NOTHING LASTS FOR LONG -KAVES

Kaves Art Show “Concrete Cathedrals” At Brooklyn’s Industry City Comes To A Close

Concrete Cathedrals was an art show held at Court Tree Gallery in Building 5 of Industry City (formerly Bush Terminal) at 51 35th Street alongside the Gowanus Parkway, featuring canvas work by Brooklyn graffiti writer, tattooist, screenwriter, painter, actor, and musician, Kaves.

Industry City isn’t like what you remember the former factory area to be. If you haven’t been there in years, you’ll be quite surprised. Recall the sweet scent of the flavors wafting through the air from the candy factory as you drove under the Gowanus? That’s the place.

INDUSTRY CITY map

INDUSTRY CITY map

But today, it’s been transformed into a hip, artsy paradise, a series of malls with interesting shops featuring custom wallpaper, antiques, artists’ galleries, and tons more cool stuff. The Makers Space is located on the upper floors, home to design, technology, food, fashion, art, media, production, and other sorts of companies.

Consulting the Map.

Consulting the Map.

The canvases of Concrete Cathedrals featured hand-styled typography, overlapping in many layers forming complex textures, juxtaposed against backgrounds of black, grey, and sepia, with street scenes of Kaves’ home-town, Brooklyn. Media included China markers, acrylic, oil, and spray paint.

Canvas sizes ranged in proportions, with dimensions of 48″ x 36″, 59 x 102″, 65″ x 141″, to cite only a few. All were different.

Walking To Our Destination

Walking To Our Destination

This show is one you shouldn’t have missed if you’re a serious student of New York hip-hop cultural history and street art.

Unfortunately, yesterday was its last day running, as the show was open to the public from February 8th to March 8th, 2020.

Downtown Manhattan Frames the Scene.

Downtown Manhattan Frames the Scene.

You will have to wait until the next time Mr. Kaves decides to put together a show with the Court Tree Collective.

Kaves, born Michael McLeer in 1969 in Brooklyn, is one of NYC’s original graffiti artists, writing with the Bay Ridge-based crew, LOB, or Lordz of Brooklyn, dating back to 1980.

Sign announcing The Makers Guild at Industry City, Brooklyn, NY

Sign announcing The Makers Guild at Industry City, Brooklyn, NY

Famed for his color-saturated, high-contrast pieces with zany characters and on-point lettering, executed in the 1980s, Mr. Kaves is one of the best-recognized writers from the era.

You may recall seeing Kaves’ work in Henry Chalfant’s 1984 tome Spraycan Art, a follow-up to Subway Art, both considered part of the lore of NYC graf in the 1980s. There’s even commentary by Kaves’ in Spraycan Art.

Kaves’ visual work has also been featured by Jaguar, NIKE, Rockstar Games, WWE, PONY, MTV, ADIDAS, Van’s Warped Tour, and Georges Duboeuf, according to his website, and his works have been shown in the Gunther Sachs Museum of Fine Arts in Germany, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and many books about graffiti have also displayed his pieces.

Note the Curving Track Entering the Courtyard?

Note the Curving Track Entering the Courtyard?

Besides being signed to Warner Brothers and creating and performing some memorable hip-hop tracks and touring worldwide, the Lords of Brooklyn tore up Kings County way back when, hitting the yards, racquetball courts, and other prime spots all over the borough, covering flat surfaces with pieces worth remembering.

Tracks Partially Covered with Asphalt.

Tracks Partially Covered with Asphalt.

The Lordz of Brooklyn, later shortened simply to The Lordz, even performed their rap/punk-rock music  on the Conan O’Brien Show. This was one of the crews that got things done, an example to the rest, still to this day, of art in action.

Kaves also brought his unique hand-style to the world of tattooing, operating his own shop, BMT. Many people walk around with his graffitieque artwork and lettering on their bodies.

Building 5. Industry City.

Building 5. Industry City.

Now, Kaves works out of an art and tattoo studio right down the hall from where the show was, on the second floor of building 5 at Industry City, creating new works to this day. It’s called Mr. Kaves’ Pigtown Tattoo and Atelier.

Even if you’ve missed the show, a visit to the studio is in order. It’s a nostalgic trip, as many objects from Kaves’ life are on display, to evoke memories for those that were there and lived through the era, and to let others who hadn’t get a feel for what they missed.

These Stairs Are NOT For Climbing..

These Stairs Are NOT For Climbing..

The show also featured a piece featuring ironwork by legendary writer and sculptor Revs and Kaves, which once was sited it Kaves’ tattoo parlor ib Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

Revs, who once went by the tag “Revlon,” famous for his gigantic paint-rollered sides of building he did in the early 1990s with his partner, Cost, as well as the flour-pasted-flyer campaign the two tirelessly worked on, plastering 8 1/2 by 11 paper signs with phrases like “Cost F***** Madonna” and “Lousy Kid Revs” and tons of other insane and puzzling phrases all over NYC.

An Urban Industrial Area, Transformed.

An Urban Industrial Area, Transformed.

There was even a flyer with a phone number you could call to hear strange messages on some of the flyers stuck up by Revs and Cost. Remember that, NYC kids? Even if you don’t, you can still read about it online.

Spraycan Art. Authored by Henry Chalfant

Spraycan Art. Authored by Henry Chalfant

And, that’s not all. The show also featured newspaper clippings about Kaves and LOB. On a desk sat Kaves’ hand-written list of writers, including those from Staten Island, a statue of the Virgin Mary, and blueprints for the piece that appeared in Chalfant’s second glossy book featuring graffiti artwork.

Train Tracks Once curved Into This Courtyard, As Loading And Unloading Was Done On The Concrete Platforms

Train Tracks Once curved Into This Courtyard, As Loading And Unloading Was Done On The Concrete Platforms

Besides this, there were a few poems posted on the walls. Between these various elements, it was enough to evoke 1983, freshly bringing forth “that feeling”, that incredible feeling of excitement and awe and the feeling of the Present, the Presence, of Now.

Is it nostalgia, strictly? No way; though the artwork certainly conjures memories of Brooklyn in its 1980s bombed-out heyday, there’s far more here.

Outdoor staircase at Industry City.

Outdoor staircase at Industry City.

The present moment is eternal, and though the impermanence of life, expressed in Kaves piece entitled, “Nothing Lasts” sums it up succinctly, that feeling of newness, of being on the verge of a novel era, a fresh day of limitless possibility, something unexpected, is something we can carry with us every day we’re alive.

Seeing this show was like seeing an impossibly masterful piece pop up one morning back in ’83 or ’85: all the wonder, the awe, the appreciation.

Hanging Lights Form Patterns of Triangles.

Hanging Lights Form Patterns of Triangles.

It won’t ever be 1983 again, but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep that artistic vision of hip-hop alive in all we do, whether we’re native New Yorkers writing graffiti, spinning records and DJing, rapping, or breakdancing, or expressing ourselves as transplants from Ohio, working in theatre, film, or a myriad of other media.

Freight Elevator. Even this spot is vibrant.

Freight Elevator. Even this spot is vibrant.

The future is limitless. The time is now. Do you feel “that feeling” again?

This show recalls a time when many NYC kids had stars in their eyes and knew this truth in their gut, in their heads, in their very hearts. Mr. Kaves clearly never forgot.

Ascending the stairs to Floor 2, The Makers Space.

The Halls of Industry City. Where'd Bush Terminal go?

The Halls of Industry City. Where’d Bush Terminal go?

Hallway of The Makers Space.

Hallway of The Makers Space.

Mr. Kaves' Pigtown Tattoo and Atelier Shop

Mr. Kaves’ Pigtown Tattoo and Atelier Shop

Electric Tattooing Plate Glass Window of Mr. Kaves' Shop.

Electric Tattooing Plate Glass Window of Mr. Kaves’ Shop.

LAsonic Boom Boxes. Remember when you could buy these at the old Big Apple Bazaar in the Harbor?

LAsonic Boom Boxes. Remember when you could buy these at the old Big Apple Bazaar in the Harbor?

The tattoo shop. Inside, looking out.

The tattoo shop. Inside, looking out.

Kaves' Super Jumbo Boom Box with Tags From Gano D VGL, Dez, Mars, and others.

Kaves’ Super Jumbo Boom Box with Tags From Gano D VGL, Dez, Mars, and others.

A can of Krylon. An old reel-to-reel. A Mass Card. And More.

A can of Krylon. An old reel-to-reel. A Mass Card. And More.

Inside the Tattoo Shop. The walls are lined with Kaves' stuff.

Inside the Tattoo Shop. The walls are lined with Kaves’ stuff.

The Wanderers Paperback. And other 80s items.

The Wanderers Paperback. And other 80s items.

Not for sale. Mr. Kaves' personal memorabilia at the tattoo shop.

Not for sale. Mr. Kaves’ personal memorabilia at the tattoo shop.

Court Tree Collective Concrete Cathedrals Sign on Gallery

Court Tree Collective Concrete Cathedrals Sign on Gallery

Kaves “Concrete Cathedrals” Canvas Art Show at Industrial City, Building 5, Court Tree Gallery. March 8, 2020, closing day of show.

Guests grok the sights.

Guests grok the sights.

Closer and closer we peer until it's just light and dark.

Closer and closer we peer until it’s just light and dark.

BKLYN Flats. KAVES. Lost & Found, 2019

BKLYN Flats. KAVES. Lost & Found, 2019

Explaining Kaves' work to guests.

Explaining Kaves’ work to guests.

Another Canvas Piece. Note the Water Towers on the BK buildings, friends!

Another Canvas Piece. Note the Water Towers on the BK buildings, friends!

