Category: Graffiti

Shepard Fairey creates music video with indie band Death Cab for Cutie

May 16, 2011 |  9:00 am

Shepard Fairey is no stranger to the world of indie rock. The L.A. street artist has carved out a side career as a DJ and has made his share of album cover art for edgy bands. Recently, Fairey participated in the making of a music video for Death Cab for Cutie. The video, above, is for the single "Home Is a Fire," from the forthcoming album "Codes and Keys."

Fairey collaborated on the video with Death Cab bassist Nick Harmer. The video captures the poetic emptiness of of L.A. streets around Echo Park and downtown. It also pays special attention to the graffiti and street art that can be found in the neighborhoods, including some street art by Fairey himself.

On the band's website, Harmer states that Fairey is a friend: "It was a logical step in my mind to take a song about redefining familiar space and connect it to the visual artistic expression of street art... So I called Shepard and asked him if he would be into figuring out a way to do this and also make it compelling. From the very first conversation, Shepard could see this intersection between his world and mine and knew exactly what to do and how to do it."


Fairey Art review: 'Art in the Streets' at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

Shepard Fairey to settle 'Hope' poster case with Associated Press

Shepard Fairey weighs in on MOCA's mural controversy

Graffiti and street art show to take over MOCA's Geffen Contemporary

-- David Ng

 Photo: Shepard Fairey. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Monster Mash: Tony nominations announced, Navy SEALs to get tribute from 9/11 museum

May 3, 2011 |  6:51 am

Book of Mormon Knocking on Tony's door: "The Book of Mormon," the hit musical from the "South Park" team led Tuesday morning's Tony nomination announcement with 14 nods. (Los Angeles Times) 

Tribute: Organizers behind the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York say there will be a special tribute to the Navy SEALs who killed Osama bin Laden. (1010 WINS, via CBS New York)

Cracking down: Graffiti appearing across Hong Kong in support of detained artist Ai Weiwei has sparked a warning by the Chinese army. (Reuters)

Lost, then found: A Gerhard Richter painting thought by the artist to have been destroyed emerges at an auction. (The Guardian)
And the winner is: Sturtevant and Franz West are named recipients of the Venice Biennale Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 54th International Art Exhibition. (Venice Biennale)

Masterpiece: The Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena is borrowing a painting by 17th century Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. (Los Angeles Times)

Drama continues: Broadway impresario Garth Drabinsky and his business partner Myron Gottlieb continue court battle to overturn their 2009 conviction for fraud and forgery. (Toronto Sun)
Music man? Playwright Edward Albee says, “I probably think of myself half the time as a composer.” (Telegraph)
Money in: National Endowment for the Humanities awards $2 million in grants to Southern California arts and cultural institutions. (Los Angeles Times)

In public: Julie Taymor spoke obliquely about "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" at a recent interview at the Tribeca Film Festival. (Wall Street Journal)

Stepping down: Peter Galassi, the chief curator of photography at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, will retire in July. (New York Times)

Stepping up: Conductor Daniel Barenboim is scheduled to lead an orchestra of European musicians in a peace concert in Gaza on Tuesday. (Wall Street Journal)

Ripped from the headlines: Cynthia Nixon is expected to play a character loosely inspired by Julie Taymor in an episode of "Law & Order: Criminal Intent." (TV Line)

Leaving: Bolton Colburn is resigning after 14 years as the director of the Laguna Art Museum. (Los Angeles Times)

Money trouble: The director of the Austin Lyric Opera is resigning as the company deals with $1 million in debt. (Austin American Statesmen)

Also in the L.A. Times: ‎Art critic Christopher Knight reviews "Paris: Life & Luxury in the 18th Century" at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

-- David Ng


Monster Mash: New 'Spider-Man' creative team greets the public; micro-sculpture of Britain's royal couple

April 27, 2011 |  7:50 am


This post has been corrected. Please see note at bottom for details.

