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Home BLOGS So Hot Right Now BLVD's Grand Opening. Tags to Riches?

BLVD's Grand Opening. Tags to Riches?
Written by Noah Hanson   
Wednesday, 17 May 2006 07:19
Noah checks out the opening of this gallery in Seattle.

So far everything I've been hearing about Seattle's new BLVD gallery and it's premier show, "Groundswell" have all been about how it's made up of different graffiti and street artists, all with some sort of roots within hip-hop. For example, the Seattle P-I just came out with an article called "Graffiti artists go for a ride on the BLVD of hip-hop dreams." Does that headline seem a little silly to anyone besides me? Still, let me start off by saying that the stuff at the BLVD gallery's grand opening was wonderful. There were a lot of great paintings that appealed to me asthetically, and most of it I would even consider fine art. It actually deserved to be in a gallery space, and a lot of the stuff that was chosen to be shown as a representative of what to come from the BLVD was done very well. The place is guarenteed to be a hit here for some time to come.

Still, I have to question the whole "hip-hop" thing. Really, it probably makes no difference whatsoever, but I don't know that anyone can actually call a bunch of dried leaves, bottle caps, and buttons glued to a canvas hip-hop, or even street art for that matter. Especially not for thousands or even hundreds of dollars. Isn't the point of street art that it's not permanent, that it's risky, and that it's for free? Again, a lot of the works in the show were great, and most of the involved artists are/were heavily involved in graffiti at some time, but somehow when I went out to photograph a lot of the stuff, I felt like I was photographing a product... Even if it's all involved with, or inspired by street art, it still feels like the gallery (and some of the artists) might just be riding a trend. I do have to consider that this was the opening, and therefore was sort of a preview of things to come, but still the way they lump all these things together didn't seem to match, despite sharing some sort of graffiti-ish backround. I don't want to feel like that, so please feel free to leave comments trying to convince me otherwise. Forgive me for being a bit cynical over the whole matter, but I also just saw the new Daniel Clowes/Terry Zwigoff movie, Art School Confidential. The whole thing has left me a bit sensitive, ha! I guess I'm prepared to catch some criticism though, so fire away.

But first, take a look at some of the stuff that was there. Again, a lot of it is wonderful, and a lot of it took a ton of skill, but lemme know if it feels like things are getting a little bit too saturated... Anyway, here's some pictures of the crowd the night of the press preview, which was nothing like the booming turnout that was there for the night of the real opening.

press-crowd.jpg

press-crowd-2.jpg

After all my jibber jabber about how the show didn't seem to be really graffiti artists, I'm going to show you this one by Mear One anyway, who actually did spend quite some time tagging while growing up in LA. He was a member of the CBS crew (Can't Be Stopped) for some time, as well as being a self-taught painter whose been crafting his skill for over twenty years.

Mear-One.jpg

Check out the details.

Mear-One-detail.jpg

Mear-One-detail-2.jpg

Here's a few things by Tra Selhtrow, which spelled backwards, is "worthles art." Let it be known that I did enjoy the birds with baby arms, and even recognised that one as a graphic I once saw on the bottom of a snowboard.

Selhtrow-birds.jpg

Why else would it need to be so long?

Selhtrow-birds-detail.jpg

This one was also done by Tra and is titled "Human Error."

Selhtrow.jpg

Some town's people beating up some 5-0.

Selhtrow-detail-1.jpg

Camel toes and nudity. Very popular.

Selhtrow-detail-2.jpg

Oliver Vernon made this, although I think his paintings look better when they're grouped with more of his own stuff. For some reason I didn't feel like it fit in very well. Don't get me wrong, it was still interesting. It's title: "Nest."

Oliver-Vernon.jpg

Here's the left half of Damon Soule's contribution, "theascentandsubsequentdecentofbinarythought." Call me crazy, but SO many other things by Damon could have been chosen for this show. He's been going strong for years, but I went and checked out his website and I think I can pin a real positive shift in his work since around 2001-ish on. I really like what he's been doing since then, but this sort of seemed like a recycled piece of somthing he's covered . It does seem polished, and a little cleaner looking, but somehow not very fresh. Am I getting anywhere with this?

Damon-Soule.jpg

Bigfoot.

bigfoot.jpg

Greg Simkins is another guy who has more than messed around with graffiti and "street art." His paintings and drawings seem to follow a Disney/fairy tale-ish type pattern, and he definitely knows how to use his brush. It sure would be interesting to know why he makes what he does though, especially since it looks so different than his tags. Again, his stuff might look better next to his own material, or maybe at a different type of themed show.

Greg-Simkins.jpg

Greg-Simkins-detail.jpg

Robert Hardgrave.

Hardgrave.jpg

I just like Robert and think he's a super nice guy. This orange one is my fav of the three, and it is undoubtedly because of the way he painted a nipple.

Hardgrave-detail.jpg

Invader. Small works like this is interesting, but his stuff is so much more effective when it's placed out on the street or done on a larger scale. To get an idea of what I mean, you MUST look at these pictures. The dood's from Paris and the spot he had in the show was pretty minimal. Research him a bit and you'll be impressed.

