Tag: Global Graffiti Documentary

Bomb It! at the University of North Texas

Graffiti inspires works in upcoming exhibition

Bomb It! will be showing at the upcoming graffiti exhibition at the University of North Texas at 6 p.m., March 10, in the Visual Resource Center, Room 224 in the UNT Art Building. Here is more info on the entire event

What: Graff, Tag and Bomb: The Influence of Graffiti — An exhibition of graffiti-influenced art presented by the University of North Texas College of Visual Arts and Design. Sour Grapes, a group of Oak Cliff-based graffiti artists, will create a graffiti mural outside the UNT Art Building as part of the exhibition.

When/Where: Exhibition dates: March 3 (Tuesday) – March 28 (Saturday) in the UNT Art Gallery in the UNT Art Building, one block west of Mulberry and Welch streets. Gallery hours: Noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and noon to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

Opening reception featuring disc jockey Juan Solo: 4:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. March 3 (Tuesday) in the UNT Art Gallery.

Film and discussion: “Bomb It”, 6 p.m. March 10 (Tuesday) and “Bomb the System” March 24 (Tuesday) at the Visual Resource Center, Room 224 in the UNT Art Building

Cost: Free

Contact: UNT Art Gallery at (940) 565-4005 or visit www.gallery.unt.edu.

DENTON (UNT), Texas — Graffiti doesn’t just exist in shadowy underpasses and on sides of buildings. Professional artists are incorporating the techniques and look of graffiti in their gallery artwork, as seen this March in a University of North Texas art exhibition that will include a group of Oak Cliff-based graffiti artists creating an outdoor mural.

The UNT College of Visual Arts and Design presents Graff, Tag and Bomb: The Influence of Graffiti, an exhibition that shows how street art influences gallery art. The exhibition explores the difference between street graffiti and a more practiced, evolved kind of graffiti-inspired gallery art, said Victoria DeCuir, assistant director of the UNT Art Gallery, organizer of the exhibition and a former graffiti artist herself.

“Graffiti artists aren’t just a bunch of hoodlum vandals,” DeCuir said. “When you’re dealing with quality graffiti, artists use a lot of aesthetic thoughtfulness, and we’re highlighting that inherent thoughtfulness using four artists as examples by showcasing their gallery work.”

Works by the four Dallas-area artists — Tony Bones, Sergio Garcia, Mark S. Nelson and Soner — will be on display March 3 (Tuesday) – March 28 (Saturday) in the UNT Art Gallery in the UNT Art Building, one block west of Mulberry and Welch streets. An opening reception from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. March 3 (Tuesday) in the gallery will feature disc jockey JuanSolo.

The four artists navigate a balance between high and low culture and an art practice deemed simultaneously illegitimate and marketable, DeCuir said.

“I used to make graffiti art myself when I was a teen-ager,” DeCuir said. “I would do horses and cats — the kinds of things that 14-year-old girls like to draw. It’s no coincidence that I ended up studying and devoting my life to visual culture and art in particular. At the time, we were just doing what we liked to do, and we weren’t thinking of it as some sort of future in fine art, but it does draw along the trajectory in many of our lives. Now, I want to educate people about the difference between rudimentary line tagging and a more elaborate, thought-out process.”

Sour Grapes, an Oak Cliff-based graffiti crew, will use its graffiti skills to paint a double-sided temporary wall — about 40 feet wide and 10 feet tall — at noon March 7 (Saturday) outside the UNT Art Building. The painting process, which is expected to take about eight to 10 hours, will be videotaped for later viewing inside the exhibition.

In conjunction with the exhibition, two films about graffiti art will be shown. The independent documentary “Bomb It,” directed by John Reiss, shows interviews with international graffiti artists who tell of the history, influence and lasting impact of graffiti as an art medium and cultural phenomenon. “Bomb It” will be shown at 6 p.m. March 10 (Tuesday) in the Visual Resource Center (Room 224) in the Art Building.

The second film,” Bomb the System,” shows a romanticized Hollywood portrait of an outlaw graffiti artist torn between a future in fine art and the streets of New York City. The film will be shown at 6 p.m. March 24 (Tuesday) in the Visual Resource Center.

Sponsors of the exhibition include Sherwin-Williams in Denton and Rec Shop in Dallas.

UNT Art Gallery hours are noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday and noon to 5 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108
Contact: Ellen Rossetti (940) 369-7912
Email: erossetti@unt.edu

Scope New York

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Hi All —

Just wanted to share some exciting news – I will be screening “Bomb It” and speaking at a panel discussion about “Street Art in Transition” at the Scope Art Fair in March. Scope is the largest and most global art fair in the world featuring emerging contemporary art with 7 markets worldwide.

