17 June 2011

Abner Preis - Superheroes

I picked Abner Preis as an upcoming talent to watch back in 2007, and his name keeps cropping up throughout Amsterdam events blogged here on Blakkbyrd.
Abner on Blakkbyrd

Now he's off to the States with his Superhero Project.


“Trained as a painter, Abner Preis has been making waves over the past several years. In a three year period, he has been invited as a featured artist to prominent art fairs such as Art Rotterdam, Art Brussels and the Scope Art Fair (Art Basel Miami Beach) as well as to exhibit works in respected cultural institutions and museums like the MU in The Netherlands, the Marta Hereford Museum in Germany and Austria’s Kunsthalle amongst others. The Superhero Project has featured at Brussels Fashion Week, Istanbul Design Week and the Rotterdam International Film Festival, providing a body of work that successfully walks the tightrope between art as activism, fine art, fashion, design and entertainment. Compared to artists as diverse as Joseph Beuys or Charlie Chaplin, Preis builds on the history of art to challenge it, using optimism, joy and imagination as the tools of his tender assault.

“Basically this project is about me going out in the streets dressed up like a Superhero, meeting strangers and asking them; If you had three super powers what would they be? Then I turn them into Superheroes like me.


Interview on Warholean

Warholian had the pleasure of meeting Abner Preis and his Superhero Project at the 2010 Scope fair during Art Basel Week in Miami Florida. At Scope, Abner was asking everyday fair goers to imagine themselves as superheros. His goal: “to surprise, transform and empower people he meets as he travels the world.”

We sat down with Abner to discuss how this project came to be…

1. Tell us the history of “The Superhero Project”, how did you come to start this project?

“I was invited to do a video presentation at a class for severely handicapped people. The teacher invited me to give a talk about my work and discuss ideas about a video project that they had planned to do.

Every child was really handicapped… a class full of Stephen Hawkings, but all were super cool. Their idea for a movie was to make one of the kids a super hero who could fly… a slow motion smile settled on my face… “Fuck it! Why not? Yes, we can all be heroes!”

That’s when I realized my magical equation of “I equals S”.

I = imagination

If you have Imagination, then you can be an Superhero.

(Incidentally, we still visit the Handicapp class every year, it is still a very special project)”



If you would like to donate to “The Superhero Project” through Kickstarter.com, you may do so here:

To stay updated with Superhero Project, “Like” them on Facebook here.

08 June 2011

Pick n Play - Stockholm


In a new approach to mobile coupon distribution, McDonalds is inviting consumers in Sweden to earn free food by interacting with a giant digital billboard using their mobile devices, in a campaign called "Pick n' Play."

Mobile phone owners passing a digital out of home sign in Stockholm are encouraged to partake in a giant game of pong, which they can control directly from their mobile devices. The campaign doesn't require a mobile app, but instead makes use of HTML5 technology to verify users' proximity to the screen, and allows them to control a virtual paddle remotely from their handhelds in real-time.

Players that manage to complete the game by sustaining a 30-second rally are rewarded with a coupon for free food from a local McDonald's restaurant, as well as directions to the location.

McDonald's created the campaign in partnership with Omnicom-owned DDB Stockholm.


07 June 2011

Blakkbyrd & MoMA Modern Art

I recently set up a Blakkbyrd Twitter account and started using it to follow arts news. I trawled through several friends' following lists to quickly find the feeds that interested me including @MomaModernArt from the USA which I assumed was associated with the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

Approx 2 weeks after I opened the account I received a direct message to my email account.

It was from MomaModernArt asking me about my blog traffic, what was my monthly audience?

I thought this was a strange way to contact me so I replied out of curiosity. Note that the account is called MOMA MODERN ART from the USA. I sent a tweet to @MomaModernArt.

I received another direct message.  This time it was from New York City.

Again I thought this was very strange. I visited the website to check it out and it was called  http://www.ahh.com.br/presite/
and there was no mention of MOMA. So I sent a noncommittal tweet asking for more information.

I then received an email to advise that @MomaModernArt was following me.

The name has changed from
MOMA MODERN ART to MoMA ART LOVERS and its now located in Rio.  It appears that I may have found this account through the Gemeente Museum in the Hague.  Note that the account has been operating long enough to gain 5000 followers. 

I did not receive any further messages from them, or answer to my request for more info.

I continued to receive tweets from @MomaModernArt for a couple of weeks and then noted that the account had been suspended.


I  also follow @MuseumModernArt Museum of Modern Art from New York New York. The genuine MoMA.

And MoMaPS1

and SFMoMA

05 June 2011

Graffiti - Libya

"... death found Kais al-Hilali in more traditional revolutionary fashion this week: at night, in a hail of bullets fired by unknown assailants barely an hour after he finished his latest work.
"I was standing by Kais as he painted," recalled Abdullah al- Zawway, a Benghazi businessman sponsoring his art. "He was doing a large caricature of Gaddafi on a roundabout which we're renaming the Misratah Martyrs in respect for our brothers in the besieged city. A lot of people were crowding around watching.
"It was getting dangerous. Among them were sure to be some of Gaddafi's people. So I told Kais to stop his work and leave. He was dead soon afterwards.""

full article here

In Tripoli, official portraits of Muammar Gaddafi are everywhere: on giant murals and billboards, in hotel lobbies, offices, shops, homes, and schools. The "Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution" usually appears as a sort of deity or in military uniform with rays of light shining behind him. Throughout Gaddafi's reign, his obsessive control of how and where his image appears has been straight out of the dictator's textbook.

In Benghazi, a day's drive east along the Mediterranean coast, there are also lots of public pictures of the man who has ruled this desert country for more than four decades. But here, his image is used as a weapon against him.

Caricatures of the vilified leader and anti-regime or pro-democracy graffiti are popping up throughout the city centre and in recently trashed army bases, on building sites and on any suitable walls. There are posters of Gaddafi pumping petrol into a winged camel, Gaddafi with the tail of a snake and a forked tongue, Gaddafi as Dracula, Gaddafi as a clown, Gaddafi being bitten by a dog, Gaddafi getting a boot in the head. The variations are countless. Another popular theme is an often bloodstained Gaddafi terrorising or slaughtering his people or plundering the oil-rich nation's wealth.

Tobruk, al-Bayda, Derna and other towns in the rebel-held east have also joined in this artistic act of rebellion, and their walls also sport caricatures ridiculing the flamboyant strongman whose many eccentricities make him a perfect target for satire.

full article here


The New York Times' Lens blog has an interesting gallery of Gaddafi caricatures, artwork, and graffiti made to protest the Libyan leader and portray him in an otherwise unflattering light.

"Before the Libyan opposition began retreating before forces loyal to Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, Finbarr O’Reilly of Reuters took account of the wealth of anti-Qaddafi graffiti and other graphic expressions of popular anger, which include some anti-Semitic sentiments. He wrote to Lens:
Like many dictators, Qaddafi carefully controlled how his image was used, often portraying himself as a deity or beloved leader. With the rebellion, however, freedom of expression in rebel-controlled areas means that ridicule has become a key weapon in the fight against the climate of fear that has long gripped the country. Anti-Qaddafi caricatures and graffiti have sprung up across cities like Benghazi, most of them portraying him in an unflattering light."


Images sourced via google image search


A Libyan girl passes by a wall depicting a graffiti image of Colonel Moamer Kadhafi in the eastern rebel strong city of Benghazi. source

A Libyan boy runs past graffiti at Revolution Square in the eastern rebel stronghold of Benghazi on May 11, 2011




A rebel walks next to a cartoon depicting Moammar Gadhafi as Adolf Hitler, holding a book titled 'My green book' in the rebel Media Center in Benghazi, Libya, Monday, May 16, 2011

more photos here

TIME contract photographer Yuri Kozyrev is in eastern Libya, documenting the battle between Gaddafi loyalists and rebel forces.

see photos here


"The images below are of the graffiti he saw along the way. Most of them are from Beida, where he met an Egyptian doctor who gave him a tour of the town."

04 June 2011

Oddstream Festival - Nijmegen


Oddstream has a musical programme, art and multimedia installations, debates and lectures. The theme of the first festival edition of Oddstream is: love and conflict.

Oddstream is a communication and multimedia festival where the participation of the visitor and the interaction with the location of the festival plays an important role. It will take place between the 31st of May and 5th of June 2011 at the Vasim (a former factory) in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

We use the word participation as opposite of passivity and indifference. Oddstream brings and shows inspirational examples of participation from the arts, culture, communication and media together, let the visitors participate in the festival and doesn’t avoid the debate.




Upfest 2011 - Bristol UK

The Tobacco Factory
North Street
Bristol, United Kingdom



Europe’s largest free urban paint festival; Upfest, is now in its fourth year and is preparing to take over its cultural home Bristol by welcoming over 250 artists and 40 DJs, Groups & Human Beatboxers to the event this summer between 4th and 5th June 2011.

‘The Urban Paint Festival’ is now firmly established as the main event for street art in Europe. The two day explosion of events attracts urban artists from all over the world who flock to The Tobacco Factory - the festival’s birthplace, as well as a number of locations across the city.

Big names in national street art culture Don, Inkie and Spqr set up their temporary home alongside home grown talents Cheo, Jody and Lokey.