Positive spin: The new creative team of "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" visited NBC's "Today" show Tuesday to discuss the revisions to the troubled Broadway musical. (NBC, via Hulu)

Royal couple: A microscopic sculpture of Prince William and his bride-to-be, Kate Middleton, has gone on display in Birmingham, England. (BBC News)

Get the guests: Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" will return to Broadway in October 2012, starring Tracy Letts and Amy Morton. (Playbill)

Prison time: The tagger known as Revok has been sentenced to 180 days in jail after a judge found that he had violated the terms of his probation in a previous vandalism conviction. (Los Angeles Times)

Major donation: The Petersen Automotive Museum in L.A. has received a gift of $100 million in buildings, land, cash and cars from the widow of its founder. (Los Angeles Times)

Strings attached: A mystery donor has given the University of Sydney in Australia a Picasso painting worth as much as $20 million on the condition that it is sold to fund scientific research. (Agence France-Presse)

Play for pay: Orchestra musicians with the Crystal Cathedral in Orange County walked out of Easter service over lack of pay. (Los Angeles Times)

Shakespeare and more: New York's Public Theater has announced the lineup for its upcoming season. (New York Times)

Heated: A panel addressing the censorship controversy at the Smithsonian has brought out impassioned rhetoric from curators and art experts. (Washington Post)

Exclusivity: The Gagosian Gallery has reached an agreement to be the sole gallery worldwide to sell and mount exhibitions of the work of photographer Richard Avedon. (Associated Press)

Before she was famous: The Catalina Island Museum is hosting an exhibition of rare artifacts from the life of Marilyn Monroe. (Los Angeles Times)

Singing about money: An economic index of home prices has been converted into an opera. (NPR)

Honored: The nominations for the Outer Critics Circle Awards, recognizing Broadway and off-Broadway productions, have been announced. (Theatermania)

Also in the L.A. Times: Jennifer Aniston will participate in the L.A. debut of the 24 Hour Plays, at the Broad Stage in June.

For the record: A previous version of this post had an incorrect opening date for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"

-- David Ng

Photo: The Foxwoods Theatre in New York, home of "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark." Credit: Mark Lennihan / Associated Press


Monster Mash: Revok arrested in L.A.; Hong Kong protesters rally for Ai Weiwei

April 25, 2011 |  7:50 am


Busted: "Revok," one of Los Angeles' best-known taggers, was arrested recently as he prepared to board a plane to Ireland at Los Angeles International Airport. (Los Angeles Times)

Angered: More than a thousand protesters in Hong Kong took to the streets Saturday to demand the release of detained Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. (Reuters)

Passion project: Actor Michael Sheen gave a 72-hour live performance as Christ in the Passion play over the Easter weekend in a town in Wales. (Daily Mail)

Made in the USA: Some lawmakers want all of the Smithsonian's gift shops to sell only U.S.-made products. (Los Angeles Times)

Ripped from the headlines: NBC's "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" is rumored to be using "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" as the basis for a future episode. (TV Line)

Cultural diplomacy: Two pieces of a torn 660-year-old Chinese painting held by Taiwan and mainland China will be reunited for the first time in centuries at an exhibit at Taiwan's national museum. (Associated Press)

High-tech: The Metropolitan Opera debuted its new staging of "Die Walküre" over the weekend, the second installment in its new production of Wagner's "Ring" cycle. (New York Times)

Passing: Composer Peter Lieberson has died at age 64. (New York Times)

Also in the L.A. Times: Music critic Mark Swed reviews Lisztomania, courtesy of Jacaranda, in Santa Monica, and "60 Minutes" profiles billionaire Eli Broad.

-- David Ng

Photo: The graffiti artist known as Revok, in 2009. Credit: Mark Ralston / AFP/Getty Images

Monster Mash: Downtown L.A. grapples with rise in tagging, graffiti; Metropolitan Opera headed to Japan

April 20, 2011 |  7:50 am


Graffiti: Authorities in downtown L.A. continue to deal with a rash of illegal tagging and graffiti that they say is spawned by the "Art in the Streets" exhibit at MOCA's Geffen Contemporary. (Los Angeles Times)

Heading overseas: The Metropolitan Opera has decided to move forward with its planned tour in Japan, despite some objections from artists. (The Wall Street Journal)

Underappreciated: Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne on L.A.'s landscape architects. (Los Angeles Times)

Legal troubles: Guy Wildenstein, a prominent art dealer, is mired in a number of lawsuits. (New York Times)

Unexplained: A Chinese human-rights lawyer linked to the missing artist Ai Weiwei has reemerged after a mysterious five-day disappearance. (The Guardian)

Funny: A painting that depicts WikiLeaks' Julian Assange urinating into Uncle Sam's hat has won Australia's Bald Archy prize, a parody of the prestigious Aussie portraiture award the Archibald Prize. (Sydney Morning Herald)

Change of heart: Local government officials in Marin County have changed their minds about a nude painting they pulled from a local art show. (Marin Independent Journal, via San Jose Mercury News)

Becoming a reality: Construction of the new Boston Tea Party Museum began this week with a groundbreaking ceremony. (Boston Herald)

Also in the L.A. Times: DJs are coming to the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City.

