May 30, 2007
Photo by Michael Simon
As some of you might know, for the last few months we've been working closely with the designer Paula Scher on developing a book about the 11 Spring Street project.
In the days and weeks after the event, we received emails from people around the world who shared with us their stories, their photos, and their appreciation.
As part of the book we are developing with Elias/Cummings, we want to include stories, quotes and images taken by people who attended, as well as those who followed the project from afar via the Internet.
While there are thousands of photos online, we are looking for those special images that really stand out. In particular we are looking for photos of people experiencing the event - we have loads of pictures of the images themselves - but this project was more than just about the art, it was about the diversity of people who came out to experience the event.
So, if you'd like to have your thoughts or photos considered for the 11 Spring book project please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sara & Marc
March 23, 2007
Amongst the various documentary crews that covered the 11 Spring project was a terrific team from GOOD Magazine. They've just completed their short video and put it up on YouTube. You can check it out above
Also don't forget to RSVP for the GOOD Newspaper2.0 party tonight in New York. You must be a GOOD subscriber to RSVP, but the good news is that all of the money goes to charity. RSVP here.
January 15, 2007
Photo by by Joseph Lee
Not sure how we missed this one until now.
From Joseph Lee comes word of an exhibition by the artist SheOne at Union Works in London. There are some terrific parallels to our Wooster on Spring project that we hope turns into a trend.
Union Works is a building from the 17th century that at one time was a bear baiting arena. It then became a factory and fell into disuse. It was set to be demolished yesterday (Sunday). But before that happened, a group of enterprising exhibitors got offcial access to the building and turned it over to James Choules for a week before the bulldozers moved in.
January 10, 2007
One of the favorite characters that we met during the three days of Wooster on Spring was a dude with a video camera named The T-Bird. His laid back style and humor reminded us a bit of Ricky Powell, and we thought that the little doc he would create about 11 Spring would be something like Rappin' With The Rickster
This afternoon T-Bird sent us a link to the video above and we like it a lot. It pokes some fun at the whole street art hype and will probably give people who want to hate street art a bit of ammunition to hate it even more. It's a bit goofy and that's why we like it.
As for the short clip of me (Marc) in the video, it made me realize just how much the lack of sleep created this amped up quality in me during the three days. Like I was on speed or something.
January 5, 2007
Photo by PRUNE
If you attended Wooster on Spring, then you met our friend Will. We met Will one day outside his apartment, and from that day forward each and every Saturday and Sunday Will would watch and play with Hudson as we went inside 11 Spring to work with the artists. Will became our friend and we invited him to help us out handing out the artists bios and statements as people walked into the exhibition.
Meeting and getting to know Will was for Sara and I one of the true highlights of the Wooster on Spring project. He is truly a beautiful person.
Today is Will's 30th Birthday.
Happy Birthday Will!
December 28, 2006
One of the pleasant surprises during the seven weeks that we had to put together the Wooster on Spring show was receiving a phone call from our friend Jake Dobkin back in November. Jake called us because that week he was hosting a panel discussion and demonstration with the Brazilian graffiti artist Speto as part of the Bi-Fold events put on by LVHRD.
When we spoke, Jake mentioned that Speto was interested in doing a piece inside 11 Spring. The timing could not have been more perfect,as Sara and I had just been talking about our concern that the show wasn't yet showcasing any examples of graffiti or street art in the South American style. Having Speto become part of Wooster on Spring was music to our ears.
So one afternoon Sara let Speto into 11 Spring just before he had to head to the airport. In an hour or two he finished his piece and headed off to the airport.
There's a lot of things that we like about Speto's piece. For one, we knew that it was a tricky location next to the staircase. A lot of artists would perhaps turn down the spot, but Speto approached it with passion.
The thing that stands out most for us about the piece is how Speto uses the hair to draw people up and down the staircase. The way the hair flows and extends to the next floor captured for us quite well how graffiti and street artists have the ability to quickly adapt to their surroundings and incorporate the "realities" of their environment into their work.
Unknown to us until this morning, LVHRD did a time lapse video of Speto's work while he was in New York. The piece he did for 11 Spring comes near the end. You can watch it by clicking here.
December 23, 2006
A few moments ago I walked back into our flat after taking Hudson for a walk. Sara was just getting off the phone with John Fekner. John called her to tell her some news. She looked at me with a face that I didn't know if the news was good or bad. Finally she grabbed my shoulders and said...
"Marc. You are not going to fucking believe this. Roberta Smith just picked Wooster on Spring as one of her six "most memorable moments of 2006". It just hit the web."
I had to laugh because of the irony of the whole thing. On Friday, Roberta had come to the space on her own without letting us know in advance . Sara, trying to be as democratic as possible all weekend, had actually turned her away the first time knowing that people had waited hours and hours to get in. Sara respected her as a critic, but also knew that others had wanted to get in as well. She told her that she couldn't let her in today and that she should perhaps come back tomorrow if she wanted to.
And the next day Roberta did came back. I noticed that she was with Jerry Saltz and went over to them. Sara wanted to turn them away but I said no.
Knowing how important this was for the artists and their careers, I personally gave both Roberta and Jerry a quick tour of the building. It was a crazy moment because just as we walked into the foyer our security guard, who was absolutely exhausted, completely lost it as he tried to kick one of the guys who had cut in line out of the building. As I walked with Roberta and Jerry past this screaming match, I said to myself - "Oh fuck, this isn't going to be good."
But for the next 20 minutes or so I walked them past each piece and talked to them about what each one meant and the evolution that graffiti and urban art has taken since the early '80s when it was limited to the spray can. I told them the stories of each work and some information about the artists.
