Thursday, April 12, 2012

Hank O'Neal: XCIA's Street Art Project

We are pleased to announce the launch of Hank O’Neal’s new book of photographs, XCIA’s STREET ART PROJECT: The First Four Decades¸ published by Siman Media Works. An exhibition featuring photographs from the book will be held in Gallery Two.

XCIA’s Street Art Project

April 28 – May 12, 2012

Opening Reception and Book Launch: Saturday, April 28, 2-5pm
Artist Talk: Saturday, April 28, 4pm (in Gallery Two)

by Hank O’Neal

“A Spy Goes Vogue.”
-The Wall Street Journal

“The greatest visual tribute to perceived criminal mischief
there is to date.”

“One of the greatest contemporary works of art I have ever experienced.”
-Tony Bennett

“Takes you right back to the moment, like a scent or a song can do.”
-Debbie Harry

“A wonderful photo collage.”
-Richard Hambleton (aka “The Godfather of Street Art”)

"Hank O'Neal has a remarkable talent for finding the numinous amid the grime.”
-American Photo

Before becoming a photographer, Hank O’Neal was an agent with the Domestic Operations Division of the Central Intelligence Agency. In the mid 1970s, encouraged by his friend and mentor the legendary American photographer Berenice Abbott, and inspired by Walker Evans’ Depression-era photos of peeling posters and hand-painted signs, O’Neal left the CIA and devoted himself to documenting the burgeoning street art scene in New York City. Over the next 40 years, he would take thousands of photographs, compiling a legacy of one of the most vital and significant movements in the world of art. XCIA’s STREET ART PROJECT: The First Four Decades (Siman Media Works; April 2012) is a meticulously documented, sumptuous celebration of some of the most beautiful, meaningful expressions of street art yet to be collected - early work of SAMO (Jean-Michel Basquiat’s original street name); Keith Haring’s “Radiant Baby” in the New York City subway; a Banksy mural in a Los Angeles parking lot; Richard Hambleton’s “Shadowmen” of the 1980s; JR’s “Faces with Eye Masks” in 2011; the “Silence=Death” pink triangle posters; and Shepard Fairey’s now-iconic “Hope” portrait of Barack Obama, among many others.

34 East 12th Street, Richard Hambleton & Jean-Michel Basquiat, NYC, 1982

“The street art I photograph," says Hank O'Neal, "must be in a public place, must be visually captivating and perhaps beautiful, must be the product of an informed intellect (not of a vandal), and must be purposeful. It can be a jolt by a single artist or a chaotic improvisation by dozens of different hands in unexpected places, in unexpected ways.” Part of O'Neal's talent lies in his ability to find and recognize art in often surprising places, whether it’s in a cemetery in Paris or a doorway on Madeira Island, a lifeguard station in Venice, California, or on a piece of the Berlin Wall.

Bomb Boy #1, Army of One/jc2 and artists unknown, Wooster Street, NYC, June 2010

Perhaps most important, in many cases, O’Neal’s photograph is the only visual record of a masterful work of street art, an art form that is ephemeral by its very nature. The photographs in XCIA’s STREET ART PROJECT capture hundreds of never-before-published photos showcasing the work of the most established street artists of several generations, including: Richard Hambleton, Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Shepard Fairey, Banksy, Mr. Brainwash, Toofly, JR, Armyof1/jc2, and of course, “Artist Unknown.”

The Hedge Trimmer, Nick Walker, Cooper Square Hotel, New York City, 2011

About the author:
Hank O’Neal (aka XCIA) was a case officer with the Domestic Operations Division of the Central Intelligence Agency from 1963 to 1976. His previous books include The Eddie Condon Scrapbook of Jazz; A Vision Shared: A Classic Portrait of America and Its People, 1935–1943; Berenice Abbott: American Photographer; and The Ghosts of Harlem: Sessions with Jazz Legends. He lives in New York City.

Park, Banksy, Los Angeles, October 2010

About the publisher:
Siman Media Works publishes all titles as both a book and a custom-designed app, EbookExtreme™. SMW specializes in visually rich titles across a variety of genres, from photography to fiction. The two debut titles are XCIA’s STREET ART PROJECT: The First Four Decades by Hank O’Neal (pub April 2012) and BOY OF BONE: Twelve Stories Inspired by the Mütter Museum by K.R. Sands (pub May 2012). Visit Follow on twitter @thexcia and Facebook XCIA

Wheat-paste Inspired by Alfred Eisenstaedt’s Sailor Kissing a Nurse in Times Square on V-J Day, artist unknown, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, July 2010 and Kissing Skeletons, artist unknown, East 13th Street, NYC, 1981 (Diptych)

XCIA’s STREET ART PROJECT: The First Four Decades
by Hank O’Neal

9 x 12 inches, 208 pages
ISBN: 978-098358270-0
(APP price to be announced)

Limited Edition Book
Includes a 7 x 22 inch Print of any image in the book
Edition of 500