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Pols Condemn Williamsburg Swastikas, Point To Trump

img_2436.jpgLocal politicians are condemning the “reprehensible symbolism” of swastikas that appeared in a South Williamsburg apartment building, and are calling on the Trump administration to denounce what they say is a result of “the politics of hatred and fear.”

A statement released this afternoon speaks out against the anti-semitic graffiti that appeared last week in the Schaefer Landing apartment building on Kent Street, home to a large number of Orthodox Jews.

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Henry Chalfant’s Golden Age ‘Graf Writers’ Speak

Henry Chalfant, "Mad PJ" 1980 (Image courtesy of Eric Firestone Gallery)

Henry Chalfant, “Mad PJ” 1980 (Image courtesy of Eric Firestone Gallery)

Long before Gordon Gekko’s bimbo cousin was inaugurated in January (no doubt aided by doing the best impression of Ronald Reagan he could muster), trend pieces had picked up a scent that hinted which way the wind was blowing. It had notes of burnt hair and overcooked mini vegetables on the nose, followed by white wine spritzer, and finished with a robust whiff of Misty Slim Lights and the lingering, chemically after-stank of cheap knockoff perfumes like “If you like Giorgio you’ll love PRIMO!” Then, the elections made it official: the ’80s are back, baby.

It might have smelled delicious, but the Decade of Greed wasn’t exactly a superbly excellent time for everyone involved. But for all the negi vibes–magnified in New York City by an extreme wealth gap– the ’80s produced some truly inspiring art, and the best of it came from a thriving, vibrant underground. During this time, graffiti reached its “golden age,” as a recent photography exhibition, Henry Chalfant: 1980, reminded us, and it wasn’t long before graf became a worldwide cultural phenomenon.

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RAE BK Had an Old-School Art Party With DJ Kool Herc and It Went Like This

(Courtesy of RAE BK)

(Courtesy of RAE BK)

The last time I saw a bunch of RAE BKs work all in one place was in 2015, just after the street artist and Brooklyn-native had opened his guerrilla-style solo exhibition in Chinatown. But the show wasn’t held at a gallery, instead RAE’s site-specific installation was housed inside a dingy old basement, accessible only by way of an unmarked, totally unassuming rust-red metal door adjacent to a bustling produce market. Even then, I was so jaded that I couldn’t allow myself to believe that this was a real basement with real dirt and dust everywhere. But actually it wasn’t just a fancy pop-up rental space with a stage-grit makeover, nor was it an attempt by some developer to “activate” a particular corner before the building was torn down. As RAE told me, the basement was simply on loan from a recently-retired butcher with whom he had a “tentative relationship,” and the show, called Trunk Work, was one of those rare art happenings that was both real and strange.

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‘Style Wars’ Producer Henry Chalfant Offers Panoramic Views of Graffiti’s ‘Golden Age’

Henry Chalfant's subway photographs now on view (Image courtesy of Eric Firestone Gallery)

Henry Chalfant’s subway photographs now on view (Image courtesy of Eric Firestone Gallery)

Since Thursday, the white walls at Eric Firestone Gallery have been wholly devoted to just a small portion of Henry Chalfant’s  archive of “subway photographs.” Henry Chalfant: 1980 focuses on a year in which graffiti was still regarded as subversive and dangerous. At the same time, street art was at its most vibrant and anarchic. The work offers not only a trip back to the “golden age of graffiti,” but a thorough “visual anthropology,” as Chalfant describes it– a studied view of street culture back when it actually came from the streets.

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Muralist Returns for Third Try after Bad Luck Streak of ‘Biblical’ Proportions

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

After a false start three weeks ago, street artist Logan Hicks is ready to give his Bowery Graffiti Wall mural another shot. The stencil mural, entitled Story of My Life, was supposed to go up the last week of July, but was scrapped after the wood panels that held the canvas shifted positions overnight, ruining the half-finished piece.  Keep Reading »

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On the LES, Street Artists #FeeltheBern With a Bowie-Bernie Mashup and More

(Photo: Kavitha Surana)

(Photo: Kavitha Surana)

Didn’t wake up at 1 a.m. to get a spot in line to see Vampire Weekend serenade Bernie Sanders at Washington Square Park this afternoon? There’s still plenty of Bernie love to go around the city ahead of the primary next Tuesday.

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Graffiti-Blasting DOT Aims to Turn New York Into State of Washing-Ton

(Photo: Luisa Rollenhagen)

(Photo: Luisa Rollenhagen)

The Department of Transportation thinks your graffiti is vulgar, and will power-wash it into oblivion until New York City is restored to the sparkling shiny gem it once was. At least, that seemed to be the general message at this morning’s press conference with DOT commissioner Polly Trottenberg, held under an overpass of the Manhattan Bridge in Chinatown.

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Inside the Sticker Museum That’s Hiding in Bushwick

(Photos: Karissa Gall)

(Photos: Karissa Gall)

When I saw a sticker museum advertised on Instagram, I envisioned walls of retro scratch and sniffs. But that’s not what I found when I rang buzzer #203 at 1009 Broadway in Bushwick. Standing at the top of an unadorned grey stairwell was a bearded man who asked, “You here for the sticker museum?” Yes and no, I thought, looking around at the remnants of a recent stickerbomb event and realizing that scratching the stickers wouldn’t release the fragrance of Strawberry Shortcake.

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Bowie in the East Village, Then and Now

(Photo by Kavitha Surana)

(Photo by Kavitha Surana)

This morning we noticed graffiti artist Hektad had made some modifications to his 2nd Avenue F stop mural of a giant splattering heart, in honor of the man who fell to earth. A Bowie lightning bolt now pierces the heart, and messages of “Let’s Dance” and “David Bowie Rest Well” are scribbled on the edges. Appropriate, given the subway stop’s proximity to the setting of Lazarus.

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Con Artist Has Art So Cheap You Can Eat It, Trust

"The $20 Art Show" at Con Artist Gallery (Photo: Nicole Disser)

“The $20 Art Show” at Con Artist Gallery (Photo: Nicole Disser)

I’d never seen art move so quickly off the walls as I did last night at Con Artist Collective‘s Lower East Side gallery. Things were so hectic that it was difficult even to talk to founder Brian Shevlin about the unusual exhibition. His eyes were too busy darting to and from the small, rectangular pieces of art as they were gently taken off the walls, wrapped in red plastic bags, and quickly replaced by more art works. It felt like a feeding frenzy, and I couldn’t help but join in. Snagging some art myself, I realized I’d never even considered buying art in a gallery before this. I mean, definitely the $20 price tag had something, a lot, to do with making an already appealing piece of work feel accessible. “We did this based on Bread & Puppet Theater’s Why Cheap Art? Manifesto,” Shevlin explained. “Basically, we believe that artists should be required to make cheap art.”

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Checking Out the Coney Art Walls As They Near Completion

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While Bushwick Collective has been hogging all the attention lately (even from local cops), a series of equally impressive murals have been going up these past few weeks in Coney Island, where the New York art world’s prodigal son Jeffrey Deitch has called on some big names to paint a couple dozen walls dotting a concrete lot shared with Coney Smorgasburg.

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