Category Archives: Uncategorized

Banksy funds refugee rescue boat Louise Michel

In 2019 elusive artist Banksy announced that he would finance a boat to rescue refugees attempting to reach Europe from north Africa.

The vessel, named Louise Michel after a French feminist anarchist, set off in secrecy on 18 August from the Spanish seaport of Burriana, near Valencia, and is now in the central Mediterranean where on Thursday it rescued 89 people in distress, including 14 women and four children.

It is now looking for a safe seaport to disembark the passengers or to transfer them to a European coastguard vessel.

Painted in bright pink with an extinguisher and featuring Banksy artwork depicting a girl in a life vest holding a heart-shaped safety buoy, the Louise Michel sails under a German flag. The 31-metre motor yacht, formerly owned by French customs authorities, is smaller but considerably faster than other NGO rescue vessels.

The crew, made up of European activists with long experience in search and rescue operations, had already assisted in two other rescue operations involving a total of 105 people, who are now onboard the NGO vessel Sea-Watch 4.

Donations are welcome to support the missions of the Louise Michel Lifeboat such as  medical supplies, SAR equipment, legal fees, boat maintenance, fuel and food so they can continue to save lives.

Pictures courtesy of MV Louise Michel / Ruben Neugebauer

Update – 29 August 2020

After rescuing 219 persons, with unfortunately one person passing away before reaching the boat, the Italian Coastguard have evacuated 49 of the most vulnerable guests on board of Louise Michel. They still need the support of European Authorities.

You can follow their live feed here

and donate here


Daniel Arsham ‘Paris 2030’ at Galerie Perrotin

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Galerie Perrotin in Paris is currently showing ‘Paris 2030‘ an exhibition of new works by New York-based artist Daniel Arsham (covered here), through March 21, 2020.

For this exhibition, Daniel Arsham is presenting a new suite of large-scale sculptures based on iconic busts, friezes and sculptures from classical antiquity. Over the past year, Arsham has been granted privileged access to the Réunion des Musées Nationaux – Grand Palais (RMN), a 200-year-old French molding atelier that reproduces masterpieces for several of Europe’s major encyclopedic museums. Arsham was able to use molds and scans of some of the most iconic works from the collections of the Musée du Louvre in Paris, Acropolis Museum in Athens, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna and the San Pietro in Vincoli as source material for this new body of work.

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Ranging from Michelangelo’s Moses to the Vénus de Milo, each item was cast in hydrostone to produce a perfect to scale replica of the original sculpture, a process that shares formal qualities with historic wax casting. Similar to those used by classical sculptors, Arsham utilizes natural pigments such as volcanic ash, blue calcite, selenite, quartz, and rose quartz. From that, individual erosions are chiseled into the surface of the hydrostone, a nod to the sculpting techniques of the Renaissance sculptors. Finally, Arsham applies his signature tactic of crystallization.

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Arsham is best known for visually transforming ready-made objects of the last half century into subtly eroding artifacts. Historically, he has focused on items that act as containers of memory like an original Apple computer, a Mickey Mouse phone, or Leica cameras. Arsham continues his decade long exploration into fictional archaeology as a fictionalized account of the past, as well as a tool with which to collapse the past and the present. Making use of classical and ancient objects, this new body of work experiments with the timelessness of certain symbols, furthering Arsham’s previous investigations into objecthood.

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For Paris, 3020, Arsham borrows display strategies from the modern museum, including elevated plinths, dimmed lights, and a series of nested exhibition spaces. By appropriating the visual language of the encyclopedic museum, Arsham makes deliberate reference to how museums have showcased and shaped object history, specifically as a vehicle that canonizes objects within a greater narrative of progress.

In parallel to the sculptural works are a series of graphite process drawings by Arsham depicting eroded icons of classical antiquity. Displayed together, these new works are transformed to compress time, at once referencing the past, informing the present, and reaching towards a crystallized future.

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View the full set of pics here

Daniel Arsham, Paris 2030
Solo Show
Until 21.02.2020
Galerie Perrotin
76 rue de Turenne 75003 Paris

Banksy’s online store: ‘Why does art matter?’

GDP homepage

Two weeks ago Banksy opened a homewares store called Gross Domestic Product TM in Croydon, South London ( see our coverage here ). He made it clear that interested buyers weren’t in for a regular shopping experience and while the store attracted crowds, it physically did not open and it was not possible to purchase anything. Now that the pop up display shop has closed, the Gross Domestic Product TM official website reveals the homewares brand from BanksyTM.

