Last night, London saw the opening of the latest Lazarides annual art show, this time aptly titled "Brutal." It took place in an abandoned bank building on The Strand. First recorded in 1002 as "la Stranda," meaning "shore," The Strand runs along what used to be the north bank of the Thames River, before the construction of the Victoria embankment. It now delineates the southernmost edge of the Covent Garden district, and is in no way pertinent to this blog post, or the art contained herein, other than the fact that it is the name of the street upon which the show took place. Also, my wife almost tripped crossing the road and her friend dropped her phone, but the screen was okay. Let's move on, shall we?
Lazarides is the gallery at the cutting edge of the intersection where fine art meets street art, and this show is no different. Walking into the venue, you feel like you're entering a zombie apocalypse, or a rave from the early '90s. Decaying walls, exposed concrete, darkness, and loud music. We arrived early and were met with performance artists beating the walls with metal pipes and baseball bats. A crowd gathered and watched as they eyed the audience members and launched into a macabre contortion act.
We wandered the dark ground floor halls of the forgotten financial institution, and around every corner we encountered work from some of the world's foremost artists.
And other works from Know Hope, Estevan Oriol (photographer for the blink-182 untitled album and director of the "Down" video), Todd James, Katrin Fridricks, Faile, and on and on and on. Paintings, sculpture, wall projections, installations, video art, and photography.
There was even a cafe in the back serving soup.
We spent the night hanging out with artist and collaborator Rich Simmons, and here's a photo of us awkwardly standing next to one another.
Here's another photo from the night, of me standing next to my wife in front of work by the Miaz Brothers. She's the one standing on the right.
As we were leaving, the event was in full swing, and as we approached the exit, I got to meet Antony Micallef. We spoke for a few minutes about art and and the importance of honesty in expression, and I'm happy to report that the dude is friendly, smart, and very down to earth. It's awesome when you meet one of your heroes and he turns out to be a great human.
Brutal runs through the 27th. You can book tickets online. Steel yourself and enjoy.