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Russia to cheeky Bulgarians: Quit messing up our war memorials

ukraine bulgaria
Vandalizing Soviet-era war memorials to fallen soldiers in clever ways in Eastern Europe has become an anonymous sport. Well, Russian diplomats call it vandalism. Others call it awesome street art.

The Russian government has gotten increasingly pissed off by the attacks on the frequently targeted bas relief sculptures on the west side of the pedestal of the Monument to the Soviet Army in Sofia, Bulgaria. The Russian embassy officially requested that Bulgarian authorities clean up the most recent incident this month, in which red paint was daubed on the monument on the eve of the 123rd anniversary of the founding of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, track down and punish those responsible, and do more to protect the statues instead of what they’re probably doing now, which is taking photos of it with their smartphones each time it’s vandalized.
Earlier this year the monument was spray-painted the colors of the Ukrainian flag. In 2011 the long-suffering soldier statues on the monument were notoriously painted to include Ronald McDonald, Wonder Woman, Robin, Santa Claus, The Joker, The Mask, Superman, Wolverine, Captain America, and an American flag. In 2012 balaclavas like the members of Pussy Riot wore were painted on the figures and, in separate incidents, Guy Fawkes “Anonymous” masks and ski masks were placed over the soldiers’ faces. Last August the monument was painted pink with apologies in Bulgarian and Czech for Bulgarian participation in the suppression of the Prague Spring uprising in Czechoslovakia in 1968. Pink was the chosen color in a tribute to Czech prankster and artist David Cerny, who painted a Soviet war memorial in central Prague (Monument of Soviet Tank Crews) pink in 1991. When Cerny was arrested, supporters repainted the tank pink. Similar defacement of Soviet monuments have taken place in Estonia and Romania.
Cerny is also known for floating a boat on the Vltava River containing an enormous purple hand flipping the bird at the Czech government building last fall.

People who object to this sort of behavior have asked that the Bulgarian memorial be moved to the fairly new and apparently disappointing Museum of Socialist Art. The monument’s most hostile critics think it should have been destroyed after the fall of the Soviet Union, so it’s probably fair game as a focal point for political and cultural protests by activists and general mischief.

Posted by Kimberly J. Bright | Leave a comment
Another piece of bloody street art…
12:52 pm


street art

tampon street art
I actually had to do a double-take on this one, but this lil’ lady—as seen in Richmond, Virginia—is downright endearing! Banksy’s all well and good, but who doesn’t love a winsome piece on “the curse.”

The blood flowing into the grate is a nice touch, too!
Via Bust

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Appropriation in the age of mediated struggle: Noam Galai’s ‘stolen scream’

New York-based Israeli photographer Noam Galai’s 2006 shots of himself screaming have become unexpectedly widespread emblems of angst and rage that could possibly reach the ubiquity in radical politics of Alberto Korda’s Guerrillero Heroico photo of Che Guevara.

Pro photography blog FStoppers got the exclusive on the fascinating story of Galai’s whim-turned-digital-phenomenon, which spans from his studio to about 40 countries and counting.

After much exploitation of his holler, Galai’s seen fit to cash in himself, which makes sense.


Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
Stealing and selling a Banksy

Over the past couple of years, the hyper-ascension of everyone’s favorite street artist has led to all kinds of phenomena, including the mainstreaming of the artform and, yes, its commodification.

In the case of Banksy, the adventure of anonymously creating public pieces is being matched by the similar adventure of swiping and selling them. LA Weekly photographer Ted Soqui’s report on the theft of Banksy’s Caution (after it got tagged) in East L.A. (pictured in sequence L-R above) put me in the mind of Jamaican edge-culture worker Peter Dean Rickards’s 2008 jacking of a larger piece that ol’ Mr. Anonymous tossed onto the outside wall of a Kingston pub. Rickards—who does business as Afflicted Yard—shot the video below, which also documents the amazing dynamics that can happen when a dozen Jamaican men work on the same project.

The Afflicted Yard: The Rock from Peter Dean Rickards on Vimeo.

After the jump: yes, a documentary about how to steal and sell a Banksy…

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
Yekpare: Fantastic Urban Projection from Istanbul

As the art of urban projection has grown, its scope has started blasting out into contexts beyond simply pretty pictures on building. Yekpare is one of the most amazing pieces in the format that I’ve seen yet. Art-directed by Deniz Kader and Candaş Şişman of the firm Nerdworking and soundtracked by Görkem Şen, Yekpare is a project that douses Istanbul’s Haydarpaşa Train Station in the symbological 8,500 year history of the city. From the writeup:

The story embraces symbols from Pagans to Roman Empire, from Byzantine Empire to Latin Empire, and finally from Ottoman Empire to Istanbul at the present day…
Haydarpaşa Train Station, with its brilliant architectural forms, is the building on which the story is projected. The connection between middle east to west has been provided by Istanbul and Haydarpaşa since 1906..
The project’s conceptual, political and geographical positioning, the location’s depth of field and the fact that the entire show can be watched from Kadıköy coast; make “Yekpare” a dramatic presentation.


‘YEKPARE’ (monolithic) from nerdworking on Vimeo.

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
Big Bang Big Boom: Incredible new urban art animation by Blu

One of the true tests of innovative sequential/evolving visual art is whether it hits you as a fantastic story that a little kid could describe…”Then the van had eyes and then it ate the worm…” This thing does it.

Although the anonymous, hyper-proficient Bologna-based artist Blu has nothing near the global profile of Banksy, s/he’s shown and worked in as many regions, including the wall at the West Bank. S/he’s also been able to work stop-motion animation into his/her ouvre, and the ten-minute video below is the latest fruit.

It seems absolutely relentless and almost epic in its scope. Enjoy.

BIG BAG BIG BOOM - the new wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

via Reckon


Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
Aliens, bleeding walls and too many cops: The amazing public light art of Madrid’s luzinterrup

The global metropolis is seeing a golden age of street art nowadays, as seen in the evolution from spraycan through stencil/wheatpaste and on to other outdoor installations. The Luzinterruptus crew from Madrid has been doing some amazing light-work lately with some compelling underlying themes.
Their latest, Ejército de platillos volantes desechables (above), saw them land an army of disposable flying saucers in Parque del Oeste, the home of the rebuilt ancient Egyptian Temple of Debod.
Before that, the Luz’ers’ Publicidad herida de muerte (Mortally Wounded Advertising) commented on the thick layer of posters that cover the city’s walls by making them bleed fire.
Some months ago, curator Sebastian Buck in Good Magazine surfaced Luz’s Tanta Policía, para tan Poca Gente… (Lots of Cops for So Few People), in which the crew protested the increased police presence in their East Villagesque Malasana neighborhood by decorating 50 random cars with homemade replicas of the city’s official blue siren.


Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment