Street Art Duo FAILE Urges Fans to Make a Statement at the Brooklyn Museum

The team is back in Brooklyn, and ready to talk.

FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds installation photo at the Brooklyn Museum Photo: (c) Jonathan Dorado

FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds installation photo at the Brooklyn Museum. 
Photo: (c) Jonathan Dorado.

“Image, Duality, Process and FAIL[E]” are four words that Brooklyn Street Art founders Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo say characterize the work of street art duo Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller, whose exhibition “FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” is currently on view at the Brooklyn Museum.

The street artists provide a new narrative to kitschy images of Jesus seen in Sunday school books and kissing couples from film noir posters, inspired by what Harrington describes as “stories about bad boys and the captivating girls who love them.”

McNeil and Miller believe that failing is important; in fact, it is integral to creating art. “Fail to succeed,” Miller told the audience.

On Thursday evening, FAILE spoke about their inspirations, aspects of their art practice, and their current Brooklyn Museum exhibition with Harrington and Rojo at Brooklyn Museum’s event In Conversation: FAILE Forward. 

The audience, just enough to fill the auditorium, was a mix of twenty-something street art followers and longtime Brooklyn Museum goers. The conversation was funny, quick and charming. When one audience member inquired, “How can I become a successful street artist?” McNeil responded, “Getting out there and doing it is the ethos of street art.” Miller was quick to add, “It seems like an amazing time to be making a statement.”

FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds installation photo.Photo: Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum.

FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds installation photo.
Photo: Courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum.

Harrington and Rojo talked about seeing the first FAILE stencils around the city on lampposts in the late nineties and watched as FAILE’s visual vocabulary grew. Today FAILE’s works include large-scale paintings, prints, sculptures, and fully immersive multimedia installations like the arcade games featured in Deluxx Fluxx (2010) and the replica façade from Faile Temple (2010).

Step inside the temple and FAILE’s Tibetan-inspired prayer wheels are ready to be touched and turned. Deluxx Fluxx however, is unlike any other installation I’ve experienced. It’s loud, fun, seedy and hot, like an actual arcade, and includes functioning video games, pinball machines and foosball tables. The arcade games are satirical commentaries on their surroundings; for example, the objective of Alternate Side of Anarchy is to find a coveted parking space in Brooklyn.

Deluxx Fluxx was the first exhibition where you could hear yells and laughter,” Miller said. “It is a truly immersive experience and people are genuinely having a good time interacting with the art.”

FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds installation photo at the Brooklyn Museum Photo: (c) Jonathan Dorado.

FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds installation photo at the Brooklyn Museum.
Photo: (c) Jonathan Dorado.

After receiving acclaim worldwide, FAILE’s followers were ready to see a solo exhibition of the street art duo’s work back in Brooklyn. Lisa Shimamura, founding partner of Colab Projects, told the audience, “I have known them from the street up and its extra special to see them in this context.”

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