No: Bonom, that rising star of Belgian street art, isn’t in there yet. But the authors of that wonderful new book Beyond the street did find something in Belgium worth including in their list of 100 leading figures in urban art: Brussels A.L.I.C.E. Gallery. As Beyond the street combines pictures with insightful interviews I had no trouble believing the good people from Bozar Shop (Brussels) that this had to be my book of the month. It’s one of those richly illustrated art books that you find yourself actually reading in.
Banksy isn’t on their list. That’s slightly odd, for a book that claims to list the 100 leading figures in urban art. Specialists will undoubtedly find other names too that should have been on the Beyond the street-list. But for those of us that don’t know that much about urban art and want to have an insightful look into that ever and quickly evolving world of street art, this is a good start.
Authors Patrick Nguyen and Stuart Mackenzie came up with an interesting list, that comprises not only street artists, but also galleries, curators from big auction houses (Christie’s and Sotheby’s), magazines and even a long time enthusiast such as French fashion designer Agnès B. Doze Green, one of the original Rock Steady Crew-members, is in there, Shepard Fairey, who rose to fame with his Barack Obama/Hope-poster, Aaron Rose, who directed the Beautiful losers-documentary and of course the already much imitated Slinkachu, he who plays with little people.
The authors have spent two years travelling the globe and writing Beyond the street. ‘With the patience of Tibetan monks and the stamina of transatlantic swimmers’, they write. ‘While there is plenty of secondary analysis and commentary available on the subject, we felt that there was a lack of primary sources from those involved. Therefore, the idea was to collect a broad selection of thoughts and opinions by artists and galleries for future reference.’ In the interviews the artists talk about quite a few different aspects of their work: from their ideals to their daily lives, from working in complete freedom to working in the art and commercial worlds
These are two fragments from their interview with Alice van den Abeele from A.L.I.C.E., the Brussels gallery that has made it on the list. She tips Sozyone Million and Bruno Brunet as the artists to keep an eye on.
‘What makes us tick is that at any given moment, the artist goes outside the walls of his studio and creates an interaction between his work and the outside world.’
‘Street art is one component of the art world. It has its own singularities like any other art movement. In a way, art is what you want to see before your eyes. Everyone has their own desires, fears and fantasies. Art is a way to transform these into something concrete. From then on, it’s just a question of who shouts the loudest or who jumps the highest.’
You’ll find ‘Beyond the street’ (49,90 euro) at Bozar Shop (Brussels) or you can order it at the website of publisher Gestalten.