In true subversive and irreverent Banksy style, the English artist continues to offer an unconventional retail experience where fans can, not purchase, but apply to purchase some of the pieces that were displayed in the Croydon pop-up.

The Gross Domestic Product online store offers merchandise with prices starting at £10 ($13) for a Banksy branded aerosol of paint to £850 for the stab vest as worn by Stormzy at the Glastonbury Festival in June.

Welcome mat

A “Banksy Welcome Mat,”  is “hand stitched using the fabric from life vests abandoned on the beaches of the Mediterranean,” the website says. The product is produced in collaboration with the organization Love Welcomes, which works with refugee women to produce mats from “life vests and blankets worn by frightened, exhausted Syrians as they wash up on European shores” and directs proceeds back to the refugee weavers.

The site also warns customers that they may have a “disappointing retail experience,” explaining, “Everything is produced by a handful of people using recycled material wherever possible in a workplace culture of daytime drinking. So there isn’t loads of it and it’s not all ready to ship straight away.”

Each Banksy’s creations will be sold to the most deserving bidder, as determined by his good will. There are some strict specific rules.

The website is clear from the outset that the store doesn’t work on a “first come, first serve” basis. Until October 28, shoppers can browse the items and sign up to a list. Each buyer can only sign up for one item—so choose wisely.

Those who want a Banksy original must answer the question ‘Why does art matter?’, with the ‘Why’ crossed out, in 50 words or less, and supply their contact information.

The reply to this question will be vital—if demand spikes, they will be used to help evaluate who gets to make the purchase. In fact, buyers are asked to make their answers “as amusing, informative or enlightening as possible.”

Applications will be randomly selected and then narrowed down. According to the website, answers will be assessed by an impartial and independent judge, namely a professional stand-up comedian. Winning registrants will receive word that they have won the option to purchase the selected item.

The original products, which will be awarded a certification of authenticity on the second anniversary of the purchase, are priced far below market value.

In fact, Gross Domestic Product isn’t aimed at the high-end collector. A disclaimer on the store’s website actually states that wealthy art collectors should “refrain from registering at this time,” in order to give lower-income art lovers a chance at this piece of history.

It will be interesting to see if Banksy’s safeguards keep these items out of the hands of people looking to flip the work and make a profit and, instead, into the homes of those who could never afford a $12 million painting.

So to enter the competition to purchase an item from Banksy’s online store, please provide your answer to the question “Why does art matter?”  on by 28 October 2019

Photo credit: Gross Domestic Product website

London: Banksy new artwork supporting Extinction Rebellion protests

A new Banksy mural appeared in Marble Arch, London to mark the end of the 10 days of climate change protests by Extinction Rebellion activists.

The environmental artwork sprung up on a wall in Marble Arch around the time the demonstrators gathered nearby to celebrate the closing of their spell of disruption in central London. On Sunday Great Thunberg addressed the crowd and the Parliament on climate change issues. Massive Attack also played a concert on the Extinction Rebellion stage.

Although unconfirmed yet, the artwork bears all the marks (location, style and message). The multilayered stencil of the little girl has been used previously by Banksy in his Walled Off Hotel (covered here)

In her hand she is holding the logo of the Extinction Rebellion activists.

A slogan next to her reads “From This Moment Despair Ends And Tactics Begin”.


London: Dan Witz – Mosh Pit Paintings

Dan Witz - Mosh Pits Pantings

Following his apparel and print collaboration with Dior Homme last September, NY based artist Dan Witz (covered) is returning to London to present his ongoing signature hyperrealistic series ‘Mosh pits paintings’ which he started back in 2010, capturing moments when people are caught at their most intense, ecstatic, and animalistic state.

Based on actual photographs he shot in the mosh pits of hardcore shows, Dan Witz uses academic realistic techniques to depict the transgressive energy of the punk rock movement: figures intertwine and climb over one another with different stages of expressions during a mosh pit, from the pressure, pain and joy.

The solo exhibition features archival works alongside contemporary pieces. Dan Witz reveals that despite the obvious aggression of the punk rock pit, there is also an underlying sense of euphoria and unification shared amidst the crowd.

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View the full set of pics here

Dan Witz – Mosh Pit Paintings
Stolenspace Gallery
17 Osborn St.
London E1 6TD