Rock My Religion, A Grin Without A Cat


Bruce Nauman’s Animal Pyramid

The animal motifs serve to guide and complete the message of the human gesture. I am employing their cultural meaning as an expression of human emotion and condition. In doing so I am taking them from the realm of the animal and utilizing them as a tool, as an extension, as a method of communicating. I was struck by Bruce Nauman’s symmetric structuring of the figures in “Animal Pyramid” that effectively removes the creatures from their natural state and positions them into a formation that feels uniquely human. Their rising arrangement and collective uniformity conveys them from the wild of nature to a place of device and instrument.

Ways of Seeing

This is a book that I am exploring with the awareness that it is very difficult for me to see things in alternative modes or differently from my own comfortable process.

“The past is never there waiting to be discovered, to be recognized for exactly what it is. … Fear of the present leads to mystification of the past. The past is not for living in; it is a well of conclusions from which we draw in order to act.”

“Mystification is the process of explaining away what might otherwise be evident. “

“If we can see the present clearly enough, we shall ask the right questions of the past.”

“When the camera reproduces an image, it destroys the uniqueness of the image.” The image travels to a million different households, becomes a moment in peoples life on the Internet. Becomes an object of their own published interests. The recipient does not venture into the world to find the piece, but instead perceives the documentation and is reassured of its authenticity. “It is authentic and therefore it is beautiful” I am in front of the real thing.

Seeing the images on google and on flickr and then encountering the mystified real. The urgency of its rarity is heightened by its delicate position in the streets. This is one element of the intimate encounter. It is precisely striking because it is not conserved or guarded behind a bullet proof Perspex.

The social hierarchy of graffiti serves as the bulletproof Perspex.

The question is what occurs when the street piece is encountered without an awareness of its background; where its only context is its location. There will be no awareness of its market value or no sensation of experiencing the real thing in light of its reproductions. When the piece is encountered without the support of the street art realm, without any prior knowledge or membership within the street art community, it must inevitably be a less impressive piece. Thus each piece, while it lives continually through its dissemination on the internet, must ultimately strive to be arresting, accessible, and autonomous if the intention is to be a striking street piece and not just a striking digital piece.

Regarding the Banksy Over Robbo Incident

photo credit

Original post on Juxtapoz here
It seems as though Banksy has truly done it again. When it seems like he has exhausted his long list of issues to take shots at, there is always one more trick up his wry sleeve. There is not a single member of the street art community that I can think of that has so brazenly challenged its aggressive and cantankerous older brother, graffiti. And for good reason, considering the retribution for going over any writer is not worth the effort or the pain. Instead, artists who do not define themselves as writers, or frankly take on the kind of risk and responsibility of writers, are relegated to primarily street art or virgin spots. It seems that wheatpaste has only grazed (or maybe graced) a throwup or old school piece out of ignorance, not as a provocation; most notably Shepherd Fairey’s encounter with Marty, and the whole DYM incident revolving around Jace and 11 spring (of course there are even some personal anecdotes that I won’t go into.) In all of the countless cases in which street art has stepped on writers’ toes, the transgressions have warranted outcries, apologies, and even formal letters of justification.

But here we have Street Art’s most celebrated figure actually instrumentalizing an old school piece and incorporating it into the work UNapologetically. This is not a situation of callous poster application and graff forum howling, which is undoubtedly followed by a lauded takeback. Instead, Banksy scoped the spot, made the effort to cross the canal, and then turned a 24 year old piece into wallpaper, which despite being the ultimate offense, poses some interesting considerations. Firstly, instead of succumbing to graffiti’s belligerence, Banksy confronted and subverted its methods. In a satirical statement, we see the old school converted into figurative wall paper (while of course it is still paint). Robbo actually becomes controversial wheatpaste, the very medium that is so loathsome to aerosol, and in doing so essentially the piece is reinvigorated back into the spotlight of attention.

And this is precisely the most fascinating point, this revisiting of a piece that stood in a position of relative inertia (disregarding the countless tags that tarnished its former glory). This is the conflict of the contemporaneity of street art and the rigidity of graffiti. Banksy, by daring to perpetrate the ultimate taboo, basically capping a piece of history, has problematized the structure of how work on the street functions. He has epitomized this dichotomy between of the amorphous, forgiving nature of Street Art, and the unbending, intensely hierarchical and historically obsessed operations of graffiti. He has taken the prohibited, under the looming risk of serious punishment, and made it his own. Ultimately, Banksy has disputed the static hierarchy of graffiti that is founded upon an insecurity of the ephemeral with a brave, new gesture that is unafraid of ramification or change. While I am saddened by the loss of such a remarkably old artifact, I am simultaneously encouraged by the confrontation that has awoken this sleeping relic from its slumber.