-- David Ng

Photo: A space invader made of tiles is on the side of a building at the corner of 4th and Alameda streets in Los Angeles. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / For the Los Angeles Times

Art review: 'Art in the Streets' at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA

April 15, 2011 |  4:46 pm


It’s generally not a good idea to censor a mural you commissioned, especially when that mural is part of a show about uncommissioned street art.

When Museum of Contemporary Art director and curator Jeffrey Deitch whitewashed a mural by Italian artist Blu in December, the episode perfectly illustrated how graffiti’s unruly, in-your-face attitude, even when sanitized under the banner of “street art,” might not be a good fit for a museum retrospective. The very idea of the exhibition “Art in the Streets” at the Geffen Contemporary asks whether this erstwhile outlaw culture can or should be folded into the grand narrative of art history.

Despite its first, faltering steps, the exhibition answers this question with a resounding “Yes.” Viewers will encounter a bombastic, near-overwhelming cavalcade of eye candy: colorful swirling murals, immersive installations, walls papered with candid and provocative photos, and a custom-designed skate ramp. Immodestly anticipating the response, there’s even a big “WOW” painted on the inside of the building’s roll down doors. But the exhibition’s strong suit is not its impressive array of large-scale work but rather its art historical treatment of an outsider form, complete with a timeline, “period” rooms, and plenty of video and photographic documentation.

Continue reading »

Monster Mash: Taggers leave their mark ahead of MOCA show; Ai Weiwei supporters plan protest

April 15, 2011 |  7:45 am


There goes the neighborhood: Graffiti vandalism has hit the area surrounding the Geffen Contemporary in downtown L.A. ahead of the big opening of MOCA's street-art exhibition. (Los Angeles Times)

Sending a message: Supporters of Ai Weiwei are organizing a peaceful sit-down demonstration Sunday as a show of solidarity for the artist who has been detained by Chinese officials. (Los Angeles Times)

Upset: Musicians of the Philadelphia Orchestra have publicly expressed their opposition to a possible declaration of bankruptcy by the music group. (ABC 7 News)

Leading man: Samuel L. Jackson will star in the upcoming Broadway production of "The Mountaintop" by Katori Hall, but Halle Berry won't. (Los Angeles Times)

Last chance: This is the last weekend to see Julie Taymor's version of "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" before the Broadway musical goes on hiatus starting Tuesday to implement major revisions. (New York Times)

Lineup: London's Royal Opera House has announced its 2011-12 season, which will include a special concert with Plácido Domingo. (The Telegraph)

Honored: The shortlist for the 2011 BP Portrait Award has been announced. (The Guardian)

Art and money: Russia has launched its first major private art fund on the Moscow stock exchange this week. (Reuters)

Also in the L.A. Times: Theater critic Charles McNulty reviews "God of Carnage" by Yasmina Reza at the Ahmanson Theatre.

-- David Ng

Photo: Workers outside the Geffen Contemporary in downtown L.A. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times

MOCA's 'Art in the Streets' exhibition brings unwanted neighborhood effect: graffiti vandalism

April 14, 2011 |  4:24 pm


While museum director Jeffrey Deitch was unveiling his "Art in the Streets" exhibition Thursday at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in a preview for invited guests, the Los Angeles Police Department reported a spike in graffiti and vandalism in the museum's Little Toyko neighborhood.

Deitch addressed the media and a crowd that included Shepard Fairey, Fab 5 Freddy and other graffiti and street artists whose works are on display in the expansive survey, which opens to the public Sunday. The press event took place in front of a Metro bus newly painted by RISK, a Los Angeles graffiti artist.

As our sister blog LA Now reports here, the LAPD has noted dozens of tags, including monikers and larger so-called bombs showing up in the last two days on several commercial buildings behind 1st Street as well dumpsters and light poles within a stone's throw of the museum entrance.

LAPD Officer Jack Richter told LA Now, "We respect the rights to have an art exhibition, but we demand the security of other people's property."

Deitch told Culture Monster that MOCA anticipated that what's being billed as the first major U.S. museum exhibition on graffiti and street art could bring unwanted and unauthorized ancillary activity from "some of the young taggers who are anarchic. ... It's a language of youth culture, and we can't stop it. It goes with the territory."