When we finished the short tour, we walked outside and over to the cars across the street to get some fresh air. As I said goodbye to them, Roberta looked at me and said....
"This is one of the best collections of work on walls that I've ever seen."
I smiled. It was one of many incredible moments that made the weekend so special for me.
Until now, I have only told this story to some of the artists.
So, here's the story that Roberta has written for her Year in Review for The New York Times. I'm assuming that it will be in tomorrow's paper....
The Met Got Up-to-Date, Grafitti Said Goodbye
By ROBERTA SMITH
SOME memorable moments from 2006: AUCTION HOUSE AS MUSEUM For five weeks last spring, Christie’s auction preview of Donald Judd’s work turned a stripped-down floor high up in Rockefeller Center into a breathtaking one-artist museum. The pristine display was a reminder of how much the city lost when the Dia Center for the Arts — a huge supporter of Mr. Judd — moved its collections to Beacon, N.Y. This was underscored in October when Dia canceled plans to build a museum along the High Line.
ARCHITECT TO THE RESCUE Amid a rash of museum expansions in 2006, Renzo Piano’s airy glass box at the Morgan Library stands out as a superior solution, doing away with a previous carbuncular effort to join its three buildings. Not so wonderful: the name change — to Morgan Library & Museum — and making a suggested $12 admission mandatory.
A REMINDER “Freeing the Line,” an exceptionally beautiful summer exhibition at the Marian Goodman Gallery organized by Catherine de Zegher, the director of the Drawing Center in SoHo, made one acutely aware of the center’s need for a larger, more gracious and more flexible space. Its trustees, who wisely abandoned an attempt to relocate to ground zero and unwisely forced Ms. de Zegher to resign, are believed to be weighing another ill-conceived site, at the South Street Seaport.
ATONEMENT? For an exhibition they designed at the Museum of Modern Art over the summer, the architectural firm Herzog & de Meuron filled galleries with artworks visible only through narrow slots — a kind of closed open storage. As a mirror of the crowding problem in the new MoMA building, the show made one sad that Herzog & de Meuron lost that commission to Yoshio Taniguchi. But now the firm is designing a new home for the Miami Museum of Art, where Terence Riley, formerly director of MoMA’s department of architecture and design, is the new director. Is Mr. Riley trying to say he’s sorry, or “I told you so”?
NEW GIRL ON THE BLOCK While crowds flocked to the Neue Galerie to see Gustav Klimt’s portrait of the aristocratic Adele Bloch-Bauer (bought for $134 million), viewers at the Met stopped in their tracks when encountering the season’s real portrait surprise: Otto Dix’s unkempt “Lady With Mink and Veil” (1920). His ferocious portrayal of an aging prostitute — part of the Met’s extraordinary “Glitter and Doom” show of early German modernists — was discovered in a private collection in 1992.
STAGING AN INTERVENTION A new extreme in self-reference was achieved when the four-day Frieze Art Fair in London commissioned the British artist Mike Nelson to create a large (and largely hidden) short-term installation amid a row of booths. He created a photographer’s labyrinthine darkroom/lair, strung with photographs of the Frieze fair site — an enormous tent in Regent’s Park — being built.
SIGN OF HOPE AT MOMA In addition to the informative Dada survey and Brice Marden’s stately retrospective, a small gallery was devoted to a dozen sculptures by the ceramic genius Ken Price in “Against the Grain: Contemporary Art From the Edward R. Broida Collection.” It’s gratifying that MoMA now owns this balanced selection of Mr. Price’s work; let’s hope it will be exhibited again soon.
SIGN OF HOPE AT THE MET If the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s forays into contemporary art are often uneasy, “Kara Walker at the Met: After the Deluge” — in which this always adventurous artist combined her own work with selections from the collection — orchestrated a riveting meditation on the history of American race relations. It gained unexpected resonance because of Hurricane Katrina.
GRAFFITI COMES IN FROM THE SEMI-COLD One of the best shows of the season flamed past just before Christmas: a weekendlong display of graffiti created by artists from around the world at, and in honor of, 11 Spring Street. The building, a five-story former stable on SoHo’s eastern reach, is slated for conversion to condominiums, but during years of standing empty its exterior had been the recipient of much attention from graffiti artists and aficionados. At the new owners’ invitation, artists covered the interior walls with their latest, most ambitious efforts, transforming a casual auld-lang-syne get-together into a state-of-the-art statement that ranged from classic tagging to new adventures in papering, printing, varnishing, installation and, in one impressive instance, crayon. There were lines around the block.
More importantly, listen to Roberta's audio tour on the New York Times website. Her last line is something to the effect of - "My hope is that more museum curators saw this show."
We hope so too.
(As a side note - Reading and listening to Roberta's report, it occurs to Sara and I that a better definition is needed for this movement - now more then ever. We never considered this exhibition to be about pure graffiti. Where Roberta calls the show about graffiti art- we view it as much broader than that. We're starting to like Blek Le Rat's term "urban art" a lot better than street art. The truth is that we've never been a fan of the phrase "street art". Its likely that over time, the phrase will turn more people away from the movement than towards it. Maybe we should change the site to read - "A Celebration of Urban Art" or "A Celebration of the Post-Graffiti Movement". Or as was suggested by Tim simply state- "A Celebration of Art" In the end, that's all it is - art.....)
