OLEK explores issues of women’s empowerment in INDIA

Olek Image_Photo Credit Pranav Mehta

Olek Image_Photo Credit Pranav Mehta

Crochet artist OLEK is in New Delhi working on a massive project for the ongoing St+art Delhi Street Art Festival. Within the first few days of her arrival in India, Olek held workshops on crochet techniques with volunteers and women from several different organizations.

Olek, whose work often examines sexuality, feminist ideas and the evolution of communication is collaborating with a number of other women who have volunteered. Together they are crocheting thousands of meters of yarn and fabric at a workshop in South Extension.

Since then, the women have been given several meters of fabric, which they take back home with them and crochet into hearts and butterflies and other forms, which will all, be used to make a larger artwork for the project. This project aims to bring attention to the temporary night shelters “Raine Basera” which have been setup throughout the city; it also explores the issues of women empowerment. The women workers involved range from housewives, working professionals to students – across a diverse socio-economic background.

“The government has taken a great initiative by setting up homeless shelters all across the city, but a majority of people are unaware of their existence. Olek is an iconic name in the global street art community and her projects are always vibrant and work around empowering women. Through this project we aim to draw the attention of the whole city towards this positive initiative, while working with women from different walks of life to bring this project to life,” says Akshat Nauriyal, Content Director, St+art Delhi.

OLEK will install this one-of-a-kind project on the family night shelter – about 40 ft long and 8 foot high – in the Sarai Kale Khan area of New Delhi on March 17th.

Thanks to St+art Delhi, we can give you a peek at the making of her final piece.

 

Olek Profile (2)_ Photo Credit Pranav Mehta

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The Candy Lab

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Depriving an artist of credit for their work is not what I’m in the habit of doing. Frankly, that is not what I’m trying to do now. But for the love of God, please don’t tell me your little Middle School heart isn’t racing right now. Because you, much like I, momentarily thought that Lisa Frank has reinvented herself as a contemporary artist. Or at the least, that your middle school locker was touched by a magic wand that made the LF world melt off your notebooks, Trapper Keepers and pencils, spilling out onto the floor.

Will the truth hurt you now? Will you be sad to know Lisa Frank is not the artist? Do you need a second before I disclose that the artists go by the name of Pip & Pop? It is still a pretty cute, cough up rainbows name.

Pip & Pop, is a collaboration between Australian artists Tanya Schultz & Nicole Andrijevic.  We did find out that Andrijevic left to follow a different direction while Tanya continues to create elaborate installations and works, sometimes individually and sometimes with other artists and friends.

The intricate patterned floor installations are made with a dreamy combination of colorful candy, glitter, sand, toys, beads, and other bright objects. The only thing left to ask is ‘Where are the Unicorns?’

Enjoy these pictures from their latest exhibit, The Candy Lab.

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via MyModernMet

Aching to know about the Bjork Retrospective at MoMA?

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This Sunday’s opening of the Björk Retrospective is sure to bring in swarms of fans and folks curious as to what all the hype is about.

The show draws from more than 20 years of Björk’s innovative career.  It took years for MoMA’s Chief Curator, Klaus Biesenbach to convince Björk to do this show – her chief concern as a musician was the museum being able to provide the same visceral experience one can enjoy with paintings with music at its core.

Chronologically, the exhibition begins with the release of Björk’s first solo album, Debut, and proceeds through her career up to her most recent work in 2015, including a new video and music installation commissioned especially for the Museum, Black Lake (which also appears on her new album, Vulnicura).

The experience begins in the museum’s lobby, where you’ll encounter musical instruments programmed to play music and sounds from her seventh album, Biophilia. The only one I saw during the preview was the Gravity Harp designed by Andrew Cavatorta.

The other instruments promised – a Tesla coil,  a gameleste (combination of a gamelan and a celesta) and pipe organ, will hopefully be on display by the opening of the show.

Then onto the Marron Atrium for the immersive sound and sight experience, Songlines…

It begins in a dark corridor, not unlike the corral they used during the Tim Burton retrospective. I’m sure it’s meant to entertain you while you wait to enter the actual exhibit (suitable for those long summer lines sure to come).  Monitors flank both sides of the lines, playing excerpts from a range of her concerts.

