Lisbon: Crash and Boom in The NY Times

    Here's an article in The NY Times by KEVIN GRAY from 16 March that depicts the cultural boom phenomena that we can assist in Lisbon nowadays.

    "Young Lisbon is indeed building like crazy: there is street art on decaying walls, experimental theater at the harbor, raves in old canneries. Everywhere, the anything-might-happen energy has spurred a desperation to create. Even the city has gotten into the act, setting up public walls as canvases and opening the Galeria De Arte Urbana to archive the graffiti."

    "Lisbon has long been one of the prettiest cities in Europe. Its pitched hills and valleys are like a Mediterranean-flavored San Francisco, and the streets seem to wear art on every surface. Beaux-Arts buildings are sheathed in Moorish tiles of bright blues and sunset reds; the sidewalks, too, are covered in mosaics.

    Before it spread, the city’s street-art scene was concentrated in Bairro Alto, a hilltop bohemian neighborhood that was home to punks, metalheads, goths, gays, writers and artists in the 1980s and ’90s."

    "Alexandre Farto was a teenager in the 2000s, and the remnants of those riotous images transfixed him. Now 24, Farto, who goes by the tag “Vhils,” is a renowned street artist. (His work has appeared alongside Banksy’s at the Cans Festival in London.) “The posters from the revolution were completely crumbled,” he said, speaking by phone from his studio on the outskirts of town, where he was preparing for a solo exhibition at Shanghai’s 18Gallery. “It was kind of poetic and at the same time melancholy. You had these advertising billboards competing with this old message, or completely covering it up. It reflected how fast we were changing and our values were changing.”

    The revolutionary art inspired Farto to begin carving portraits into the sides of decayed buildings. In 2009, after Portugal’s housing bust left rows of speculative apartment projects empty near Lisbon’s center, Farto convinced the city to let street artists paint over four of the buildings. The result, called the Crono Project, runs along one of Lisbon’s main arteries, the Avenida Fontes Pereira de Melo: a four-story-high alligator, a sickly-looking crow, a Matisse-like shadow thief and, most disturbing, a bloated and bug-eyed humanoid wearing a crown of oil company logos. “No one wants to look at them,” Farto said of the abandoned buildings. “This was a way of pointing a finger, so people have to look.”"

    Read it all here

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