Upfest partner Stephen Hayles explains why this has become such an integral part of the UK graffiti scene:

“Bristol is established as the home of graffiti in the UK; the whole country and now even the world has attributed this to the City. We are proud to be a part of this movement and will continue to provide a platform for brand new artists to break onto the UK urban art scene. The fact that it’s free just makes it even more exciting.”


We can confirm that HERAKUT - JAGO - CASE will paint live at Upfest'11


The festival helps raise funds and more importantly awareness for the Bristol based charity NACOA who work to address the problems children have growing up in families where one or both parents suffer from alcoholism. Upfest is a completely volunteer led festival and has so far raised £15,000 for the charity.

And finally... Did we mention it is FREE to Attend

full info here

LAB ART Opening - LA

On May 12th, the Los Angeles’s street art community saw the opening of LAB ART Gallery. This gallery is curated by Iskander Lemesffer and his partner/sister Rachel Joelson.

The gallery roster included works from over 30 artists, consisting of more than 300 works. The 6,500 square feet of space included work from Smear, Destroy All Design, Kai Aspire, Thank You X, Mar, Army of One/J2, Dog Byte, Alec Monopoly, Desire Obtain Cherish, Army of One, Chad Muska and Haculla, just to name a few.

The opening of LAB ART had the traffic on La Brea backed up for a good quarter mile.

Entering the gallery, it was filled with pop culture art, mixed media, photography and even sculptures- artistic eye candy. Each installation added a nice touch to the gallery and the entire gallery was utilized. The bar was decorated with stencils, stickers, and paintings from local artists, while the back alley of LAB ART was painted by known Los Angees artists Gregory Siff, Mar, and Thank You X.

-Birdman for Warholian

LAB Art Los Angeles is located at:
217 South La Brea
Los Angeles, California 90036

on facebook


01 June 2011


... "Art in the Streets," a controversial exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The show has been drawing the ire of social critics, alarmed by what they perceive as an institutional celebration of vandalism, all while drawing curious crowds (often young) to the museum's Little

urban graffiti doesn't drag down neighborhoods, but instead erupts in areas already largely abandoned by civic forces. Graffiti scrawls a name on hitherto faceless social realities, instantly becoming a convenient target for blame.

Yes, graffiti is vandalism ... But what has that to do with MOCA? As critic William Poundstone pointedly asked, how many museum shows of El Greco are required to take a position on the Spanish Inquisition?

Still, MOCA's claim for the magnitude of graffiti's post-Pop influence on art is overblown. "Art in the Streets" cites global reach ... Since the 1970s, however, the deepest impact on art culture has come from Conceptual art, not graffiti.

One could even say that graffiti owes its 1980s emergence into art world consciousness to the success of Conceptual art's frontal assault on formalist Modernism, with its crabbed notion that, say, a painting's highest purpose is to define what a painting is. With an emphasis on words, some Conceptual art even opened the door to thinking of tagging as an artistic strategy.

So the biggest disappointment of "Art in the Streets" is its misunderstanding of history. ... Consider what doesn't appear in the show — not even in the catalog chronology or the gallery's information timeline.

Mostly MOCA tells a mythic tale in which graffiti, an Expressionist art form, is largely born in Manhattan, spreads across the country and finally envelopes the world. If the story sounds familiar, that's because it replays New York School legend, long since discredited, about Abstract Expressionist painting in the 1940s.

MOCA's stylish exhibition mostly extends a legacy of commercial influence, which is the wrong way for an art museum to frame a show."

full article LA Times

Subject Index - May 2011

The Aviary
Subject Index - April 2011
Subject Index - Aboriginal 2005-10
Urban Art/Graffiti Subject Index 2010
Editorial / News

Art Basel & Hong Kong Fair
Art HK 2011
Tabiamo - Japan
Ai Weiwei

Frozen North
Lust & Vice - Stockholm
Robert Mapplethorpe
Palle Nielsen

Artists / Exhibitions

Art Amsterdam 2011
German Expressionism @MoMaPS1
Peanut Butter Art - Rotterdam

Twente Biënnale
Wartime - Stuttgart

Artworld Scandal - UK
Art Funding Cuts
Children in Art
Porno Leaks

Woodcuts - Statens Museum for Kunst

Van Gogh and Russell
Graffiti Burners - Stockholm
IPad - Interactive Books
Sensate Journal

New Media
River of Wisdom II
River of Wisdom

Urban Art / Graffiti

EMESS @ Candyland - Stockholm
Bin Laden spotted at the Tate Modern
Goin - France
ARYZ - Spain
Cock Wall
Armsrock - Denmark