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Editors' Pick: Colorful November

November 30, 2014

November is coming to an end and the editors at Widewalls select their highlight blog and magazine features of the past month. The Editors’ Pick allows us to increase the visibility of posts that we feel deserve more recognition. It also gives our readers insight into the personal preferences of individual editors. This brings readers and authors closer together while enhancing the personal connection. Widewalls becomes more personal and you can put a name to news, interviews and features. This month’s selection includes: the interview Ana held with Futura in-the-run-up to his exhibition at Magda Danysz Gallery in Shanghai; a spectacular feature on art rooted in activism by the example of JR; the Top 10 post by Matt about the best contemporary art museums in the world; Sanja’s insightful feature on how the street art movement changed urban life in Brazil; Bojan’s exhaustive discussion about Mad C and necessity of tradition in contemporary urban art; the announcement by Hugo of VNA’s new edition featuring Mike Giant; as well as many more interesting posts you need to read….

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Futura’s Chinese Kinetics

Biggest stars make the biggest waves, and Futura’s crest seems to be holding its position for decades. On November 1, 2014, one of the legends of street art, an abstractionist among the letter-makers, opened a show at Magda Danysz Gallery in Shanghai. Entitled “Kinetic Action”, the entire show was created in the Chinese megalopolis, through a powerful, energized action painting process. In the exclusive interview given to Widewalls shortly before the opening, Futura talks about his active approach to painting, Chinese inspirations, techniques, and one of his greatest influences – Bruce Lee. We asked Futura how he defines his style,what role performance has in his work, and learned his opinion on contemporary situation in urban art movement. Highlighting the differences between the situation in urban art “back then” and today, the artist disclosed his vision that there are no limitations for the movement, as it is and it will continue in taking the world by storm.

Art Rooted in Activism – JR

He started on the houses of Paris by writing his name on rooftops. After realizing he could make use photography to tell a wider story, he began pasting images he took on walls in numerous illegal sidewalk galleries. When Paris was caught by the riot fire in the mid 2000s, his social consciousness reached a new level of lucidity, and his activist crusade began. His moniker is JR and he is probably the most globally spread street artist. It’s obvious that JR’s art comes from activism, but the manner in which this TED Prize winner conducts his affairs is entirely different. He does not focus only on several concrete issues as Keith Haring did, nor does he engage in advocating revolution in style of Carrie Reichardt. JR thinks wider, always bearing a universal picture in mind, even if he focuses on concrete, local issues in any of his continuous travels. Recognized by the art world as a prodigy, JR is today known as an activist for women’s rights, peace and equality, always having one common quality in all his projects – an idealistic belief in humanity.

The World of Artist Assistants

Have you ever asked yourself who paints those thousands of spots on Damien Hirst’s paintings? Or who helps Liu Bolin camouflage himself for his famous installations? In the world of art, especially among some of the most productive and richest artists, the artist is not the only one involved in the creative process of making an artwork. The position of an assistant was highly valuable and necessary in commercial art, but in the last couple of years, it has become the key element in every artist’s studio. Assistants are often craftspeople behind the scenes; stretching canvases, painting backgrounds, assembling installations and, in some cases, completing the entire by following the instructions artists give them. This is where the question of authorship and originality of artwork is raised – even though the idea behind the art is created by the artist, if he’s not the one who actually created it, whose work is it then? The work of an assistant is considered to be full of excitement and creativity, but at the same time their world is followed by many presumptions and prejudices. This article we will try to shed light on some of them.

10 Contemporary Art Museums

In this day and age when anyone is capable of having their own fifteen minutes of fame in the great village we call world, one can hardly think of a greater mission than the one of a contemporary art museum. In the overwhelming flood of artists and their artworks that can easily be overlooked and quickly forgotten, contemporary art museums have the most crucial role in selecting what is important and preserving it for the generations to come. With that in mind, today we present our selection of some of the most influential contemporary art museums around the world. All ten of them are respected leaders in their field of work, with an extraordinary and profound task of collecting, preserving and exhibiting the most important modern and contemporary artworks created by the biggest names in the art world of our time.

