whitehot | March 2011, Mint&Serf @ +aRt
Untitled, Mint&Serf, 2011
Plexiglass, Montana Spray Paint and LED Lighting
53" x 31.25" x 6"
540 West 28th Street
New York, New York
March 5 through April 3, 2011
Well Hung, featuring an eclectic group of mainly New York talent.
The hurricane of criticism MoCA has stirred by appointing Jeffrey Deitch as one of three Ex Officio Trustees reminds the real world that the art world hides behind as many façades as it preserves. Curatorial staffs mainly consist of either honored professors or profitable sales directors, depending in which institution—museum or gallery—the exhibition is held. The Deitch dilemma unfurls much more than the differences between non-profit and commercial art sectors; it also questions the canonical pedigree of a curator. As museums accept staff with atypical resumes, galleries encourage the same. New York adjusts to the influx of collectors’ enthusiasms for intimate galleries, which have sprouted across the globe. Mint&Serf correlates to the new demand because they are artists and curators.
Mint&Serf budded, as well as plotted, in a park off 18th Ave in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, during the summer of 1997. Sokovikov, born in Moscow, skated on park benches while he acclimated to the neighborhood. He heard rumors of Wall, born in Brooklyn now in California, whom locals called Serf. Once Wall returned from CA, his old-school cohort introduced him to Sokovikov. After one evening, painting in Sokovikov’s fume-sodden room, ending with a night of bombing, both were ready for more. Sokovikov took the street name Mint. Subsequently, Mint&Serf was born. Mint&Serf were not only two guys, but also a pervasive artistic impact on the streets.
In the 90’s graffiti covered Brooklyn. Sokovikov and Wall quickly bonded over more than just skateboarding. First, they would buy the “cheapest 1.5 L of White Zinfandel, crash some roof [party], talk about girls, write graffiti, and drink.” When time was limited or if a wall space proved too small, they merged street names and tagged “Mirf.” Mirf initiated the long-lasting collaboration that combined separate styles but represented both artists.
Success of Mirf escalated into manageable goals, major accomplishments, and amalgamation of street and public art as well as two distinct artistic styles. Eventually Red Bull financed two of Mint&Serf’s gallery spaces, The Canal and Stanton Chapter, between 2005 and 2008, where Sokovikov and Wall curated large scale shows. The art cocktail of energy drink and Mint&Serf peaked press interest.
Next, Marc Jacobs’ SoHo flagship store, Ace Hotel in New York City and a New York City dance club District 36 commissioned Mint&Serf to contribute and curate public installations. During the past Art Basel Miami, a fellow artist Pablo Power had asked Sokovikov and Wall to hang the OHWOW show. Previously Mint&Serf had mastered the art of hanging and curating, but after Basel they realized the importance of perfect production.
Their most-recent project renders The Chelsea Chapter and debuts Well Hung as the first exhibition at +aRt. Local nonprofit Free Arts NYC also backs Mint&Serf’s current mission, give youth the opportunity to make art considering the sad statistics that a large majority of art students do not continue to practice after graduation. Currently, “not much has changed. Nothing better like crashing New York City roofs. [sic] You look around and really start appreciating where you are.” Mint&Serf embody the vanguard of curatorial ideology because unlike past curators Mint&Serf stand on the edge of New York City and visualize the next move. They definitely aren’t afraid of heights.
Mint, Serf Bombing on 60th Street in Brooklyn, NYC,
Mint&Serf, Spraypaint and paint, 2003, Photograph Courtesy of Mint&Serf
Permanent Room at Ace Hotel, New York, Mint&Serf, Acrylic Paint on Wall,
Painted May 2009, Photograph Courtesy of Jordan Seiler
Installation at District 36, New York, Mint&Serf, Acrylic Paint,
October 2010, Photograph Courtesy of Mint&Serf
Installation Shot of "Well Hung," New York, March 5 until April 3, Left Wall: Kevin Bourgeouis, Peter Passuntino, Matisse Patterson, Skullphone,
Adam Krueger, David Forer, Erik Foss, Center: Michael Anderson Right Wall: Shadi Perez, Curtis Kulig, Jeff and Will Robins, Jordan Seiler.
2011, Photograph Courtesy of Mint&Serf
Mikhail Sokovikov and Jason Aaron Wall also known as Mint&Serf,
November 2010, Photograph Courtesy of Kim Baja
Megan M. Garwood graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, receiving a Bachelor of Arts concentrating in the History of Modern Art with a minor in Ethical Analysis and Morality. Once in New York City she paid her dues as a gallery girl, first at Bjorn Ressle Fine Art and next at Marlborough Chelsea. For the past three years she has worked as an Arts and Culture freelance writer for multiple international publications. Each morning she still asks herself if she feels more like a urinal than a work of art, only because “R.Mutt” is scrawled across her left shoulder.
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