Erik Burke's street paintings — some commissioned; some guerrilla — explore the history, culture, and ecology of whichever city he's painting in. His murals are on outdoor walls all over Reno, and you might stumble across one next time you're wandering around Baton Rouge, Cleveland, Mexico City, or Ensenada. I asked him to share a few links to favorite works. Thanks, Erik!
EB: Well I would definitely include Ai Weiwei's immersive installation "@large" on Alcatraz as my #1 choice of the year. I just got to go see it, and it combined seamlessly his work with my other favorite thing: ruins.
EB: Another incredible piece is Blu's piece in Kreuzberg, Berlin. When he painted it in circa 2007 it really set the bar for what was possible with some bucket paint and a roller. More recently Blu was in the news after he decided to paint over his own work (leaving just a hand with middle finger until that was censored). Although the piece seems fairly dated now, the censorship makes it very relevant and speaks to the co-opting of street art for corporate and real-estate purposes.
EB: My friend Gaia always is making fantastic social and class commentaries with his murals and museum work. He painted this one early this year in Woodstock, South Africa. As more "street artist" turn "muralists" this piece reverses that flow, categorically connects the dots, and creates a narrative instead of another wall decoration.