Document 36363

Whole in the wall 1970 -- Now
“WE GOT NO TIME 4 TOYZ”! This poetic, powerful, and potent
a mid-teen, was likely the earliest tagger. Seismically, the primary tools
tian writings on catacomb walls in ancient Rome, deepen those linkages.
In evolving from the underground to the more hallowed ground of estab-
graffiti expression, deftly emblazoned high upon a facade of a once-
of taggers would be enlivened by the whoosh and rattle of aerosol spray
Some 90 miles south of graffiti’s DNA, New York City, urban youths in
lished galleries and museums, the signature street “cred” of graffiti has
proud Coney Island building in 1998, greeted all who arrived by sub-
cans equipped with customized nozzles having functional names such
Philadelphia were similarly motivated. I taught at Tyler School of Art in the
morphed into museum “cred”. In recent years, the Whitney Museum of
way to South Brooklyn. I marveled at its succinct message, syntactically
as skinny, fat, banana, and mop-top. Airborne paint deposited bold and
early 1970s and can attest to the strong presence of “old school” graffiti
American Art has displayed Haring and Basquiat retrospectives, while
memorable, and one which likely cautioned any territorial incursions by
wondrous wiggles, drops, and spatter on “canvases” of concrete, brick,
in the City of Brotherly Love.
the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 2006 mounted an exhibition entitled “Graf-
novice taggers, or perhaps, expressed the frustrations of a hardscrabble
metal, and wood. A new aesthetic took hold, often producing effects
life. If poetry can be described as memorable language, graffiti can ex-
more akin to masterful calligraphy than labored cacography. With its ris-
quisitely embody the poetic.
ing popularity, early graffiti masters attracted an exuberant band of devo-
In 1962, the melodic and lilting lyrics of “Up On the Roof” by The Drifters serenaded an urban youth culture with sounds and words which
suggested a tamer, passive and outwardly contented populace. World
tees, too long marginalized in the national culture and now in search of
personal empowerment. At times taggers were members of a gang and
their work served a territorial function.
Early stylemeisters who emerged from graffiti’s golden period in the
70s were Blade, Crash, Daze, Quik, Ramm-ell-zee and Lee Quiñones, to
name but several. Inevitably, the underground success of the movement
found a mainstream venue in 1983 at Sidney Janis Gallery on 57th St.
NYC. All of the aforementioned names were represented in that hallmark
exhibition, to include Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. With the
fiti” and in 2004, the Rose Museum (Brandeis University) displayed the
work of Barry McGee. Globally, graffiti has re-invigorated museum offerings, providing a hard-earned showcase for both “old school” graffiti and
a newer generation of artists and media (e.g. LED throw-ups). WHOLE
IN THE WALL 1970 — NOW splashily continues the trend, attracting luminaries from countries beyond America. Included are artists such as
the elusive and omnipresent Banksy (UK); Blek le Rat (France), an early
events and domestic unrest would soon alter the harmony, and a convul-
Anti-graffiti legislation and determined police squads, followed by aggres-
exception of the deceased Basquiat and Haring, the others have reunited
sive period in our culture would shortly and noisily emerge. Within New
sive prosecutions of transgressors, for some time have sharply curtailed
for the Whole in the Wall 1970-Now exhibition. In the catalogue for the
York City, and most prominently in the boroughs of the Bronx, Brooklyn,
the widespread graffiti activity associated with New York City’s extensive
1983 Sidney Janis Gallery exhibition, titled Post-Graffiti, Crash states
and Queens, a disenfranchised and marginalized urban youth culture
transit system. With great stealth, cunning, daring, and stamina, tag-
(p. 7): “My work which I call Post-Graffiti-Pop is much related to the Pop
was significantly influenced by break-dancing, hip-hop, and political/so-
gers and crews through much of the 1970s, and mainly at night, adorned
artist Roy Lichtenstein but also has a powerful color composition that is
Indispensably, the exquisite archival photography and scholarly contri-
cial activism. Quiet urban rooftops, which once were sleepily described
the exteriors and interiors of subway cars, transit stations, and railroad
very much extracted from my previous subway work.” Relatedly, the 1983
butions of long-standing chroniclers of graffiti art, Henry Chalfant (USA)
by the dulcet words and sounds of The Drifters, did not reflect, in the
yards. Resplendent brightly-colored bubble and wild style pieces, throw-
catalogue cover was designed by Crash and Daze and the back cover
and Martha Cooper (USA), capture the graffiti movement with grace and
mid-60s, the emerging discontent, and discourse of time and place. City
ups, platform letters, and re-appearing tags appeared throughout the
by Crash. Sidney Janis in his introductory remarks glowingly validates
precision. Photographers Jamel Shabazz (USA) and Silvio Magaglio
youths adventurously sought rooftops, billboards, railroad yards, sub-
city. While the vast fleet of subway cars and its supporting infrastructure
graffiti art as a contemporary art movement while linking it to Pop. Janis
(France) further enrich our understanding of graffiti art.
