Archive for the ‘graffiti’ Category
It’s a strange story but perhaps an inevitable one. Banksy recently painted some walls in Detroit which is not a big deal except that artists from the 555 Nonprofit Gallery and Studios decided to appropriate part of one wall in the name of preserving what they feel is an important work of art. Story here.
(JASON H. MATTHEWS/Special to the Free Press)
So Banksy gets more publicity, the artists of 555 get tons of free major publicity, and the whole concept of graffiti as a fine art goes through a new layer of complexity. Graffiti has been around a long, long time – cave paintings? – and the question of whether or not graffiti is art is hardly debatable any longer. But what is at stake in terms of “the museum”? Curators and Fine Art Aficionados know very well that if you bring Andy Warhol in, then Banksy needs to be on the invitation list too. That’s a no-brainer at least in terms of content, style, etc. The problem is not only the traditional legal issues surrounding graffiti production (e.g. trespassing, vandalism), but one that also blows open the doors again to ideas concerning “ownership” and “authorship” let alone whether “re-appropriation” of graffiti for academic, exhibition, or “preservation” purposes stands on any kind of useful ground. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, comes out of this.
The golden age of graffiti in Montreal was around the mid 1990′s. The Redpath Sugar plant in Point Saint Charles featured a “wall of fame” for local graffiti artists, and it was one of the city’s great legendary abandoned factories before it was transformed into a condo community. Here it is in it’s usual state of sabotage and renewal.
And some images from that time. I really am not sure that any kind of gallery setting can do justice to these works. Usually you also have to trespass to see these things so it simply becomes a totally different kind of experience.
Resilient and determined seem the Turcot graffiti writers. Just wish the ones who recently tagged the refurbished milk bottle downtown would get some serious education training.
This view from Notre Dame shows some buildings up on the Falaise Saint Jacques that are residences. Those people have Turcot literally in their back yard!
Seems strange not to see the graffiti but perhaps even stranger is simply why? They have security to keep people out of the yards and no can see 90% of the graffiti at Turcot unless you are right in the yards. So what’s the deal?
I have to wonder about priorities as you can see here that there is a section of metal clearly exposed but the graffiti below has been painted over.
Looks like they missed a spot.
And nothing gone from Dead Dog Tunnel as that would still be CN property, I would think.
I can understand doing this on parts visible along Notre Dame like below, but it does seem like a waste of time and money to do it inside the yards where no one is allowed.
PS – Started this post on Friday but noticed on Saturday that the graffiti under the Ville Marie at Atwater has also been painted over, so maybe it’s part of a larger program even if it still doesn’t make sense to clean the inside of the yards. Must be the view from above annoyed someone?
I finally summoned up the courage to visit the Turcot yards, after contemplating them for close to a half-century. I remember the rows upon rows of railway cars that were lined up along the network of tracks whenever my family would make a westward venture- we were from the East Island. I would eye the graffiti-ized rail cars, even way back then, with youthful fascination.
Somehow, it would conjure images of Kerouac’s “On the Road” or Ed Abbey’s “The Fool’s Progress”, of train-hopping, bumming around in illicit adventures in distant locales, drinking mescal out of brown paper- shrouded bottles and of counting one’s last days on the planet. Local lore that characterized the place as a haven for tripping disenfranchised youth only added to the strange appeal.
Even as a mature adult, long after the trains had disappeared, the place held an inexplicable attraction. Rife with overgrown weeds, tumbled-over concrete abutments, and rails that lead to nowhere, the only sign of life, really, was the graffiti that one could only catch the briefest glimpse of, especially when racing pell-mell along highway 20.
I never even saw the access to the yards until just three years ago, when I rediscovered my urban nature and moved back to the city. I soon spent many hours exploring the nooks and crannies, hidden alleyways and side streets of the city on foot and on bicycle, but I was always too afraid to venture underneath the expressways alone. Neither could I convince any of my aging friends to accompany me. “The sign says you can’t enter”. “We’re not supposed to be here”. “No, sorry, not interested”. And to think that these people were once hippies, yes but I digress.
I suppose it shouldn’t be a major big deal that I visited the Turcot yards. It’s not like I toured the Acropolis, or Petra or the Great Wall for that matter, but I suppose the bigger deal was going alone. Unlike the Acropolis or Petra, you actually can be alone in the Turcot Yards, even when surrounded by thousands of speeding vehicles.
I didn’t have the nerve to go until I spoke to Henry, a young artist who, if not a graffiti-ist himself, is well-acquainted with the people and the art of the graffiti world. Intending to ask him to accompany me to the Yards, but deciding at the last minute that that would be too weird, I instead asked him if it was safe for me to go. He sort of chuckled and said that it wasn’t something he had ever considered.
With my loins as firmly girded as they can be at this age, I decided to head over to the yards- on my own. I soon discovered that the only sign of life, other than the vehicular congestion and crumbling superstructures, is still the graffiti. As such I duly documented the numerous tags and images that are virtually impossible to see from any highway vantage point.
It was a quiet and meditative experience, finally, right in the midst of rush-hour, as if I’d entered a quiet chapel just off a main thoroughfare, with not an ambulating human in sight! Maybe next time, I might even paint something. –Judith Brisson
Just a tad late but this weekend he organized The Cans Festival in London.
Banksy is a well-known pseudo-anonymous English graffiti artist. He is believed to be a native of Yate, South Gloucestershire, near Bristol and born in 1974, but there is substantial public uncertainty about his identity and personal and biographical details. According to Tristan Manco, Banksy “was born in 1974 and raised in Bristol, England. The son of a photocopier engineer, he trained as a butcher but became involved in graffiti during the great Bristol aerosol boom of the late 1980s.” His artworks are often-satirical pieces of art that encompass topics such as politics, culture, and ethics. His street art, which combines graffiti writing with a distinctive stencilling technique similar to Blek le Rat, who began to work with stencils in 1981 in Paris and members of the anarcho-punk band Crass who maintained a graffiti stencil campaign on the London Tube System throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s. His art has appeared in cities around the world. Banksy’s work was borne out of the larger Bristol underground scene which involved collaborations between artists and musicians.” More here.
Probably thought of as a graffiti artist by many, Banksy takes it well beyond simple tagging. He has worked on a few continents including work on the West Bank Wall in Israel in 2005. Story here.
Banksy has been perhaps the most talked about artist on earth in recent years, and some of his works have sold for over 200,000 dollars. In fact there is a site that directly compares his work with that of Andy Warhol.
There is already a Flickr page with pictures from The Cans Festival.
Banksy is very concerned with social justice issues as seen in his “mainifesto” which is actually an extract from the diary of one of the first british soldiers to liberate nazi death camp Bergen-Belsen in 1945.
A couple of videos from this weekend.
Taken from Exploring Southwest Montreal.
“According to the Voix Populaire, the Saint-Remi Tunnel (St-Remi between rue St-Ambroise and avenue de l’Eglise) will be closed to automobile traffic from March 25th until June 20th, 2008. Transport Quebec will doing structural repairs to the part of Autoroute 15 that goes over the tunnel. Vehicle traffic will be detoured via the Monk street bridge. In addition, bus route 79 will be rerouted.”
Now is a good time to look back. These shots were all taken in the 80′s. Anyone remember when Decarie got flooded in ’87? From Wiki,
‘On July 14, 1987, a sudden torrential downpour caused by an HP supercell thundertstorm dumped over 100 millimetres (4 inches) of rain in just over one hour across the city. The Décarie Expressway which is below-grade was heavily flooded and became a river. At some locations, the water was nearly 4 meters deep on the roadway. Over 300 vehicles were abandoned when they were submerged. 2 people were killed by the storm including one on the Expressway.
Lost in the roar over Decarie was the fact that the Saint Remi was flooded in the same storm and it took over a week to clean it up.
There was also a lot of repair work done in the 80′s and they did try to keep it open to traffic as much as possible.
Not so good for the pedestrian walkway.
So once again the drivers of the Southwest will have to get used to a detour. Perhaps it is good practice for when the Turcot redo brings traffic to a standstill for 5 or 6 years in the area?
Who says taggers don’t have a sense of humour? (and where have I heard that one before?). Very appropriate in light of the state of Quebec highway overpasses these days.
Another one of these.
And how is this for a painting of itself while being a painting of itself?