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New York Perspectives

Urban Spree Galerie presents New York Perspectives, a duo show featuring Chris “Daze” Ellis and Joe Conzo, curated by Mode2. The vernissage will be on Friday, November 22nd, at 18:30, in presence of the two artists.

    Through the work of two New York City-born artists, a painter and a photographer, this exhibition is an attempt to show aspects of New York City life, through the eyes and the work of two very different individuals; though both come from a part of its counterculture.

    The drawings and paintings of the artist Chris “Daze” Ellis, and those many moments and people captured by the photography of Joe Conzo show us how the youth that were more in osmosis with the steel, the concrete, the glass, the streets and the city’s subway system, could develop new forms of visual dialogue that could form a bridge between their own social and cultural background, and a movement that would infiltrate the artworld and become a global phenonmenon.

   Coming from different neighbourhoods and cultural backgrounds, both have lived long enough to have witnessed first hand the huge transformations that the city has gone through over these last decades, while their “work”, which was actually their hobby, passion and life pretty much, has documented seminal eras during that time.

  These tumultuous years of cultural flux; of blossoming, blooming, destruction and rebirth, are often overlooked by today’s focus on the “now” of street art, and the way through which this eclipses the very alchemy that gave birth to the way in which artists express themselves in the street today, or the way in which they document city life.

    It is doubtful that much of what is happening today in visual art, music, dance and written or spoken word ever would have happened, if generations of youth in New York City had not lived what they did many decades ago; and we can count ourselves lucky that a few rare individuals happened to be there and have the instinct to document it.

  Here then, are views of New York from two different perspectives, they themselves being a complex accumulation of all of life’s experiences, and how they shape each individual’s understanding of the world around them; and the ways by which they choose to express and share this with us.

Urban Spree Prints will release two 18″x 24″ silk screen prints by Daze on the opening night and online.

The gallery and the curator heartily thank Henry Chalfant for letting us show his documentary movie “From Mambo to Hip Hop: A South Bronx Tale.”

Poster Artwork by Tyler Askew.

 

“New York Perspectives”

Christopher “Daze” Ellis / Joe Conzo

Curated by Mode2

22.11 – 21.12.2019

 

Urban Spree Galerie

Revaler Str. 99

10245 Berlin

Opening: Friday 22.11.2019 at 18:30

Exhibition: Tu-Sa – 12:00 – 18:30

Info & Catalogue: contact@urbanspree.com

 

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BIOGRAPHIES: 

 

Chris “Daze” Ellis

Growing up in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Chris Daze Ellis (b. 1962) was aware from early on of the names and the odd characters that would be dancing along the trains that wove their way through the city. When he started out at the High School of Art & Design in 1976, he found that there was a whole community of very diverse yet like-minded individuals there, also involved with this scene; some of whom would go on to make a name for themselves in the art world.

Being a fan of drawing and comic books already, Daze camouflaged his nighttime activities under his parents’ gaze, exploring and expanding his visual vocabulary, combining the traditional with the dynamism of a new and challenging environment, with stimulus of its own.

Having mastered the medium and the environment, Daze would go on to shape his own personal vision of the world, looking as much inwards as outwards, in the relationship between the trains and walls, and what he could further explore in the studio. The strength of his successful life as an artist in his own right would develop from then on.

From his participation in his first group show, Beyond Words, at the Mudd Club in 1981, before having his own solo show at Fashion Moda (the historical South Bronx art space that bridged the established art world with the raw talent and energy coming out of New York City), Daze embraced the wide horizon that opened up before him.

From then on, Daze began to show in many different cities around the world, whether it be galleries and museum, in solo shows as well as group formats. He has participated in many public or educational art projects around the world, working with students and communities from South Korea to Brazil via Haiti, while often visiting Europe as well, and contributing to New York mural initiatives like the Leap Arts Program or Thrive Collective.

From his appearances in the film Style Wars, to being an art consultant on the Netflix series The Get Down in 2017, to participating in public painting projects from the Star Ferry Terminal in Hong Kong in 1993, painting an entire Hannover train station with fellow artists Lee Quinones and John Crash Matos, or being commissioned for murals by private clients like the law firm, Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton in Washington D.C. 2018; Daze has constantly had his hands on a whole range of different projects.

Daze’s paintings have found themselves in many private collections including Eric Clapton, Natalie Imbruglia, and Madonna. His work can also be found in the permanent collections of The Whitney Museum, NY, Museum of Modern art, NY, The Museum of the city of New York, The Ludwig Museum, Aachen, Yale University art Gallery, New Haven, Addison Museum of American Art at the Phillips Academy, Andover.

Chris Daze Ellis continues to live and work in New York City.

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Joe Conzo

Joe Conzo was born in the Bronx during an era of great upheaval, when the construction of the Cross Bronx Expressway was nearing its end, having destroyed the communities that lay in its path, and condemning those parts of the borough around it to social and economic decline. The apocalyptic landscapes of urban devastation, and the high criminality associated to it are emblematic of that era.

President Truman’s Urban Renewal announced in 1949, ruthlessly applied by Robert Moses, targetted the more modest and ethnically diverse neighbourhoods of New York City whose resistance to forced removal would fall on deaf ears, as private developers grabbed the prime lots. The Bronx represented both the laboratory and the collateral damage for these extreme experiments of urban renewal.

And yet, out of what looked like an urban war zone, the city’s youth began to pick up the pieces, and, out of the desolation around them, began to build their own road out of it. Realising that the state was not going to do anything positive for them, their survival instincts eventually kicked in; and out of the gang culture, the drugs, and the sheer nihilism that had reigned for a while over much of the borough, new and greener shoots were beginning to break through.

Joe Conzo’s cultural capital, and that of his peers, was probably key to his survival and his blossoming during those harsh years; grandson of Dr. Evelina López Antonetty, a political activist who played a huge role in developing educational programmes for Puerto Rican children, and son of Joe Conzo Snr., who was in the thick of the huge Latin music scene of that bridged those decades; hanging with all the main players of that era, and having been the biographer of Tito Puente.

While studying at the Agnes Russell School on the campus of Columbia University, he discovered photography, the medium that would enable him to document what went on around him; from the world of latin culture through his father’s connections, to the collision of art forms that would later be called Hip Hop; a word that eclipses the sum of its parts.

Having lived many ups and downs in the eighties, to a rebirth of sorts, Joe Conzo went on to become a qualified medical nurse, then worked for the New York City Fire Department, being among the first responders on 9/11. At some point along the way, he was reunited with the camera, and began shooting again…

Whether as the photographer of rap crew The Cold Crush Brothers, a hugely influential group of MCs from the early days, or just a boy from the Bronx who had a camera and curious eyes, Joe Conzo’s photos provided reference material to Henry Chalfant ‘s documentary “From Mambo to Hip Hop: A South Bronx Tale.”, and were documented in a book called “Born In The Bronx: A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip Hop”.

His negatives have been digitalised and archived at Cornell University, providing a unique and indispensable resource for those wishing to research the those eras.



(Un)Sanctioned, The Art on New York Streets: Book Signing

Brooklyn-based photographer Luna Park will be in the Urban Spree Bookshop on Saturday, August 5th to discuss and sign her latest book “(Un)sanctioned“.

The Book Signing will take place from 18:00 to 20:00.

Subtitled “The Art on New York Streets, the book is the culmination of a decade of obsessively keeping up with NYC graffiti and street art, a time period which saw a seismic shift in the public perception and acceptance of the artform.

Katherine “Luna Park” Lorimer is a graffiti and street art photographer, curator and librarian, passionate about documenting urban artforms and supportive of all creative endeavors to redefine public space. She has presented her observations on street art at the Brooklyn Museum, New York Public Library and guest lectured for the History & Emergence of Street Art & Graffiti course at Long Island University. Her photographs have been exhibited in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

For those who can’t attend the event, you can order a signed copy on the Urban Spree website here.



SHOW ME the BODY (NYC)

Show Me The Body
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19.05.2020 Urban Spree
Doors 20:00 I Start 21:00

Show Me The Body started as a band in 2009 consisting of Julian Cashwan Pratt (banjo and vocals), Harlan Steed (bass), and Gabriel Millman (drums). Noah Cohen

Corbett (current drummer) joined the band in 2014. Their unique sound is heavily influenced, both sonically and in attitude, by the city that reared them: New York. The band has been at the forefront of the city’s underground since the release of their 2014 EP Yellow Kidney.
Over the ensuing years Show Me The Body established themselves as one of the most exciting bands in the city, through their torrid live show and distinctive sonics.
Dog Whistle, Show Me The Body’s most immediate and critically acclaimed body of work to date, is heavy yet honest. The album was produced by Chris Coady, Show Me The Body, and Gabriel Millman (original drummer and current in – house producer).
Dog Whistle was written in Long Island City, Queens and recorded in Los Angeles, California in the summer of 2018.

“Dog Whistle is a call to arms directed at the community, its sonic urgency reflecting the mounting challenges of surviving in the city,” writes The FADER. The album was released on March 29th, 2019 and follows Show Me The Body’s debut album Body War.

Show Me The Body has spent the last several years building and elevating a community of like minded artists and creative collaborators called Corpus. The first Corpus release was an eponymous mixtape featuring Denzel Curry, Princess Nokia, Eartheater, Moor Mother, and more. Corpus has also released projects from Trippjones, Dreamcrusher, and Dog Breath.

More recently, Show Me The Body toured with Code Orange and King Krule. They’re currently preparing to set out on tour with HEALTH and Daughters.

