As I’ve written before, I’ve enjoyed the dialogue that has erupted in town over the Portsmouth Museum of Art’s Street AKA Museum exhibit currently in the museum and adorning building walls throughout town.
I noticed recently that the piece by Herakut on State Street (the one that features a man reading a newspaper along with a little girl) was created with an authentic Wall Street Journal, and that the paper has begun to peel away from the wall. The textures of the newspaper along with the painted wall and drawing made for a fascinating shot, one that I chose to present in black & white to focus on the textures itself instead of the vibrant colors of the scene. I’ll be interested to see what happens in another month when the exhibit is scheduled to close….which pieces will stay, which will go?
I’ll start with this afternoon’s post with some background. The Portsmouth Museum of Art has curated an exhibit currently on display in the museum and on some of the exterior walls of buildings/etc. around the city. If you’re a local, you know that this has become quite the hot button and topic of conversation among people throughout the city.
With the acceleration of the story and the press, the Union Leader posted a story on its front page about how some locals were highly offended. I am perfectly aware that everyone is entitled to their opinion, and actually love that the exhibit has some people so upset. As an artist myself, I welcome the controversy and the dialogue.
When I was heading to Dos Amigos for lunch yesterday, I saw a reporter and cameraman poised on the corner opposite the “Tomorrowman” piece on the Marple & James building. The streets were mostly empty, so when heading in their direction, they began to come up with their pitch – which I turned down 3 times before finally agreeing to comment on camera. I shared what was probably a 3-4 minute thought, which included how I thought it’s been great for the town despite some people taking issue with the historic buildings getting a makeover, and how the artistic community has been engaged on a broader level (not to mention that the exhibit has brought Portsmouth additional awareness from artists around the world).
Of my (what I thought was) thoughtful response, they chose one sound bite – one that helped further their agenda of airing a controversial piece – which was that I wouldn’t have my house painted with street art. Of course I wouldn’t, I don’t live downtown, I live in a purely residential area without retail uses or pedestrians other than my dog walking neighbors. That didn’t matter – they wanted to show people taking digs at the artwork and at the museum. It’s really unfortunate, because it’s what I had expected to happen and why I turned it down several times. I thought that if I opined, I might actually bring some positive light to the story – but sadly, Karen Anderson of WBZ-TV proved me wrong. As a supporter of the Portsmouth Museum of Art, I’m deeply disappointed in WBZ, but thrilled the conversation continues.
This little number is in the doorway of Kaffee Vonsolln on Daniel Street just across from the Post Office. Interesting piece, with rather grumbly looking girl and a jump rope getting stung by a swarm of bees (in all fairness, I’d probably be pretty grumbly too). This one’s cool with all the various reflections playing off the windows…plus you can go check it out and grab a cup of coffee.
Here is a view of Pleasant Street and the dove above Brazo courtesy of Case (good name – I might add!). This is probably one of the most missed murals in town, neatly tucked above Brazo in somewhat of a natural setting. The shot below by Alexandros Vasmoulakis is probably one of the most commented on in town, as far as I’ve noticed. The mouth and vibrant colors are definitely striking – especially when you don’t expect to encounter a giant piece of street art. I’m not sure that it’s “Portsmouth”, but I think that’s part of the whole point – it’s gotten a great dialogue going…and has made the Marple & James building a bit more interesting for a few months.
This installation by Bumble Bee appeared on the Getty on Islington Street. Bumble Bee also did the installation next to one of my new favorite spots in town, Kaffee Vonsolln…which will be featured soon. I’m having such a blast running around town and shooting these bursts of interestingness showing up around town. Had a blast at the opening for the exhibit at the Portsmouth Museum of Art…and love the whole idea of collaboration.
Below is one of Bumble Bee’s pieces in the museum exhibit.
Herakut has some impressive pieces in town as part of the current Portsmouth Museum of Art exhibit guest curated by Beau Basse. You’ve seen a previous installation in “Sitting on State Street” where their fascinating technique features actual newspapers, some photorealistic faces and some traditional feeling street art. A tremendous congratulations the the Museum and the artists for a fantastic packed-house opening night and some awesome exhibits – which have definitely generated some interesting conversations around town!
A new surprise on the Pleasant Street side of the Marple & James building made an appearance this afternoon in Portsmouth. After I got out of work in the afternoon, I was quite surprised to see someone making their mark on the wall with a ladder on site and everything. Pretty cool to see this going up in real time, and shocked I didn’t notice it sooner. I’m curious to see if it’s all done – and to hear more about how and why this art made its way to Pleasant Street.