Archive for the 'found' Category

Update on the found wall downtown

Thanks to Supertouch for pointing out this incredible comment on the blog of Paper mag about the famed wall found in the downtown loft space.

The emperor has no Graffiti

or perhaps

‘Writers’ of the lost ark

Is anyone really interested in the ‘mystery’ behind this ugly and hilarious artifact? Because there’s no mystery at all. Everyone who scrawled on it is alive and well and willing to talk – but few of us are (or ever were) graffiti artists. The 80′s were an era of ‘fake it till you make it’, so we might give 1 or 2 poseurs a pass here, but the only legitimate exception on the ’151 Wooster Street Mural’ is Lenny (futura 2000), who got up (note the clean background) well before any of us came over to Edit Deak’s and pretended to be ‘writers’ for an evening or two.

If a legend exists concerning this mess it is one that’s been actively hyped by a number of respectable people, no doubt with the best of intentions. Since hype is the dope of today, we might forgive a group halucination, at first. But I know that an email naming each artist and spilling the beans on Jean-Michel’s perfect absence was forwarded to Lisa Denisson at the Gugenheim well in time to head off the howlers that are now everywhere in print. What hapened to those beans? And what do we actually have here? Fragment’s of a lost Basquiat? Francesco Clemente’s only graffiti? The birth of Graffiti itself? Why not the lost Amber Room of Catherine the Great? Certainly the truth will devalue this treasure.

For one thing, Basquiat never touched it. Though he was partially present when it ‘happened’ over one or two smashed soirées, he wouldn’t have laid a finger on any wall in that period. By then he was making ‘art’ exclusively, and he drew furiously with colored pens on paper, on the floor, ignoring us all. Anything that looks like his letters (and nothing does) was written by Chris Parker, including Bug Out!, Wild Style!, Nesto! (after my pen-name ‘S.Neto’), Oh Fab!, and plenty more. In fact ‘Little Crispy’ created 60 percent of this relic at least. Nobody in their right mind will take credit for the huge and hideous FRED, not even Fab 5. The DJ Johnny Dynel sprayed a giant chicken pox version of his name weeks later, and he’s been unfairly blamed for the hideous table and lamp, the only ‘piece’ whose authorship is in doubt. Even the tiny RAM was not writen by the great RamelZee but by myself, ‘representing’ a master whose hand was sorely missed that night. Yes, Fred Braithwaite dropped a bomb and a plane, literally and figuratively, on the whole thing because that’s what he does, boost himself big time, and we loved him for it, then as now. The rest of us were just immitating our aquaintances and getting wrecked. The black spray attempt at true ‘wild style’ was an awful group ‘toy’, duly bombed over by Chris, who went on to counterfeit ‘Fabulous 5′ over Edit’s birthday hat. The pencil scrawling of hearts with bullet holes is again mine and I would never admit to it, but I feel I have to defend Fred from the vile accusation that it is his. Francesco Clemente never breathed on this plaster as was reported in New York Magazine. In short, little history is here beyond a record of Edit’s genius for attracting anyone who showed exuberance, and maybe the quality of the drugs we had that week (so, so, judging by the crappy art).

But will this storied ‘artifiction’ now stand in for actual grafitti history? Could this afterbirth in fact pass as a ‘seminal oeuvre’ and show up in a museum? Not if we intervene. Why bother? Why spoil such a happy jam for everyone? Because it is lame to say this wall was the birthplace of anything, much less ‘all that remains of a great period’. Only an interested party would make such a claim, and only someone blinded by enthusiasm would endorse it. Certainly it will bring ridicule to any institution that shows it as such. The great ‘writers’ like SEEN, Dash, TAKI, Phase 2, Julio, Stay High, Zeph… had nothing to do with this and had in fact been writing for a decade by then, on trains, where grafitti happens, and not on art critic’s walls. They’ll have the artifacts worth showing. I realize that those ‘sites’ are not framed by a loft development so who would spend six figures on their rescue? Perhaps a museum with a reputation for historical integrity and impecable provenance? It would be alot cheaper than buying the 151 Wooster Street Mural. Meanwhile the exact value of this masterpiece will rely, as ever, on the authentication of experts, experts whose pronouncements take wing when they are unencumbered by facts. On the rare occasion when we can balast these flights of fancy, we should. It is a salutory excrcise, beside being a pure goof, to see our respected historians revealed as occasional clowns. On the other hand it’s no joke to read Hal Meltzer baldly state that Basquiat’s tags ‘Wild Style!’ Dead or Alive’ and Bug Out!’ were done in his classic hot pink…etc “. Jean never wrote anything like those words, not anywhere, ever, and I don’t recall him using that color either. So who cares? And who benefits? Are the interested parties so hard to find? Once again. No mystery at all.

Seth Tillett

The Wild Stlye Exhibit

The Wild Style Exhibit

Gallery 151
151 Wooster St., New York, NY 10012

As discussed earlier here. Fab 5, Futura and many more.

Historic graffiti found downtown being preserved

**Link to VideoClip** Art Emerges From Rubble in Historic NYC Building

Thanks to Graffiti News for this one.

Vietnam era Navy graffiti

There is a new show up at the Navy Memorial in Washington, DC. It documents graffiti written in the bunks of a troop carrier that was used to take soldiers to Vietnam.

It’s always fascinating when graffiti ends up as a landmark or is shown in context of a historical event or period of time. I remember driving across country and seeing this massive rock that’s along the Oregon Trail, where all of the travelers left their name and the year they passed by.  It was called something like Signature Rock, and is an Oregon Trail landmark. Of course, everyone is familiar with the cave drawings that are so important in learning about man’s early days.  Arguably, Christian’s use of graffiti in proliferating a burgeoning religion played  massive role in it’s role in Western culture. These examples seem no different in substance, than most of the graffiti that’s prosecuted every day in modern society.

Now, as modern graffiti starts to have a history of its own, since it’s been around on the New York Subways nearly 40 years, we are starting to see some of that historical graf treated as a record of the past and is generally treated as a part of culture’s norm amongst the younger generations. It will take some time before the laws catch up with where society is, as a whole, but shows like this one help put modern street graffiti in context of man’s history.

A further example of the US and it’s use of graffiti is chronicled in this article about WWII writings found in a French school.


Warriors, originally uploaded by Tomas.

Now this is what I call graffiti