way cars/stations, city doors, underpasses, and the like to express them-
is now largely free of graffiti, its presence is still observed elsewhere in
further notes that (p. 2): “Slides showing examples of their earlier subway
selves artistically. “Old school” graffiti letter forms, slogans, and tags
the city. The microscopic and sweeping curvilinear qualities associated
art will be shown.” A recent Christie’s auction in NYC estimated the sell-
were first rendered in felt-tip markers, Flo-master inks, and with sponges
with letterforms in illuminated manuscripts of long ago may well have
ing price of a 1982 Basquiat painting, Mater, to be 5-7 million dollars.
Stephen F. Smalley — Emeritus Professor /Art, Bridgewater State College
daubed in shoe polish, each insuring a speedy and clandestine applica-
a descendant in urban graffiti. Pledges of love inscribed upon a wall of
Janis can certainly be viewed as a visionary.
(Bridgewater, Massachusetts, USA, May 2009)
tion. Graffiti lore points to the markings of Taki 183, who 40 years ago as
Juliet’s home in Verona, Italy, over many centuries as well as early Chris-
pioneer in stencil graffiti; and Nunca (Brazil) who recently collaborated
on a project which colorfully transformed the exterior of Kelburn Castle
in Scotland.
Tag on!
VICTOR ASH was born in Portugal in 1968. He currently lives and works
in Copenhagen, Denmark. Fascinated with graffiti since the age of thirteen, his signature is a
raw stencil style used with silhouettes that he adapts to walls, glass, and other surfaces. His
works reflect current societal situations, prompting the viewer to confront these issues via the
environment he has created. Themes often include the contrast between the urban and rural
and young people’s quest for identity in subcultures. He has participated in solo and group
shows since 1991 in such spaces as Århus Kunstbygning Museum, Denmark, and Kunstraum
Bethanien Museum, Berlin. LEFT TO RIGHT: “car mountain with wolf 2”, 79”x 53”; “falling graffiti writers”,
2009, 50’’ x 34’’; “lady and dj in the woods”, 2009, 79’’ x 61’’.
BANKSY was apparently born in Bristol in 1975. Though his identity
remains unknown, his work is prolific and world-famous. Banksy is well known for his guerrilla
street art as well as for surreptitiously exhibiting his works in the world’s most famous museums.
His artworks, mainly produced with a distinctive stenciling technique, are often satirical and
subversive commentary on politics, culture, and ethics. His auction records speak volumes for
the popularity of his art, which is included in some of the most important private collections
in the world. LEFT: rat with roller, 2006, 24” x 30”; THIS PAGE (LEFT TO RIGHT): “bombhugger”, 2006,
14’’ x 13’’; “Untitled drawing” (DIPTYCH), 12” x 17’’.
BLADE (Steven Ogburn) was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1957.
He created his first graffiti in 1972, tagging on the buses and postal vans of New York City.
Nicknamed “The King,” he reigned for many years on the 2 and 5 subway lines with the group
“The Crazy 5” (TC5), of which he is a founding member. The group’s “Block Busters,” made
up of vertically elongated letters, completely covered some trains. Blade is ceaselessly renewing
and recreating his style of lettering. He first started painting on canvas in 1982. LEFT (TOP TO BOTTOM):
“blade’s mechanical letters from subway art book”, 22’’ x 63’’; “back in the day”, 11/2008, 24’’ x 85’’; UPPER RIGHT:
“the buzy galaxy”, 01/2009, 122’’ x 68’’.