Invader.jpg

Joshua Krause. I'd hate to be a hater, but come on... I just can't dig this mixed media, dried leaf and garbage thing, and am totally irked as to why this was in the show... I remember looking at the guys stuff back in '04 (I remember cuz I was using the computer at a certain radio job I had, and I was trying to copy the lines from this painting as a doodle) and being slightly into it back then, but what has happened? This is... I dunno. You tell me.

Joshua-Krause.jpg

I'm not real familiar with Iosefatu Sua, but I still think it was some of the neater stuff that was at the BLVD opening. Iosefatu had two things up, but I only got a picture of this one, which reminded me of that Disney flick, The Emperor's New Groove. Appearantly he and a bunch of other artists, including fellow fecalface blogger Mike Giant, are all involved in a project for Scion cars, in which they paint 3' long polyurethane sculptures of the Scion tC for charity... Vweird.

Iosefatu.jpg

Iosefatu-detail.jpg

I don't know much about Martin Ontiveros, but he's got nice colors and real smooth lines!

Martin-Ontiveros.jpg

Sylvia Ji seems to have the right amount of everything in her paintings.

Sylia-Ji.jpg

Especially with the deer and all.

Sylia-Ji-detail.jpg

The last one I have from the show is this painting Warren Dykeman made. Ofcourse it has lots of drips and fancy text... Again, I think his stuff would look better if it were next to more of it's own, but it still doesn't seem super impressive.

Warren-Dykeman.jpg

As you can see, the majority of the work is really really good, and some if it just seems so so. There was even stuff there that was way super duper top notch quality, but I just wasn't able to photograph it, so BLVD does deserve a chance to be seen in person by all you readers. Still, the way all the artwork was presented seemed silly. At a certain point this artwork just becomes saturated, I guess. Maybe it's just me, and that I'm having mixed feelings, because usually here in Seattle you really have to search out this kinda stuff. The hunt is maybe the best part, and when a gallery just does all the work for you, then what's the fun in that? At least take the show to a different level and have a better theme than "hip-hop." (Did anyone see Crash.Pause.Rewind. at Western Bridge? Now that was amazing.) After looking through all these pictures, I'll let you decide on your own. Also, deffinetly go and read the article the PI printed about the opening. I want to know if any of you find it interesting how the main focus of the article is not only their depiction of BLVD being dedicated exclusively to hip-hop aesthetics, but also how they portray the stratagies and pricing of the artworks for sale. That shit was expensive... Here's some quotes from the P-I that caught me off guard.

"...Art for art's sake" is not a motto they can get behind. Closer to their hearts might be, "Show me the money..."

"...If there's a line between corporate illustration and fine art, they don't recognize it. "They're not selling out," said BLVD backer Kirsten Anderson. "They're sneaking in..."

"...Artists like Iosefatu Sua, whose "Call of the Wild" is part of the opening exhibit at the new BLVD Gallery, are hoping to go from tags to riches..."

Right on the BLVD's main page is a link to the P-I's page, where they call in an "excellant article!" The thing about those quotes is that they almost seem dead on! Why aren't they ashamed? I wrote to the P-I's art critic, Regina Hackett, to see what exactly her opinion is of the BLVD gallery, and just got a response yesterday. My e-mail to her basically gives her props on information she provided as to where the gallery spawned from, but I still mentioned how she focus' a lot on the money aspect, and how she never quite makes it seem like a bad thing. I wanted to know her true opinion, but ended up with something totally vague. Here was her response.

"Noah. Sorry for the confusion. In newspapers, space and placement rules. I gave it the cover of the section, main element, and had our photographer shoot it. I wrote the piece as a feature, which is not a review. That's why my opinion wasn't prominent. I wouldn't have done the story if I didn't think the gallery was important. Hope that helps. Regina"

Bah! An answer with no answer... I should have seen that coming. Anyway, the opening was last Friday, and I've been sort of stewing over my feelings about this whole thing for almost a week now. Sorry if I was a bit critical. I'm no expert. You guys are. What do you think?

- Noah Hanson {moscomment}

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contact FF

Alexis Anne Mackenzie - 2/28
Wednesday, 25 February 2015 10:21

SAN FRANCISCO --- Alexis Anne Mackenzie opens Multiverse at Eleanor Harwood in the Mission on Saturday, Feb 28th. -details

a_m


 

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lead

Hard-working artisan, solitary genius, credentialed professional—the image of the artist has changed radically over the centuries. What if the latest model to emerge means the end of art as we have known it? --continue reading

 

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17_ms

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charlie

 

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###########
 

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park_life

 

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//////////
Wednesday, 16 June 2010 17:39


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ABOUT HEADLANDS
Headlands Center for the Arts provides an unparalleled environment for the creative process and the development of new work and ideas. Through a range of programs for artists and the public, we offer opportunities for reflection, dialogue, and exchange that build understanding and appreciation for the role of art in society.

headlands

 

Congrats, Dudes(ette)
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Just want to say congrats to Fecal Face's Rachel Ralph for graduating from SFAI with her masters in curatorial studies. Also want to congratulate Alex Ziv who also just got his MFA in painting. Also a high five to the talented Mario Ayala who also just graduated from SFAI as well! --- All super talented artists (thinkers), and we're excited to see what the future holds for them!

