Le Grand Jeu is a Parisian agency and an online bookstore founded by people who share a true passion for street cultures. Recently, they have selected five books that are worth our attention, in collaboration with the French digital media Streep. Their Top 5 may appear surprising, as they have chosen nice publications, but they have also been searching for books that show the many different ways there are to talk about and document street culture today. This is why, amongst their selection, you will find street art guides compiled by artists that have been a part of the scene for years, as well as limited graffiti zines, gallery exhibitions’ catalogs, institutional books devoted to buffing and touristic guides that would help you discover urban art all around the world.
Sorry for Damage Done
This book, published in conjunction with the #ViralVandals exhibition organized by Jasper van Es and Boris of The Grifters at the MU Artspace in Eindhoven this spring, was born from an idea by Vincent Wittenberg and Wladimir Manshanden. It tells with humor and intelligence the story of the cleaning of the graffiti appeared on the walls of this Dutch city. The workers of the town hall photographed them before and after their interventions. Sometimes the reader is wondering if it is worthwhile to clean a sign or an electrical box: the urban panorama does not gain much from that. Yet, the city sometimes regains some splendor, thanks to public institutions.
The underlying theme of the book remains the ambivalence of their actions, shared between growing support for subcultures and an unremitting struggle against vandalism. Sorry for Damage Done also informs about a creative urban space, territory of a wide artistic range.
The Eriskay Connection
Lonely Planet - Street Art
In the age of the internet, while our smartphone connects us with our friends and apps like Urbacolors geolocate street art around us, travel guides sometimes seem to be obsolete instruments, a testimony to the appearance of the Mass tourism in the 20th century. However, just as the paper book has stood the test of the e-book, this famous Lonely Planet handbook has reinvented itself by offering more space for experiential tourism. The first edition of the international street art guide lists works on the streets of some forty cities around the world.
Choosing the destination of the next trip has never been so easy for urban art enthusiasts. The book offers a relevant selection of the best international festivals, the most appreciated neighborhoods, as well as plans to discover a country through urban artists.
Piet Parra - No Work Today
The Dutch Pieter Janssen, better known as Parra, never stops. Graphic designer and musician, member of the pop group Le Le, for which he has made numerous videos, Parra is also an extraordinary painter, draftsman and sculptor. This catalog is from No Work Today, his first exhibition at the Joshua Liner Gallery in New York (November 17 – December 17, 2016). The book unveils his recent production, as well as the references to the graphic and erotic universe of Roy Lichtenstein and Tom Wesselmann. His taste for the daily environment and the popular culture of our time is highlighted. No Work Today revolves around the little joys of everyday life: staying in bed, reading, relaxing by the pool…
The new soul of Parra is discovered here: the bird-like characters that made him famous disappear, in favor of female figures with a veiled face. The artist had reduced them to simple and captivating forms of striking beauty.
Joshua Liner Gallery
Utah and Ether - No Comment
Utah & Ether regularly defend the judicial chronicles of the whole world and for good reason. This couple of Americans traveled incessantly for several years to paint trains of the whole world. Probation Vacation, released last year, documented their many stays in Asia between 2011 and 2015, while No Comment, their last (fan)zine which sold out in just a few days, is the story of their five-week stay in Australia, in the spring of 2016. Assembled head-to-tail, half of this publication traces the arrest of Ether, his life in a Victoria prison and reproduces the prosecution evidence against him at trial. In the other half, Utah describes her exploits as a graffiti writer with the police on the heels.
The title of the fanzine itself refers to the arrest of Ether: “no comment” are the only two words repeated by Ether to the police officers. You can find extracts on Youtube here.
Limited run of 500 copies
Signed and numbered by the artist
Christian Hundertmark aka C100 - The Art Of Rebellion IV
Since 2003, the series of books The Art of Rebellion has been an unavoidable reference in urban art. The release of this 4th part is excellent news and confirms the talent of its author, Christian Hundertmark alias C100. Taking advantage of the success of the series, this one offers a magnificent work of large format with 216 pages, able to highlight the interventions of selected artists through photographs of high quality reproduced full page.
The concept of the book remains unchanged: Hundertmark selects the artists and asks each of them to send him his favorite work in their own production and to explain in writing their choice and the history behind these interventions. Nug, Egs, Dmote, Delta, Zedz, HoNet, The London Police, El Tono, Nuria Mora, Dave Kinsey and Spy have lent themselves to the game in this new opus. The Art of Rebellion confirms the author’s ability to bring the attention of urban artists to the evolution of the codes of their own disciplines once again.