Street Art News


Written by Marlon Dolcy
20 Monday 20th December 2010


Street Art News looks at some controversy concerning Italian Artist Blu and Museum of Contemporary Art in LA. We review the nominees for the Urban Art Awards, and we analyse a bitter cyber war.
The Italian street artist Blu was commissioned to paint on the north wall of the Geffen Contemporary House in Little Tokyo, but without it even being completed was painted over on the orders of Geoffrey Deitch, the director of MOCA who had commissioned the piece. Deitch was quoted as saying in the LA times that it would be "insensitive" to the local community, which has a large Japanese presence. The mural which depicts rows of coffins draped in dollar bills lies adjacent to a war memorial. Blu noted that "the word “censorship” magically disappears now you can call it a “curatorial choice”

To be honest this all smells of another controversy, where Diego Rivera was commissioned to paint a mural by Nelson Rockefella for the Rockefella centre in New York. Man at the crossroads was painted but because of its socialist imagery (featuring Lenin and Trotsky), it was soon destroyed. This was however 1934 though, and you could be forgiven for thinking that we have moved on since then.
The Urban Art Awards are drawing to a close and - surprise, surprise - it seems that Banksy is leading the way in the votes in both the categories 'Urban Art Awards UK', and 'Street Art UK'. I’m unsure however about the difference between the two awards and if someone could enlighten me, I would be much obliged. Eine is closely behind Banksy with 82 of the votes. In the equivalent categories for Europe and the US it appears that the established and big names of the scene are at the head of the pack. Blu, Space Invader, and JR are leading the way in Europe, while Faile, Shepard Fairey, Swoon and Bast lead the way in the US. In the 'Gallery' stakes for the UK, Pictures on Walls gallery has 63 votes, Lazarides (London) has 67 and Black Rat Project, coming of the back of Moniker Arts Fair 63.
The awards are blatantly as predictable as the final of X Factor, and it would be more fitting to highlight who we would prefer to be given awards. For the UK, David Walker has been dazzling the retinas for the whole of this year with beautiful works such as this:


Eelus is worth a mention too, considering the works he did for Wide Open Walls, and Sweet Toof has been more than impressive. In Europe, who has in my opinion the best collection of street artists right now, Roa, Dran and Vhils have made the best headway this year. Rats, rabbits and other furry creatures have graced the walls all around the world from Roa including the Underbelly Project, and he has no doubt been the busiest, but Dran for me has been the best artist, as his work is less gimmicky than the other two and his show at Marks and Stencils was the best street art show this year by far.

We will skip the US category for now, and have a ponder why other regions have not been represented in the awards. Asia, where Japan has a big scene and countries like Iran, how about South America where Argentina, Brazil, Mexico have a richer tradition of painting and writing on walls than most countries, or even Africa? Okay Africa is a long shot, but Eelus’s work with the Bushdwellers is worth mentioning. The Colombian based Stinkfish should head the category for South America with works such the supercalifragilistic main image at the top of the article.
Call it jealousy, call it passion, call it losers who have too much free time on their hands. Whatever it is, this beef has become more exciting and bloody than your typical MMA fight. This week street art is taking it to the blogosphere, where two contrasting blogs have been involved in a bitter feud. Vandalog run by R.J. and Street art is Dead run by Dr. Funky have exchanged a war of words ignited by the Blu controversy. R.J.’s post in defence of the removal of Blu’s mural sparked hardcore dissing from many who would rather R.J. jump on the bandwagon by saying fuck you to the man. Dr Funky responded, calling into question R.J.’s comparatively young age and other slurs, mainly regarding class (as R.J. is quite well off).
As a man who likes both chocolate and strawberry ice cream, both blogs offer a completely different take on the genre but they both are a great read. Just a shame that it’s turned sour, but at least they both are keeping it real.
Have a great Christmas and see you next time.

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  • Guest: tomuribe
    Sat 25 - Dec - 2010, 22:55
    isnt stinkfish from bogotá, colombia?
  • mcdolcy
    Tue 21 - Dec - 2010, 12:38
    The article is linked but Unfortunately it is very heavily concealed design from DP. Just lay your mouse on the words Vandalog, Street Art is Dead, "post in defence". "[Dr. Funky] responded" Go to the first mention of R.J. and Dr Funky for their profiles
  • Sorcerer
    Tue 21 - Dec - 2010, 04:01
    Can you provide links to the blogs you have wrote about in this article?