Photo from Flickr by metrolens
Photo from Flickr by c-monster
Photo from Flickr by c-monster
About 14 years ago, I had an incredible opportunity to work very closely for a number of years with an amazing guy named Isaac Tigrett. Isaac quickly became my mentor and a very close friend of both Sara and mine. At 24, Isaac created The Hard Rock Cafe with Peter Morton in London. I've learned a lot from Isaac and owe a great deal to him for helping me reconfirm who I am and where I want to be in life.
It was from Isaac that I learned about the importance of appealing to people's higher nature rather than their lower nature when you set out to do something that you think is important.
We'd often talk about using the things that you have at your disposal to put out positive messages into the world. For example, when Isaac realized that the Hard Rock Cafe would print millions and millions of paper napkins and promotional materials, he incorporated the phrase "Love All, Serve All" into the Hard Rock logo so that he would be able to use the power of the financial success of the Hard Rock to send out positive messages to millions of people.(It was from him that I was taught the lesson - "Money is neither good nor bad. It's what you do with it that matters") Where some people may have thought that "Love All, Serve All" was a tag line written by a clever copywriter at an ad agency, it is actually a mantra said by Isaac's guru in India.
There are a few pieces done in 11 Spring that truly embody Isaac's mentorship about appealing to people's higher nature, even if it is subtle or even subliminal because people don't consciously see it.
All have to do with entrances and exits.
Sara and I have been huge fans of the artist collective, You Are Beautiful (based in Chicago) for a long time now. Like the "I Love You" tag done here in New York, You are Beautiful sends out positive messages in their work on the streets that subliminally appeal to people's higher nature. We wanted these positive messages inside the walls of 11 Spring and so we invited You Are Beautiful to be a part of the show.
A couple of weekends ago You Are Beautiful drove all the way to New York from Chicago and arrived at 11 Spring with these massive white letters that spelled out the words "You Are Beautiful". The only problem was that they were fuckin' huge. Massive. We looked at them and said, "Holy shit, what are we going to do with these? They're too big for the space"
So after scratching our heads for maybe 10 minutes, I looked up to think for a moment and saw that the wooden beams of the roof on the first floor. Immediately we all knew that the roof of the first floor would be the perfect place for the piece, not only because it was the only place it would fit, but because it would send out positive messages to people as they came in and out of the building. It would set the tone of the show. Maybe some people wouldn't even see that the letters were there. Or if they did, they wouldn't notice what it spelled out. But the important thing to us was that they would feel it and that would be enough. So we pulled over the scaffling and in about an hour the whole piece was hung. (Like ghosts in the night, as soon as the last letter was nailed in, You Are Beautiful got back in their truck and headed into the tunnel back to Chicago)
The second piece that speaks to this notion of appealing to people's higher being was actually the first piece done on the building for the show. It's the massive "Lad" done on Spring Street by Chaz from The London Police.
Eight weeks ago when Caroline, Bill, Malcolm and Sara and I all agreed to move forward with the 11 Spring Street project, Chaz and his wife Tina were staying with us at our flat before they were to head off to California for a seven week tour doing various art shows and events.
Chaz and I have spent many nights talking about the positive energy that his Lad character has and what it gives to people in cities all over the world. Chaz's gift is that he can freehand a perfect circle and with this as its foundation, the Lad has an incredibly energy that people can feel as they walk by.
It makes people happy.
So with only a couple of hours before having to head to the airport, Chaz went to 11 Spring and did his lad.
People like Chaz instinctively "get it" and so when he did the piece he could have done it anywhere on the building, but chose to do it next to the door so that when people came and left the building, the Lad smiled down on them and consciously or not, made them happy.
A few days later Michael DeFeo came and did one of his large flowers on the other side of the entrance. Not only did this balance Chaz's Lad, but also reinforced the imagery that appeals to people's higher nature. Walking around Soho years ago we'd see Michael's flowers pasted to the bottom of lamp posts. He did so many of them that at times you felt that Mike's paper flowers were blooming from the concrete of the city. After 9/11 the flowers took on even more significance to us and to others.
Next, Above came in from Europe and spent an afternoon with us painting his iconic and colorful arrows between Michael and Chaz's pieces. The day that Above came to paint, it was absolutely freezing outside and the paint wouldn't absorb into the concrete of the building's facade. Above spent hours and hours going over and over the drips, long after the sun had set, to make sure that the arrows looked just right. His dedication and commitment was amazing. The fact that the arrows were pointing up spoke directly to appealing to the higher nature of things.
The final piece that for us fits this theme of appealing to people's higher nature with positive messaging was done by Skewville.
It was a day or so before the exhibition was to open and nobody had slept for days. The door opens and the Skewville twins come in with all of these wood beams. They toss them on the ground and begin cutting this wood with the intention of replacing the wooden railing that sits next to the staircase. Sara looked at them and said something to the effect of - "What the hell are you motherfuckers doing? You already did your piece for the show. You've got to be kidding. NO!"
But with Skewville, their smiles, their jokes and their passion is too strong to say no to, and so it didn't take much to convince Sara and Malcolm to let them turn the entire place into a mess once again to do this final piece that was important to them.
It wasn't until the piece was put up that I realized what they had done and why it was important to them. With the wood they had written "NEXT LEVEL", another subliminal message that appeals to people's higher nature when they went up the second floor.
You can read whatever significance you'd like into the "NEXT LEVEL" messaging, but for me and Sara it spoke not just about the artists who's work and careers will now go to the next level, but more importantly it made a statement that all of us can take things to the next level.
Have a great Christmas everyone!
