May 292011

Street art just got more homespun, thanks to “Hardcore Chicks With Sharp Sticks.” You go, grandma!

Graffiti’s Cozy, Feminine Side NYT > Home Page

“Yarn bombing” seems to be having its moment in pop culture….

Yarn bombing takes that most matronly craft (knitting) and that most maternal of gestures (wrapping something cold in a warm blanket) and transfers it to the concrete and steel wilds of the urban streetscape. Hydrants, lampposts, mailboxes, bicycles, cars — even objects as big as buses and bridges — have all been bombed in recent years, ever so softly and usually at night.

It is a global phenomenon, with yarn bombers taking their brightly colored fuzzy work to Europe, Asia and beyond. In Paris, a yarn culprit has filled sidewalk cracks with colorful knots of yarn. In Denver, a group called Ladies Fancywork Society has crocheted tree trunks, park benches and public telephones. Seattle has the YarnCore collective (“Hardcore Chicks With Sharp Sticks”) and Stockholm has the knit crew Masquerade. In London, Knit the City has “yarnstormed” fountains and fences. And in Melbourne, Australia, a woman known as Bali conjures up cozies for bike racks and bus stops.

Apr 072011

Anonymous video artists have projected onto the Maine State House the mural by artist Judy Taylor originally installed to commemorate Maine’s labor history. The mural’s removal by Maine’s new governor Paul LePage has provoked outcries of censorship from artists and educators.

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Jan 252011

If the Yes Men were the “Da Men,” they would have been locked up long ago. I hope Plutser-Sarno has a better travel agent than Julian Assange.

Aleksei Plutser-Sarno has been on the run since Russian law enforcement has been working to shut down Voina, the radical Russian art collective he belongs to….

For three years, Voina, which means war, has been playing cat-and-mouse with Russian law enforcement, staging street actions that ranged from the obscure (throwing live cats at McDonald’s cashiers) to the monumental (a 210-foot penis painted on a St. Petersburg drawbridge, so that it rose up pointing at the offices of the F.S.B., the security service).

Last September, Voina launched its most audacious project: “Palace Revolution,” which involved running up to parked police cars and flipping them over — a commentary, the group explained, on police corruption…

But Voina did not need art-world connections — YouTube, LiveJournal and Twitter gave it access to young Russians who shared the group’s sense of humor and rage at the police. Its plans got bigger, riskier. Before painting the penis on the bridge last June, the group practiced for a month before concluding that nine people could do the job in 30 seconds. As it turned out, guards barreled after them and they had only 23 seconds.

The image stood for a few hours before the authorities scrubbed it off; by then it had exploded onto the Internet. It was, Mr. Plutser-Sarno said, Voina’s most perfect act.