Photos: ReadySetDC and No Kings Collective present Activation 440

by Couch Sessions

Last Friday night was the first of the two night opening of Activation 440, the Artist Bazaar. Presented by ReadySetDC and No Kings Collective, the show presented a mix of artists that mostly use a cross between street and pop art aesthetics, though there were some interesting photography and modern art in the midst. Now the interesting thing about ReadySetDC’s Activations is that the very space the art is presented tend to be places under construction in one way or another. The previous Activation 2719 was also a collab between ReadySetDC and No Kings Collective, it taking place within a rowhouse (2719) in Columbia Heights. This time, for Activation 440, it was all under the roof The Josephine, a new condominium complex around the Howard-Shaw area.

Now the idea of having art galleries and shows pop up in these location is a pretty good idea since it definitely projects and advances the aesthetics many of the works in the show present. It also appeals to the growing number of people who are interested in the mix of modern art and street art. At the same time the setup gave an opportunity for artists to transform and customize their own rooms to fit their artworks. The Kelly Towles room comes to mind, “The Peepshow”, warning us of the nasty XXX nature of her room on the walls, her work incorporates, of course, the peepshow and images, that  otherwise might be considered porn, into cartoon elements using her own style prevalent in her own street art. Creating a unique caricature and commentary with her work, the room with its all black walls and writings/”warnings” on the walls was the best example of Activation 440’s original statement about space, artist and artwork. Get her exact words (and more installation photos) with ReadySetDC here.

Personally, Gaia again managed to get my attention on his whole wall spanning murals – like ink drawings made from spray paint. And also, I found myself taking another look at the mixed media artist Sarah Martin, this being the first time her work is displayed in this way. The gallery also featured the paintings of Aniekan Udofia, including a lot from his two prominent subjects, Obama and Biggie, and instead of street art itself, painting about street art. Get his words with ReadySetDC here.

And of course I couldn’t cover everyone’s art here, so check out some of the participating artists’ online portfolios:

No Kings Collective:
Nicole Aguirre:
Joshua Yospyn:
Aniekan Udofia:
Kelly Towles:
Ky’Leigh Wilson:
Annie Kielman:
Sarah Martin:
Dan Barojas: