Der Lauf Der Dinge by Peter Fischli and David Weiss
This is a super dope movie I saw recently in Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal.
It kind of explains my life.
I first noticed it because there was a fly dark haired, blue eyed, Quebec French girl sitting by herself watching it in a side room of the Museum. I decided to join her and when it was over, said “Bon jour”.
Corporate Raider Asher Edelman Backs Occupy Wall Street
“The banking system has become a system, which is one large hedge fund supported by the free money of the depositors and by the taxpayers whenever it loses,” Edelman said. “That was not the banking system of the 1980s.”
Writer and former graffiti tagger Roger Gastman has turned his love of the spray arts into a lifelong career. At 19, he sold graffiti supplies, later founded a boutique media agency that specializes in street culture, and as a 33-year-old, co-authored “The History of American Graffiti” with graffiti artist Caleb Neelon. The book chronicles the history of graffiti in more than 25 cities. Most recently, Gastman co-curated an exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) entitled “Art in the Streets.” It’s the first major U.S. museum survey of graffiti and street art. Speakeasy spoke with Gastman about graffiti as art and his book.
The Wall Street Journal: I understand you have first-hand experience with graffiti. Where did you paint?
Roger Gastman: I ran around Washington D.C. area in the early 90s to the mid-2000s, which is how I met many of the people featured in the book. I did traditional letter-based graffiti, painting freight trains, subways and various spots around the city. Then I would travel a lot to meet other writers and paint in their spots. Go to see a concert in Milwaukee for a long weekend and paint some graffiti while I was there.
When you say “writers,” that’s what you call other graffiti artists, right?
Yeah, local graffiti artists.
How did you get your start as a “writer?”
I grew up listening to hardcore punk rock music. Everybody I met had a tag, and I thought, well, I guess I need to also. So I started writing graffiti. It was all related to the music and straight edge [subculture of hardcore punk that advocates abstinence from drugs and alcohol]. Little did I know it’s part of a much larger world. Lot of my friends got into trouble and got into something else. For whatever reason, I stuck with it.
Your co-author mentions loving the adrenaline rush. How much of graffiti is done for the thrill of it?
There’s all kinds of different adrenaline rushes attached to it. From doing a really sketchy spot and getting away from it to seeing the underpass where you did a piece of graffiti or getting a photo three months after you painted something on the side of a freight train from across the country, in the mail from a friend.
Have you ever worked in the “heavens?” I know taggers in Los Angeles will lower themselves from freeway overpasses so they can scrawl their names on freeway signs.
No, but the bigger the city, the more daredevil tactics and crazier people have to do to get noticed. Everybody is doing it for a different reason and they all have different skill sets. Some people are just taggers and not artists. Just scrawling their names across something is maybe their way to feel validated.
What’s the difference between taggers and street artists?
The name taggers is a derogatory word for graffiti writer. A tagger is typically a much younger and inexperienced person who doesn’t fully understand the entire culture and just wants to scribble their name.
So, tagging is basically how new street artists cut their teeth?
Absolutely, like A ball in baseball.
Your book is divided by city. Can you see the regional differences in the work?
The work is definitely different city by city. Especially up to the late 90s. Then, city styles become much more diluted due to magazines, digital photography and definitely due to the Internet.
I haven’t really been keeping up with these as I have been busy swooping fly girls in Cartagena, and despite the description of the Heistman in the Hollywood heist, “The man, described as well dressed and with slicked-back hair”, and “smooth manner and debonair appearance” my ski mask has remained in my dresser drawer as of late.
Daring Heist at Poker Tournament in Germany
A heavily armed group stormed a poker tournament in a German luxury hotel Saturday afternoon and made off with a jackpot, a police spokesman said.
Several participants at the tournament in Berlin’s Grand Hyatt hotel were slightly injured when they panicked and fled following the daring afternoon heist, Carsten Mueller said.
German Poker Tournament Robbers Still on the Run
Mueller said four robbers in disguises forced employees to hand over money, and then managed to escape. Mueller declined to give details, including how much money the men got away with.
The jackpot for the tournament stood at euro1 million ($1.36 million), according to a European Poker Tour Web site. The EPT confirmed the heist on the event’s blog in an official statement, saying there had been ”an armed robbery executed by six men.” It was unclear why the number differed from the police count.
Four Seasons Robbery: Billionaire In Town For Oscars Robbed In Hotel
A well-dressed man who talked his way into a Florida sugar baron’s hotel room and stole tens of thousands of dollars worth of jewelry is believed to be the same person who pulled similar scams on a Mexican soccer team, a salsa band and an Israeli basketball team when they visited Los Angeles, police said Tuesday.
The man, described as well dressed and with slicked-back hair, posed as a Four Seasons hotel employee when he struck up a conversation in an elevator on Friday with Jose Pepe Fanjul and his wife, Emilia, according to police. Later that night, he showed up at the couple’s room and told them he needed to fix a problem with an air vent. After he left, they discovered more than $45,000 in jewels missing.