But in hopes of minimizing the impact on neighbors, he said, "we're making an extra effort" by instructing security guards patrolling outside the museum to keep an eye on the surrounding neighborhood as well. Deitch declined to give specifics on what that would entail.

Continue reading »

Ex-colleague of Jeffrey Deitch to curate art show coinciding with his big MOCA moment

April 7, 2011 |  8:45 am

Show Jeffrey Deitch’s first big initiative as director of L.A.’s Museum of Contemporary Art is “Art in the Streets,” which opens April 17 at the Geffen Contemporary, billed as “the first major U.S. museum exhibition on the history of graffiti and street art.”

Turns out that a former colleague from his previous life as an art dealer is curating a gallery show in Culver City that's timed to coincide with her old boss' doings in downtown L.A. Kathy Grayson, who was gallery director for Deitch Projects, the New York City art business that Deitch liquidated so he could accept the MOCA job, has organized “Facemaker,” a show about contemporary artists’ conceptions of the human face, which opens April 14 at Royal/T, a 10,000-square-foot venue that features an art space, store and Japanese-themed cafe. 

The show’s announcement says the focus is on art that “challenges our assumptions and makes us consider the face in new ways.”  It aims to have its own street-art dimension, and the announcement promises a substantial overlap with figures whose work is included in “Art in the Streets.” Among the artists in the show at Royal/T are Shepard Fairey, Takashi Murakami, Barry McGee and Kenny Scharf. The title piece (pictured), by L.A.-based Ben Jones, is a large-screen video installation of shifting faces.

Along with Meghan Coleman, a former Deitch Projects colleague, curator Grayson is proprietor of the Hole, a Manhattan gallery launched last June, just as their ex-boss began at MOCA. They started it as a home for some of the artists who had been represented by Deitch Projects, naming it to suggest that his 3,000-mile jump had left a hole behind.


DeitchIllustrationbyWes Blu says MOCA's removal of his mural amounts to censorship

Critic's notebook: MOCA's complicated choice of a new director

Jeffrey Deitch on to another art adventure at MOCA

-- Mike Boehm

Photo: Screen shot from Ben Jones' video artwork "Facemaker." Credit: Courtesy of the Hole (NYC).

Monster Mash: More changes for Broadway's 'Spider-Man'; Tom Hooper circling big-screen 'Les Miz'

March 25, 2011 |  7:50 am


Out with the old: Producers of Broadway's "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" have hired choreographer Chase Brock to replace the original choreographer, Daniel Ezralow. (

In with the new: The cast members of Broadway's "Spider-Man" will have their first reading of the new script on Friday afternoon. The script is expected to do away with the "Geek Chorus" narrators created by Julie Taymor. (Broadway World and the New York Times)

Do you hear the people sing?: Tom Hooper, the Oscar-winning director of "The King's Speech," is in talks to helm the first big-screen adaptation of the musical "Les Miserables." (Variety)

Verdict: The L.A. graffiti artist known as Smear has been sentenced to 13 days in jail and 45 days of graffiti removal for violating his probation in a vandalism case. (Los Angeles Times)

Paying respect: Broadway theaters will dim their lights Friday in remembrance of Elizabeth Taylor. (Reuters)

Ensemble comedy: An early look at Roman Polanski's film version of the play "God of Carnage," by Yasmina Reza. (Indiewire)

Genius: Six letters written by Frederic Chopin, which were thought to have been lost since World War II, have been revealed by the Polish museum dedicated to the composer. (Agence France-Presse)

Passing: Lanford Wilson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, has died at age 73. (Los Angeles Times)

Major gifts: Philanthropist Vivien Duffield has donated $13.3 million to 11 cultural organizations across Britain for children's education. (Reuters)

For sale: An Andy Warhol portrait of Elizabeth Taylor could fetch $30 million at auction. (Los Angeles Times)

Eagerly anticipated: New York's Playwrights Horizons has announced its lineup for the 2011-12 season. (Playbill)

Funny: An ice sculptor has created a "sad Julie Taymor" work of art. (Culture Vulture at New York magazine)

Also in the L.A. Times: Times theater critic Charles McNulty reviews "The Book of Mormon" on Broadway; a review of Nederlands Dans Theater at the Music Center.

-- David Ng

Photo: Outside New York's Foxwoods Theatre, home of "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark." Credit: Mark Lennihan / Associated Press



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