Mission Complete: Botstories Boulder by Gary Hirsch

Artists are now exploring social media as a platform for experience.  Not just as marketing tools, though that should not be underestimated.  Rather the tantalizing experiments with social media as a component of, or the canvas for, expression is a source of fascination for the agents of the Poorly Kept Secret Society.  Well, some of them at least.  Admittedly there are more than a few agents who are confounded by the whole thing and believe that what Facebook needs more than all else is a  well placed toss of a large wrench…

As these artists continue to experiment we see a depth and complexity to the investigations that can be exciting.  Or, sometimes, ridiculous.  One lesson that is worth exploring was ably demonstrated by artist Gary Hirsch in his recent mural project for the City of Boulder.

IMAG0078

 

hirsch (2)

 

hirsch (1)

 

Gary’s simple idea is, as you might imagine, the front for a serious and complex game.  I won’t go into it here, as time will not allow.  (Sorry, I am writing this post while on a stakeout, hidden in a mailbox…)  But, please read more on his site: www.botjoy.com.

What is compelling for the agents who assisted Mr. Hirsch in his project was the delight people take in his clever, perhaps devious, social media campaign.  What makes for a viral hashtag, or blog post, or tweet, is mysterious.  But Mr. Hirsch saw something.  Please conduct further research at #botstories and #botjoy.

What should we learn from his success?  That a simple message, a simple question, is accessible and therefore useful to the folks in social media land?  That opening up the exploration to the personal voice captivates?  That irony is attractive?  Or, as I hope, that people yearn for the connection to beauty in all they do, even when what they do is 140 characters in length?

We shall follow #botstories as the internet community of quizzical robot enthusiasts grows.

And, congratulations to Gary on a wonderful project!!  And, congratulations Boulder on your new artwork!!  Stop by 13th and Arapaho to see it for your own self.

New Assignment: Bot Joy

Agents of the Poorly Kept Secret Society have been approached by [name redacted] to assist in the covert deployment of Bot Joy onto the unsuspecting residents of a peaceful Colorado community.

 

Through Bot Joy, artist Gary Hirsch has invaded communities like London, Austin, and his own Portland, OR with the charming army of tiny robots painted on Dominoes.  Read more: http://www.botjoy.com/

 

Agents of the Poorly Kept Secret Society are fascinated with this nexus of social media, urban life, and the chance encounter with art.  It’s also worth discussing Hirsch and his artist-ilk: those that produce images motivated by the nothing more than spreading of joy.  Much needed, these days.  But, not always so easily accepted in the closed loop of art patronage, surprisingly.  Friends With You is a team that comes to mind, and one that has had some association with The Society in the past.  I wonder what you all in internet land think of these types of artists?

 

Anyhow, our agents will update this website with details on this mission at the end of May.  Stay tuned.

Banksy Shmanksy

So, I’ve been moderately annoyed with the overdone and sometime schmaltzy coverage of Banksy’s New York residency.  It is just too much about his brand and celebrity and too little about how he might actually affect the public.  He didn’t do anything really new that I can see.  Of course, I stopped following the vacuous daily news stories about what pithy throw-up was discovered by the gooey fan-club members in the media at about October 15.  Maybe 16.  So, maybe I missed the real quality…

 

However, I am forced to admit that on his last day he knocked his “audio guide” out of the freakin’ park.  Listen:

 

http://www.banksyny.com/

 

Banks…  (that’s what I call him…)  Banks:  I too hope that the last few centuries of art history are the anomaly.

 

 

 

Update on Dalek’s Boulder Mural, from StreetArtNews.net

This dispatch was received on Sunday from StreetArtNews.net

Dalek New Mural In Boulder, USA

Brooklyn-based artist, Dalek just finished working on this new mural in Boulder, USA where he was helped by the local community and specifically kids.
If you are in the area, you’ll be able to find it on the Victors & Spoils’ building on East Pearl Street.
Look below for more angles of this piece and then check back with us soon for more updates from USA.
We at the Poorly Kept Secret Society can attest to the delight and wonder that comes from pulling masking tape.  The big reveal!!  These young men are forever changed for the better thanks to the good Mr. Dalek.

Dalek Spotted in Boulder

This just in from the Denver Egotist:

#ShitToHit: Saturday-Wednesday – Help Dalek Mural the Outside of Boulder’s Victors & Spoils

For the next several days, the artist Dalek (aka James Marshall) is painting a mural on the exterior wall of Victors & Spoils’ relatively new space in Boulder. Both the artist and V&S want to extend an invitation to art and design lovers to come by, watch, take pics and if you’d like — grab a paintbrush. In true crowdsourcing fashion, Dalek and V&S would like for it to be a community event as much as possible. It’s happening today (Saturday) through Wednesday. All are welcome to come and paint alongside him.

Agents are being dispatched.  Can’t wait to see the finished work.

Fevers

Several Agents of the Poorly Kept Secret Society have been, for several years now, tracking a curious tag around the Denver Metropolitan Area:

http://www.flickr.com/groups/denvergraff/pool/page4/?view=lg

http://www.flickr.com/photos/92124688@N03/8490682371/

The expertly formed tag was most compelling in concept: Fevers kept true to the name.  The tag popped up in many media, in many places: marker on electrical boxes, aerosol on retaining walls, bridges, road signs, billboards, on and on and on.  The tag itself was a fever, infecting the city.  The pace was frenetic, with a new manifestations of the Fevers disease popping up overnight.  Like the landscape itself was in the throws of the fever.  Or, perhaps, the tag itself was a symptom of some strange new social disease, a disease which compelled the poor patient to endlessly deface property all night: Turrets with spray cans.  It was disturbing and compelling.  Agents eagerly, yet with trepidation, sought out the next boil, the next rash, the next unusual locale for the obsessive Fevers tag to manifest.

And then… nothing.  Agents report that, though a few of Fevers tags remain, there have been no new cases to report in months.  The Poorly Kept Secret Society asks “what has happened to Fevers”?

Perhaps Fevers recovered, no longer compelled to scribble on lampposts and abandoned cars.  Perhaps Fevers has been arrested: sentenced to probation and community service.  Sobered by the experience, perhaps Fevers has given up the lifestyle.  Perhaps Fevers only tagged to keep the mind occupied through the Great Recession and now, gainfully employed in a cushy recovery job (I imagine building solar panels on a hefty government contract…) perhaps Fevers has no time, no energy to devote to the sickness.  Perhaps Fevers escaped the compulsive allure of Denver’s streets, and now fights the urge to infect some other town.

Whatever the reason, the fever has broken.

Some Agents of the Poorly Kept Secret Society are saddened.  Some hope for a relapse.

Secret Assignment Complete

Agents of the Poorly Kept Secret Society, working under cover, just completed the installation of artwork by Sam Flores, Dave Choe, and Highraff at the Cherry Creek Arts Festival in Denver. This clandestine graffiti installation brings three murals originally created at 2012’s Terminal Kings event back out on the streets.

image

Go see it.

Tell no one.

“David Choe” and “Denver, Colorado” Share the Same Initials

David Choe can’t seem to get enough of D Town.  He passed through last week while filming his latest installment of “Thumbs Up”.  Remarkably, not a single Denver resident lost a limb, or karma-points, during the course of his stay.

Some may recall the Terminal Kings event held in early 2012 in which Choe joined street artists Highraff and Sam Flores for some good natured and propellant-powered live painting.  Agents of the Poorly Kept Secret Society, then a better kept secret, were on hand.  During that event, Choe decided to donate a mural to the City and County of Denver (with the help of his cohorts DVS-1 and Joe To).  Those outstanding, towering paintings have lived at 13th and Champa for the past 18 months.  Lo and behold, upon Choe’s latest arrival in Denver he decided to improve his mural. 

Image

There are Agents in the Poorly Kept Secret Society who continue to be dubious of Mr. Choe’s work.  He is an accomplished technician, no doubt.  If you gave a can of aerosol to both Choe and an automatic David-Choe-Aersol-Contest-Winning Machine (I believe this is under development by NASA), David Choe wins, hands down.  He is also graced with a marvelously ludicrous imagination.  But, he is also in that cadre of artists who have come to represent much more than the sum of their craft.  Along with the other superstars of the art market, Choe is a symbol of that unattainable corner of the aesthetics.  His work is for the wealthy.  He, himself, is a multi-millioinaire.  He gets lumped with Hirst and Koons and the rest of the superstars.  Snore.  He is also crass.  Or, at least the character of himself that we see on Thumbs Up is.  Exclusive and glib; these two traits conspire to make his art feel a bit unapproachable.

In real life, Choe is very friendly.  The Agents of the Poorly Kept Secret Society who have spent time with David Choe have reported that he is a warm conversationalist.  He also commits fully and completely to his art, no pretense.  And, the simple, streetwise nature of his aesthetic and the honesty of his narrative are engaging.  He seems to resolve any discomfort we may feel with his lifestyle by simply making amazing, beautiful, and engaging works of art.  They are indeed for everyone.

And, never is that more obvious than in the fact that he has once again given a gift to Denver.  If you have not been by the Denver Performing Arts Complex in a while, make the trip.  13th and Champa.  Go in disguise, if possible.

(Photograph courtesy of Jacquelyn Connolly, Co-conspirator to the Poorly Kept Secret Society.)