But then again, I am a street artist, so what is my opinion really worth.
-yours truly, Gaia

Poster Boy Stunt in Miami

Poster Boy, the artist known for his disfigurement of New York subway ads, has struck Miami with a stolen billboard that was reclaimed to bear the scathing message “Change My Ass, Obama to Murder More Afgans”

Some pretty unbelievable shit, but it only last twenty minutes. For more in depth coverage, check out BSA’s post on the stunt.

photos courtesy of Allison Buxton of Ad Hoc Art

The Beginning of a More Exact Past

What it means to be alive today with documentation

Preparation for Scope

Painting this whole past weekend. Kicking it with wonderful people. Drinking, fucking, working, intimate conversations for hours. But no school work. In preparation for Scope Miami 

if this piece were only this piece it would totally freak me out.


New Imminent Disaster and Blanco In New York

Props to Guero on the photos. It is nice to see some new work in this neighborhood. This spot especially has had an interesting history. As you can see there was an old old swoon piece right next to that pipe running along the wall, and an elbowtoe poster down the block. About two years ago I put up that horseman once the swoon piece was torn down and then everything fell apart. There was one individual who pursued every street piece in the neighborhood and effectively destroyed them with brown and orange spray paint. Considering how rich Gowanus was with street pieces, this was actually quite a travesty in my opinion. It went beyond the understood weathering of time and interaction to a place of unfortunate destruction. Whatever the intentions of the perpetrator were, they most definitely deterred anyone from going back and since then these streets have witnessed a real lull in new work. Check out this page on streetsy to see all of the defaced pieces by elbowtoe

Given this background, it is wonderful to see Imminent Disaster and Blanco returning and I hope that the threat of “the brown burner” has finally subsided. I love how the paper cut over the old cheekz piece reveals the paint of that hateful individual.

The Axial Iron Age: The Triumph of the Sky Gods

This text explores the development of polytheism with Archaic cultures to monotheism and eventually a more linear conception of time and transcendence. The text essentially, and very basically maps the progression of material conditions and how they shape the spirituality of a culture. The Archaic Iron Age maintains a sacred sense of cyclical time and the Axial breaks free into a historical sense that is linear. The future becomes open rather than an endless reproduction of the past. This sets the stage for the paradigmatic conflict between the indigenous Americans and the Europeans.

A concept I thought that stood out was the oscillations of cultures between a mind/body singularity and a mind/body binary that we now experience today. Interestingly, as the Hebrews develop a sense of sin and guilt their God becomes more kind and benevolent. As responsibility moves more inward into the self, the burden of punishment for motivation is lifted from the shoulders of God.

here is the Text,
Follow the Read more for the Notes
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NYSAT response

I think that the issue should not be framed as Art Vs Advertisement but instead, as interaction versus limitation or conversation versus monologue. The issue is that there are spaces that have been designated as purely for the dissemination of information regarding commerce, corporate interests, events and communication, and that these spaces must only be received. It is very problematic that the circulation of information is controlled and regulated by systems of bureaucracy that sanction and decide the content and placement of communication. This intensely hierarchical system that dictates our public sphere prevents unwanted information that is not congruous with the agenda of the companies or governments that control advertising from being disseminated. It is not democratic in its current state but obviously has the potential to be a useful mechanism for democracy.

The art in the advertisement is undeniable, but the conflict is in who gets to speak and how are we spoken to? Does the soliloquy of advertisement that speaks regardless of who is there to hear, warrant a response? And if so where is the platform for such a response? Unfortunately, given the current situation of how we organize ourselves within the public domain, there is no space for dialogue between promulgated information and the public’s reaction. It is purely a circumstance of reception, of feeding.

There are obvious problems associated with an interaction with the environment that is open and unhindered. Our current structure that dictates the movement of bodies, how they organize, express, direct and occupy themselves, is one that is intensely arranged by bureaucracy, administration and regulation. These structures function as a filter to protect from disorder. Whether we are managed within our workplace, our hospitals, institutions of education, or the coercive measures of police and roving dangers such as criminals, our behavior is allowed agency as long as it fits within acceptability. It is difficult to think of a situation where the minute details of our lives and presences are not being tracked and codified.

Thus, it is difficult to imagine a situation, especially in the public sphere, where we could function and interact with our physical environment beyond the bureaucracies of community boards, panels, police and even assertions of private property. It seems absurd to think that a company could finance such an insane amount of capital into advertising in the public sphere and have their investments be precariously vulnerable to the public’s intervention. It seems even more absurd that a governing system would allow its citizens to express their opinion either verbally or physically anywhere without permission, permits or overview.

This project was a symbolic challenge to these coercive systems that decide the behavior of our daily lives. It was a gesture of complexity and disorder beyond the capacity of these systems. It was a moment of democratic interaction.