As anyone who reads this blog knows, I am particularly interested in art that oscillates between studio and street, high and “low,” and public and private. I find Shin Shin’s work brilliant for this reason: she creates works in ephemeral materials for the street and archival materials for the gallery, all the while documenting the works’ changes and existence in high-resolution photography. Her gallery work is inspired by her street art, and vice versa, and her practice is an interesting cyclical process that considers longevity, ownership, and ephemerality.
At the Satellite Show this fall, I showed two Seed Pod works by Shin Shin. These pieces are printed on archival cotton rag in limited editions of ten. They perfectly held their own on the gallery wall and sold quickly.
However, this is not the only life these images have had. This spring, the artist printed these designs on a thin newsprint and hung them with wheat paste around Soho. They became embedded in the urban decay at the same time their archival counterparts sat comfortably in a white-walled gallery.
Yesterday, while walking on Thompson Street, I saw the vestiges of one of these pieces. Torn on the sides and bottom, it seems that people have tried, unsuccessfully, to steal the work, to make this inherently public installation a private one. By using newsprint, the artist prevents this, and instead the damaged and weakened work is left to dissolve quietly. It’s still beautiful – the power of decay and change is never lost on a city like New York – and it becomes a conversation about fragility and ephemerality.
I think an image that can withstand different settings, different purposes, and the ravages of time is the most wonderful kind of art.
There is great joy in tourist photos. Joy in visitors traipsing around, documenting their presence by clicking a button, creating images that proclaim “I was there.” These sorts of snapshots provide both record and souvenir and are infinitely special to their creators. They are to be posted on Facebook or into a photo book, storing experiences long after they are over. The sites depicted in these images follow a formula: places of note are ferreted out like items in a scavenger hunt.
I’ve never been very good at taking tourist photos. I (rightly or wrongly) feel that major sites have been documented by photographers far more talented than I, so I don’t see what my snapshots could add to the mix. Instead, I tend to photograph smaller, often overlooked elements of locations, as those are the records that feel special to me. Below are a few of my snaps from a recent trip to London and Bath:
Very old graffiti on the Palladian Bridge in Prior Park, Bath.
The front window of the Chelsea Cake Shop, near Sloane Square.
A stately looking feline coming out of an Earl’s Court basement apartment.
A funerary monument in Old Brompton Cemetery.
An old Banksy stencil in Notting Hill.
Liquorice Allsorts, as commemorated by a Heathrow airport display.
Last week was a wild one for the New York art scene due to Frieze, the Outsider Art Fair, and the many events that pop up around those institutions. I participated in the Satellite Show, which focused on hanging outsider, insider, modern, contemporary, and street art together using visual and thematic connections (without regard for traditional labels).
This was the inaugural Satellite Show, and based on the response we received, we will undoubtedly organize more “Satellite” events in the future. We were mentioned in Hyperallergic (thanks to critic Edward M. Gomez) and the New York Times, and had a steady stream of visitors throughout the weekend.
Below are some photos from our opening party (courtesy James Forsyth). Enjoy!