A New Company Is Framing and Selling 'Ownership' of NYC Street Art

Categories: Art, Culture

A curious splash of color in the concrete jungle?
Who in New York City doesn't have $150 or so kicking around that they want to blow on something crazy? I mean, we're all trust fund kids and Russian oligarchs at this point, right?

So thank God for Wall-(m)Art, a mysterious online gallery/performance art project/racket that will take any graffiti you see on the street, frame it, and put up a plaque declaring its new owner: you! Shell out from about $100 to $300 and you can make like a dog and metaphorically pee all on your favorite street art in the city.

So far the company has sold four pieces to friends -- two have been framed in Williamsburg (ugh), the other two in Bushwick (ughhhhhhh) -- and one to the Voice. We purchased the cheapest work available -- a $111 job titled Ouch, Charlie, Ouch that features a sketch of half of Charlie Chaplin's face -- to see if Wall-(m)Art would make good on its promises.

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This Mobile App Replaces Subway Station Ads with Digital Art

Categories: Art

The MTA makes more than a $100 million every year selling space to advertisers. What they are really selling, of course, is you: your time waiting for the train, contemplating the void and/or silently criticizing the Photoshop skill of the poor soul tasked with fitting all 16 Expendables 3 stars onto one poster.

What if I told you you never had to look at that Expendables 3 poster ever again? Is that something you might like? There is a new app called NO AD--it's like AdBlocker, but for your commute instead of your computer. It is free, and available now for Apple and Android phones.

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Here's What It Looks Like When Reverend Billy and His Choir Visit a Harvard Drone Lab to Cast Out the Demons [Updated]

All photos by Minister Erik McGregor
The Queen Bee, Reverend Billy and choir enter the lab building.
When we last heard from anti-consumerist preacher Reverend Billy and his Stop Shopping Gospel Choir, he was in a spot of legal trouble. In recent years, the choir's message has shifted away from the evils of individual consumerism and focused instead on corporate greed, staging special sermons for the big businesses that profit from the ruination of the planet. In October, that message landed him and music director Nehemiah Luckett in jail, after the choir visited a Chase Bank wearing toad hats and singing about the destruction of the earth (Chase has enthusiastically financed mountain-top removal, a particularly damaging form of mining.)

Reverend Billy and Luckett were charged with inciting a riot and menacing, among other charges, and faced up to a year in jail. Eventually, they were able to plead the charges way down: Reverend Billy plead to a misdemeanor and was sentenced to one day of community service, while Luckett's case was dismissed on the proviso that he stay out of trouble for six months.

"What a bush-league resolution that was," Reverend Billy told us cheerily, one morning not long ago. "I don't feel great about it. I get sick of the boredom." He compares the legal process to "death by a thousand cuts," with its endless trips to the courthouse.

Now, the Reverend says, "We've got to get back to work here. The honey bees are dying." The choir is back with a new campaign: drawing attention to the plight of the world's bees, who are dying off at alarming rates. To kick things off, they visited a Harvard lab yesterday, where they attempted to cast out its demons through song.

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Zeroing In On Adolescent Girlhood, Petra Collins Shoots From the Hip

Photo by Maro Hagopian
Petra Collins
Photo by Petra Collins
Petra Collins is a wreck. She's calling from upstate New York, and the first thing she says is that she's had a sinus infection for weeks and the previous day dislocated her knee. "I was doing this shoot and dancing, and it just popped out," she tells the Voice. "But I guess it happened at a good time." A few days before, Collins opened her first solo exhibition — on view at Capricious 88 — and though the event is behind her, she's curating a group show the following weekend, just signed a book deal, is planning a move to NYC, and shows no signs of slowing down. For the present moment, however, she's on pause, fielding texts from friends while she prepares for her next step. Her enthusiasm is enough to make a jaded arts writer feel old, and some of her works are bound to make a gallery-goer older than 30 feel dated. Collins's exhibition features neon text works, two of which include the abbreviation "rn." What does that mean? "Right now!" she says, laughing. "It's something that's so of our generation that we just get it."

