Art Docs: Aakash Nihalani, Red Hook Project, & The Poetry Brothel

I’ve wanted to write about Babelgum and some short art docs on Radar (weekly, series produced by WBP LABS) that I’ve been watching there. Then I saw that they had one about Aakash Nihalani*, one of my favorite street artists and that got moved to type this up today. You might have seen his work around–he creates two-dimensional cubes out of brilliantly colored tape on all sorts of city surfaces. Here’s the short doc on Nihalani. I also like Radar short doc about a community art project in Red Hook**. And this one about a poetry brothel***!

Below are the descriptive  texts from the Radar-produced short docs:
*When artist Aakash Nihalani moved from the suburbs to NYC he was compelled by its symmetry. As an organic response he started laying down tape on the streets and on buildings, creating brightly colored sticker tape boxes framing aspects of the city he wanted to show people, creating tableaus from real life. Both uncomfortable at potentially defacing property by using permanent materials, and enraged at the continued treatment of public artists as vandals, we join him as he brings 3D to his work for the first time, via use of mirrors and passers-by, and discuss why impermanence is important to the acceptance of street art.

**When curator Laura Arena approached MIT’s Luis Blackaller & Andy Cavatorta, her brief was simple: create something that initiates interaction between the inhabitants of the neighborhood. From the Portuguese fisherman to the Projects, to the artists and hipsters, to a new influx of people, Lucky Gallery sits at the crux of several different communities, none of whom talk, but acknowledge each other as familiar strangers. Luis and Andy’s response was to build a miniature version of Red Hook and populate it with photographic doll versions of people they met and talked to on the street. We join Luis and Andy as they prepare for the opening and watch as the element of play in a virtual world impacts communication in the real one.

***Believing that Poets undervalue themselves in the creative marketplace, The Madame, and right-hand man Tennessee Pink, set up the Poetry Brothel in order to confirm in writers the literal monetary value of their work, and also to present Poetry in its more natural form – intimate and sensual over the more standard formal and jilted reading. The collective is made up of ‘Poetry Whores’ who ply their trade at specially arranged events, dressed in turn of the century dress, in character. The creation of character, as both disguise and freeing device enables the Poetry Brothel to be a place of uninhibited creative expression, where both whore and John can be themselves in private.


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