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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.



CPT.OLF 16-19: BOOK RELEASE AND EXHIBITION

“CPT.OLF 16-19” – The Exhibition – shows for the first time the exceptional photographs of Cpt.Olf shot during his 4-year stint as resident photographer of Paradox, Berlin’s most secretive pixação writer and urban climber.

 

 

In addition to original artworks contributed by Paradox, the show will also display Cpt.Olf’s urban exploration photographs.

“CPT.OLF 16-19” – The Book –  is the companion photobook to the exhibition, published in a limited edition of 500 books.

Published for the first time, the photographs of Cpt_Olf represent a milestone in urban photography as well as a first-hand account of the gest of Paradox.

 

Links to purchase the book (Regular Edition or Collector Edition with a signed and numbered 15×21 cm digital c-print)

http://bit.ly/Cpt_Olf_16-19_Regular-Edition

http://bit.ly/Cpt_Olf_16-19_Special-Edition

 

“CPT.OLF 16-19” – The Exhibition:

Urban Spree Galerie

Revaler Str. 99

10245 Berlin

Opening: Friday 18.10.2019 at 19:00

18.10.2019 – 16.11.2019

Exhibition: Tu-Sa – 12:00 – 18:30



Paradox x CPT.OLF 16-19

“Paradox x CPT.OLF 16-19” – The Exhibition – shows for the first time the exceptional photographs of Cpt.Olf shot during his 4-year stint as resident photographer of Paradox, Berlin’s most secretive pixação writer and urban climber.

In addition to original artworks contributed by Paradox, the show will also display Cpt.Olf’s urban exploration photographs.

 

“CPT.OLF 16-19” – The Book –  is the companion photobook to the exhibition, published in a limited edition of 500 books.

Published for the first time, the photographs of Cpt_Olf represent a milestone in urban photography as well as a first-hand account of the gest of Paradox.

 

 

 

Links to purchase the book (Regular Edition or Collector Edition with a signed and numbered 15×21 cm digital c-print)

http://bit.ly/Cpt_Olf_16-19_Regular-Edition

http://bit.ly/Cpt_Olf_16-19_Special-Edition

 

 

“CPT.OLF 16-19” – The Exhibition:

Urban Spree Galerie

Revaler Str. 99

10245 Berlin

Opening: Friday 18.10.2019 at 19:00

Exhibition: Tu-Sa – 12:00 – 18:30



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

 



TESS PARKS (A Records)

A native of Toronto, Tess Parks moved to London, England at the age of seventeen where she briefly studied photography before dropping out and deciding to focus on music. Tess managed to make an impression on industry legend Alan McGee, founder of Creation Records, albeit the timing of their meeting could hardly have been less ideal; McGee was no longer involved in music and Tess was due to move back to Toronto.

After moving back to her hometown in 2012, Tess formed a band on the advice of Alan McGee and less than a year after their meeting, he returned to music with his new label, ‘359 Music’. Tess became one of his first six signings and released her debut record Blood Hot in November 2013 to excellent reviews.
In February 2014, she began recording with Brian Jonestown Massacre frontman Anton Newcombe in Berlin and they completed their debut record ‘I Declare Nothing’ in autumn 2014. The record was released on ‘a Recordings’ in June 2015 to stunning reviews and a series of sold out UK and European tours. Tess continues to collaborate with Anton on Brian Jonestown Massacre records, co-writing the title track on their November 2015 EP ‘Pish’, the title track ‘Third World Pyramid’ released in October of 2016, and several songs on ‘Don’t Get Lost’.
The next Tess Parks & Anton Newcombe record is due out in October 2018, following an EP entitled ‘Right On’ due out in the spring.

http://tessparks.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/tessparksmusic/

+ Support: TBA

7PM doors open
8PM support TBA
9PM Tess Parks

 

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Facebook Event



Beyond the Streets L.A.

Beyond the Streets is Roger Gastman’s follow-up show to Art in the Streets, the graffiti and street art retrospective that broke MoCA Los Angeles’ attendance record with 220,000 visitors.

7 years since the MOCA’s groundbreaking exhibition, Roger Gastman invites 100+ artists to showcase their art and create immersive installations over 4000 sqm of industrial indoor and outdoor space in Los Angeles for what will surely become 2018’s most ambitious show: Beyond the Streets.

Beyond the Streets will be opening in Los Angeles on May 6, 2018. Gastman will not only be looking into the roots and historical figures of Graffiti and Street Art, but also take an in-depth look at just how expansive street culture has become in the worlds of contemporary art, photography and other mainstream pop and art movements.

Beyond the Streets will focus on artists with a documented history of mark making and rule breaking as well as a current, robust studio practice primarily derived from the graffiti and street art movements.

Beyond the Streets is not intended to be an historical retrospective but rather an examination of cultural outlaws who embody the spirit of the graffiti and street art culture. The exhibition includes well known artists whose work is influenced or inspired by these risk takers and whose efforts have elevated the movement to new heights.

Among the installations, we can mention a handball court complete with site-specific artwork by famed NYC artist Lee Quiñones drawing inspiration from his lion mural in 1982, FAILE’s Temple, is a highly interactive, life size construction of ceramic, steel, mosaics and prayer wheels that re-conceives historical references from sacred structures that invite play and contemplation from the audience, as well as a historical recreation of the Venice Pavilion, the legendary graffiti and skate destination in Venice Beach, in partnership with adidas Skateboarding.

Roger Gastman is a curator, graffiti historian, urban anthropologist and collector. Gastman founded and co-published Swindle magazine with Shepard Fairey, co-authored The History of American Graffiti and co-produced the Oscar-nominated Banksy documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop.