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The 10 Best Street Art Books of 2018

Berlin-based specialized bookshop and gallery Urban Spree releases the list of the “10 Best Street Art Books of 2018“, a compilation of this year’s best titles. Although purely subjective, it reflects several trends playing in the book market:

 

– a renewed focus on the works of the pioneers of the 1960-70s through an academic approach;

– an increase in artist monographs which put more emphasis on their studio works;

– we have entered the era of “post-graffiti”

– but vandal graffiti and underground street art resist well the assimilation;

 

The list of the best publications of 2018 comes in no particular order.

 

1° John Divola: Vandalism

One of the most striking books of the year, “Vandalism” singles out itself by the sobriety of its approach.It consists of a black-and-white photographic series shot over 2 years in the mid-70s by the American photographer John Divola. Divola travelled across L.A. in search of vacant and dilapidated properties in which to shoot his project. Armed with a camera, spray paint, string and cardboard, the artist would produce one of his most significant photographic series, painting abstract constellations of graffiti-like marks, ritualistic configurations of string hooked to pins, torn arrangements of cardboard, and photographing it.

Vandalism” is not per se a “street art book” but rather a photobook crossing over both genres. The best example of a crossover book would be Bruce Davidson’s “Subway“, a series of portraits shot on the gritty NYC subway in the 70s where graffiti abounds but is only a sub-context, not the main topic (unlike Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant’s vernacular documentary photographic oeuvre whose main purpose is to specifically document graffiti).

 

Published by MACK Books, UK, in April 2018

Embossed paper-bound hardback

120 pages, 23.5 cm x 23.5 cm

Buy it here

 

2° Rafael Schacter: Street to Studio

“These are artists who are thus not slavishly reproducing their exterior practice within an interior realm but who are, rather, taking the essence of graffiti – its visual principles, its spatial structures, its technical methods, its entrenched ethics – and reinterpreting them with the studio domain,”writes Rafael Schacter in his introduction of his book Street to Studio.

We have entered the post-graffiti era. At a time where the graphic codes of street art are permeating most spheres of culture and entertainment, street artists have simultaneously enjoyed the favor of galleries and collectors and therefore have strongly developed their studio practice, when it was not in their ADN since the begining. What comes out is a blended space, where the artist works on both surfaces, the wall and the canvas, oscillating between different scales, the large and the intimate. Is this becoming a new paradigm in the art world?

The book introduces the concept of  ‘Intermural Art’ – art in-between the walls – to reflect that transition and has the merit of putting the emphasis on more conceptual players in the game (Brad Downey, Ian Strange, Boris Tellegen…) rather than usual suspects.

 

Published by Lund Humphries in July 2018

Edited by Rafael Schacter with a foreword by Carlo McCormick

Hardcover, 218 colour illustrations

224 Pages, 27 × 24,9 cm

Buy it here

 

3° David Wojnarowicz: History Keeps Me Awake At Night

Beginning in the late 1970s, the American artist David Wojnarowicz (1954–1992) created a body of work that spanned photography, painting, music, film, sculpture, writing, and activism. Largely self-taught, he came to prominence in New York in the 1980s, a period marked by creative energy, financial precariousness, and profound cultural changes. Intersecting movements—graffiti, new and no wave music, conceptual photography, performance, and neo-expressionist painting—made New York a laboratory for innovation. Wojnarowicz refused a signature style, adopting a wide variety of techniques with an attitude of radical possibility. Distrustful of inherited structures, he varied his repertoire to better infiltrate the prevailing culture.

Wojnarowicz’s work documents and illuminates a desperate period of American history: that of the AIDS crisis and culture wars of the late 1980s and early 1990s. But his rightful place is also among the raging and haunting iconoclastic voices, from Walt Whitman to William S. Burroughs, who explore American myths, their perpetuation, their repercussions, and their violence. Wojnarowicz, who was thirty-seven when he died from AIDS-related complications, wrote: “To make the private into something public is an action that has terrific ramifications.”

 

Published by Yale University Press in July 2018

Hardcover, 384 pages

160 color + 100 b/w illustrations

Buy it here

 

4° BLU: Minima Muralia

Italian street artist BLU is one of the few street artists refusing to compromise with the art market, unwilling to translate his brillant art onto canvas, staying true to the origins of the movement – an underground, non-monetized, ephemeral, illegal & outdoor art practice for which the context and the meaning are the most important elements.

While Banksy excels in subverting the codes of the art world, BLU refuses them and strikes back, erasing the murals he painted to fight their monetization (Bologna, Berlin).

Minima Muralia” presents each mural painted by the artist during the last 15 years, more than 200 walls.

 

 

Published by Zooo Press in March 2018

288 full color pages

17×24 cm, lay flat swiss binding

Buy it here

 

5° One Week With 1UP

Which brings us to the last frontier within the realm of the urban arts: graffiti. “One Week with 1UP” is the second published book by and about the legendary Berlin-based vandal graffiti crew 1UP.  This time, the Kreuzberg crew embarks NYC-based legendary documentary photographer Martha Cooper and Berlin-based photographer Ninja K. in a series of underground actions, through tunnels, rooftops, featuring high pressure fire extinguisher tags, roll-downs, roll-ups, street bombings, whole cars and backjumps in a first-hand account.

1UP is the ultimate modern graffiti crew in the 21st century: large, everywhere, powerful, fearless, defiant, invisible.

 

Self-Published, Berlin, 2018

A project by Martha Cooper, Ninja K. and 1UP

English/German, 144 pages, 31 x 22 cm

Buy it here

 

6° Klone: “Few Moments Ago I Was Here”

Klone is an Ukrianian-born, Tel-Aviv based street artist, a pioneer of graffiti in Israel and a visual artist who was the first to exhibit at Urban Spree and one of the reasons why we did the space in the first place. I stumbled upon his fist published book – “Don’t Sleep”– in 2011 and was so moved by its personal content, poetry, freedom, that I wanted to meet the man and work with him.

8 years later comes Few Moments Ago I Was Here“,  looking over those past 8 years of exhibitions, mural projects, installation, and animations.

“Few Moments Ago I Was Here” is an artist book. By this, we mean a book which is mainly thought, designed, created and published by the artist himself. We always try to get as many self-published and artist books in the bookshop because they are precious and unconventional. Of course they are difficult to source, as we can get our hands only on a small stock, they sell out fast and we need to replace them but we can’t get enough of them.

 

Self-Published, Tel Aviv, November 2018 (Hell No Publication)

Limited edition of 500 copies.

Softcover. Full colour offset print on Munken lynx paper.

Buy it here

 

7° Ian Strange: Islands 2015-2017

Continuing on the self-publication mood and echoing John Divola, the Australian artist Ian Strange  publishes “Islands 2015-2017”, a photographic monograph documenting his interventions on American suburban homes, in the wake of Gordon Matta-Clark or David Wojnarowicz.

Through photography, sculpture, research, found artefacts and drawings, “Island” reflects on the home through the metaphor of the desert island, a place of personal sovereignty but simultaneously entrapment. “Island” interplays the monumental with the intimate and intangible. Exploring the icon of the home as a deeply vulnerable object and personal vessel for memory, identity and aspiration.

 

Self-published

Limited edition of 400 hand numbered and signed books with a concertina print

25 x 34 cm

Buy it here

 

8° Jan Kalab: Point of Space

“Point of Space” is the first published monograph of the Czech graffiti and visual artist Jan Kaláb, covering 25 years of his urban and studio creations, through multiple art forms (paintings, 3D graffiti, bombings, sculptures, installations).

Jan Kaláb started as a pure graffiti writer and achieved fame under the monikers “CAKES” and “POINT”. From there, his practice evolved to murals and studio works, sculptures and canvases and this evolution, patiently documented, is fascinating to follow.

The book was edited by the artist himself with texts by the czech art critic Petr Volf.

 

 

Published by Trafacka/Trafo Gallery Prague, in November 2018

320 pages

Hard Cover, 25 cm x 32,5 cm

Texts by Petr Volf and book design by Jan Novák

Buy it here

 

9° Swet: Book of the Year

 

One of the last published books of 2018, “Book of the Year” is a comprehensive monograph encompassing 1 year of walls by the danish graffiti writer SWET.

A graffiti “tour de force”, all the walls depicted in the book were painted in 2017 and amount to over 300 wall pieces, almost one per day, all of them documented in the book, including some sketches.

The book is bound with a piece of a canvas specially painted by SWET for this project and each book has a different binding, which also highlights the precise work of the dutch artisan publishing house Chemistry Publishing.

 

 

Published in November 2018 by Chemistry Publishing

First Edition of 500

240 pages printed on Munken Crystal Rough

Cover embossed with green linen, 24 x 28,5 cm

Buy it here

 

10° Russian Urban Art: History and Conflict

Street art books are usually more about photographs and visual documentation than text. Few history books actually exist on the graffiti and street art movements, let alone about a peripheral movement such as street art in Russia.

It is therefore the merit of the Russian artist and curator Igor Ponosov to examine the power of street art in Russia by exploring its historical background, extending from the avant-garde movements of the early 20th century, to the non-conformists and the actionists of the 21st century.

 

 

Self-Published, Moscow, June 2018

Edition of 500

Hardcover, 20 x 15 cm, 96 pages, English

Buy it here

 



Boy Harsher, Bestial Mouths, S S S S // Sold Out

[aufnahme + wiedergabe] & MILK ME present:

 

Boy Harsher (US) live
www.boyharsher.bandcamp.com

– First ever European Show –

“Boy Harsher is a dark electronic duo that produces gritty dance beats infused with ethereal vocals, creating a sound that is eerie, intense and incredibly danceable. Augustus Muller develops the underbelly of sound with minimal beats and grinding synths, where Jae Matthews whispers, screams and chants on top. Together, the music created is somewhere between industrial, drone and confessional storytelling. Muller and Matthews both have a strong background in film and their cinematic approach translates effectively in both their recordings and live performance. Boy Harsher started in early 2013 under the name Teen Dreamz. The project was based on short stories written and read by Matthews then live scored by Muller. As the project matured the instrumentals became more dance influenced and Matthews’ delivery became more dynamic and spontaneous. In January of 2014 Teen Dreamz took on the moniker Boy Harsher.”

BESTIAL MOUTHS (US) live
www.bestialmouths.bandcamp.com
www.bestialmouths.bandcamp.com

“Bestial Mouths incorporates goth, industrial and minimal synth-pop. Their third studio album “Heartless” explores the themes of sanity, gender and emotion. The listener is taken on a journey of personal emotional exploration. Lynette Cerezo, formerly a fashion designer, fronts this band. Her talented touch is incorporated in the beautiful style of the music videos, which are a form of pure performance art.”

S S S S (CH)
www.facebook.com/ssssavenberg
www.aufnahmeundwiedergabe.de/thereisnous

Ian P. Christ (DE)
www.facebook.com/death.disco.berlin
www.facebook/ceremonies.berlin

URBAN SPREE (RAW-Area)
Revaler Str. 99/Warschauer Str.
10245 Berlin
www.urbanspree.com
www.facebook.com/urbanspree

Tickets: http://aufnahmeundwiedergabe.bigcartel.com/product/tickets-boy-harsher-bestial-mouths-live-in-berlin



Best moments of the 3rd Berlin Seafood Festival

Full video of the 3rd Berlin Seafood Festival at Urban Spree! Thanks a lot to our lovely guests, passionate vendors, and to Gabriel at Devir Produções who filmed and edited the video.

From West African spicy grilled fish from DeDeeDe (our permanent food vendor for the 2017 season you can find everyday in our Biergarten), to the mediterranean shores with Pic Nic 34‘s octopus sandwich, Pontecarlo‘s pasta ai frutti fi mare and risotti, without forgetting Valencia’ La Cuina and their delicious Fideua, the festival ventured this year into the Far East with the succulent Japanese okonomiyaki from Samurai Spoon and the herbal tastes of thaï green papaya salad with grilled mackerel from Khwan, Spud Bencer‘s mussels “à la marinière” were a treat as well as Nico’s Cancale Oysters, in direct provenance from Brittany which were an instant sell-out. We tried some wine-beer/seafood pairings with Maxim Bar à Vins and his hand-picked selection of nature wines. Excellent combination with seafood okonomiyaki and oysters was Brooklyn Brewery‘s “Sorachi Ace“, an unfiltered Japanese farmhouse saison that has been lost and lately revived in the state of Washington. BRLO‘s 7% German IPA was a hit with grilled shrimps owing to its slight notes of caramel.

See you next spring for more seafood spree! In the meantime, you can join the Berlin Seafood Festival Facebook page to post your best pictures, and send us your comments and suggestions for next year’s edition.



BESTIAL MOUTHS / SOVIET SOVIET / RELIQ – Live in Berlin

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LIVE:

BESTIAL MOUTHS (US | Clan Destine/Dais/Sweating Tapes)

SOVIET SOVIET (IT | Felte/Mannequin)

RELIQ (DE | Aufnahme + Wiedergabe)
Record release show for “Empire Of Broken Signs”-EP

DJs :

BlackBlackGold / Tom Ass ( U n R e a L / PURGE)

Ian P. Christ / Philipp Strobel (Death # Disco)

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Urban Spree Summer Sessions w. Laura Guidi Trio

Our last Summer Session of the season! Let’s enjoy latesummer melancholia together…

Vibes provided by

Laura Guidi Trio

Bab al-Jinan will offer the delicious and popular meal, Falafel, in a way your mouth never tasted before, and other light vegan meals. Get your nourishment!

Inside we will have Off The Radar Booking at Urban Spree presenting K-the-I? with some live electronica and live rap in a way that has hardly been offered so far.
https://www.facebook.com/events/218909152133825/

Let’s celebrate the end of the season with sensational outdoor live-music and the best vibes & bites.

See you in the beergarden!
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The Urban Spree Summer Sessions are acoustic live concerts that happen every Friday & Saturday late afternoon in our fabulous beergarden. We will host live performances from the best Jazz, Soul, Funk, R&B and street bands Berlin has to offer. After sunset we take the party inside for the MILK ME club nights with secret DJ’s to keep you dancing all night long.

Come and join us for smooth outdoor vibes with the best of Berlin’s street musicians, alongside selected local street food vendors varying each week.

Let’s celebrate summer together and see us in the garden!

TATTOOSHOP will be open by Amor de Madre #Berlin

 

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