Marc and Sara
December 22, 2006
Photo by Martha Cooper
If you speak French (which unfortunately we don't) you can learn more about Prune's work by watching the video below. It's part of a documentary on the ambiguity between domestic animals and children in our society and also part of Prune's project "The Domestic Baby"
One of the lessons about putting on Wooster on Spring was that we did without any press releases, no flyers, no ads, no nothing. Sure the New York Times piece was massive, but even that came from a simple phone call to a friend. The video postcard above was the type of thing that people did on their own to get the work out in their own way using new techologies like youtube, flickr, and blogs. This video was made by a friend of Sara and mine named Nicholas Georgiou. Nick is the guy who created the Android sculpture that you saw when you walked up the stairs.
Photo nicked from here.
How Nick became a part of the show (and we're glad he did!) was that he was so blown away by what was going on outside on the building when he would walk past it in the weeks leading up to thew opening, that he was inspired to create his own work of art not for the show but for himself. Over the next few days he created the android made out of newspaper with that creative energy that was building inside him.
To show Sara and I what he had done, Nick took some photos of his sculpture outside the building and then emailed them to us just for us to check out. I think it was a sort of "thank you".
We loved Nick's sculpture so much that we told him that we wanted to include it in the show. I think Nick was a bit shocked but also delighted as he's a true artist who just needs a larger outlet to show his brilliance. So he brought the android over that day and we placed it next to the stairs.
To illustrate how committed artists are, Sara told me a story the other night. Hours before we were set to open the doors of 11 Spring for the first time, Nick came into the building and began stitching more small pieces of newspaper into the back of his android sculpture. It was in a place that nobody would ever see. Sara looked at Nick and said something to the effect of - "Are you crazy? Why are you still working on this? We've got to get out of here soon" But Nick had to complete this one last touch. It was important to him. What Sara realized he was doing was stitching small pieces of newspaper that had came from the New York Times article about Wooster on Spring that had hit the newsstands earlier that day.
Would anyone see or notice it?
Was it important for Nick to make sure as an artist that it was there?
And because of that, Sara gave him all of the time he needed.
Photo nicked from Flickr here
Photo nicked from Flickr here.
On of the things that Sara and really respect about the artists who work on the street and also in the galleries is that as their careers in fine art start to take off, they continue to ground themselves by messing around with the public's perceptions about the "value" of their art and who they are as artists.
For example, we know a lot of artists will do gallery shows where their work on canvas will sell for tens of thousands of dollars. But if you go around the corner and happen to have a smoke in the alleyway you can see many of the works in the show all done again for free illegally on the walls of the back of a nearby building. There are multiple motivations at play here. The main ones are that by giving away for free what people pay for inside, the artist doesn't feel like they've completely sold out. The second one is that just like a lot of people who love art but aren't comfortable walking into galleries, the artist him or herself is as well. So to make a small statement about this, they put on the street work that is also inside so that people on the street who don't want to come into a stuffy gallery can see the show as well.
So one of the artists who's very free to put stuff up for free on the streets and also in galleries is the Australian born artist Anthony Lister. Because we love not only his work but think that he's an incredible guy, Sara and I invited him to participate in Wooster on Spring both outside and inside.
All of this is to say that if you liked Listers work in 11 Spring, you should definitely check out his fine art that will be shown at Lyons Wier Ortt gallery at 511 West 25th St starting January 4th with a reception at 6pm. The work below is one of the pieces he will be showing.
December 21, 2006
One of the decisions we made as a group when we began working on the Wooster on Spring project was that rather than hire our own documentary crew and limit access to the "the story", we would open it up to as many young filmmakers and photographers as we could accommodate. We wanted many people to create their own interpretations of documents of the project.
One of the young filmmakers that we gave access to the building before the show opened was Jason Scott Jones who stayed with us for the last five days or so. The emotion that Jason shows at the beginning of the film touched us a lot as it's exactly how we all felt in the final days. Jason was a good guy and has a very good heart.
This afternoon he posted a rough cut of his video on Youtube. You can check it out here...
When Sara and I traveled to China two years ago, we saw virtually no graffiti art on the streets of Beijing other than some tags of the legendary artist Zhang Dali. (In addition to his fine art Zhang Dali is known for cutting out the outline of his face in the crumbling Hutong) But this week we received the images above from Steph in Beijing, showing that more and more graffiti is appearing in Beijing.
"1981 to 1983 the beginning of the stencil graffiti art .I had the idea to use stencil to make graffiti for one reason. I did not want to imitate the American graffiti that I had seen in NYC in 1971 during a journey I had done over there.I wanted to have my own style in the street... I began to spray some small rats in the streets of Paris because rats are the only wild living animals in cities and only rats will survive when the human race will have disappeared and died out... Blek Le Rat"
The picture above is really important to us. For the last couple of years Sara and I have been speaking with Blek Le Rat about finding the right opportunity to come back to New York. Wooster on Spring provided not only that opportunity but allowed hundreds of people to share Blek's warmth and commitment to his art. At 55 years old, Blek is truly a living legend in the urban art movement. And to have him stay with Sara and I and to sleep on a rollout bed and then share stories with us over early morning coffee with Bo and Microbo was wonderful. We already miss him.
