Tag Archive | Craig LaRotonda

Saint Bowie Exhibit at Stephen Romano Gallery

Installation and Signage
All Photos By Gail

“I didn’t even know he was sick” sounds like the punchline to a joke, but I think it’s what we are all saying when we find ourselves speaking of David Bowie in the past tense. Because, how could he be gone? Bowie’s profoundly shocking death in January of this year  still does not seem real. In the spirit of continuing to celebrate David Bowie’s life and music while extending a sense of comfort and community to the bereaved, gallerist Stephen Romano has mounted a David Bowie Tribute Exhibit,  Saint Bowie, and it was well worth the trip to Bushwick to check it out.

Romano describes the show as, “An exhibition of artist made reliquaries, ex votos, Santos, sigils, altars, ephods, spirit photos and much more objects dedicated to communing with Bowie on the other side.” The majority of the works in this show were created specifically for the exhibition, with participating artists including: Dolorosa De La Cruz, Barry William Hale, Tine Kinderman, Linnea Strid, Caitlin McCormack, Lori Field, Natan Alexander, Rene Pierre Allain, Colin Christian + Sas Christian, Nyahzul Blanco, Lauren Levato Coyne, Lizz Lopez, Rory Coyne, Inge Vandormael, Travis Lawrence, Chris Haas, Erin O’Shea, Ellen Stagg, Donnie Green, Matt Nolen, David Van Gough, Kim Bo Yung, Alexis Murray, Nyugen Smith, and Craig LaRotonda.

Bowie Bikini Girls

As we have come to expect from a Stephen Romano Joint, the exhibit’s opening reception was a fun party where Bowie fans could drink free wine and hang out among friends while enjoying the beautiful and very moving art. David Bowie Bikini Girls were also on hand to add to the celebratory atmosphere in the gallery. Please enjoy a few of our photos from the evening!

Natan Alexander “Everybody Knows Me Now”
Natan Alexander, Everybody Knows Me Now  (2016), Illuminated Glass and Mixed Media.

The piece above was perhaps the most talked about contribution to the show. You just could not stop looking at it.

David Van Gough "Starcophagus" 2016
David Van Gough, Starcophagus (2016)

David Van Gough "Starcophagus" Detail
Starcophagus Detail

Lori Field 'Heathen'
Lori Field, Heathen

Lori Field, one of our favorite artists that we discovered through the Romano Gallery, contributed two fantastic pieces, both done in her inimitable and highly recognizable style.

Lori Field China Girl
Lori Field, China Girl

Lizz Lopez, Bowie Ouja Board

Bowie Ouja Board Detail

Lizz Lopez, Bowie Ouija Board (Above) and Planchette Detail

Linnea Strid "Sunken Dream"
Linnea Strid, Sunken Dream (2016) Ink Transfer on Wax Candle

I’m quite sure that I saw this one get set alight at the reception, so hopefully it’s available in a multiple edition in case someone wants to purchase!

Tine Kindermann "Haitian Style Voodoo Bowie Floating In A Tin Can"
Tine Kindermann, Haitian Style Voodoo Bowie Floating In A Tin Can

Dolorosa De La Cruz "Now I Leave Them All In The Never Never Land"
Dolorosa De La Cruz, Now I Leave Them All In The Never Never Land

Inge Vandormael "Lazarus"
Inge Vandormael, Lazarus and Detail, Below

"Lazarus" Detail

While there was a good selection of artworks featuring very classic Bowie personas that we know from his early career, many artists also drew inspiration from Bowie’s most recent album, Blackstar; specifically the song “Lazarus” and its accompanying video.

Buddy Nestor "We Are Made of Stars" 2016
Buddy Nestor, We Are Made of Stars (2016)

I can’t even watch the Lazarus video because it is way too creepy.

Erin O'Shea "He Fell On Diamond Days"
Erin O’Shea, He Fell On Diamond Days (2016) Digital Fabric Print and Soft Sculpture

Rory Coyne "Rebis"
Rory Coyne, Rebis

Here’s a fun piece that also incorporates a bittersweet tribute to the late Freddie Mercury.

Craig LaRotonda "Major Tom's All Time Low"
Craig LaRotonda, Major Tom’s All Time Low

This piece by Craig LaRotonda conveys such beautiful delicacy, and I love the title.

Nyahzul Blanco "Starman"
Nyahzul Blanco, Starman (2016) Photomontage on Aluminum

All gallery proceeds from sales of exhibition works will be donated to support Shadia Dot Org, an American organization which works toward breaking the cycle of poverty, gender inequality and education, empowering and trying to give economic self-sufficiency to girls – help them avoid early marriage, being forced into prostitution, or being trafficked.

Saint Bowie will be on Exhibit Through March 29th, 2016 at Stephen Romano Gallery, Located on the Southeast Corner of Harrison Place and Porter in Bushwick Brooklyn. Take the L Train to the Morgan Exit and Walk a few Blocks East on Harrison to Porter Avenue. There’s a Vietnamese Restaurant Across the Street.

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Last Rites Gallery Celebrates Amazing Interior Renovation with Two New Exhibits!

“If it works, don’t fix it” is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot, and with good reason. It seems like as soon as you get comfortable with something, or figure out how it operates, it changes – and usually not for the better (see: FaceBook). Those who read this blog regularly know that the Last Rites Gallery is my favorite art space in Manhattan. Also home to the tattoo studio of artist Paul Booth, visiting Last Rites has always felt like going to an art Theme Park or the abandoned set of a horror movie. Aside from the cutting-edge artists they represent, the space has such an engaging vibe that you want to just hang out there, enjoy the art and talk to people for hours. I had no idea that Last Rites was undergoing an extensive renovation that is simply breathtaking. A combination of ambitious visual design and expert execution has come together to make an already unique space even more impressive than you could imagine.

Previously, one entered Last Rites through the dungeon-like tattoo parlor before encountering the brightly lit, white walls of the rear gallery space. With the new redesign, a larger, more open gallery space is now upfront, putting the emphasis on the fantastic art featured in this one of a kind gallery. At the rear of the floor you’ll now find tattoo stations set amid a large and comfortable lounge space, which picks up the darker, Gothic theme with its cathedral-like architectural features, marble finishes, candle-it illumination and dark red fabrics. They’ve also added a separate bar area for serving drinks during opening receptions, promoting a nightclub feel which very much reminds me of the late great Limelight, especially during the era when that club featured a collection of Clive Barker-esque horror art. Paul Booth and his renovation crew from a small basement renovations Toronto, ON have done a simply fantastic job transforming Last Rites into an inviting new venue that must surely exceed their expectations, vastly improving on a space that I never even thought needed to change a thing. Great job guys!

Friday July 22nd marked the gallery’s grand reopening, where the scene was lively and welcoming. In the crowd we spotted Martina and Frank Russo from the MF Gallery and Kevin Wilson of Sacred Gallery on lower Broadway, as well as artists Michael Mararian and Jason D’Aquino (both of whom have previously exhibited at Last Rites), hot artist Martin Wittfooth and the wildly talented Eric “Eyeball” Richardson – who assisted with the renovation and told me that they had only just finished painting the walls a couple of hours prior to opening the doors that evening.


“Racecar” By Chet Zar

In what was a fantastic atmosphere to talk with artists whose work I love and to catch up with friends, it seemed like everybody on the Manhattan art scene was there to congratulate Paul and to enjoy two new exhibits: Chet Zar’s Faces of Death and Craig LaRotonda’s Eternal Consequences. Faces of Death fills the front of the gallery with Zar’s collection of gruesome yet compelling portraiture featuring an otherworldly group of subjects – alien to us but somehow not unsympathetic nor entirely unfamiliar to each other. Zar’s paintings are bold and disquieting but, much like Travis Louie’s Curiosities series, they encourage imaginative extrapolation in the viewer as to who these beings are, what kind of world they inhabit and how they came to sit for these portraits.


“Pink Elephant” By Chet Zar

Craig LaRotonda’s Eternal Consequences consists of portraits of anthropomorphized primates painted in a religious or renaissance style; very provocative and quite a departure from the artist’s previous works. With Last Rites extended evening hours, escape the heat and head over to check out the new space before these exhibits end.

Chet Zar’s Faces of Death and Craig LaRotonda’s Eternal Consequences will be on Exhibit through at August 18, 2011 at Last Rites Gallery, Located at 511 W. 33rd Street, 3rd Floor, New York City. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday 2 – 9 PM and Sunday 2 – 6 PM.