Intelligent idiocy is guaranteed to flow in limitless supply when the illustrious New York graffiti cooperative known collectively as Smart Crew, premier their first-ever group exhibition presented in partnership with Fool’s Gold, Klughaus and Adidas. The opening celebration takes place this Thursday evening (December 12, from 7-9 PM), inside the world-famous Fool’s Gold HQ located at 536 Metropolitan Ave in Brooklyn. Part of the Fool’s Gold Artist Series, this collaborative collection has been playfully dubbed, “Smart Fools”, with Thursday’s showcase event serving as the culmination to an extensive viral campaign that incorporated modern elements of social media and guerrilla marketing. Additionally, the “Smart Fools” were furnished with copious amounts of shiny, gold Ironlak to further spread the collaboration’s concept by painting plenty of good ol’ fashioned graffiti on New York City streets.
The campaign also featured the production of a promotional video clip, recently released on the Fool’s Gold YouTube channel:
According to the official press release:
Founded in 1997 by a group of high school friends in Queens, Smart Crew has evolved from a NYC-based graffiti crew into a diverse collective of international artists based in New York. Over the last 16 years, many of the members have branched from their graffiti roots into alternate art forms including music, fashion, design and photography.
SMART FOOLS will feature all new work from Smart Crew artists including Action Bronson, Dceve, Despot, Elmo, Hso, Jeffrey Gamblero, Marty, Meyhem Lauren, Nick Gallo, Pierre Hefner, Snoeman, Tom Gould, Toper and Work925. The show will present a variety of mediums and works with a “gold” theme that illustrate each artist’s unique style and the diversity of Smart Crew as a collective.
In order to get the inside scoop on this unique alliance between record label and graffiti crew we solicited comment from a senior member of Smart Crew’s executive committee, DCEVE.
12oz: For those who might be unfamiliar with the correlation between Fool’s Gold and New York graffiti culture, can you explain a bit about this connection?
DCV: Fool’s Gold has had a long-standing relationship with the graffiti community, and the art world at large. For example, they’ve sponsored the Fool’s Gold Artist series which has featured collaborations with a lot of respected artists in the past including Eric Haze, Grotesk, IRAK, etc. Through a mutual friend, they reached out to Smart Crew to do an artist series.
12oz: In the process of working on the “Smart Fools” project with the Fool’s Gold team, were you able to identify the label’s motive in maintaining an association with New York’s graffiti scene?
DCV: A-Trak is one of the founders of Fool’s Gold Records and has a long-standing reputation as a top-notch DJ. For those who are familiar only with his recent music, I recommend watching this video of A-Trak winning the 1997 DMC Championship at just 15 years old:
Although A-Trak is originally from Canada, both he and Dave (aka Chromeo) had family living in Queens. So they are up on their knowledge of some ’90’s to early ’00’s-era Queens graffiti history.
12oz: What was your overall impression of organizing an art show with a record label like Fool’s Gold?
DCV: Even though they are mainly a record label, I think it’s great that they will occasionally dedicate their resources to relevant visual artists, especially locally. Smart Crew has been hesitant about participating in an art show for some time (mostly in order to avoid the potential of being considered too “graffiti”). But we are happy with the results of this project and we hope that people will like it!
Images provided courtesy of Smart Crew. Interview and additional reporting by Disco Bryso.