartoon activates substance beyond conventionally plausible limits’. [caption id="attachment_330020" align="alignnone" width="997"] Müdwig ‘GDR throttlined 1440’, Oil on Canvas, 2017[/caption]   HC: Your more recent gallery work (‘The Teutonburg Pellets’ series) sees a departure from the use of found photos and pre-existing imagery in lieu of more conventional oil on canvas paintings. What led to this new evolution in your work? DS: In an honest nutshell, [Philip] Guston. I am totally in awe of the sedate yet buzzing comic weight and power of his later representational paintings. The place his works ended on his death in 1980 is where I unashamedly chose to launch my oil painting campaign from. By initially imitating the technique but trying to speak my own language in Guston’s visual accent I felt my work evolve. The aim now is to avoid total plagiarism and create a visual world unique, yet aware of its homage. I still make digital drawings, graphite works and gouache on photograph works, but when I need to get looser and more ‘plastic’, the fluidity and heritage of putting oil to canvas is entrancing. HC: You have collaborated with a number of fashion brands including Nike, Sixpack and Givenchy, and now Fluorescent Smogg just released a limited edition silk pocket square adorned with your art. Why do you think your artwork lends itself so well to sartorial collaborations? And is fashion a medium you enjoy exploring? DS: I do. We live in post-pop times where creative diversification is applauded and lapped up by the masses, this can be lucrative both economically and ego-nomically for the producer, and for me it personally provides a satisfying challenge to make my often conceptually obscure artwork in different contexts. Fashion is probably of the most immediate methods of artistic visual expression, and it’s always a huge honour when someone chooses to emblazon their chest with an oddball image I have created. I think that’s why even the most successful artists in the world (who by no means need the money!) can regularly be seen collaborating with big brands and designers. I think there’s a highly desirable third realm alchemy achieved when two artists, brands, or fashion houses collaborate to make something very unique and contemporary. [caption id="attachment_330024" align="alignnone" width="768"] Müdwig ‘The Silk Snape Wipe 18’, Printed Silk Pocket Square[/caption]   The new limited edition printed silk pocket square, entitled The Silk Snape Wipe 18’ will be released in an edition of 45, and come in a unique hand-painted box featuring one of Müdwig’s withered eyes. Available here.

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    Recently in Shenzhen, China, Thomas Canto installed a reflective sculpture on top of a private building entitled Gravitational Inertia Infinity. The piece is the first in a new series of works that the French artist plans to explore in the coming months and continues his play with depth, geometry and illusion. Mirroring some of the star-like installations he has created indoors, Canto is taking his work full circle by heading outdoors back to the urban environment, hoping to start a dialogue between nature, human and architecture. Discuss Thomas Canto here.

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  • 03/16/18--16:26: Streets: Banksy (New York)
  • Followers of the work of Banksy and the global street art world would hardly imagine the elusive artist ever taking part in the ongoing Houston Bowery Wall initiative. Yet, on the 15th of March, only two days after his time chasing rat appeared on the busy intersection of Union Square (seen below), the world learned that Bristol's finest had been added to the list of artists that have painted the wall famous since Keith Haring painted it first in the 70s. Taking his turn at one of the most highly regarded mural walls in the United States, Banksy (or Borf on his behalf, as mentioned in some media) decided to paint an explicit, politically charged piece. With almost no references to his previous or recognizable work, without any hidden messages or beating around the bush, he revealed the new piece on his official Instagram:

    Zehra Dogan, Turkish artist

    A post shared by Banksy (@banksy) on

    The mural includes 273 hashmarks indicating the approaching 1st anniversary of the imprisonment of Zehra Doğan, a Kurdish artist and journalist, who was sentenced to 2 years, 9 months and 22 days for painting her version of an actual photograph of what was left of the Kurdish city of Nusaybin after the Turkish military assault in 2016. Even though it the Turkish army that hung their flag on the ruins left behind, it was explained by saying - "by painting the Turkish flag on the destroyed walls of Nusaybin, the propaganda of the (terrorist) organisation was made." The portrait of the Doğan was stenciled behind one of the marks, with one of the bars being replaced with a pencil, a symbol her journalist profession. The simple yet striking and effective mural is accompanied by two slide show images above it, showing the original photo and the painting that caused her imprisonment. By creating such clear and strong statement, in the heart of NYC, not long after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan harshly criticized the US support for Kurdish fighters in Syria, Banksy is once again using his reputation and influence to highlight sensitive issues, often neglected by mass media. Photos courtesy of, and Goldman Properties. Discuss Banksy here.