BLEK LE RAT (Xavier Prou) was born in France in 1951 and
studied engraving and architecture at the Ecole des Beaux
Arts in Paris. Widely considered the godfather of modern street art, he was the first
to use stencils to create street silhouettes. In 1981, inspired by New York City’s graffiti and
a stenciled WWII portrait of Mussolini, he sprayed small black rats running along the streets
of Paris. With this work and his silhouette of an old Irish man two years later, his stencils
became recognized all over France. Blek’s works attempt to link his intimate characters with
the surrounding environment, engaging the beholder to interact with the image and his
or her surroundings. LEFT TO RIGHT: “sheep in the city 3”, 44’’ x 69’’; “urban angel”, 82’’ x 46’’;
“master’s red”, 32’’ x 32’’; “homeless in NYC”, 46’’ x 82’’.
CRASH (John Matos) was born in the Bronx, New York, In 1961.
He lives and works in New York and is considered a pioneer of the Graffiti movement. He has
prolifically created graffiti works since 1975 with Daze and Kel 139 in the New York City
subways; his work was first exhibited at Real Art Ways in 1981. His work is in the collections
of MOMA New York and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. LEFT TO RIGHT: “dream a little dream”,
04/2009, 72’’ x 72’’; “after broadway boogie woogie”, 04/2009, 70” x 73”; “blink and you’ll miss it”, 04/2009, 72’’ x 30’’.
DAZE was born in New York in 1962. His work has provided a powerful
and continuing record of the graffiti movement. He has successfully conveyed an ongoing
message about the mean streets, a segment of the urban cultural experience ignored by
more conventional painters. Many of his paintings and watercolors are peopled by characters
that simultaneously frighten and amuse, with street scenes intermixing artists, cops, hookers,
pimps, and musicians. These cartoon-like figures are humorously drawn, but there exists a
more serious subtext. His later works have taken on a new sophistication, depicting the
excitement of the street and recreating the spontaneity of the subway paintings, which were
the direct precursors of the post-pop phenomenon. FAR LEFT (TOP TO BOTTOM): “the four seasons”,
02/2009, 78” x 120”; “untitled”, 06/2007, 46” x 56”; MIDDLE: “agenda painting #24”, 11/2007, 40’’ x 50’’;
UPPER RIGHT: “steeplechase dream”, 06/2009, 68” x 120”.
HENRY CHALFANT is a sculptor, photographer and filmmaker,
born in Sewickley, Pennsylvania in 1940. His photos have been exhibited
at the OK Harris Works of Art, the landmark “New York - New Wave” show at P.S. 1, and other
high-profile galleries and museums worldwide. His photos of graffiti on New York City subway
trains were exhibited at the Whitney Museum’s “An American Century.” Henry co-produced
and documented photos for the film Style Wars (1984); co-directed the documentary on
South Bronx gangs, Flyin’ Cut Sleeves (1993) with Rita Fecher; and directed the documentary
From Mambo to Hip Hop (2006). He also co-authored the definitive account of New York
graffiti art, Subway Art (Holt, 1984) and a sequel on the art form’s worldwide diffusion,
Spray Can Art (Thames and Hudson, London, 1987). TOP: “Blade”, 1980, 10” x 40”;
BOTTOM (LEFT TO RIGHT): “Skeme Daze”, 1982. 10” x 40”; “Quik”, 1980, 10” x 40”.
IKON was born in Paris in 1970 with surfing in his blood. From the
age of 16, he began to travel the world in search of the best waves on earth. It was during this
elusive search that he started painting on surfboards, and decided at the age of 24 to return
to Paris to further develop his artwork. Highly inspired by street and urban culture, he blends
figurative painting with colorful animations and witticisms. He has been exhibiting throughout
Europe and is becoming a strong influence in today’s street art movement. LEFT TO RIGHT:
“good morning kids!”, 2008, 40’’ x 80’’; “bboy py-D-man”, 2009, 82’’ x 63’’; “Bboy hulk”, 2009, 80’’ x 73’’ .
JAMEL SHABAZZ, born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1960, started
his career in photography in the late 1970s in his hometown.
During the 1980s Jamel embarked on a photographic journey documenting the AfricanAmerican and Hispanic community. His work has been exhibited at Brooklyn Museum of Art,
The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Museum of
the City of New York, and Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. He has been a guest lecturer
at International Center for Photography, Howard University, The New School of Art and Design
at Parsons, and The Studio Museum in Harlem. His work has been published in The New
York Times, The Village Voice, Vogue, and many other publications. He currently works as
a documentary photographer and is a member of the photo collective Kamoinge, Inc. LEFT TO RIGHT: “Friends”, Brooklyn, 1985; “Busted” 1980, NYC; “Chilling on the D Train”, 1980, Brooklyn.
