DC -- Public Art: Murals by Gaia:
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- MURGAI_200525_04.JPG: Over the past few weeks, Smith Commons’ Managing Partner Miles Gray turned over a large west-facing outer wall to Baltimore-based street artist Gaia, who over the course of four days turned it into a mural he calls “The Dusk of H Street.” It features the body of a half-human, half-hen opening its jacket to reveal an Albert Bierstadt landscape painting of Yosemite.
- Wikipedia Description: Gaia (artist)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Gaia (born 1988 in New York City) is an American street artist who has received significant museum showings and critical recognition. Based in Baltimore, he has created large-scale murals worldwide to engage the community where he works in a dialogue by using historical and sociological references to these neighborhoods.
Early life and education
Born as Andrew Pisacane in 1988 in New York City and raised in the Upper East Side neighborhood. His artist name is derived from the Greek designation for "earth goddess," and early in his career he used animal imagery to underscore his interest in bringing nature to urban landscapes. In 2007, while still in high school in New York, Gaia started wheat-pasting prints of his linoleum blocks in Bushwick, Williamsburg and Chelsea. His images included children, whose features gave them an other-worldly quality. His animals included a horse and boar, both endowed with human hands and torsos. He participated in several successful shows in Bushwick at Ad Hoc Art.
After graduating from high school in June 2007, Gaia moved to Baltimore and studied for four years at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), where he broadened his iconography. For example, he included images of his grandfather, or a rooster holding the head of St. John the Baptist. He graduated in 2011 from MICA.
Gaia also developed an interest in the evolution of urban neighborhoods. He began incorporating portraits of influential, and sometimes controversial urban developers: people such as Nelson Rockefeller, Robert Moses, Henry Flagler, James Rouse, Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe. These men built highways, skyscrapers and housing projects and collectively and irrevocably, they altered our perception of public space. For this reason, Gaia layered them into his urban murals.
According to the artist himself, much of his early work was inspired by a sense of looming environmental calamity. In 2011, he stated that, "I wanted to express this strange unlocatable feeling of fear about the end of the world - my generation’s zeitgeist of global warming."
In March 2011 Gaia had two solo exhibitions in Chicago co-organized by Maxwell-Colette Gallery and Pawnworks, which included a large-scale installation in the Art Loop at Adams and State.
In May 2011, the Jonathan LeVine Gallery in New York City presented Succession, a solo exhibition of Gaia's work.
In the summer, Gaia created an edition of a raven titled Forevermore and donated it to the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum in Baltimore, which had lost its funding. The Poe House is located in an area which includes subsidized housing.
When a 50 foot-poster of Gaia’s image was wheat-pasted in the neighborhood, it became a photo-op location for local residents. The image was also hung at Case[werks] Showroom & Gallery, for its own fundraising event.
In September 2011, Gaia was commissioned to create a mural for Wynwood Doors for Art Basel/Miami. He chose to do a portrait
of Henry Flagler, a railroad magnate who established the historically black neighborhood Overtown in central Miami.
Gaia was one of the artists that took part in The Underbelly Project which exhibited at Art Basel/Miami.
Gaia curated Open Walls Baltimore (OWB) which was generously backed by the PNC Community Foundation and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The mayor of Baltimore, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, attended the March 6 launch party for the OWB project at The Windup Space.
Gaia created the first two murals for Open Walls Baltimore at the corner of Charles and North Avenue. Maya Hayuk created the third mural, and other artists who participated were Swoon, Chris Stain, MOMO, Freddy Sam, Jaz, Jetsonoarma, Overunder, Vhils, Nanook, Mata Ruda, Specter, Interesni Kaski, Ever, Doodles, John Ahearn and Sten & Lex. In addition, discussion events included Monica Campana of Living Walls and Jane Golden of Philadelphia Mural Arts.
These internationally renowned artists created public murals in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District as a quick pick-me-up for a transitional neighborhood that houses both young artists who attend the nearby Maryland Institute College of Art, and economically challenged long term residents. The mural project will be akin to one in Miami’s Wynwood district, going beyond the typical haphazard spray paint or wheatpaste to create an art destination.
In September Gaia was invited to create a large installation at the Baltimore Museum of Art Contemporary Wing which reopened on November 17 after having been closed for several years for a major renovation. The project explored a recurring Gaia theme focusing on the residents of a neighborhood located near the BMA known as Remington. Eleven portraits of Remington residents float on a huge linoleum block print of rowhouses on one wall. On the opposite wall is another linoleum block print of rowhouses on which Gaia created a Gauguin-inspired portrait of a woman holding a mango. Kristen Hileman, the museum's curator of contemporary art, said the museum sought to commission an installation by Gaia not only because of his artistic skills, but because of the social and political messages in his work and his mission to connect people in urban landscapes.
