Friday, 4 February 2011

FRESH DAILY: Husky Brown, Banksy, Diamen Hurst, INSA,

INSA’s “More” at Fifty24SF Gallery

Upper Playground and FIFTY24SF Gallery are pleased to announce London-based graffiti, conceptual, and fine artist INSA’s first solo exhibition in San Francisco opening on February 3rd, 2011.

“Within the new body of work in MORE, INSA explores themes of aspiration and expectation, wants versus needs, and happiness versus success in his most comprehensive study to date. Using exaggerated symbols of sexuality representing the commodification of both everyday life and underground subcultures, INSA examines the illusions of seduction while employing his own iconic brand of aesthetic allure to draw the audience in. INSA’s new work revels in lurid excess, embracing the insatiability of consumerism and highlighting the duplicity of morality and enjoyment.
MORE will feature 9 new provocative works, with INSA utilizing media such as sculpture and lights adding to the “glamour” of his work. The exhibition will also feature an exclusive SF edition of INSA’s classic “Heel” print and a selection of photographic prints.”
The exhibition will run at the gallery from February 3rd, 2011 – February 28th, 2011


Photo: by Jasmine Shilcof  

There’s a lot of reasons not to like Damien Hirst these days, ever since he threatened to sue street artist Cartrain for copyright infringement (and nicking a packet of Faber Castell 1990 Mongol 482 series pencils from Damien Hirst’s installation, Pharmacy), much of the art world has given Hirst a wide berth. What’s more they’ve even set up a site and made a tongue-in-cheek promise to raise £20 million from the sale of their Hirst-inspired art to make an exact replica of his diamond skull piece “For The Love of God”. The works include a version of Jamie Reid’s famous Sex Pistols poster, with the diamond skull replacing the head of the Queen in the centre of the Union Jack, for sale for £113.13.

What’s more Hirst was supposed to have stole the idea from an old friend and fellow artist John LeKay,  so the idea that Hirst’s skull could be conceptually copyrighted seems rather ridiculous in hindsight.
But in true Damien Hirst fashion, his retort has been to release another work, this time called “For Heaven’s Sake”. This time featuring the skull of a baby from a 19th Century pathology collection Hirst had previously purchased. There’s a difference between being an ‘enfant terrible’ and a jerk, I don’t think Hirst knows what that difference is…
For Heaven's Sake
Asides issues of taste it’s certain that his former diamond skull never actually sold outright, in fact a consortium which included Hirst himself bought it so I can’t see this one doing any better in the market.

Sticking with the subvertising theme check out the latest project by Seattle basedLead Pencil Collective, an architectural collaboration founded by Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo in 1997. Lead Pencil Studio’s work practice centres around installation art, site specific art, and functional architecture. This piece is called “Non Sign II” and essentially deconstructs the billboard.
See more of their work at

Don’t fret, I’m not about to spew forth marketing gibberish at you, I just wanted to big up a site that really has been a massive political and social influence on much of today’s street art. has something of a mantra when it comes to public space for art: “Outdoor advertising is the primary obstacle to open public communications. By monetizing public space, outdoor advertising has monopolized the surfaces that shape our shared environment. Private property laws protect the communications made by outdoor advertising while systematically preventing public usage of that space. 
For all those sci-fi and futurology freaks out there counting the days to the end of free society, think more low-tech, as basic as paper and ink and a few neon tubes, and you’re there, dystopia is a society of social control, little more. The worst thing about this particular one is that it has no real ideological value, it just wants to grow, like a virus. And that’s why so much money is spent on commercial advertising space. Most major corporations still don’t take the virtual world of the Internet as seriously as they could, why should they? After all, they already have total dominance over the real one.
Essentially PAD is all about subverting the advertising environment, here are a few examples:
White on White (2008)
White on White 
This project involved weaving black and white paper directly over these outdoor advertisements.
Subway Series (2000-2001)
Subway Series 
Shanked (ByDesign) 
Shanked by Design (In Progress)
Shanked by Design (In Progress)
But the project that really hits home for me feels like a strategy from Sun Tzu’s Art of War. Let Me Handle This by Jordan Seller took over plenty of advertising space last year and evolved via a rather cunning plan.
“In this project I request that three advertising takeovers in Philadelphia be allowed to remain on the streets for the duration of my Taking From the Tip Jar exhibition November 5th-December 3rd. If that request is met, this will be the extent of the project, but if the work is removed I will take over six locations in New York. After putting up six works in New York, I will ask that they again be left up until the exhibition is finished. If New York decides to remove my works, Philadelphia will then get 12 pieces, and so on until the exhibition closes or one city decides to grant my small request for public media space after having bombarded me with their messages my entire life.”
Let Me Handle This (2010)
Let Me Handle This -1
Let Me Handle This (2010) 2
Let Me Handle This -2
Let Me Handle This (2010) 3
Let Me Handle This -3
Let Me Handle This (2010) 4
Let Me Handle This - 4
PAD’s ethos has spread throughout the world of street art over the years, inspiring artists such as Kid Zoom in Oz to do the same, usually bus shelters, but hey it’s a start. Check out all the advertising takeovers at Public Ad Campaign.

If you’re into poster art like me, and have spotted the likes of Tom Whalen (heavily inspired by Constructivist Saul Bass) amongst others, doing their retro thang to classic movies like Star Wars and Superman, then it’s time to get bizzle at Poster Shizzle. They need your votes to close out their 2010 competition on the finalists for the 2010 Poster Print of the Year! I have to admit I already have my confirmed favourite, although I am an arthouse nut and a confirmed sucker for anything hippy, trippy and dippy in equal proportions i.e Holy Mountain
Obviously their not all films, there are characters from films, and even the odd TV episode such as “Trouble With Tribbles. Whoever wins, I would suggest that Poster Shizzle gets printing some of these as screen prints and sell limited edition runs, it would be the natural conclusion :/

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