(All works PICTURED are 16” x 20” digital c-prints matte p99 with aluminum brace.)
JONONE (John Andrew Perello) was born in the Harlem area
of New York in 1963, and has been living between New York
and Paris since 1987. He has the most personal artistic style of his generation, halfway
between graffiti and abstract painting. He started tagging in the city and the subways in the
70s, with the juxtaposition of colors streaking on the moving subway trains being a fundamental
element of his style. Strongly influenced by other street artists including A-One and Phase II,
he is also influenced by American abstract expressionists such as Pollock, Motherwell and
De Kooning. His first exhibition was in 1990 and he has exhibited with Helenbeck Gallery since
2003. LEFT to right: “havoc in da city”, 2008, 124” x 79”; “a long time ago NYC - Jackson Pollock à NYC”, 2009,
57”x 79”.
LEE QUIÑONES (Lee George Quiñones) was born in Ponce,
Puerto Rico, in 1960 and was raised in New York. He is considered one
of the artists who have advanced graffiti by pushing the technical and aesthetic limits of street
artists. After the risky work of painting subway trains, he started to paint on canvas and has had
several exhibitions. Several of his works are now part of the permanent collection of the Whitney
Museum of American Art. LEFT TO RIGHT: “Send the clowns” (detail); “A Midsummer’s Dawn”, 65” x 50”.
MARTHA COOPER was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in the 1940s
and currently lives in Manhattan. She has specialized in documenting
urban vernacular art and architecture. Starting in 1977, she worked as a staff photographer for
New York Post for three years. During that time she began to shoot graffiti and breakdancing,
subjects that led to her extensive coverage of early Hip Hop as it emerged from the Bronx.
Martha’s books are bibles of hip-hop, graffiti, breakdancing, and subversive culture of the 70s,
and include Subway Art, R.I.P. Memorial Wall Art, We B*Girlz, Street Play, New York State of Mind,
Tag Town, and Going Postal. Her work has been exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide
and published in numerous magazines from National Geographic to Vibe. She has also served
as the director of photography at City Lore. left: “Dondi in New Lots yard”, Brooklyn, 1980; “Duro, Doze,
Mare 139, Shy 147, Daze, Pink and Crash jumping from Lower Eastside amphitheater painted by Lee for Charlie
Ahearn’s movie, Wild Style”, 1981; “Vaughn Bode style nude character on subway”, 1981.
NUNCA (Francisco Silva) was born in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1983.
He lives and works in São Paulo. He started painting in the streets of São Paulo in 1995 at the
age of twelve. From the unique Brazilian form of tagging called “pichação,” his work developed
to incorporate Brazilian native Indians. Whether on canvas or murals, Nunca’s art creates a
dialogue between Brazilian ancestors and contemporary Brazil, addressing the influence of
globalization on native cultures, the inner character of the Brazilian people, and the fight for
survival in the modern metropolis. In 2007, he exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art of São
Paulo, and in 2008 he was commissioned by the Tate Modern in London to participate in its
“Street Art” exhibition. LEFT to right: “Murals in São Paulo”, 2007.
PLATéUS (Frédéric Platéus) was born in Liège, Belgium, in 1976.
A self-taught artist who started off as a graffiti writer, Plateus established himself on the arts
scene with his markedly original work. The almost sociological characteristics of his work
have often been interpreted as an on-the-spot representation of a popular movement. He
integrates a social environment with precise visual codes and transposes them into another
milieu — a strategy he has used since the beginning of his career. By neutrally creating these
links between the shapes that interest him, he questions the surrounding visual hierarchy.
LEFT to right: “Slam Dunk Case” Exhibition view, mixed media, 2006 (various sizes); “Bomb R Yellow”,
2006, Polyester, 55” x 55” x 25”.
QUIK (Lin Felton) was born in Queens, New York, in 1958. Influenced
by subway graffiti at the age of eleven, he started tagging in the streets under the pseudonym
“Star 10.” Encouraged by the words of sociologist Hugo Martinez, who declares graffiti
artists have the right to produce works on canvas, Quik completed his first paintings in
1975. He brought his engaging themes and American roots to Europe in the 90s, settling in
the Netherlands where his works have been exhibited successfully in recent years. A quiet
and solitary artist, his distinctive works are marked by a subtle irony — delivering gentle yet
subversive messages. left: “I’m So Happy”, 70” x 112”; MIDDLE (TOP TO BOTTOM): “Everybody... I Love You”,
76.5” x 88.5”; “Untitled”, 76.5” x 88.5”.