“I haven’t seen any pictures yet but I’ve had many calls and I’ve had a description, and his appearance and M.O. sounds very much like a man we’re calling Ricco Suave,” said police Lt. Paul Vernon.
Authorities gave him that nickname because of his smooth manner and debonair appearance, he said.
In a Hollywood-style heist, thieves cut a hole in the roof of a warehouse, rappelled inside and scored one of the biggest hauls of its kind — not diamonds, gold bullion or Old World art, but about $75 million in antidepressants and other prescription drugs.
The pills — stolen from the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co. in quantities big enough to fill a tractor-trailer — are believed to be destined for the black market, perhaps overseas.
“This is like the Brink’s pill heist,” said Erik Gordon, a University of Michigan business professor who studies the health care industry. “This one will enter the folklore.”
The thieves apparently scaled the brick exterior of the warehouse in an industrial park in Enfield, a town about midway between Hartford and Springfield, Mass., during a blustery rainstorm before daybreak Sunday. After lowering themselves to the floor, they disabled the alarms and spent at least an hour loading pallets of drugs into a vehicle at the loading dock, authorities said.
“Just by the way it occurred, it appears that there were several individuals involved and that it was a very well planned-out and orchestrated operation,” Enfield Police Chief Carl Sferrazza said. “It’s not your run-of-the-mill home burglary, that’s for sure.”
Experts described it as one of the biggest pharmaceutical heists in history.
For 20 years, investigators have been chasing down hundreds of leads. They’ve interviewed countless witnesses all over the world, and still the central questions remain: where is the art and who did it?
What happened on March 18th, 1990 at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum? A a new portrait is now emerging about the famous heist, with some tantalizing details.
Investigators say at precisely 1:24 a.m., two men disguised as policemen knocked on the side door of the museum, saying they were called to look into a disturbance. The night watchman let them in.
Once inside, the thieves handcuffed both of the guards on duty, tied them up with duct tape and then, with free reign of the museum, they went to work.
But the question remains, who is behind the biggest art heist in history? Over the years there have been wild theories. Was it a fugitive mob boss? An eccentric art collector? Or just the work of local criminals?
“There are so many good suspects, it’s like an Agatha Christie novel where everybody’s sitting in the living room and everyone has a particular motive as to why they committed the crime,” says Kelly.
On the case for eight years, Kelly says DNA testing is now in play, but he won’t reveal details.
The Boston Globe reports that investigators may be analyzing the duct tape used to silence the guards. If there’s sweat on the tape, there’s a possibility of a DNA match, and the break investigators have been hoping for all these years.
The FBI has taken out ads, placing billboards on the highway, offering a $5 million reward for any information that leads to the safe return of the artwork.
There are two crimes in the matter: the actual theft of the artwork, for which the statute of limitations ran out in 1995.
And then, there’s the second crime: possession of stolen art. There is no statute of limitations on that, which is why the U.S. Attorney’s Office is now offering immunity. Prosecutors say if someone comes forward with the art, all will be forgiven.
Roissy talks about how he recognized a guy in his neighborhood flipping some Artist Game with two fly girls:
I’ve never seen him painting outdoors on a weekday morning either, and until now I’d never seen him in the company of women. This new painter’s schtick he had devised was clearly working. There he was, three random colors on a tiny canvas, a cheap art store easel on the sidewalk corner, and two hot blondes eating out of his palm. He was probably smacking himself for not coming up with this idea sooner.
Go ahead and try it. Buy an easel and a canvas board. Set up shop on a corner in the daytime, ideally during the morning or evening pedestrian commute. Dangle a paintbrush from your hand effeminately whilst cocking your head like you’re deciding how best to capture the majesty of the street corner. Wait for girls to approach you (which automatically signals their lower status relative to yours, as girls are programmed to never approach men), and run your normal game as usual.
I actually stumbled upon “Artist Game” years ago.
My running partner at the time and I were super bored, super lifted off chronic and it was a super weird overcast day in the most beautiful beach town in Southern California.
We threw on some floppy hats and scarves (think Salvador Dali in the height of fashion), grabbed some paints and two easels and walked down to the beach.
The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, a private company that has a state contract to operate the annual horse races, commissioned the project to celebrate 70 years of racing. The racetrack was founded in 1937 but it closed for three years during World War II. The 70th season begins July 22.
“We went back and looked at all our history and photographs and looked through our media guides to see who made a mark at Del Mar over the years,” said Joe Harper, president and general manager of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club since 1978.
“We have photographs of all these people scattered around, and now you can see them together,” he said.
The acrylic mural, in the Clubhouse/Turf Club entryway, features many of the glamorous Hollywood stars who frequented the track in its early days, such as Ava Gardner, Betty Grable and Barbara Stanwyck. Others are the actor Robert Taylor and comedian W.C. Fields, both racing fans.
Among the living people depicted are horse trainer Bob Baffert and horse owner Jenny Craig, known for her weight-loss centers, who is pictured next to her late husband, Sid.