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You’re about to take a 45-minute guided tour through her seven albums: Debut (1993), Post (1995), Homogenic (1997), Vespertine (2001), Medulla (2004), Volta (2007), and Biophilia (2011).  Think of it as a Björk concert – colored lights, transformative music, and those iconic wacky outfits.  Before you enter, you’re given a device and a headset, and asked to listen to a 2-minute introduction preparing you for the accompanying fictious biographical journey written by Icelandic writer and longtime Björk collaborator, Sjón.

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This is not intended to be your normal museum experience – instead of rushing through – you are supposed to pace yourself with the story that unfolds. Your device leads the way; the screens changes in time with the next chapter of the story  – the next album graphic that appears signals your entry into the next portal a’ la Björk.  Making sure there’s no confusion, each room is also denoted with the album graphic seen on your device.

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Here’s the deal – you can’t force people not to charge ahead, but if you shut out the distractions (difficult to do with the limited amount of space versus the number of people that might be in the room with you at any given time) and give yourself over to the imaginative story backed by classic Björk songs, the next 43 minutes should be a intimate poetic dance of words, accompanied by visual images that embody the essence of a Björk show (i.e. not Björk herself).  If you, like me, can map out college and all the years after with her music – you will geek out over the memorabilia.

I warn those who are not onboard with magical realism – this narration, coupled with the wispy, tiny voice of Icelandic actress Margrét Vilhjálmsdóttir might just come off as nonsensical storytelling.

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Hussein Chalayan, Turkish Cyproit, British, born 1970 Airmail Jacket, 1994/2015 Tyvek, from the cover of POST

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Chris Cunningham, British, born 1970 “All is Full of Love” Robots, 1999

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Alexander McQueen, British, 1969–2010 “Pagan Poetry” Dress, 2001 / Matthew Barney, American, born 1967 Vespertine Music Box, 2001 acrylic, brass and copper mechanical apparatus /Vespertine Live Shoes, 2001 Acrylic

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Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir aka Shoplifter, Icelandic, born 1969 Medulla hair piece, 2004 Human hair and mesh fabric / Alexander McQueen, British, 1969–2010 Bell Dress, 2004 Silk, metal bells

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Icelandic Love Corporation Wild Woman Voodoo Granny Doily Crochet, 2007/2015 Woolen yarn, wood, foam, polyester and plastic

 

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Bjork’s Journals containing song lyrics from around the time of Debut.

There’s a cinema space showing a chronological presentation of Björk’s music videos, it clocks in at a little over 4 hours.  Considering the time you’ll spend waiting to see the other exhibits, I’d recommend watching those babies on your big screen tv in the comfort of your own home (youtube anyone?).

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Instead, head over to the lower level of the Marron Atrium for, Black Lake.  Sorry to tell you – there will be more standing in line.  Our wait, however, was rewarded with a visit from Bjork – in full cactus regalia – who gave a quick thank you speech in that wonderful fantasy world voice of hers.

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Bjork. Still from “Black Lake,” commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and directed by Andrew Thomas Huang, 2015. Courtesy of Wellhart and One Little Indian

Hello, hard-core Björk fans, this is where the magic happens – Black Lake is a 10-minute video, commissioned by MoMA, filmed on location in Iceland.  Like most Björk productions, its ambitious and wrought with emotion.  Most already know that this song is about her ending relationship with Matthew Barney.  This is what I love about Björk – that raw space she allows you to inhabit – this was definitely a wound.

The video plays on two huge screens situated to the left and the right of the viewer, in a space made to evoke the feeling of the cavernous space she filmed most of the video inside. There are beats that resound against the walls and bounce against you like heartbeats. She sings with such anguish that at times it seems too much, being filled up with her emotion and yours.  Thank goodness for those huge gaps where the beat dies down leaving the aching to subside – only for it to begin again – for your heartbeat to start back up. There’s a part in the video where she pounds on her chest in panicked steady beats – love dies and the old self with it, to survive you must make yourself anew – it was like watching a pained resuscitation.  What’s not said (cool fact) is that she never lipsynced this – Björk sung this passionately take after take until they got it just right.

It’s not a perfect retrospective, I wish the costumes were just there instead of placed on weird Madame Tussaud statues. Instead of merely hosting videos, maybe some behind the scene workings of the albums themselves would have worked. I mean, Medulla was a triumph all in itself.  That album was created almost entirely a capella, constructed with human vocals. During the press conference, they talked extensively about her creative process – totally absent from the exhibits. I’m tempted to say that the backstory of the undertaking is far more interesting than elements of the actual show.

Needless to say, in spite of all that, I enjoyed myself.  Maybe I’m biased because I’m a huge Björk fan.  If you like nothing else about the retrospective, focus on the evolution and beauty of her music that moves you and hope that that was the point all along because after you’ve spent hours in these exhibits she remains ever the enigma.

Maybe that’s what was always intended.

Banksy’s Latest Protest Pops up in Gaza, Palestine

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About an hour ago, Banksy posted a video of his time in Gaza on his Instagram account. ‘Make this the year YOU discover a new destination’ is set up like a travel channel ad, laced with a hip – makes you want to be there right now – soundtrack. Every vacation sale, well-written one-liner that pops on screen is quickly doused with real ‘wake up’ stats on Gaza living.

This comes after this single shot on Instagram earlier today of Banksy’s latest protest.

#Banksy #Gaza

A photo posted by Banksy (@banksy) on

The piece entitled “Bomb Damage” is located in Gaza, Palestine. Inspired by a sculpture of Niobe, a Greek mythological figure, a symbol of mourning, a bereaved mother, weeping for the loss of her children. It is said that after Apollo slaughtered her seven sons and Artemis killed her seven daughters, Niobe was so stricken with grief that she fled to Mount Sipylus where she turned to stone.

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Three other new pieces were also revealed to be peppered around Gaza.

 

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Along with quotes that were enclosed with the images of the stenciled pieces:

Gaza is often described as ‘the world’s largest open air prison’ because no-one is allowed to enter or leave. But that seems a bit unfair to prisons – they don’t have their electricity and drinking water cut off randomly almost everyday.  — Banksy

A local man came up and said ‘Please – what does this mean?’ I explained I wanted to highlight the destruction in Gaza by posting photos on my website – but on the internet people only look at pictures of kittens. — Banksy

via StreetArtNews

pics courtesy of StreetArtNews / video and Instagram pulled from Bansky site.

COOKIE MONSTER VISITS THE MET, MOMA AND GUGGENHEIM ON HIS ART TOUR

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It was epic. Yesterday, Cookie Monster left Sesame Street to visit the Met, MoMA and the Guggenheim on his art tour. Not to mention that in support of his tour, Big Bird finally tweeted from his account, and the interchange between he and Cookie couldn’t have been more adorbs…


I mean, I was so excited about the tour that I had to pull over to the side of the road when the first Instagram surfaced of Cookie Monster in the MET.  There’s no denying that people who grew up with the characters from Jim Henson’s Workshop have a hard time acknowledging that they are merely… nope I won’t say it.  Let’s just say there was no shock that people losing their stuff while cozying up with Cookie for their Instagram posts. This is by far one of my favorites…

Best. Job. Ever. #cookiemonster #metmuseum

A photo posted by meteveryday (@meteveryday) on

Sesame Street is prepping for Cookie Monster’s PBS Kids movie special “The Cookie Thief,” airing next week. I can’t get enough of the concept “In ‘The Cookie Thief,’ a cookie art museum has just opened on Sesame Street. Surrounded by beautiful cookie paintings, like “Girl With the Cookie Earring” and the “Muncha Lisa,” Cookie Monster and his friends feel as if they’re in a whole new world. But when art suddenly starts to disappear, Cookie Monster quickly becomes a suspect. Can Cookie Monster clear his name? Will they find the missing art in time or will Cookie Monster be banished from the museum forever?”

Look who stopped by to see some art! It’s Cookie Monster, all the way from @sesamestreet. #CookieArtTour

A photo posted by MoMA The Museum of Modern Art (@themuseumofmodernart) on

Amuse yourself and browse through the photo of Cookie checking out VanGogh, Degas and Cezanne during his tour at @ModernMuseumofart @Guggenheim @metropolitan @sesamestreet.

Yes, Cookie Monster, it’s the real “Starry Night”! #CookieArtTour A photo posted by MoMA The Museum of Modern Art (@themuseumofmodernart) on

*photo courtesy of the Guggenheim Instagram account.

Ballet Dancer Sergei Polunin Gives New Meaning To Hozier’s ‘Take Me To Church’

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No one – no one has come close to my love of Mikhail Baryshnikov’s strong, yet graceful emotive dancing…until now.

Ukrainian Ballet Dancer Sergei Polunin gives new meaning to Hozier’s ‘Take Me To Church’ as he leaps, tombés and pirouettes around the skeletal frame of a white clapboard church surrounded by trees. Devoid of glass, window frames allow sunlight to beam across the floor, and bounce off the walls creating a natural spotlight light for Sergei to interpret the passion and pleading of Hozier’s hit song

Polunin, a former principal dancer for the British Royal Ballet, slays the choreography by Jade Hale-Christofi – propelling his tattooed torso around with controlled angst and ache,  giving a performance you might never see played out so heartfelt again.

 

NEW YORK CITY BALLET ART SERIES PRESENTS ARTIST DUSTIN YELLIN

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The New York City Ballet Art Series uses the artistry of dance and the energy of the NYCB company to inspire original commissions from contemporary artists.  In previous years, they have collaborated with emerging artists, FAILE and JR to create ballet-inspired pieces for the David H. Koch Theater lobby space.

This year, the Art Series continues on with the work of Brooklyn artist Dustin Yellin. Yellin is best known for his large-scale, multi-layered collage glass sculptures.  Inspired by the dancers Yellin has created massive “3,000 pound microscope slide pieces, called “Pyschogeographies” with humans trapped inside (made up of cut up books and magazines), portraying movement – a beautiful dance trapped inside glass.

When speaking of the pieces Dustin says,”the idea that all of your memories are stuck inside of your bone marrow and if you could somehow open that up so that everyone could see it…”

Sculpture and dance meet themselves this month at the ballet…

The exhibit will be on view at all performances through March 1, with a special free public viewing period February 12-22 (Sunday 10 AM -1 PM, Monday-Friday 10 AM – 5 PM, and Saturday 10 AM – 12 PM).

You can buy $29 tickets for the three NYCB Art Series performances on February 12, February 19, and February 27. Guests to the Art Series will also receive a limited-edition takeaway created by Yellin.

 

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via MyModernMet

 

GAIA REACHES INTO THE ART HISTORY BOOKS FOR THIS STUNNING MURAL

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photo by Bernadette Marciniak for Savage Habbit

 

Street Artist, Gaia takes a page out of the history books with his latest mural, a stunning modern-day rendition of a Pronkstilleven still life painted by 17th-century Dutch painter Jan Davidsz. de Heem, ‘Flowers in a Vase.’ The mural is located in Jersey City, NJ, Ogden End Community Garden at 102 Ogden Avenue and was done in collaboration with Savage Habbit.

“Using the painting as the base of the composition a portrait of Henry Hudson overlooks the garden from which local flowers have been interspersed throughout the composition, replacing some of the original floral elements. This resulting bouquet and portrait of Hudson, who laid down the Dutch colonization of the Hudson River Valley was created with the use of Photoshop, hence the layers and window tab running across the top, bringing the contemporary element of copy and paste into the construction of this wall.”

 

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Photo Credit: Savage Habbit

Quote from Savage Habbit article

MoMa Björk Retrospective Induces Mini Heart Palps

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The first time I heard Björk, I was sitting in the backseat of a friend’s little Toyota.  The car was chugging up a steep road in Stroudsburg, PA, and I thought the voice coming out of the speakers was surely some majestical wispy woodland nymph that only my mountain region friends knew about.

Hearing her voice was like being on colorful glittered flakes of psychedelic drugs I have never done; maybe the heart palps just belong to me (sincerely doubt it).

So excuse me while I scream into my hands, regain composure and then tell you that MoMA is mounting a full-scale retrospective dedicated to the work of the multi-faceted Icelandic Queen, Bjork.  The exhibition, simply titled, Björk will focus on 20 years of the artist’s projects including her seven full-length albums —”to chronicle her career through sound, film, visuals, instruments, objects, costumes (aka. the swan dress), and performance.  The installation will present a narrative, both biographical and imaginatively fictitious, cowritten by Björk and the acclaimed Icelandic writer Sjón. Björk’s collaborations with video directors, photographers, fashion designers, and artists.”  The exhibition will culminate with a newly commissioned, immersive music and film experience conceived and realized with director Andrew Thomas Huang and 3-D design leader Autodesk.

I’m hoping one of the exhibit highlights will be getting to play with her experimental app, Biophilia on a larger platform. Biophilia is the first app to enter MoMA’s collection, and one of the best apps to ever suck up 725MB of my iPhone storage. MoMA’s acquisition of Biophilia (2011), showcases the museum’s leadership in forward-thinking digital cataloging.  The app was a gift of Björk and her record label, One Little Indian.

The hybrid software app was developed by Björk in collaboration with M/M Paris, and Scott Snibbe.  Within the app, users can navigate a three-dimensional constellation made up of 10 separate apps, one for each song from the Biophilia album.  Each app allows for four options – a look at the composition of the song, play the score (can you say Bjork karaoke), colorful song animation created by Stephen Malinowski, and the fourth option shows you the lyrics of the song.

My favorite incarnation of the app can be seen in the Biophilia Educational Program, a project adopted by select Scandinavian Schools “designed to inspire children to explore their own creativity and to learn about music and science through new technologies.”

Björk will be on view at MoMA from March 8 through June 7, 2015.

Björk Website

* Photo Credit: Björk, Debut, 1993. Credit: Photography by Jean Baptiste Mondino. Image courtesy of Wellhart Ltd & One Little Indian; Björk, Biophilia, 2011. Credit: By M/M (Paris) Photographed by Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin. Image courtesy of Wellhart Ltd & One Little Indian

 

Art Smart on the Sly

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Since you never know what crowd you’ll be falling into –we’ve compiled a non-threatening mix of books to get your Art Smart on. Some cover the hype of a few well-known art stars, and others take you into current art movements. There are a few biographies and “text” book like works on our list, but that’s because it makes it easier to appreciate the new when you know what influences the artist drew from. We’re not promising to turn you into art aficionados, but we can help you load your bookshelf down with a couple of gems.  The oldies but goodies you should already own.