Tickets here

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Pharmakon – Urban Spree, Berlin

New date!
Moved from April 18th to Dec 9th.
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Doors: 20h, Start: 20h45.

“Devour” marks the fourth full-length record from New York City based artist Margaret Chardiet’s project Pharmakon and the most intense output of her 12 plus years creating industrial noise. Like her previous albums, Devour comes with a strong concept that is exorcised throughout the five demolishing tracks on the album, using imagery and language of self-cannibalism as allegory for the self-destructive nature of humans. Each of the five songs echoes a stage of grief associated with this cyclical chamber of self-destruction and the chaos surrounding us that leads us to devour ourselves in an attempt to balance the agony.

The album was recorded by Ben Greenberg (Uniform) and is the first Pharmakon album recorded live in studio. The A and B sides were each recorded as a continuous take with vocals from start to finish, marking a totally new process for the artist that allows the ferocity and immediacy of her live performance to resonate throughout. Devour also explores new sonic territory, with denser electronics, groovier hooks, and moments of her most unhinged vocal deliveries to date. As one of the premiere vanguards of modern industrial and power electronics, Chardiet continuously pushes the genres and everyone involved in them, and with the release of Devour, she has once again changed the game.

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Wives (& Highest Sea) • Berlin

WIVES
21.11.2019 Berlin – Urban Spree
Doors: 20:00 Uhr, Start: 21:00 Uhr
Tickets: www.greyzone-tickets.de/produkte/386

A new pearl has formed from the haze of the New York DIY scene: Wives.
The band around Jay Beach (guitar, vocals), Andrew Bailey (guitar), Alex Crawford (bass) and Adam Sachs (drums) released their first song “Waving Past Nirvana” in March 2019,
But behind “Waving Past Nirvana” there is no story about the legacy of Cobain, according to Jay Beach it’s about something completely different:

“Waving Past Nirvana” is a literal interpretation of the bodhisattva-one who has achieved the release, the awakened eye, and yet wants to trade it back for the painful life of desire because she/he/they predominantly feels compassion. This “entering back into the world” to fight a fool’s battle is the essence of “Waving Past Nirvana”, and the video depicts one young woman’s journey along these lines.
Musically the Slackers catapult us back into the golden 90s. The implied noise of Sonic Youth meets the nervous hooks of the Pixies and merges with the wonderfully necessary vocals à la J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr). If you are not completely averse to the reference bands mentioned above, you should definitely remember this formation.

The quartet is currently working on their first album “So Removed”, which will be released on 28 June via City Slang. But before that they will play some shows – including a concert in Germany. Let’s hope for seconds, after the release.
(Neolyd)

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Surf Curse – Urban Spree

Tickets: http://puschen.tickets.de / KOKA36 / BIS AUFS MESSER Recordstore

Surf Curse is the indie rock recording project of Los Angeles based songwriters Nick Rattigan and Jacob Rubeck. The pair met as teenagers while growing up outside of Las Vegas, and immediately bonded over underground music, cult films, and a desire to leave their vacuous home town. After moving to Reno for college, Rattigan and Rubeck discovered the city’s local DIY scene and similar blossoming music communities across the country that were becoming connected through the internet. In the fall of 2010 the two formalized their on-going musical collaboration with a new two piece called Surf Curse and played their first show at a Halloween Party. Surf Curse’s initial songs were frantic punk anthems about adolescent heartbreak and alienation, and the band quickly developed an audience of young people who resonated with Rattigan and Rubeck’s anecdotal writing.

Early on Surf Curse frequently performed at landmark all ages venues like The Holland Project, The Smell, and Pehrspace. On one of their first trips to Los Angeles, Rattigan and Rubeck befriended a community of musicians including the likes of Palm Reader, Girlpool, Michael Vidal, and Heller Keller, and recorded their first two releases with Andrew McKelvie at The Smell. Surf Curse developed a cult following almost over night in Los Angeles, but abruptly disappeared for a two year hiatus after Rattigan relocated to New York City.

While living on separate sides of the country, Rattigan and Rubeck devoted most of their attention to their respective solo projects, Current Joys (FKA Tele/Visions) and Casino Hearts. Surf Curse reunited in 2015 and began demoing their second full length, Nothing Yet, which they released with Danger Collective Records in 2017. Over the past five years, seeing Surf Curse live has become a right of passage for disaffected youth in the South-West while Rattigan and Rubeck have spent their formative years between Las Vegas, Reno, and Los Angeles.

Their new record, Heaven Surrounds You, is a coming of age epic, inspired by the many cult films they’ve cherished throughout their young adulthood that are referenced across the album’s track-list. Rattigan and Rubeck worked with veteran indie producer Jarvis Taveniere, carefully crafting a their most lush and vulnerable record to date.

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