(The photo above of the work of Blek Le Rat and was taken on the roof of 11 Spring. Not many people were given access to the roof, but those that did get up there realized that the building has one of the most amazing views in all of Soho)
Blek Le Rat Wheatpasting on 11 Spring (Photo by Martha Cooper)
Prune's Domestic Babies on the Streets of New York (Photo by Martha Cooper)
In curating the show, there were two important things for Sara and I. First was that we respected the past while we looked into the future, and second that we make sure that the exhibition did not only happen inside of the walls of 11 Spring. The two photos above capture both these qualities. They were taken by the legendary photojournalist Martha Cooper who in the late '70's and early 80's began documenting the incredible emergence of graffiti in New York city. Martha spent many days with us at 11 Spring and we can't wait to see the photos she took. (As an aside, one of the most exciting things for me was to meet Henry Chalfant as it was he and Martha Cooper who in 1984 published the groundbreaking book Subway Art)
The top photo is an important one for us as it came about when Blek Le Rat and I went outside to do a live discussion and demonstration of weatpasting. As Blek talked about his approach to art on the streets of Paris (pasting politically motivated work next to the offices of the French media) I saw out of the corner of my eye that Martha was shooting. One of my favorite moments was when Blek helped a little girl wheatpaste to the wall one of the small drawings that she had made while waiting for hours and hours on line.
After Blek and I finished our discussion I introduced Blek and Martha and even though they had been central figures in the scene in the early 80's, they had never met. As Blek looked at her almost speechless, I left them alone to talk.
I can only imagine the stories that they could share. It was an honor for all of us to be in their presence.
"We decided to tackle the much needed civic service of telling everyday new yorkers and graffiti tourists that they are currently more at risk than anywhere else in the United States according to the Dept. of Homeland Security. The threat level in NYC has never changed from “HIGH” since the systems inception in 2001. Who knew?" ... GRL
One of the aspects that Sara and I liked the most about curating the Wooster on Spring project and spending time with the artists was how open and giving all of the artists were in sharing their creative process with us and others.
A good example of this incredibly openness is embodied in the work done by GRL and the Eyebeam OpenLab. GRL and Eyebeam created the amazing Homeland Security Advisory Tower that for three days lit up the corner of 11 and Spring and was one of a few pieces that people could experience from outside the building. All of the work done by GRL is not only documented on the internet, but GRL posts all of their source code and gives away the entire process so that you can not only make one yourself, but expand on what GRL has done to make something even better. Because of this Sara and I have been incredibly impressed by Eyebeam and were thrilled when GRL accepted our invitation to be a part of the show.
Like all of the work GRL does, the Homeland Security Advisory Tower created for Wooster on Spring has been meticulously document on the web and can be seen here.
The video below gives you a good idea how the piece was put together...
December 18, 2006
What an amazing weekend! At this point everyone who's been a part of this project is absolutely fried and spent and to even try to understand all of the shit that went down this weekend would be too crazy for us.
It's now 7:46 in the morning and we're still buzzing off the incredible heart and energy that finally returned to the streets of Lower Manhattan.
For us, this weekend was about what New York once was. It was about showing people what New York should be. It's what people want in New York - and other cities but don't usually have the ability to express it.
At this point all we can say is thank you, thank you, thank you! to everyone who showed up with open minds and open hearts and contributed to what will go down as one of the most amazing weekends in most of our lives. For a while there it felt like some sort of mini Woostock for urban art.
All weekend people asked Sara and I - "Did you know that Wooster on Spring would be this fucking huge? They expect our answer to be something like -
"How can you ever anticipate that kind of madness? Of course not"
But in truth, we knew all along that it was going to be this big. Because for years there has been this pent up demand for a weekend like this, not only in New York, but in other cities all around the world. If you are a part of the contemporaty urban art scene, then you know that the crazyness of this weekend is only the tip of the iceberg.
We've known all along that people need to create art not because they are allowed to, but because in their heart, all they need is to be recognized for being a human being on this planet just like everyone else.
The artists who created and donated their heart, talent and vision inside the building share a common view of the world with the people who painted outside on the building.
Was it hard to get all of the artists to participate?
Because we are all part of the same family and share the same vision of the world.
Cleaning up late last night, we saw what will definately be our favorite tag of the weekend on the building. It was placed just a few feet from the door to get in. Someone had written very small with a pen...
"hour 5. amost in"
Off to bed.
December 16, 2006
We wish we had some time to upload some photos from yesterday, but after two hours sleep last night we need to get our asses down to 11 Spring. So if you want to see what went down yesterday check out (and contribute to) the 11 Spring group for the event on Flickr. You can get to it by clicking here.
Because of the overwhelming demand and our desire to accomodate more people inside 11 Spring this weekend, we're unfortunately going to have to pospone tomorrows panel discussion that was to take place at 11 Spring Street.
We know that this will bum a lot of people out who were looking forward to asking questions about the project to the artists, but what we hope to do is to reconvene everyone at a later date (at a location that is more suitable for this) so that tomorrow we can use the space to get more people into 11 Spring and to see the work.
Sorry about this but we all feel that if we do the discussion it would shut down the space for too long a time.
All of us who have been working on Wooster on Spring event want to thank everyone for making the opening day of the three day exhibition an incredible success.
For today, Saturday, we're making some adjustments from things that we learned about yesterday to hopefully get more people inside to see the work.
Here's some things to know...
Yesterday, the average wait time to get into the building was anywhere between 45 minutes to more than an hour. We expect a lot more people to come today, so be prepared to either show up early or expect to wait quite a bit to get in.
The line to get in yesterday was extremely calm and organized. (Thank you!) Please make sure not to stand in the streets. The NYPD have been extremely cooperative and the one request they have made to us is to try to keep people from standing in the streets.
Please don't bring any pets with you. They won't get in.
Finally, Paul Notzold will be putting up TXTual healing from 6 til 9... EST on the side of the building. Send an SMS/txt message to 646.209.1786...messages will go up on the wall... foreign numbers too, just start the number with 001
That's it for now.