When Graffiti Matters the Most – Brazil

Few weeks before the grand opening of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the streets of Rio de Janeiro were covered in World Cup-related street art. Murals revealing conflicted feelings about the enormous amounts of money spent in a country struggling with massive poverty became an instant hit among the media and soon everyone was talking about the dissatisfaction Brazilian people felt concerning the biggest event in football. Perhaps one of the most noticeable ones was the mural painted on a school in Sao Paulo by the Brazilian street artist Paulo Ito, portraying a hungry and crying boy with nothing to eat but a foot ball. This is a great example of the power of art that is especially noticeable in the moments of political and social discontent. However, this is not the first time Brazil used art as a political and social message. Street art in this Latin American country has a long and complex history and even though street art today covers every conceivable surface and space within Brazil’s sprawling urban zones and it is decriminalized since 2007, it wasn’t always like that. This is the story of how a small art movement became a way of life for Brazilians.

Mad C: The Rebirth of Tradition

Is there a possibility of understanding an entire art movement or a culture through a creative expression of a single artist? If this is possible, what exactly can be deduced from this? After all, the graffiti and street art phenomena are relatively young concepts and practices, thus accessible to various forms of interpretation. However, the rapid transformation of graffiti and street art points to a complex nature of these phenomena. One of the questions which surely, and almost instantly, comes to mind refers to the relation between concepts itself – can we speak of an evolution of sorts between these two movements, or is there something more? Answering the questions in an instance, one could argue that graffiti stands in the light of street art as a form of a tradition. Here, we are going to look at these questions through the creative instances of Claudia Walde aka MadC.

ERROR

Distorting what is traditionally beautiful, by the means of colors commonly associated with beauty, Mexican artist Ciler emphasizes the inherent decay of contemporary society and points out that there is obviously an enormous error in how things function, in opposition to how they’re supposed to work. Playing with the observer’s perception, this clever visual interventionist conjures unpleasant situations nobody can deny, he summons the pink elephant to appear and the harsh reality is not to be ignored. He is brutally honest, unapologetically critical and his art is filled with drama, violence, and death. Ciler will be showing his original work in the United States for the first time in a solo show at Soze Gallery. The exhibition entitled Error is announced for the middle of the month.

Mike Giant for VNA

The exciting new edition of Very Nearly Almost magazine is set to go public in near future. This UK-based independent magazine printed quarterly brings us all the urban content including interviews, artworks and updates of the world’s best urban artists, illustrators and photographers. Issue #28 is filled with newest of urban chapters and the cover of this edition is embellished with famous member of REBEL8 collective, the one and only, Mike Giant. This fresh new edition includes Mike’s his monochrome illustrations and tattoo-inspired scribble. Giant talked about a period when his life was encountered street world, as well as transferring his work from the wall to clothing through his Rebel8 brand. Besides his work, VNA features bunch of news regarding artist such as Insa and his career’s recollection ranging from his childhood bedroom posters to today modern age approach with his app release – a, ‘GIF-ITI’. Other topics covers known urban art giants like Da Mental Vaporz crew, Nunca, Dan Hillier, Smug, Nick Walker, Chad Muska, Inti, and more.

Snoop Pollock

To write it in the words of Alex Scordelis “the greatest Renaissance man of our era was Snoop Dogg”.  There is a lot of truth in this statement. Like no other artist Snoop Dogg has undergone tremendous changes, developments and re-orientations. His career began in 1992 when Dr. Dre featured him on the legendary solo debut album The Chronic. What followed is one of the most impressive and diverse careers in the hip-hop music business. Snoop not only sold millions of records, but stared in numerous movies and TV shows. He also produced a pornographic movie, moderated wrestling matches, created his own merchandise and in 2012 renamed himself Snoop Lion. Now he is back to Snoop Dogg and has a new project to present to the public: Snoop the painter.

Preview: Art Basel

The winter is coming to Miami! This means warm weather, hot events and blazing parties, surrounding the December Art Week. Central event of the week is naturally Art Basel Miami Beach, bringing more exhibitors than ever, introducing new sectors and announcing an overwhelming art-mosphere. One of the leading art events transforms Miami into the it-place for international art collectors, art lovers, art fans and other not-necessarily-art related figures, including lots of celebrities. The Miami art fair attracts over 70,000 visitors annually, transforming the city, along with a number of satellite art fairs, into the temporary world center of contemporary art market. The year 2014 introduced several novelties in comparison to the Miami Art Basel 2013. There will be over 250 international galleries exhibiting in nine sectors, encompassing all media imaginable and a prominent Public Sector. Museums of Miami will be putting on special exhibitions, coinciding with the events, while all interested should be on a lookout for new, exciting pieces of contemporary and modern art. Having sifted through the hyper-abundant offer of Art Basel Miami, we give you a few pointers on what not to miss.