Radio Juxtapoz ep 052: Low Bros Lay It All Bare and Germany Finds a Voice in the Black Lives Matter Movement
As an artist or creative popularly known for that thing—a style, icon, color scheme, character—you may be held or beholden to that aesthetic because of viewer pressure or even financial concerns. To know the Hamburg-based duo, Low Bros, (yes, yes, they are, indeed, brothers), is to know their particular iconography and body of work, so instantly recognizable, so sought after for murals, installations and exhibitions that we almost tend to take it for granted. A mixture of clean skate graphics, plays on 3D imagery and broad scope powering their interactive installations, the Low Bros have established themselves as one of Europe's great duos, born out of counter-culture scenes and grown into hallmarks within the evolution of street art practices.
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This summer, as they were preparing their new solo show, CON.TXT, now on view at Urban Spree in Berlin, with the George Floyd murder activating the streets of America and moving toward Europe's own social unrest and justice narratives seeking change, the Low Bros began to change the scope of their work. An instant pivot to monochromatic images on their social media accounts infiltrated their work for CON.TXT. The show became not just Low Bros’own relationship to race and understanding of their white privilege (and in some cases, our collective lack of understanding) but Germany's own conversations regarding race, the Black Lives Matter movement and the evolution of social justice reforms in their home country.
Influenced by the book Exit Racism by Tupoka Ogette and Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility, Low Bros partnered with IDB's (Institute for Non-Discriminatory Education) Josephine Apraku and Jule Bönkost for the exhibition. As the Bros and Urban Spree note that the partnership serves as "an educational starting point, this exhibition aims to amplify and continue the conversation surrounding white privilege and asks questions of how it can be better utilized in institutions, as well as private & public spaces. While the search for answers is ongoing, the artworks aim is to highlight the problems of unchecked whiteness, especially when it is being recognized as a default perspective in society. By debunking the concept of privileges and problems, the context of this exhibition aims to engage whiteness as an ally to the BIPOC community."
Today on Radio Juxtapoz we speak with Low Bros from Berlin as their show opens, as well as share an in-depth conversation with IDB's Josephine Apraku about the evolution of the show, collaboration and the history of the brothers aesthetic through the years. As 3x Juxtapoz Clubhouse installation participants, the Low Bros are extended family. We are so excited to share their process and new direction on the Radio Juxtapoz podcast.
The Radio Juxtapoz podcast is hosted by FIFTH WALL TV's Doug Gillen and Juxtapoz editor, Evan Pricco. Episode 052 was recorded via Skype from San Francisco/London/Berlin, August 12, 2020. Follow Low Bros at @lowbros