December 15, 2006
As the sun began to rise this morning, Cycle looked over to me and said -
"Damn, it's like a temporary MOMA in here. It's what MOMA should be, but unfortunately never will be. One of these days guys like Doze Green and others in this room will be in places like the MOMA. But until then, they're in here. I've never seen, or experienced, anything like this in my life "
Later Doze Green added...
"Nothing like this has happened in New York since PS1 opened back in the day. The energy of Haring and Basquait, you can feel it in these walls. This is truly something special that probably won't happen again in a long, long time."
Over the next couple of days we hope to tell the stories behind most of the pieces done inside 11 Spring. But until then, here's some of the first images just to tide you over for a few hours....
A Collaboration By Judith Supine (New York( and Rekal (venice, Italy)
Bo and Microbo (Milan)
Left: WK (New York/Paris) and Shepard Fairey (Los Angeles)
Left: Skewville (New York) Right: Elboe-Toe (Brooklyn)
December 14, 2006
We wish we had more time today to update you on a all of the last minute things that came together today. Here's some information that we had been meaning to post for a while now...
First, as you probably know earlier this week the group of artists involved in the exhibition got a whole lot larger... Doze Green, David Ellis, and Swoon have reached out to the Barnstromers crew, and now a collaborative piece is being done for the exhibition by Doze, David, Swoon, Rostarr, Kostas Seremetis, and other surprise guests invited by Doze and David.
Also, Daze has been workin' up a piece inside as well.
We also wanted you to know that some of the work being done for the project is interactive with the city. One of the artists, Iminentdisaster, has been putting together a piece the involves stereograms placed in different locations around Manhattan. Here's her artist statement for "Ghosts in the Basement"
Iminentdisaster wanted to tear down the walls of the project at 11 Spring Street so the project could take over the streets, but without the proper demolition machinery, this installation is the next best thing.
On the ground floor of the exhibition, the ghosts of graffiti have begun to creep up from underground to the building’s main space. There you will find a Stereoscope, a device designed to take two dimensional photos and merge them into a single 3-D image, with an empty viewfinder.
The viewfinder will remain empty as long as you remain inside the building. Several versions of the stereograms are installed on street poles around Manhattan and Brooklyn, waiting for you to take them down and bring them to the show. The messages on them are a collage of the various layers of urban legend and cultish interest that have haunted its windows and walls. The map below will show you where to look to find many of the stereograms, others will go unmapped to surprise those who keep their eyes open.
You can learn more about the project by checking out her website here.
Also, don't forget that the SoundLab will be placing "Sonic Tags" inside 11 Spring, so if you are in the area set you from Dec 15-17 set you transmission frequency modulation to 100.1
All weekend long we Soundlab will be broadcasting sounds live at the event. Don't forget that we e need you to help us make up the soundsystem. Dig out your Boomboxes and handheld transistors tune when at the building to 100.1 on the fm dial. eq it. crank it. rock it.
Hours for the open house: 11-5pm Friday-Sunday
Date: Dec 15-17
Address: 11 Spring Street
Panel discussion 3pm on Sunday
With the New York Times article breaking this morning, as you can image it's been a crazy morning for all of us here. We can't tell you how much we appreciate all of the amazing emails we're been receiving of such incredible respect, passion, energy, and support. If we're a bit slow at returning your emails for the next few days please understand that it's not out of any disrespect, but rather it's because things have gone a bit mad here. (in a good way)
More soon we promise.
Marc and Sara
December 13, 2006
The other day we wrote that one of the fundamental principles of the project was that after the three days all of the work would be destroyed rather than sold. There's a couple of things that we should clarify and add...
First, in regards to the art being "destroyed", the word "destroyed" is perhaps not telling the whole story. What's actually going to happen is much more interesting then that. As many of you know, there's a tradition in construction to leave a newspaper in a wall during the construction process to create a sort of time capsule. Most people who have renovated a home or building have great stories about finding things from decades, or even centuries before, in the walls of their buildings.
So after the Wooster on Spring exhibition, all of the interior walls of 11 Spring will be covered during the construction process. 11 Spring will become one of the most fascinating art time capsules in history. We love the fact that two hundred years from now, a brick might fall out to reveal an original piece creared by Lady Pink, Shepard, Swoon and 35 other incredible artists.
Second, to put your mind at ease, all of the artwork will (and has been) meticulously documented. Over the last seven weeks we invited lots of photographers and videographers to film the artists creating the work and after the show is over all of the work will be photographed and archived.
As we head into the final days before this weekend's three day exhibition at 11 Spring, we wanted to give you a bit of the background on the project and to tell you how it all came together:
It was about seven weeks ago that Sara and I received an email from Caroline Cummings. Caroline is a partner in Elias Cummings, the development group that recently purchased 11 Spring Street in Soho. After exchanging some emails with Caroline, we called her and was surprised to hear that the reason she was contacting us was that one of the things that intrigued her and her partners about the building that they had just purchased, was the fact that each and every day they came back to the building they noticed that the artwork outside was changing and evolving.
Unlike most developers who would have power washed the artwork off the building and put up scaffolding as fast as they could, Caroline and Bill Elias have a rich appreciation for the arts and instinctively knew that there was more to the building than met the eye and that they couldn't just obliterate decades of history without doing something to recognize it. Caroline told us...
"Part of what initially drew Bill and I to 11 Spring Street was its rich and constantly evolving visual presence. Upon first glance, we knew that we were about to experience something unique and artistically complex."
So one of the first things they did was to research the history of the building on the web. And that's how they had found us. Many of the artists, and the building itself, had been featured on the Wooster site for many years so when they researched 11 Spring, a lot of trails came back to this site.