Harper himself is depicted wearing sunglasses in the center of the mural above his mother, horse owner Cecilia deMille Harper.
There are also notable horses, including Seabiscuit, who won a match race with Ligaroti in 1938. Dare and Go, who in 1996 beat Cigar – then considered the best horse in the country – is pictured smoking a cigar with a satisfied look on his face.
Every so often, art breaks out of its confines to become an event. People who would never normally go to a gallery do so; they feel part of it when they would otherwise feel excluded. The last time this happened was when Olafur Eliasson put a giant sun and a mirrored ceiling in Tate Modern and teenagers rolled around on the ground making shapes they could see reflected in the roof.
And it’s happening now at Banksy versus Bristol Museum, the exhibition the elusive graffiti artist suddenly unveiled last week, in which he has his “remixed” the museum’s own collection by putting more than 100 of his own artworks among it – by far the largest Banksy show to date, of work mostly never shown in the UK before.
On Saturday, the first day the show was open to the public, the queue snaked down the street and the waiting time was more than an hour. In it were children, grannies, trendy types. Everyone was taking pictures with their mobile phones (Banksy doesn’t believe in copyright). The museum’s guards were proudly pointing out the new additions to their displays. People were inspecting the fossils to find the teeny-weeny woman pushing a pram hidden among them; they were on their hands and knees to look at the mouse with a back-pack who had clambered into a natural history case.
The visitors’ main focus was a large room lined with Banksy images. Here one can assess the work en masse. Lots of the art here is silly, lots of it obvious. The massive picture of a House of Commons populated by apes, for instance, is crass, schoolboy stuff.
Banksy Versus Bristol Museum
But the work here is also humorous and inventive. There’s a devastating picture of starving African children, one of whom has a T-shirt saying: “I hate Mondays”. There’s a hilarious image of two shoddily drawn stick men, prettily mounted, with one of them asking, “Does anyone actually take this art seriously?” The other replies, “Never underestimate the power of a big gold frame.”
Banksy is the master of the surprising juxtaposition. In another room, full of his animated sculptures, there’s what looks like a living, breathing cheetah, but when you see it from the back, you notice, with a chill, that it’s been made into a fur coat.
In the best piece of the exhibition, in among the stuffed animals, there is a lamb that has been muzzled. What does it mean? A lamb conjures innocence, the Lamb of God. Is this a piece about censorship, the distortion of the spiritual, the end of innocence? It’s very moving, reminiscent of Damien Hirst’s toying with religious iconography but, pleasingly, so much simpler. When Banksy has the nerve not to be didactic and leave his pieces open to interpretation, he becomes sophisticated.
It is to be hoped that the artist will move further in this direction. But in the meantime, Banksy Versus Bristol Museum succeeds triumphantly in its aim: it’s a museum show that is as cheeky and renegade – and communicates as directly with its viewers – as a piece of illegal graffiti.
I’ve attended some odd parties over the years – there was the one for Stannah Stairlifts, the Innocent Smoothies bash where I got driven around a Shepherd’s Bush car park in a giant banana, and the Walker’s Crisps event where everyone on the electoral roll named either Cheese or Onion was invited. But I’ve rarely been to one where neither the guests nor the hosts knew what they were doing there. “What is this all about?” I asked Ivan Massow on Monday night, at the launch of his new film spoof, Banksy’s Coming for Dinner. “No idea,” he shrugged wearily.
What is clear is that Banksy – the pseudo-anonymous graffiti artist – still provokes the same snorts of delight he drew at university, when the boys would huddle around his prints and marvel at the irreverence of it all. As party talk turned to the artist’s exhibition at the Bristol City Art Gallery, one guest described him as “a true genius”, another as “one of our greatest living artists”.
But it’s all old hat. Banksy’s poke-fun-at-museums impudence was done 100 years ago by Marcel Duchamp. His stencil technique (always good for easy effects, as every child knows) was perfected in 1968 by Ernest Pignon-Ernest and Blek le Rat, and his political opinions are plonkingly conventional. A House of Commons populated by apes? Sharp stuff.
To his credit, Banksy had excelled at keeping his origins a secret. The exposé last year that suggested he wasn’t the son of a painter and decorator, but educated at the £9,240-a-year Bristol Cathedral School, could have damaged the brand. As it was, being outed as an old friend of Samantha Cameron’s must have undone a decade of careful pixellation.
A British man said volunteers clearing graffiti inadvertently painted over a work by street artist Banksy that he was planning to sell for nearly $7,400.
Julian Chatt said the painting of popular children’s book character Paddington Bear with the caption “Migration is not a crime” on a wall he owns was a casualty of the volunteer graffiti cleanup effort in Glastonbury, England, The Guardian reported Thursday.
“I’d spoken to the town council in the past and asked them not to paint over the artwork,” Chatt said to the newspaper. “Sure enough, the last few times the council have been out they didn’t paint it over. But on Saturday morning, I came out of my house and there was this chemical smell, and when I turned the corner Paddington was gone.”