 

 

 


 

 

 

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If you like guns and boobs, head on over to the Shooting Gallery; just don't expect the work to be all cheap ploys and hot chicks. With Make Stuff by Peter Gronquist (Portland) in the main space and Morgan Slade's Snake in the Eagle's Shadow in the project space, there is plenty spectacle to be had, but if you look just beyond it, you might actually get something out of the shows.


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Gator Skater +video

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Matt Wagner recently emailed over some photos from The Hellion Gallery in Tokyo, who recently put together a show with AJ Fosik (Portland) called Beast From a Foreign Land. The gallery gave twelve of Fosik's sculptures to twelve Japanese artists (including Hiro Kurata who is currently showing in our group show Salt the Skies) to paint, burn, or build upon.


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GOLD BLOOD, MAGIC WEIRDOS

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San Francisco based Fecal Pal Jeremy Fish opened his latest solo show Hunting Trophies at LA's Mark Moore Gallery last week to massive crowds and cabin walls lined with imagery pertaining to modern conquest and obsession.


John Felix Arnold III on the Road to NYC

Well, John Felix Arnold III is at it again. This time, he and Carolyn LeBourgios packed an entire show into the back of a Prius and drove across the country to install it at Superchief Gallery in NYC. I met with him last week as he told me about the trip over delicious burritos at Taqueria Cancun (which is right across the street from FFDG and serves what I think is the best burrito in the city) as the self proclaimed "Only overweight artist in the game" spilled all the details.


FRENCH in Melbourne

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Henry Gunderson at Ever Gold, SF

Ever Gold opened a new solo show by NYC based Henry Gunderson a couple Saturday nights ago and it was literally packed. So packed I couldn't actually see most of the art - but a big crowd doesn't seem like a problem. I got a good laugh at what I would call the 'cock climbing wall' as it was one of the few pieces I could see over the crowd. I haven't gotten a chance to go back and check it all out again, but I'm definitely going to as the paintings that I could get a peek at were really high quality and intruiguing. You should do the same.


Mario Wagner @Hashimoto

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Serge Gay Jr. @Spoke Art

The paintings in the show are each influenced by a musician, ranging from Freddy Mercury, to Madonna, to A Tribe Called Quest and they are so stylistically consistent with each musician's persona that they read as a cohesive body of work with incredible variation. If you told me they were each painted by a different person, I would not hesitate to believe you and it's really great to see a solo show with so much variety. The show is fun, poppy, very well done, and absolutely worth a look and maybe even a listen.


NYCHOS Mural on Ashbury and Haight

NYCHOS completed this great new mural on the corner of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco on Tuesday. Looks Amazing.


Sun Milk in Vienna

With rising rent in SF and knowing mostly other young artists without capitol, I desired a way to live rent free, have a space to do my craft, and get to see more of the world. Inspired by the many historical artists who have longed similar longings I discovered the beauty of artist residencies. Lilo runs Adhoc Collective in Vienna which not only has a fully equipped artists creative studio, but an indoor halfpipe, and private artist quarters. It was like a modern day castle or skate cathedral. It exists in almost a utopic state, totally free to those that apply and come with a real passion for both art and skateboarding


"How To Lose Yourself Completely" by Bryan Schnelle

I just wanted to share with you a piece I recently finished which took me 4 years to complete. Titled "How To Lose Yourself Completely (The September Issue)", it consists of a copy of the September 2007 issue of Vogue magazine (the issue they made the documentary about) with all faces masked with a sharpie, and everything else entirely whited out. 840 pages of fun. -Bryan Schnelle


Tyler Bewley ~ Recent Works

Some great work from San Francisco based Tyler Bewley.


Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery

While walking our way across San Francisco on Saturday we swung through the opening receptions for Kirk Maxson and Alexis Mackenzie at Eleanor Harwood Gallery in the Mission.


Jeremy Fish Solo Show in Los Angeles

Jeremy Fish opens Hunting Trophies tonight, Saturday April 5th, at the Los Angeles based Mark Moore Gallery. The show features new work from Fish inside the "hunting lodge" where viewers climb inside the head of the hunter and explore the history of all the animals he's killed.


The Albatross and the Shipping Container

Beautiful piece entitled "The Albatross and the Shipping Container", Ink on Paper, Mounted to Panel, 47" Diameter, by San Francisco based Martin Machado now on display at FFDG. Stop in Saturday (1-6pm) to view the group show "Salt the Skies" now running through April 19th. 2277 Mission St. at 19th.


The Marsh Barge - Traveling the Mississippi River from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to quit my job, move out of my house, leave everything and travel again. So on August 21, 2013 I pushed a canoe packed full of gear into the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Lake Itasca, Minnesota, along with four of my best friends. Exactly 100 days later, I arrived at a marina near the Gulf of Mexico in a sailboat.


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