South African street artist Freddy Sam hosted Gaia, Know Hope and Jaz in January to create murals in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Gaia was also invited to participate in mural festivals in Montreal, Bushwick, Richmond, Rochester, Sheboygan and Vladivostok. Rice Gallery at Rice University, Houston, Texas which specializes in site-specific installations presented a solo exhibition titled Marshland for Gaia from September 26 through December 8 and commissioned a documentary film.
video icon You can watch a 7 minute documentary on Gaia's exhibition at the Rice University Art Gallery here.
In February Gaia participated in the 2014 Pow Wow Hawaii mural festival in Honolulu. Gaia was invited to create a mural and a painting whose images referenced Hawaii's pre-colonial culture. Andrew Hosne of Thinkspace was enlisted by event director Jasper Wong to curate an exhibit for the participants'paintings at the Honolulu Museum of Art School, titled Pow! Wow! Exploring the New Contemporary Art Movement.
After returning from Hawaii, Gaia went to work on curating the second Open Walls Baltimore festival in the Station North Arts District where he created his own mural on the side of a Korean rice cake factory on N Charles Street. There was some controversy with regard to the community reception and the under representation of female artists.
Once Open Wall Baltimore 2 was underway, Gaia left for Perth, Australia to participate in a street art mural event called Public organized by the not for profit Form.
Gaia was also commissioned to create a mural for an event called Year of Altruism. This event in Greenville, SC coincides with the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, often seen as the beginning of the Holocaust. The proposed design, with references to textile mills and a landscape with lilies, is meant to recognize the generosity of the altruistic people involved in the textile industry.
In 2014, Gaia was also commissioned to paint a mural of Vincent Chin, along the Grand River Creative Corridor in Detroit. However, a local artist Sintex buffed (painted over) Gaia's black and white mural with a set of images to honor varied civil rights icons, including Chin.
In 2015, Gaia was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Art & Style.
He was commissioned to create a mural installation at the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta, GA focusing on the hashtag #iftheygunnedmedown in response to how blacks are perceived in the media following the death of Mike Brown in Ferguson.
The W Hotel, DC, also commissioned Gaia to create murals inside their new restaurant Pinea.
999Contemporary mounted a solo exhibition for the artist in Rome where he also created a mural for a public project in the Tormarancia neighborhood.
Gaia was invited to speak on the Evolution of Street Art on a panel at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The artist curated and painted murals at the 2015 O+ Festival in Kington, NY on October 9–11.
Gaia also had an installation at York College of Pennsylvania Galleries titled Perspectives on Peace. The artist interviewed four local residents to create a video of each which will be shown in the center of the octagonal gallery with enlarged portraits of each painted on the perimeter walls. He will also participate in a panel discussion on October 14 with the curators prior to a reception.
999Contemporary commissioned Gaia to execute a major mural commission at the Hotel Capannelle in Rome. The three murals titled "Mobility" cover the entire four story exterior of the hotel and depict a theme which couldn't possibly be more topical now than in Italy.
Gaia also worked on a three story triptych soaring up a staircase from the Bellevue, WA, W hotel entrance. The murals took 18 days to paint and were completed one week before the hotel's official June 15, 2017 grand opening.
Gaia collaborated on a mammoth Guache five-story triptych in the central hall of the Biblioteca Nacional de Colombia, Bogota, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of publication of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's prize winning novel One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Gaia also worked on the stART- Welcome to Pisa project in Italy. This was another 18 days of work on a scaffold. The mural covers the exterior wall of the Saint Gobain glass factory and depicts and reflects upon the history of labor in Italy (and the world) and the frightening effects of automation.
In this period, Gaia was also part of a group of international contemporary street artists who were commissioned to pain New Delhi's streets in India. Gaia's paintings focused on Global Warming, and in particular the impact of low cost automobiles as well as container ships on the environment.
Between these mural projects, a new hotel—the Sagamore Pendry in Gaia's hometown of Baltimore—commissioned the muralist to create a painting on canvas for their lobby lounge. The 10' x 12' canvas titled "The Hardest Needle to Thread" that Gaia delivered now hangs in Kevin Plank's $60 million brainchild and depicts a piece of Baltimore history with the image of Francis Scott Key and the hands of two women (one white and the other black) sewing the flag which flew over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.
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