  1. History of Art by HW Janson – The seminal art history textbook. The one to which all others pale in comparison. I used this when I took my first Art History class, and it totally changed the way I looked at art and gave me a basis with which to view art that I still call upon today.
  2. 501 Great Artists:   A Comprehensive Guide to the Giants of the Art World by Susie Hodge – Another basic text for art lovers, easy to read and very educational.  It’s a very good “primer” on who makes up the bedrock of the art world.
  3. Lust for Life by Irving Stone – Irving Stone is a wonderful writer and this account of Van Gogh’s life is quite amazing.  This book gives you an idea of what a tortured soul he was, and how hard he tried to find his place in life.
  4. The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone – This time Stone writes about Michelangelo’s life. He was so clearly a genius since youth. It takes you through his time painting for sponsors, and then his grand patrons, the Medici’s. His relationship with the Pope was a complex one as well, and Stone brings this all to the book. A must-read.
  5. Going Postal by Martha Cooper – Because stickers from the US Postal Service, UPS, DHL and FEDEX are so readily available, it became the perfect canvas for the graffiti culture. Graffiti photography Martha Cooper showcases a collection of more than 200 photographs of some of her favorite handmade postal stickers from around the world.
  6. Jean -Michel Basquiat: 1960-1988 by Leonhard Emmerling  – This is an amazing bio of Basquiat, who in less than a decade became an international art star. His genius trapped in a burgeoning art movement set on ‘crazed’ did nothing to help slow down the excesses he became eventually became a victim of.
  7. Provenance:   How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury & Aly Sujo – This is the story of John Drewe, an alleged physicist and avid art collector, who began passing off copies of famous art pieces as genuine, and then forging their provenance.  A real page-turner about a con artist and how he got away with it for so long.
  8. Hiding in the Light:  On Images and Things (Comedia) by Dick Hebdige – A wonderful back to the basics book about the meaning of Post-Modernism.
  9. The Philosophy of Andy Warhol:  A to B and Back Again by Andy Warhol – Andy writes about himself, no holds barred. A great book from the Master’s own mind.
  10. Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton – This is an incredible book about the in’s and out’s of the art world.  We get a great ride ‘behind the scenes’, a detailed look at how a painting is brought to auction, and the intricate hierarchy that exists between the collector and buyer. I didn’t think it would be interesting, but I was into it from the first page.
  11. Subway Art by Martha Cooper – Yet another must-have book from photographer Martha Cooper. This book covers the epitome of classic NYC graffiti, a veritable Bible for this subculture.
  12. Steve Powers: A Love Letter for You by Steve Powers – Graffiti Artist, Steve Powers started painting his “ESPO” alias across the walls and rooftops of Philadelphia in 1984, just as the city’s Anti-Graffiti Network was launched. Twenty-five years later, in the summer of 2009, he returned to Philly, armed with 1,200 cans of spray paint, 800 gallons of bucket paint and 20 of the finest spray painters in America, to inscribe an epic love letter on the rooftops facing the Market-Frankford line, as a public art project. Powers consulted the community in West Philly and collaborated with The Mural Arts Program and the Pew Center, and with their help, transformed this 20-block stretch of buildings into visual and architectural Valentine poems.
  13. Training Days: The Subway Artists Then and Now by HenryChalfant and Sacha Jenkins – Throw some old school B&W photos of break dancers at Coney Island (is that the Cyclone I see in the background), a table of contents designed to look like an NYC Subway stop, interviews with graffiti legends like Lady Pink, andSkeme, and I’m all ready to meet the mailman at my door on the regular until my Amazon package shows up.Seriously though, Training Days: The Subway Artists Then and Now promises authentic first–person accounts from the graffiti artists whose creative genius fueled the movement from its beginning in late 1970s and early 1980s New York.

Streets Dept Celebrates Turning 4 with a Stikman Calendar Giveaway!

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Our favorite Philadelphia street art blog is turning 4.  Everything you never knew you needed to know about the street art scene and more is housed at Streets Dept, home base for Conrad Benner’s infectious zest for all things Philly.

To celebrate his 4 year anniversary, he’s hooked up with the LEGENDARY Stikman to give away 10 limited-edition calendars via an Instagram contest.

Here’s how you can win one of your very own Stikman Calendars:

1) Follow Streets Dept on Instagram HERE.

2) Take a photo of a Stikman installation and hashtag it #StreetsDeptStikman. (His work is ALL over Philadelphia, and in countless cities around the world, for readers outside of Philly.)

Giveaway ends Sunday, January 25th at Midnight EST… That gives you a week, if you’d like to enter! All 10 winners will be notified by Instagram direct message.

Andy Warhol x Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Collection (Good Luck Getting a Pair)

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The buzz is Converse is dropping an Andy Warhol All Star Collection this January.  There’s going to be a limited edition run of only 200 pairs sold within the US.

I’m excited …for now.  But I know what’s coming, most of these Converses will end up in plexiglass boxes in collector’s houses. The only stores that will actually carry a pair, will be in Manhattan, NY.  I will continue to dream of owning a pair only to be driven to Ebay where the disappointment will continue as the opening bid is a whopping $800.00 dollars or more.

All the other collaborations were just as thrilling; the Lichtenstein, Hirst.  There was even a Nate Lowman collaboration; he had Converses cut from his actual canvas reinterpretations of abstract expressionist Willem de Kooning’s “Marilyn Monroe” (1954). I understood the $2500 price tag for those – I mean, it took 10 hours to construct each pair.

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I just prefer the PR around these Converse artist collaborations to be a little more forthcoming. How about:

Converse will launch a new limited-edition series of sneakers, the Chuck Taylor All Star Andy Warhol, featuring a selection of beloved Warhol prints – Good Luck Getting a Pair.

The new Andy Warhol x Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Collection kicks are for looking at and sighing; you will never actually wear a pair.

Converse…please just be like the Pop Shop and mass produce wearable art that people actually have a chance at owning.

That is all – my rant is over.

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