“Bomb It!” will screen on Sunday, March 8th, from 2-4 pm and I will be a featured speaker on the panelist that follows at 4 pm. Some of the other panelists will be : Pedro Alonzo, Independent Curator, Ron English, Steve Powers (aka ESPO), artist, and Marc and Sara Schiller, of the Wooster Collective. It is sure to be a great event. If you are in the big city, don’t miss this–

Scope Art Fair – 355 West 36th Street – 3rd Floor – New York, NY 10018 – 212.268.1522
For more information please see the Scope Website

Bomb It Screens in Australia

Bomb It played this last weekend at the Australian Center for the Moving Image – ACMI – The Australian version of the AFI and BFI.

I did an interview with the paper The Age that printed last Friday. Here it is:

Wall and Piece
February 13, 2009
Bomb It! The Global Graffiti Documentary is screening at ACMI until Sunday.
Graffiti is struggle territory, as a new film documents. By Craig Mathieson.

RESEARCHING and shooting footage for his documentary on modern street art, Bomb It! The Global Graffiti Documentary, took filmmaker Jon Reiss around the world. There was a rooftop in Berlin on which he spent a night, after the graffiti artists he was shooting became convinced plain-clothes police were down the block; an encounter with the English police in Sheffield, who thought they’d uncovered terrorist activities; even a journey into the sewers of Sao Paulo, in Brazil, that ended mere minutes before a flash flood filled the tunnels in which they’d been shooting.

“There’s a genetic coding for parents that blanks out the first six months of having a baby, otherwise no other parents would have any more children,” says Reiss. “It’s the same for filmmakers — they forget the pain and suffering that goes into making a film.”

But what Reiss and director of photography and co-producer Tracy Wares gathered from those and many other nocturnal shoots, and some 400 interviews, was an incisive overview of a movement typically met with scorn or cliched recognition. An authoritative history lesson and an intelligent survey of urban politics, Bomb It! is about far more than the rattle of aerosol cans and spread of graffiti writers’ signatures.

“One of the things that attracted me to the film was the universal need of humankind to write on walls,” explains Reiss.

“That doesn’t change across cultures. The forum changes, but the motivations stay the same. For people who are disenfranchised, there’s a need to make your mark and claim public space. Graffiti is one of the ways, consciously and unconsciously, that they can do that.”

Graffiti stretches back to ancient Greece and the Roman Empire, but the modern era began in a Philadelphia neighbourhood in 1967 with Darryl McCray, whose signature (or tag) was “Cornbread”. By the time Cornbread had tagged an elephant at the Philadelphia zoo (for which he was arrested), graffiti as we know it had spread to New York, before becoming a global phenomenon.

Street art’s international evolution is a key element in Bomb It! While the American scene is characterised by rivalries and running battles with authorities, the Dutch used it to further their fascination with typography, the French saw it as a tool for social commentary, and South Africans deployed it as a means of defiance in the struggle against apartheid.

Fittingly, Bomb It! is screening at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, opposite the southern end of Hosier Lane, which is the epicentre of Australian street art. Budgetary restraints prevented Reiss visiting Melbourne, despite its international reputation — “like Barcelona, it’s becoming known for beautiful street art on the walls”, he notes. “But the film’s underlying theme of public space and who controls it is as applicable here as anywhere internationally,” he says.

“I wouldn’t have been so addicted to the film if it wasn’t for that,” admits Reiss. “I realised early on how it was about a battle for public space and how the writers were conscious of that. Throughout the world there is a desire to create art in public, and beautify their surroundings. There’s also this co-option by corporations.”

An erudite 49-year-old who lives in Los Angeles, Reiss has been examining life on the fringes and the application of do-it-yourself philosophy since he was first attracted to punk rock in the late 1970s.

Some of his first works were on infamous American performance group Survival Research Laboratories, while in 1999 he made Better Living Through Circuitry, a well-received documentary about the rave movement.

“I’m always drawn to subversive subcultures,” Reiss says.

“There’s an exchange of ideas in my films … they’re more essays than focusing on one individual story. So much of the documentary world wants that personal narrative, but my films don’t do that,” he says.

“People who don’t fit into contemporary society find a place within subcultures to create a community and family unto themselves; that’s very much my story. What attracted me to punk rock was what attracted me to rave culture was what attracted me to graffiti.”