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Hollywood: The Remix

Wooster Collective Presents…. Hollywood: The Remix
Wooster Arts Space
147 Wooster Street, New York NY 10012

Reviewed by Liberation Iannillo

The debate over what is legitimate art and what is not can be argued in vain. If the creation in question provokes thought, evokes feeling or inspires conversation then, in my opinion, the artist has done his or her job. Street art is a subject that seems to have no gray area in that debate. For the most part it’s seen as either a legitimate art form or just plain vandalism.

In the late 70’s New York City subway trains were covered with graffiti. The train cars came out of the yards in Queens each morning after the artists had their ways with them the previous night. The rolling, metallic canvases became as much a symbol of New York City as The Empire State Building. The dichotomy of these icons, both equally important threads in the fabric of New York City, came to symbolize the unique chemistry the city had to offer. Unfortunately, not everyone thought so.

In an effort to discourage artists from painting the trains, in May of 1989 the MTA set in effect a new policy that removed train cars with graffiti from service. This policy became known as the Clean Train Movement. The MTA had also started to replace the old flat sided cars a new, rounded side model, effectively making it harder for the graffiti artists to paint with any real accuracy. Graffiti seemed to be a dying art form.

In the early 90’s resurgence in reclaiming public space had begun. Stickers began to pop up from New York to L.A. featuring WWF wrestler Andre The Giant which read “Andre The Giant Has A Posse”. The mystery to their meaning was part of the phenomenon. “Because Giant has a Posse has no actual meaning, the various reactions and interpretations of those who view it reflect their personality and the nature of their sensibilities”, says the sticker’s creator Shepard Fairey. With a new generation of ironic, politically active artists on the prowl, graffiti in a sense had evolved.

Wooster Collective, a web site dedicated to the celebration of street art, offers an extensive view of street art from New York City to Tokyo. The site includes artist bios, interviews, current work, and information about upcoming shows and events. Wooster Collective recently organized the exhibition ‘Hollywood: The Remix’ at the Wooster Arts Space on Wooster Street. The showing consisted of the work of over fifty artists from both America and Europe. Each artist was given a series of posters from classic Hollywood films and was asked to “remix” them by incorporating their street art iconography into the classic images.

The reworked movie posters included a variety of past and present films such as ‘Rebel without a Cause’, ‘Lord Of The Rings’, ‘Super Fly’, ‘Drugstore Cowboy’, ‘The Matrix: Reloaded’, ‘Scarface’, ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Barabarella’, ‘The Hulk’, and ‘Easy Rider’.

The Great Escape
'The Great Escape' By Michael De Feo

Michael De Feo, (a.k.a. ‘The Flower Guy’), took on the imagery of the 1963 flick ‘The Great Escape’ starring Steve McQueen. De Feo’s tranquil approach contrasted the original artwork which depicted escaped POW’s scrambling for freedom though search lights and barbed wire.

'Eyes Wide Shut' By xoooox


'Barbarella' By Urban Medium


'Forrest Gump' By Jon Burgerman


Collaborative Piece By The London Police and Galo

Though the weather was rather muggy, it didn’t deter the large crowd that quickly filled the space. The DJ on hand did a great job of setting a mood for the evening while still allowing people to converse without having to scream. There was a large, collaborative piece being worked on The London Police and Galo.


'The Lord Of The Rings' By The London Police


'Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill!' By Cum

‘Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill!’ by the Belgian trio CUM was by far one of my favorite images of the evening. The use of their signature pin-up girl and her strategically placed paint drips in combination with the films’ original exploitive imagery make their porn-tastic take on this poster perfect Pop art.

Major corporations have no trouble discerning what art is. Shepard Fairey, partner in the graphic design firm BLK/MRKT, has had commercial success with clients like Mountain Dew, Nissan and DC Shoes.

Of course when one goes from plastering the neighborhood with posters to working on major ad campaigns, there are some that quickly yell ‘sell out’.

To those who criticize, Wooster Collective’s Marc Schiller says “I think that debating whether an artist is "selling out" by doing something for money is, quite frankly, stupid and a complete waste of time. The ultimate goal of most artists is to pay their rent doing what they love the most, which is creating art. Artists should do whatever they need, or want, to do, to live as they desire, even if that means doing commissions for brands and having corporate clients. It's not for me, or anyone else, to judge. Each artist should live by their own code of ethics and decide what is right for them."

"Criticizing how an artist goes about putting food on their table and paying their rent is [sound of frustration]. Nobody wants struggle to pay the bills. "Going commercial" allows an artist to stop worrying about money and start worrying about their craft. The idea that the "struggling artist" is a romantic notion and that the struggling artist has more "freedom" is, to me, complete crap."

Additional photos from the opening.


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