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50 Years Ago, The Beatles and Their Haircuts Landed at JFK

Wikimedia Commons
The Beatles pre-America, back in '64.
The Beatles are back in New York City! Fifty years ago tomorrow (February 7), four lads from Liverpool, with shaggy brown hair and megawatt charm, arrived at John F. Kennedy Airport, where a swarm of crazed girls greeted them in mass hysteria. "Ladies and Gentlemen ... The Beatles!," which opens today and runs through May 10 at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Fab Four's arrival in the U.S. and delivers an entertaining history of Beatlemania and the influence the band had on music, fashion, art, literature, film, and politics.

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Photographer Spencer Tunick Can't Stop Running Afoul of Facebook's Baffling Rules on Naked People

Photo by Spencer Tunick; image courtesy of the artist.
New York-based photographer Spencer Tunick takes beautiful pictures of naked people. You've probably seen some of those photos; he's become internationally famous over the past two decades for staging photos of "nude figures in public settings," as he puts it, everything from a lone woman curled around the cab of a truck to thousands of people splayed across Mexico City's Zocalo.

Tunick's work, though it isn't remotely sexual or pornographic, has still incited controversy; he even made it all the way to the Supreme Court, after he was arrested five times between 1995 and 2005 while staging his public nude shots. He was usually charged with "unlawful assembly." At least once, his camera was confiscated. Eventually, Tunick sued New York City and the NYPD, arguing that the constant arresting was an infringement on his First Amendment rights. He won.

But now Tunick faces a different and more implacable foe: Facebook. He can't share an uncensored photo of his work without it immediately being taken down. And as he recently discovered, even a pixelated photo is apparently not OK, unless the pixels are so enormous they take up most of the photo. Smaller pixels resulted in Facebook freezing his account and threatening him with deletion. Instagram is also not fond of nudes. So what's an artist whose subject is the naked body to do?

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Kalan Sherrard and His Nihilist Anarchist Puppet Show [VIDEO]

Categories: Art

Usually, people hear Kalan Sherrard before they see him. It's a Sunday afternoon, and a half-crowded L train pulls into Union Square station. As passengers disembark, above the typical din of the subway platform they hear the sound of scraping metal cans and eery, repetitive harmonica music.

[Video after the jump.]

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10 Weekend Ideas Under $10: Ray Davies Talks Americana, Doggies Dress Up, Robert Pruitt's "Women"

By Aya Rodriguez-Izumi & Ian Culley

Just because it's getting cold out doesn't give you the right to act like a hermit. This weekend's round-up will keep you nice and cozy.

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Street Artist RAE Debuts Show in Vacant East Village Bodega

Araceli Cruz
On Saturday night, Brooklyn street artist RAE presents "Word of Mouth," his first solo show in New York City. Unfortunately, he won't be attending opening night, because when you use the city as your canvas, you never know if the police might be looking for you.More »

After a Serious Brain Injury, Former Voice Design Director Bob Newman Is On the Mend, and You Can Help

Any longtime Voice reader, serious design nerd, or anyone who's ever admired a magazine cover will likely recognize Robert Newman's name. As the design director for this paper from 1991 to 1994, he designed some of the Voice's most iconic covers, including the one at right (you can see some more of them here).

Newman went on to design for a stable of huge magazines, including New York, Details, Entertainment Weekly, and Fortune; most recently, he served as the creative director at Reader's Digest. His Newmanology Tumblr and Facebook showcase the best design work from magazines all over the country. When art directors get featured there, they tend to break out the celebratory tequila. He's a legend, and a well-known mentor for younger editorial designers.

In March, while Newman and his nine-year-old daughter, Ivy, were in Florida visiting his mother, he suffered a serious accident. While they were at the pool, he had a seizure and collapsed, sustaining serious head trauma. While in the ICU, his brain started to hemorrhage. He fell into a coma for 18 days, and had to be placed on a respirator.

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