So a few days after getting the email, we met with Caroline and Malcolm Stevenson, the building's project manager, for a glass of wine at out flat.
Caroline told us...
"After purchasing the building, Bill and I, along with our investors and Malcolm began to brainstorm various ways that we could celebrate the art that has become such a critical part of the building’s and neighborhood’s history. Considering the ephemeral nature of street art, it became clear that “preserving” or ushering future artists to sectioned off areas was antithetical and counter to the whole street art process. So we reached out to the Wooster Collective to see what we could do"
Sara and I immediately liked Caroline and Malcolm when they came over. Both of them have an incredible sense of history and truly appreciate the arts. We felt that we could trust them, and I'm assuming that they felt that they could trust us as well.
So one of the ideas we can up with together that night was to do an exhibition inside the building that would celebrate the end of an era in the neighborhood and at the same time, showcase the work of a group of amazing creative artists who who's work we all have been inspired by for many years. But there wouldn't be a lot of time to put it together as the renovation process was set to begin in the coming weeks.
So what was most important to Sara and I was that we all agreed on the following set of principles:
1. That the project would not be financed by having to take money from brands for sponsorship.
2. That the project would not be commercialized and that no profit would be made from the event. No silly press releases. No selling of t-shirts. No flyers. Nothing that would take away from the art and the creativity of the artists.
3. That the walls of the building itself would become the canvas. We didn't want to put up boards and have artists paint on plywood that could then be removed and sold. We all agreed that the history of the building would become part of what we were all celebrating and that all of the work would be done directly onto the surface of the walls.
4. That the project would not become a "Fame Game" where only the established well known artists would be included. While we wanted our friends like Shepard, WK, Swoon and others involved, we also wanted to make sure that young and up-and-coming artists were not only included but given the same kind of space and attention. So along with the "names" in the scene, there are also some incredible discoveries who's work in the exhibition will blow you away.
5. That graffiti artists would be working alongside street artists. There's often a lot of friction between the two communities and we wanted to make a point that the street artists need to honor those who came before them. Along the same lines, we wanted to make sure that we honored the past as well as the future. So it was important to us to include such legends as Lady Pink, John Fekner, Cycle, and others.
6. That the art would not be used for commercial purposes and if there was an idea that came up that would use the art after the show was over, that it would have the consent of the artists.
7. That we would attempt to bring to New York as many artists as we could afford who's work has been known in Europe and Asia, but rarely seen in America. Elias Cummings put up money to pay for the flights of such artists as Blek Le Rat, Bo and Microbo, Jace, and D*Face so that they could be here.
So after agreeing on the fundamentals we put a list of artists together that evening, and the next morning we made some calls to our friends to see if they were able to come to New York to be a part of it. Many of the artists put aside prior commitments and hopped on planes a few days after we called them. Everything associated with this project has come together in only seven weeks time.
After meeting that night for a glass of wine seven weeks ago, Malcolm and Caroline opened the building to us the next morning and we began work.
Like any project, you wish you could include more artists. But even with 30,000 square feet of wall space in the building, we quickly ran out of space.
So again, here are the times for the exhibition. It will only be open for three days....
Friday, December 15th: From 11am to 5pm
Saturday, December 16th: From 11am to 5pm
Sunday, December 17th: From 11am to 5pm
On Sunday, December 17th at 3pm there will be a panel discussion with many of the artists attending.
December 11, 2006
As we head into the final week of preparations for this weekend's Wooster on Spring exhibition, here's a quick update...
1. The Wooster on Spring event on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday will be "B.Y.O.B.B" -- Bring Your Own Boom Box. All of the sonic tags (live DJ's and music) during the three days is being curated and produced by Soundlab. Using a wireless transmitter, all of the audio will be transmitted such that anyone with a boom box will be able to receive it. We're counting on all of you to be our contantly evolving and roving speaker system as you attend the event. The event will start with no speakers and then build over the three days as more people come in. (More on this from Soundlab later in the week)
2. We've received a few emails asking us if we were planning on having a live webcam broadcasting the event live on the internet from 11 Spring so that people around the world can participate. We think that this is a terrific idea, but have no idea how to set this up by Friday. The building has a DSL line but no wireless access. If you live in New York, have access to the webcam and wireless modem, and want to install it in the space before Thursday night, let us know at email@example.com because we'd love to have it, we just don't know how to do it ourselves.
3. If you're a member of the press and are planning on covering the event and project, drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can make any and all necessary arrangements. At this point we're not planning on putting out any type of formal press release or event flyer as things will be changing and added right up to the last minute.
4. We've received lots of emails from people who will be flying in from all over the world to check out the exhibition and meet the artists. If you're coming in from somewhere else, let us know as we may get people together for a beer or something who have flown in from far places.
5. There are a ton of amazing restaurants and shops in the neighborhood where 11 Spring is located in Soho. A few of places that have been especially gracious to us over the last few weeks, that we encourage you to check out while you are in the area, as the food is great are: Barmarche across the street from the building, Bread, a block or so away on Spring, and Cafe Gitane, around the corner on Mott. All are fantastic.
Again here are the days and times for the three day event on 11 Spring:
Friday, December 15th: From 11am to 5pm
Saturday, December 16th: From 11am to 5pm
Sunday, December 17th: From 11am to 5pm
After these three days the building will be closed to the public.
And finally, some quick snaps from yesterday
The amazing Lady Pink.
A freehand piece by Elboe-Toe on the outside of the building
MUCK begins her wall
A group of geezers
December 9, 2006
As many of you now know, Wooster on Spring, the exhibition we have been working on with Elias Cummings, the new owners of 11 Spring Street, will open in Lower Manhattan in less then one week.
The exhibition, a three celebration of 30 years of ephemeral art, will take place for three days only, and then all of the artwork will be destroyed.
The artists who's work will be showcased include Shepard Fairey, WK, Jace, Swoon, David Ellis, FAILE, Cycle, Lady Pink, London Police, Prune, JR, Speto, D*Face, JMR, Blek Le Rat, John Fekner, Bo and Microbo, Above, BAST, Momo, Howard Goldkrand, Borf, Gaetane Michaux, Skewville, Michael DeFeo, Will Barras, Kelly Burns, Abe Lincoln, Jr, Thubdercut, Judith Supine, Rekal, Maya Hayuk, Anthony Lister, Stikman, You Are Beautiful, Gore-B, Elboe-Toe, MCA, Jasmine Zimmerman, Plasma Slugs, Diego, RIPO, The Graffiti Research Lab, Txtual Healing, Mark Jenkins, Dan Witz, Iminendisaster, Rene Gagnon, and many other surprise guests.
So here are the days and times for the three day open house:
Friday, December 15th: From 11am to 5pm
Saturday, December 16th: From 11am to 5pm
Sunday, December 17th: From 11am to 5pm
On Sunday, December 17th at 3pm there will be a panel discussion with many of the artists attending.
The location (as if you didn't know) is 11 Spring Street (Spring and Elizabeth). For the first time in perhaps more than 25 years, the doors of 11 Spring will be open to the public.
Our advice - Come early and come often.
Stay tuned for more surprises.... Here's some snaps from earlier today
December 8, 2006
December 5, 2006
One quick reminder and request - While we've put up a few quick snapshots of some of the incredible artwork that is being created inside 11 Spring for the three day event on December 15, 16, and 17 - we're specifically asking that people not post up any photographs on the internet of the work inside the building until it opens to the public on the 15th.
This request which is being made by us, the artists, and the building owners is for two reasons - 1. We want to keep the experience a surprise until it opens so that it's a fresh experience for people and 2. Much of the work that is being done is still in progress and the photographs wouldn't show the finished piece but would imply that it is done.
So if you're an artist who has been doing a piece inside the building, or a friend who came in for a few moments, please try to respect the wishes of us, the artists, and the building owners by not posting photographs just yet that show the work that is being done for the show.
Thanks for your understanding on this. Can't wait to show you the work on the 15th!
From our friend Nick - "wooster on spring is blowing me away! it inspired me to create a paper piece"
December 3, 2006
As we begin to receive emails from people from all over the world who are flying in for the Wooster on Spring three day open house, we're pleased to let you know that as of this moment the plan is to open the building up to the public for three days in December - Friday December 15, Saturday December 16, and Sunday December 17.
While we haven't locked in the exact hours on the 15th, 16th, and 17th, the plan is to open the building in the day to the public in the daytime.
More details coming soon....
Here's a few snaps from yesterday....
November 30, 2006
As we get closer to the public opening of Wooster on Spring, we thought we'd give you a few more details about the project. Because of the nature of the project, we won't be giving away a lot of the specifics until just before the event.
So here are some answers to a few of the questions that we've been receiving...
1. Will the building be open to the public to view the artwork inside?
Yes. The current plan is to open the building for three days in mid--December as an open house with panel discussions, film screenings, djs, and private walk-throughs. Because of the logistics, we won't be publishing the exact days and times until just before the event.
2. Who are some of the artists that are painting inside the building?
Artists involved in the show include WK, Blek Le Rat, Shepard Fairey, JACE, Bo and Microbo, D*Face, Maya Hayuk, Lister, Prune, JR, RIPO, Thundercut, Skewville, Elboe-Toe, Jasmine Zimmerman, You Are Beautiful, Dan Witz, Judith Supine, Above, Rekal, Gore-B, FAILE, The London Police, Rene Gagnon, Gaetane Michaux, Darkclouds... and many, many other surprise guests.
3. Will the artwork stay up in the building and outside after the event?
No. In December and January, the new owners of the building will begin restoration and construction and all of the artwork will be destroyed. The only chance to see it will be during the three day event in December.
4. Are you (Wooster) and the artists working with the new owners of the building on this project?
Yes. A few weeks ago Sara and I met with Caroline Cummings, one of the new owners of 11 Spring. Caroline, who is a major supporter of the arts, wanted to let us know that she and her partners understood the rich history that the building has had, and they wanted to do something that celebrated the role the building has had in the neighborhood and with artists from all over the world. Sara and I suggested curating an art event in the building before construction began. Caroline and her partners agreed and the project began. Projects like this happen from time to time in Europe, but rarely in the United States, and never in the middle of one of the best neighborhoods in Manhattan.
4. Can anyone paint inside the building?
No, unfortunately not. All of the artwork inside the building is being organized and curated by the Wooster Collective. While we're adding new artists to the project each day, everyone involved has been part of the Wooster site over the last five years. Unfortunately, it's impossible to include all of the artists who we would like, but we're doing the best that we can. As we juggle space and access to the building, artists are being invited each day up until the actual event.
More information coming soon....
November 17, 2006
One of the artists involved in our Wooster on Spring project is the extremely talented Rene Gagnon. Last Saturday he came into town with his brother to do a piece for us inside. While we're trying not to show too much work from the interior of the building on the web (so that it will be a surprise when we opening it up to guests) we thought we'd show you this nice little video Rene did which condenses 5 hours of work into five minutes.