“Good” Gentrification

Last month, when Space Invader was looking for friendly walls to mount his tile-based art, the French street artist found an enthusiastic response in a place far from the galleries and graffiti of Sheung Wan: Sham Shui Po. “The reception was really good,” says Lauren Every-Wortman, a curator at the HOCA Foundation, which sponsored Space […]

Street Art Finds a Scene in Hong Kong

Hopare working in Sheung Wan. This photo and all others from HK Walls Night falls over Stanley Market and a small crowd of people gather in a back lane, staring at the pristine aluminium of a drawn shop shutter. One of them is 4Get, a prolific street artist who travelled here from his home in […]

The Urban Space of Occupied Hong Kong

What surprised me most was the silence. Here I was, standing on what is normally an eight-lane funnel of angry traffic, and the only sounds I could hear were footsteps and the soft murmur of voices. Free of diesel exhaust, the briny scent of the harbour lingered in the air, and a warm breeze ruffled […]

The Last Days of 5 Pointz

Even if you don’t follow street art or hip hop, you might have heard the news: 5 Pointz is dead. Technically, the old warehouse in Long Island City is still standing — though it is slated for redevelopment — but its essence as an art space was stripped away in the early hours of November […]

Roadsworth’s Legacy

Eight years ago, I was crossing Fairmount Avenue near my apartment in Montreal’s Mile End district when I noticed a strange addition to the zebra crossing beneath my feet: barbed wire. Not actual barbed wire, but a painted rendition of it along the edge of the crosswalk, half in yellow, the other half white, both […]

The Other Colors of La Boca

The rainbow-hued streetscape squats somewhere on nearly every postcard of Buenos Aires — those, that is, it doesn’t dominate — like some psychedelic, bizarro-world version of the city, a clownish counterpart to the stately Second Empire apartment houses lining the boulevards of Retiro and Recoleta. “The Paris of South America” this isn’t — La Boca, […]

Posted in: Art and Design, History, Latin America by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on The Other Colors of La Boca , , ,

Graffiti Republic

Splat! Before Greece erupted into riots against austerity measures, before the sit-ins that convulsed public squares across Spain, long before 2011’s tumultuous protests against world financial systems began “kicking off everywhere“, things had long since kicked off in Argentina. The 2001 protests that gripped the country during its madcap financial crisis offered a sort of […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Latin America, Politics, Public Space by Christopher Szabla Comments Off on Graffiti Republic , , , , ,

New Art, Old Wall

If you walk through San Lorenzo, currently one of Rome’s most “trendy” neighborhoods (even if it’s also said to be “underground”) you will probably come upon this very old wall while jumping off of Tram no. 19.

Posted in: Art and Design, Europe by Daniel Corbeil Comments Off on New Art, Old Wall , ,

Seen in Sheung Wan

Though street art is not as pervasive in Hong Kong as it is in European and North American cities, it is very common in certain neighbourhoods. Sheung Wan is one of them. In the district’s many back lanes and quiet streets, just about every spare surface is covered with a tag, stencil or poster. Last […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Public Space, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Seen in Sheung Wan , , , ,

Brooklyn’s Fractured Faces

Know which leafy block to turn down off the numbered avenues of Brooklyn’s Park Slope, squint past the bright spots of sun and deep shadows dappling the ground late into a summer day, and you can puzzle them together — a series of portraits, “ghostly apparitions” as the New York Times called them — spanning […]

In Defence of Street Art

Ai Wei Wei projection graffiti, Hong Kong. Photo by Cpak Ming This month, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles opened a new exhibition on the history of street art and graffiti, the first such show at a major American museum. It has been greeted by controversy. One of the curators has been accused […]

Music for the Kinetic Metropolis

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5NDzSsotvs[/youtube] Every so often a musician comes along that captures the mood of a city, or at least a certain subset of its time and population. George Gershwin’s compositions embodied the bittersweet optimism of the striver’s New York; more recently, LCD Soundsystem evokes the disaffection felt in the gentrified, Bloomberg-era city. And what better represents […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Music, Public Space, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Music for the Kinetic Metropolis , , , ,

Who’s Afraid of Ai Wei Wei?

At three o’clock on Wednesday morning, the air beneath the Central Mid-Levels Escalator became thick with the fumes of spray paint as a young university student left a message on the escalator’s pillars: “Who’s afraid of Ai Wei Wei?” Over the past week, the student, nicknamed Chin, has blitzed some of Hong Kong’s most high-profile […]

Public Service Murals in Suzhou

After spotting a series of public service mosaics around Shanghai’s old alleys, I’ve been keeping my eye out for similar posters on out-of-town trips. My latest trip to Suzhou had been fruitful. I spotted this row of lovely painted murals while strolling through a quiet lane parallel to the busy Shiquan Street (十全街), which emphasized […]