Local art blogger RJ Rushmore is behind Amazon’s new Fine Art venture.
Over the weekend, Amazon launched an online gallery showcasing limited-edition prints from seven international street artists. They’ll be available for purchase starting December 7th.
This is the mega online retailer’s first foray into commissioning and selling one-of-a-kind works of art. I know what you may be thinking: Amazon choosing to begin with street artists was a bit presumptuous, considering the art form and commercialism don’t exactly go hand in hand, but organizers were smart enough to hire a curator who could bring some credibility to the project while still being able to cull a group of artists who could attract buyers.
THE MEN ARE MOSTLY dressed in black. Some wear hoods; all of them have their faces covered. Standing in the trees at a distance from them, across a stretch of brown river, I watch as they track each other, guns drawn, shouting to each other in Spanish. “Cabron!” one says as he comes around a corner and fires. Suddenly, it’s chaos, the machine-gun-like rat-a-tat of the weapons echoing off of every broken wall, the men screaming as they charge each other. I feel afraid though I’m at a safe distance. How far can a paintball travel, anyway?
It’s another sunny day at Pier 18 in Port Richmond. Paintball is just one of the many uses of the abandoned ruins of what was once the locus of Philadelphia’s coal trade. More commonly known as Graffiti Pier, the vast industrial Stonehenge has become, in the last 30 years or so, an unsanctioned museum for street artists, graffiti geniuses and even meager taggers. The height of the structures and their individual room-like spaces provide nothing but walls — walls and a beautiful riverfront view. What could be better than painting on vast canvases at the edge of the Delaware? It’s an oddly beautiful spot — isolated and apart from the city, but defiantly of the city at the same time. Read more »
It finished without much fanfare, which is funny, because street artist MOMO‘s new mural on the north-facing wall of the Sonesta Hotel is the tallest in Mural Arts’ history (more on that below). The New Orleans-based artist was in town as part of Mural Arts Program‘s Open Source project, an ambitious initiative that welcomed top-tier artists from around the globe to contribute a range of public art works to Philly’s growing street-art scene. MOMO left behind not one but two murals that incorporate his love for combining practical geometry with art-making. He shares his experience in a new video Mural Arts released today (above). It gets its world-wide debut right here on Ticket.
French artist JR works on his 15-story photographic creation. | Photo by Steve Weinik
After more than 30 years in Philadelphia, the ambitious MuralArtsProgram has racked up its share of hits and misses, as we’ve dutifully chronicled. But we have a feeling October’s “Open Source” project will find its place in history among the winners.
Throughout the next month, Philadelphia will be home to nine visiting artists who will leave mementos of their stays on skyscrapers, hotels, skate parks and shuttered schools around the city. As Mural Arts doyenne JaneGolden sees it, “Open Source” continues to advance Philadelphia on its track toward becoming a world-renowned hub for arts, culture and innovation. Several local artists are participating as well.
Going with the idea of our city being on a world stage while Pope Francis and the World Meeting of Families are in town this week, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Association for Public Art will unveil a Spanish/Latin edition of Robert Indiana’s famous Love statue on Tuesday morning. This one reads in similarly designed, red, six-foot-high, aluminum letters: Amor.
Placed prominently on the east terrace, the Spanish/Latin version of the culturally iconic pop sculpture is sure to photo-bomb its way into lots of the papal coverage during this week’s festivities with its message of red-hot love. It faces the parkway toward its english-speaking counterpart, Indiana’s Love sculpture, in JFK Plaza, (aka Love Park), across from City Hall.
According to Mural Arts, the free event will be attended by a handful of alumni featured in the mural, current Phillies players, the Phanatic and the Phillies Ballgirls. There will be entertainment from the Whiz Kids, light bites, and a speaking program that will conclude with a festive mural dedication—with confetti and all.
The mural, designed by David McShane, is a whopping eight-stories high and 3,750 square feet. It faces the Schuylkill River and I-76 Schuylkill Expressway at 24th and Walnut streets, and features “30 prominent players and icons depicting historical moments from the team’s history – including the 1980 and 2008 World Series championships.” Among the familiar faces you’ll see in the painting—and attending the dedication ceremony on Saturday will be Brad Lidge, Charlie Manuel, Mitch Williams, Jim Bunning, Steve Carlton, Curt Simmons, Greg Luzinski, and more.
The festivities take place Saturday, August 1st. The party begins at 11 am, with the ceremony happening at 11:30 am at 24th and Walnut streets.
The 2008 Father’s Day mural in North Philly featuring Bill Cosby situated prominently among world leaders like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr. was recently defaced by spray-painters, who tagged words like “rapist” and “dude with ludes” overtop the smiling, sweater-wearing comedian. A shot from local Instagrammer @thesockpolice shows the damage:
After the damage was done, Mural Arts, who commissioned the mural and recently said it was scheduled for decommission anyway, decided to speed up the cover-up process and they applied a fresh coat of white paint over the mural last week.
Mural Arts released a statement explaining that the Father’s Day mural had been on a list to decommission for a while, namely because of its location under a bridge on Broad Street near Indiana Avenue, which isn’t conducive to proper mural upkeep. Despite their plans to do away with the mural, the arts organization states that, “Due to recent headlines about Bill Cosby, the Mural Arts Program decided to move the decommissioning of this mural to the top of the list. After going through the process of informing those who participated in the creation of the mural, the mural was painted over.” Here’s a then-and-now photo to show you the painted-over progress.
View of the mural from the roof of 1530 Chestnut Street.
Last week I told you about French street artist JR coming to Philly to host a free movie night at the Graham Building, but it appears that’s not all he’s in town for. As I type, the artist, who’s known for his phenomenal photographic murals that have been wheat-pasted the world over, is applying a 15-story mural on the South-facing side of the Graham Building at 15th and Chestnut streets.
The mural, titled Migrants, Ibrahim, Mingora-Philadelphia, is part of a yet-to-be-named global series by JR that focuses on immigration issues. The subject is Ibrahim, a Pakistani immigrant who lives and works in Philadelphia. The work is sandwiched between two buildings and above a narrow alley between Market and Chestnut streets, so it’s obstructed from easy view. This was done to remind us that immigrants are all over, but we don’t always see them. The best viewing spot is in the middle of the South side of Chestnut street, between 15th and 16th streets.
French street artist JR, who is known the world over for his stunning black-and-white photographic murals, is coming to Philadelphia next week to host a free screening of his 2010 Cannes Film Festival favorite, Women Are Heroes. In the film, JR “introduces women who sometimes look death in the face, who go from laughter to tears, who are generous, have nothing and yet share, who have had a painful past and long to build a happy future.” Check out the trailer: