Category Archives: Articles

Mission 9 Report: Zappa Penny and Other Year-End Miracles

This year, like every year, we at Art Art Revolution celebrated Zappadan (see Mission 9: Zappadan!)

Check back next week for some Zappa inspired art. For now, we’ll just mention some of the Zappadan miracles and Art Art Revolution events that occured this Zappadan season, including finding this Zappa penny at a Maryland rest stop.

If you aren’t familiar with Zappadan miracles, they are similar to Christmas miracles, but they happen during the Zappadan season (Dec 4th-Dec 21st) rather than on Christmas.

Besides finding the Zappa penny, I count this season’s personal Zappadan miracles as finding my lost watch (somehow, Zappa always seems to bring me back lost items) as well as surviving my last statistics class of grad school and also surviving visits to various relatives. Also, I produced a compelling Zappa poster for Mission 9: Zappadan! which I will post next week.

Most significantly, I ran into a friend of mine from grad school while on a train from Portland to Seattle. Pretty significant, since neither of us live in either city. Not only were we on the same train, we were in the same train car.

Our good friend Jonathan Nakatamo writes in to tell us that to Celebrate Zappadan he performed Vox Balaenae twice, began work on an epic song cycle called “Life Science”, watched the Star Wars Holiday Special and lived to tell the tale, and received 30 free Nantucket Nectars. Parrotchute reports that she found her lost bracelet, thanks to Zappa’s help. Do you have a Zappadan miracle to share? If so, let us know!

In other AAR news, we received several reports of the “Cher the Road” sign featured in this public art feature. We also have reports that the Georgetown Career Center is still enthusiastically advertising for Kaplan Test Prep.

Ok, that’s all for now, revolutionaries. Check back next week when we’ll start posting more mission reports, and will also post a new mission.


Public Art Feature: Party While You Paint

[submitted by Where’s Waldo, Seoul, South Korea]

Most artists who paint without authorization in public spaces would rather not draw attention to themselves. They work quickly and quietly so police don’t find out. Police are skeptical of street art to the point that they don’t even call it art. More often they refer to it as graffiti or—gasp!—vandalism. Admittedly, the streets are full of graffiti but they’re also full of art, and what separates the two is more than authorization through official channels. Unfortunately those in control usually can’t discern the difference between the artists and vandals, so true street artists must learn to keep a low profile.

All of this explains why I was so surprised and inspired by the DRIPAN Art Walk last weekend. The event included stops at a number of galleries, performance spaces, and bars in and around Itaewon, the epicenter of Seoul’s foreigner community. However, the highlight of the evening occurred not in a chic gallery but in a dingy underpass beneath a busy intersection. Here a group of artists created some truly inspired artwork and— incredibly— they flaunted convention by working under the most conspicuous conditions imaginable. Not only did they invite all of their friends to watch—they also invited their friends’ friends, any random strangers lucky enough to wander by, and five-piece funk band! Upwards of 70 people crammed into the underpass, many with beer in hand, and applauded wildly at the completion of every new layer. The traditionally furtive act of installation quickly grew into a flash-mob party.

Much of the party centered around a work by jimmySK, a stencil artist from the UK who has lived in Korea for 3 years and has been producing street art in Seoul since September. I’ve included a shot of Jimmy’s art below:

I had the opportunity to chat with Jimmy after the show. “Having a crowd of onlookers was a double edged sword,” he explained. “It was great having them there but obviously having all that extra attention goes against the subversive nature of what I do.” However, he also admitted to feeling a certain safety in numbers. With so many artists and musicians working together, he reasoned, any police officer stumbling upon the impromptu party would have had a hard time deciding whom to go after.

The crowd dissipated as soon as the installation was complete so I didn’t get the chance to meet any of the other artists. However, I’ve included some photographs of their work and the crowd (courtesy of Sheila Bocchine)

(one of the artists installing her work)

(another great installation)

(the band)

(jimmySK at work)

(good crowd for an art installation)

What transpired in the underpass underlines an important moral. I suspect many of the onlookers didn’t realize that the art created before their eyes was anything less than legal. I suspect that if the police had stumbled upon the party they wouldn’t have realized it either. Why? Because confidence is contagious. When you’re involved in a sketchy activity the best move can often be to flaunt it. One guy in a hoodie spraying frantically in a dark ally screams illegal. A group of artists working to the grooves of a five-piece band before a huge crowd seems pretty official.

The underpass party was a first for just about everybody involved. However, I doubt it will be a last. The concept is simple and could be replicated almost anywhere in the world with ease. I hope that it will inspire all you artist-revolutionaries out there to dream large. Let your next mission also be the excuse for your next party!

Mission 9: Zappadan!

Every year there is an 18 day celebration honoring the late great Frank Zappa. The celebration begins on December 4th, the anniversary of Zappa’s death, and ends on December 21, the anniversary of Zappa’s birth. The explanation is simple–these are the days of the year without Zappa, in which he had died but not yet been born. Therefore it is incumbent on us to keep his memory alive in these days.

Or, as blogger “Bluegal” says:

“I love Zappadan. It’s like, the days of the year between death and birth, the ethereal time when there was no Frank, so we must celebrate him to keep his spirit safe until his birthday again.

Or it’s just a great excuse for a party that has nothing to do with the greed and debt festival known as Christmas in America.

In any event, I think Frank would be proud.”

The first night of Zappadan is known as “Bummernacht” or “The Night of Bummer.” Because, you know, it was a bummer that Zappa died. This night is usually celebrated with the fiercest acts of partying and devotion to the memory of Zappa, and the designated night for insane events such as swimming in the Atlantic ocean at midnight off the coast of Rhode Island.

So, your artistic mission during Zappadan? Get some friends together and throw a party. Make a work of art together at this party that Zappa would be proud of. Record a musical jam together, write a group poem, or collaborate on a work on art. Any way you do it, make sure you do it during Zappadan!

Meanwhile, we will be starting a list of sites celebrating Zappadan, so stay tuned for that. The original place I saw reference of Zappadan was on The Aristocrats but someone please let us know if they can find the origin of the celebration!

Picture credit: Guys From Area 51

Public Art Feature: I Sniff A Rat

[Submitted by Where’s Waldo, Seoul, South Korea]

As those following international politics are probably aware, Seoul will be hosting the G20 summit this weekend. The previous G20 summit hosted by Toronto in June was met with fierce protests, which the local police force responded to with unprecedented brutality. Eager to avoid a repeat of the Toronto debacle, South Korea’s right-wing president Myung Bak Lee has authorized several measures, many of tenuous legality under the Korean constitution, to ensure that the summit goes off without a hitch. Foreigners with a history of protest may be barred from entering the country and freedom of expression will be significantly curtailed, with all demonstrations restricted to Olympic Park, an area kilometers from the action at the COEX Exhibition Center. Participants in unregistered protests will be subject to potential arrest. One protest outside the designated boundaries has already been broken up by police using pepper spray. However, perhaps the most intriguing story thus far has been that of a 40-year-old university professor known only as Park. Park and his friend were apprehended on Sunday for drawing a rat on a poster promoting the G20 Seoul Summit. An image of their work may be viewed below:

A truly inspiring work of art, I must profess. The Korea Times has noted that the added image “gave people the impression that a huge rat was holding the lantern symbolizing the G20 Summit with the words, ‘The world is watching Korea.’

The image of a rat is often used by liberals to caricature president Lee due to his involvement in numerous scandals and his close ties to major corporations, which in South Korea hold almost unchecked power.

I plan to observe the upcoming protests, both official and unoffical, and document them as well as possible. If all goes well, the result may become another Art Art Revolution submission. I also might attempt to dash off a work of public art although, in light of Park’s unfortunate story, I might opt to exercise restraint for the sake of my visa status.

Public Art Feature: Cher the Road

Providence Public Artists Worm and Bread Submit another cool piece of public art, explaining:

“we like to experiment with using the authoritative language of signs to convey an absurd message. someone had to tell drivers to share the road after all -love worm and bread”

Big Bird Says “Join the Revolution”

From “There are still a few men who love desperately…” comes a picture of Big Bird, asking you to join the movement:

Public Art Feature: Phone Tag

I’ve hard a lot of excuses since starting this blog why people can’t do public art. They usually run, in order:
1. “I don’t have time”
2. “I don’t know how to draw”
3. “I’m not subtle enough to do public art”

However, Providence public artists worm and bread have proven that you don’t need anything more than creative thinking to pull off a great piece of art. Clearly, the time they took here was in thinking the project up–and that’s the most flexible time of all since you can do it on the bus, in class or waiting in line for coffee. Once that’s done, though, sometimes the installation can be simple:

Their explanation of the project is simple:

“We attached a modern cell phone to the surface of a now empty phone booth where the pay phone would have been. As well as being a visual pun, the piece is a commentary on the way modern technology affects infrastructure.”

worm and bread also have picked a prime target for public art–everyday, abandoned objects such as phone booths. So, here’s a challenge to everyone else–have an idea beyond the missions? Send it in to us. Do a little creative thinking and you too can be a public artist.