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  • 03/18/18--09:24: Overtime: March 12 – 18
  • More stories below from this week (click on bolded words for more information):
    • H&M files lawsuit against graffiti artist Jason “Revok” Williams, then apologizes.
    • Is H&M’s graffiti scandal apology too little too late?
    • Why that story about H&M stealing graffiti isn’t so simple.
    • Street artists in the US have more rights than they thought. How now, they'll be taken more seriously.
    • The most promising Spring museum shows and biennials around the world.
    • New exhibition focuses on KAWS-style customizations.
    • Dealer Johann König on why art galleries need smart branding.
    • Web traffic is the new foot traffic: Why galleries are investing big to chase digital natives.
    • To boost the market, Germany may restore tax breaks on art sales—not everyone is convinced.
    • George Lucas’s new museum breaks ground in Los Angeles.
    • Climate protest prompts partial evacuation at Louvre.
    • Tips for artists on how to talk about their art.
    • Here's the artist behind the Public Enemy x UNDERCOVER x Supreme artwork.
    • Cooper Union plans to bring back free tuition, marking historic pivot.
    • Wendy’s guide to art grad school.
    • Why artists are allowed to copy masterpieces from the world’s most prestigious museums.
    • How POW!WOW! Hawaii revived a forgotten neighborhood in Honolulu.
    • Is Brazil’s most famous art movement built on racial inequality? New generation argues ‘Yes’.
    • Looking to Cuba’s past to fabricate tomorrow’s utopia.
    • Parisian Gallery Perrotin to open new space in Shanghai.
    • Los Angeles’s Park View/Paul Soto Gallery will open Brussels space.
    • French collector and designer Hubert de Givenchy dies at 91.
    • British Collector David Roberts picks new director and puts his planned move to the countryside on hold.
    • The Artsy Podcast, No. 73: Miami mega-collector Jorge Pérez on why Cuban art matters.
    • The Art Market grew to $63.7 billion in 2017, and other key takeaways from Art Basel report.
    • Global art market grows for the first time in two years, according to Art Basel report.
    • Has the Great Depression struck galleries? Kenny Schachter ventures among the art hobos at Armory Week.
    • Why fewer galleries are opening today than 10 years ago.
    • MOCA fires Helen Molesworth, its chief curator, but many are shocked.
    • Leonardo DiCaprio scoops up a Jean-Pierre Roy painting for $38,000, adding to his many works.
    • Creating the works himself for the first time in a long time—Damien Hirst’s ”The Veil Paintings" at Gagosian.
    • Ethel Stein, who created intricate textile art, dies at 100.
    • Judy Chicago & Miriam Schapiro’s feminist Installation ‘Womanhouse’ gets a tribute in DC.
    • Mike Lee presents the female empowerment aeries "Besties" at Arsham/Fieg Gallery.
    • The NRA used Anish Kapoor’s most famous work in a political ad. Now the artist is blasting back.
    • How Jeff Koons sold out – and why his jumbo tulips don’t belong in Paris.
    • ‘Trump Kills Teens’: Artist Paul Chan & Badlands Unlimited mint signs for gun protests.
    • Shepard Fairey's studio creates national school walkout posters in protest of gun violence.
    • Want to get rich quick? Fresh from the London auctions, Kenny Schachter explains how to game the system.
    • Nicole Eisenman’s ‘Dark Light’ at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects.
    • A look inside Joshua Vides' "Reality to Idea" exhibition in LA at The Seventh Letter.
    • Frank Gehry tapped for Colburn School expansion in downtown Los Angeles.
    • Sculptor Kazuhiro Tsuji wins Oscar for his day job - hair & makeup for movies. The first Asian to do so.
    • How to be an artist, according to Georgia O’Keeffe.

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    Taking place in the middle of March every year in Valencia is the Las Fallas Festival (or Festival of Fire) which has evolved from the feast day for St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters into a five day extravaganza. The highlight of the event is the creation and destruction of a fallas (or ninots), one of which this year was designed by Spanish artist Okuda. The 25m high sculptural piece entitled Universal Equilibrium features his signature vibrant color palette as well as his recognizable prismatic patterns. As per tradition, the climax of the festival will be tonight when Okuda's creation as well a many others will go up in flames! Those in town should also check out his retrospective at the Centre del Carme. Photos via the artist, @JCF_Valencia, @recomunicacionand, @PlasticMurs. Discuss Okuda here.