RAMMELLZEE was born in Queens, New York, in 1960. He is a graffiti
writer, performance artist, rap and hip-hop musician, and sculptor. Rammellzee’s artwork is
based on his theory of Gothic Futurism, which describes the battle between letters and their
symbolic warfare against any standardization enforced by the rules of the alphabet; his treatise,
“Iconic Panzerisms,” details an anarchic plan by which to revise the role and deployment of
language in society. During the early 80s he was also instrumental as one of the original
New York hip-hop artists to introduce specific vocal styles — performing and recording music
as a member of several bands. His artwork has been shown in art galleries throughout the
United States and Europe. LEFT TO RIGHT: “MC DJ Blackout’s Mask”; “Customized suit cased storyboard of
multi medias”, 30” x 15” x 9”; “Doll Sculpture of MC DJ Blackout”.
SHARP (Aaron Goodstone) was born in the Bronx, New York,
in 1966. He created his first graffiti in 1979 and his first work on canvas in 1983. He finds
much of his inspiration in the ancient scripts; the only element of the graffiti movement that
influenced his work is the comic strip. After having focused on writing his name in the early
80s, his work is now evolving into a more abstract style. LEFT TO RIGHT: “Les affamÉes”, 2009, 55” x 67”;
“Black Prayer”, 2009, 47” x 96”; “untitled”, 2009, 55” x 71”.
SILVIO MAGAGLIO was born in Paris in 1975. His photographs have appeared
in books and magazines such as Radikal and exhibitions as “The Law Against the Street” (with
JonOne) at Helenbeck Gallery. LEFT TO RIGHT: “Mr. Giant”; “Voies Liège”.
SOZYONE GONZALEZ (Pablo Gonzalez) was born in Brussels
in 1973 and started out as a forger by painstakingly recreating
an old Belgian banknote in two days. His brother was able to buy a pack of
Lucky cigarettes using the forged banknote. His artistic talents later lead him to pursue graffiti
art during the 90s’ European hip-hop movement, adopting the pseudonym “Sozyone,” and
forming his crew R.A.B. In 1996 he became a founding member of the UltraBoys International,
defining a new form impregnated with Marvels, abstract futuristic mathematics, alphabetical
constructivism, and facial Picassonic cubism. He has been exhibiting his work since 2004.
LEFT TO RIGHT: “Henry Amsterdam, Novus Ordo Seclorum”, New York, 2007, 79” x 79”; “André Bellaiche 1983”,
2009, 47” x 79”; “Bruno Berliner 1981”, 2009, 47” x 79”.
Antiquaire À PARIS
PARIS - 20 Rue Royale, 75008 Paris; Tel: +33 (0) 1 42 60 73 89
ANTIBES - 12 Promenade Amiral de Grasse, 06600 Antibes; Tel : +33 (0) 4 93 34 06 67
Jean GISMONDI: [email protected]; Divina GISMONDI: [email protected]
LEFT Page: “BOULLE” Marquetry Commode By Nicolas SAGEOT, Cabinetmaker. End XVIIe - XVIIIe Century. Pair
of Louis XVI Giltwood Armchairs. Paintings by the Artist QUIK, “Monster 2008”;
This page: Beautiful Commode Attributed to Renaud and Nicolas GAUDRON. Louis XIV period, XVIIIe
Century. Paintings by the Artist JonOne . “La substance de qui je suis (The essence of who I am)”, 2008.
Galerie Helenbeck - NEW YORK
@Splashlight 529-535 W 35th Street
New York, New York 10001, USA
Tel +1 (646) 453-4337
Galerie Helenbeck & Galerie Gismondi - PARIS
20, rue Royale, 75008 Paris, France
Tel: +33 (0) 1 42 60 73 89
Galerie Helenbeck - NICE
6, rue Defly, 06300 Nice, France
Tel: +33 (0) 4 93 54 22 82
[email protected]
[email protected]
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Designed by chronicallyaskew for
Printed by
Chantal Helenbeck would like to thank
all the amazing people who have helped
to make the Whole in the Wall - New York
exhibition possible.