Art After Dark



Screening Schedule

24 May – 3 June

İstanbul Modern Cinema takes a look at the reflections of street art in cinema. Organised in partnership with the Consulate General of the United States, İstanbul, this selection of seven films starts with Wild Style (1983) that is regarded as the first hip hop motion picture, and moves on to subcultures which adopted the DIY approach of the 90’s including the independent music scene and alternative fashion designers. The program then traces graffiti and street art in five continents with Bomb It and ends with Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010), a Best Documentary nominee at the 2011 Academy Awards.


Art After Dark Panel
Saturday, May 26th, 14.00
Speakers: Cedar Lewisohn, Brad Downey, Tunç Dindaş

Cedar Lewisohn: Based out of London, Lewisohn is a curator and artist who curated the 2008 Tate Modern exhibition, “Street Art: The Graffiti Revolution” which explored street and urban culture and its forms of expression. He is currently researching the 1970’s graffiti movement in New York and how it spread and evolved its own vernacular in different countries across Europe and the Americas.

Brad Downey: Having worked with American and International artists from Berlin to Abu Dhabi, Downey has participated in workshop and street interventions around the world. His art interferes with the visual cues of everyday life, questioning social, formal and political structures. In 2008 he gave a “Play With The City” talk at the Tate Modern and in 2012 he participated in a joint exhibition, “The Samawi Collection II” at the Dubai Ayyam Arts Center.

Tunç Dindaş: Born in 1971, Tunç Dindaş is one of Turkey’s leading graffiti artists. He has represented Turkey abroad in multiple exhibitions including working on the Luca Frei project at the 2005 İstanbul Bienale, the 2007, “Intervention” exhibition at Hafriyat and took part in an exhibition in Portugal held in the memory of Andre Breton.  In 2009, he worked with Barış İlkhan to open “Versus,” a graffiti and sculpture exhibition and in 2010 he published “Street Soul / Graffiti from Turkey." 2012 saw his first solo exhibition, "Monsters, Robots & İstanbul" become a reality. He continues to work as a commercial director and professional artist.

Workshop with Brad Downey
Turkish artists, including Turbo, Fly Propaganda and Copikstar, live demonstration

Sunday, May 27, 14.00 – 19.00



Wild Style

Charlie Ahearn, 1983, 82´

Wild Styleis a 1983 hip hop film that is regarded as the first hip hop motion picture. The film featured seminal figures within the given period, such as Fab Five Freddy, Lee Quinones, Lady Pink, the Rock Steady Crew, The Cold Crush Brothers, and Grandmaster Flash. The artwork within the film was also done by graffiti masters such as Dondi, Zephyr and Daze. The film with its low budget and real life cast captured the young hip hop and spraycan art movement growing out of New York in the 80´s and was a huge influence of the culture and attitude of the times, taking on a cult following. In 2007, the VH1 Hip Hop Honors paid tribute to Wild Style in recognition of its influence upon the culture and the film was voted as one of the top ten rock and roll films of all time by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


Style Wars

Tony Silver and Henry Chalfant, 1983, 69´

With the abridged one-hour broadcast premiere of Style Wars on PBS and Britain’s Channel Four in 1984, the world received its first full immersion into the phenomenon that had taken over New York City. The urban landscape had been physically transformed by graffiti artists, who invented a new visual language to express both their individuality, and the voice of their community. Style Wars captures the look and feel of New York’s ramshackle subway system as the graffiti writers’ public playground, battleground and spectacular artistic canvas. Style Wars was awarded the Grand Prize for Documentaries at the Sundance Film Festival in 1984. In 2003 it has been newly acclaimed at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival, at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, and numerous other festivals.


Next: A Primer on Urban Art

Pablo Aravena, 2005, 95´

"Next: A Primer on Urban Painting" is an exploration of graffiti as a worldwide cultural phenomenon. Exploring the art form in nine countries including USA, Canada, France, Holland, Germany, England, Spain, Japan and Brazil. Interviewing painters, "writers", designers, and other participants within the subculture, the film celebrates the dynamism and creative brilliance of this extremely influential artistic movement. The film won the “Premio del publico” at the 2006 Documenta Madrid and has been shown at film festivals around the world such as the Rio International Film Festival and Zurich Film Festival.


Beautiful Losers

Aaron Rose and Joshua Leonard, 2008, 90´

The film focuses on the careers and work of a collective group of artists who since the 1990s began a movement in the art world influenced by the popular underground youth subcultures of the day, such as skateboarding, graffiti, street fashion and independent music. Artists like Shepard Fairey, Mark Gonzales, Spike Jonze, Margaret Kilgallen, Mike Mills, Barry McGee and more explain their reasoning behind their "do-it-yourself" style of street art through a series of interviews. The film portrays the artists as outside the realm of contemporary art. Beautiful Losers premiered at South by Southwest and won the Grand Jury Award at the CineVegas International Film Festival.


Bomb It

Jon Reiss, 2007, 93´

Bomb Itis an international graffiti and street art documentary which premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival. Filmed on 5 continents and featuring cities such as Cape Town, London, Paris, Amsterdam and Sao Paulo, the documentary explores the interplay between worldwide graffiti movements, the global proliferation of "Quality of Life" laws, and the fight for control over public space. Through interviews and guerilla footage of graffiti writers in action, the film documents the public art movement from its origins in prehistoric cave paintings thru its notorious explosion in New York City during the 70′s and 80′s to the global movement that it has become.


Bomb the System

Adam Bhala Lough, 2002, 91´

Described byRolling Stoneas a "next-gen [sic] update of 1982's Wild Style. With strong whiffs of Trainspotting and Kids" that "distinguishes itself with streaky, Krylon-bright editing and El-P's eerie soundtrack beats." Bomb the System follows Blest, a 19-year-old graffiti writer, who has just graduated from high school. With no ambition toward mainstream goals of work and family, he spends his time bombing the city with graffiti messages until he and his crew become the most wanted bombers by the NYPD Vandal Squad. Several well-known graffiti artists participated in the making of the film including Lee Quinones, Cope2 and Chino BYI. In January 2004 the film was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature.


Exit Through the Gift Shop Window

Banksy, 2010, 87´

The story of how an eccentric French shop keeper and amateur film maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy, only to have the artist turn the camera back on its owner. The film contains footage of Banksy, Shephard Fairey, Invader and many of the world's most infamous graffiti artists at work. The film was nominated for Best Documentary at the 2011 Academy Awards and won the 2011 Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary. 


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