25. Jay Shells
Exhibition: "Rap Quotes" installation in Brooklyn (March 25, 2013 - ongoing project)
Jay Shells' "Rap Quotes" literally dropped lyrics all over New York and Brooklyn. For the illegal site-specific installation, the young New York City artist created legitimate-looking street signs with rap lyrics from Mos Def, Jay-Z, Big Daddy Kane, and others that shout out specific spots in Brooklyn. He then posted the signs in the corresponding locations named in the lyrics. The project localized the music, materializing that which we usually only hear, and brought rappers literally back to the hoods they were discussing in their songs.
Shells is no stranger to illegal installations or false sinage. In 2011, he created "Subway Etiquette" posters, which are humorous printed pieces that tell people how to behave while riding the train. Shells posted the signs all over the New York metro system.
As "Rap Quotes" continues, we can only imagine that Jay Shells will become more and more familiar of a name in and out of the art world. -Leigh Silver