Kaves "Concrete Cathedrals" Canvas Art Show at Industrial City, Building 5, Court Tree Gallery. March 8, 2020, closing day of show.

Kaves “Concrete Cathedrals” Canvas Art Show at Industrial City, Building 5, Court Tree Gallery. March 8, 2020, closing day of show.

Japa. Mantras by Kaves.

Japa. Mantras by Kaves.

Brooklyn: The Intersection of Heaven and Hell.

Brooklyn: The Intersection of Heaven and Hell.

KAVES. Love Child, 2019.

KAVES. Love Child, 2019.

Fat Marker Lines.

Fat Marker Lines.

Another piece. Note the layers and layers of writing.

Another piece. Note the layers and layers of writing.

Pew So That the Faithful Can Sit and Reflect

Kaves “Concrete Cathedrals” Canvas Art Show at Industrial City, Building 5, Court Tree Gallery. March 8, 2020, closing day of show.

Poetry: My father Had No Faith. By Kaves.

Poetry: My father Had No Faith. By Kaves.

Kaves handstyle. Part of one of the canvas pieces for sale.

Kaves handstyle. Part of one of the canvas pieces for sale.

The Concrete Cathedrals show.

The Concrete Cathedrals show.

Article about a piece to be buffer by "Chemical People" company.

Article about a piece to be buffer by “Chemical People” company.

Early Kaves piece on paper with marker.

Early Kaves piece on paper with marker.

None of this is for sale. Of course.

None of this is for sale. Of course.

Newspaper article about Michael McLeer at 15, painting legal murals.

Newspaper article about Michael McLeer at 15, painting legal murals.

KAVES. Spalding, 2019. China markers, acrylic, oil and spray paint

KAVES. Spalding, 2019. China markers, acrylic, oil and spray paint

The gallery space with guests.

The gallery space with guests.

Kaves Miss U, 2019. China markers, acrylic, oil and spray paint

Kaves Miss U, 2019. China markers, acrylic, oil and spray paint

Looking past the Revs-Kaves work.

Looking past the Revs-Kaves work.

The reverse of the Revs-Kaves piece.

The reverse of the Revs-Kaves piece.

Writing by KAves and Revs. Ironwork by Revs.

Writing by KAves and Revs. Ironwork by Revs.

KAVES. In wrought iron

KAVES. In wrought iron

Close-up of ironwork lettering.

Close-up of ironwork lettering.

The KAVES REVS collaboration piece.

The KAVES REVS collaboration piece.

The Concrete Cathedral Show.

The Concrete Cathedral Show.

...and the last of the KAVES works on display that are for sale.

…and the last of the KAVES works on display that are for sale.

More of KAVES artwork for sale at the show.

More of KAVES artwork for sale at the show.

Concrete Cathedrals Art Show. Michael Kaves McLeer is a man of faith.

Concrete Cathedrals Art Show. Michael Kaves McLeer is a man of faith.

The B Train Headed Up The Tracks. By KAVES.

The B Train Headed Up The Tracks. By KAVES.

Newspaper clipping, yellowed with age, on graffiti.

Newspaper clipping, yellowed with age, on graffiti.

Flyer From Style Wars: The Final Throwdown

Flyer From Style Wars: The Final Throwdown

Kaves List of Staten Island Writers

Kaves List of Staten Island Writers

Kaves' writing nook.

Kaves’ writing nook.

KAVES' List of writers. In the Beginning. 1979-88

KAVES’ List of writers. In the Beginning. 1979-88

A sick burner by Kaves.

A sick burner by Kaves.

Blueprint for piece featured in Chalfant's Spraycan Art.

Blueprint for piece featured in Chalfant’s Spraycan Art.

The Virgin Mary

The Virgin Mary

Design Markers. Note some have the old logos. These were the tools of the trade.

Design Markers. Note some have the old logos. These were the tools of the trade.

Kaves “Concrete Cathedrals” Canvas Art Show at Industrial City, Building 5, Court Tree Gallery. March 8, 2020, closing day of show.

The Gallery Walls adorned with Kaves' works.

The Gallery Walls adorned with Kaves’ works.

NOTHING LASTS FOR LONG -KAVES

NOTHING LASTS FOR LONG -KAVES

KAVES. Nothing Lasts, 2019. China markers, acrylic, oil and spray paint

KAVES. Nothing Lasts, 2019. China markers, acrylic, oil and spray paint

A Poem by Mr. Kaves Entitled "183 Gelson Ave"

A Poem by Mr. Kaves Entitled “183 Gelson Ave”

The Kaves Show.

The Kaves Show.

Kaves “Concrete Cathedrals” Canvas Art Show at Industrial City, Building 5, Court Tree Gallery. March 8, 2020, closing day of show.

Kaves' artwork.

Kaves’ artwork.

Court Tree Collective Gallery.

Court Tree Collective Gallery.

 

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