It’s been a good few years for street art. When Obama needed a campaign poster in 2008, it was to street artist Shepard Fairey he turned. When, subsequently, UK premier David Cameron came to the White House, he brought a Ben Eine canvas as his ice-breaking gift. Meanwhile Banksy, the anonymous prankster who arguably brought street art to the attention of the mainstream (not to mention Christina Aguilera, who bought a work for $22,000 in 2006), released his first feature film, Exit Through the Gift Shop
, this year. Despite the growing recognition of street art, the identities of most artists working in this area are still shrouded in secrecy. Brooklyn-based artist Bäst is no exception, even though he has peppered the streets of his hometown with his elaborate, wheat-pasted collages for much of the past decade. While little is known about Bäst, he has exhibited his work at Jonathan LeVine in Chelsea and New Image Art in Los Angeles, and has recently been making inroads into the UK, plastering works over the walls of one of Lazarides Gallery’s London spaces. His collaboration with street art collective Faile, Deluxx Fluxx
, that opened in the Greek Street space in February, was an interactive installation complete with decorated arcade machines and a soundtrack provided by Seth Jabour of cult band Les Savy Fav
, moving to New York’s Allen Street after much critical acclaim. For his latest exhibition Bäst is going it alone at Lazarides’ space in Rathbone Place, presenting Botulism
, his first solo show, open through September 30. Previously, Bäst’s work has comprised a series of humorous and anarchic collages, which reference early punk flyers by layering recognizable advertising copy, food packaging and an array of pop icons including Papa Smurf and Mickey Mouse. For the new show, he’s modified his practice, recreating the repetitive patterns and punchy visual style of his collage work in a series of acrylic paintings.