Tag Archive | Dan Witz

Mosh Pits, Raves and One Small Orgy: New Paintings By Dan Witz at Jonathan LeVine Gallery

Scrum 2 All Out War
Scrum 2 (All Out War) By Dan Witz (All Photos By Gail)

This past week, when a friend or coworker would ask me what I did over the weekend, or if I’d seen any good art lately, I felt like I had to qualify my response by first asking, “Well, do you know what a Mosh Pit is?” And usually that person would say that they did, or at least that they had some idea. The reason I had to ask was to put in context the exhibit I had just seen at the Jonathan Levine Gallery by contemporary hyper–realist painter Dan Witz, who is all about the mosh pit action. Nobody paints a pit like Dan Witz.

Byronesque 3
Byronesque 3

Mosh Pits, Raves and One Small Orgy is the latest series by the Mosh Pit Maestro, whose work we have been covering on The Gig for years already. With a career spanning over three decades Witz has evolved from being a pioneer of the street art movement to refining a studio practice that incorporates both digital and old master techniques. Influenced by the work of Renaissance painters Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel, his large-scale oil paintings of rampant crowds embody a rebellious and provocative nature that’s heightened by a stunning hyperreal aesthetic. You can almost smell the sweat.

Mosh Pit Study (Jets)
Mosh Pit Study (Jets)

Witz elaborates:

“I’m an academic realist painter, but I’m living in the 21st century, so I’m not going to be painting Roman soldiers invading, or some Gothic baroque composition…The highest aspiration of an academic realist painter are these big group figure paintings, and I’m using the hardcore scene as my subject.”

Seriously, Dan Witz is amazing.

Brite Nite 1
Brite Nite 1

In this new series of work, he continues to portray the frenetic motion of mosh pits but also expands upon his usual hardcore setting in a pair of works called Brite Nite, which depict rave scenes. As their luminous titles suggest, this atmospheric change has fostered a tonal shift, resulting in compositions that are euphoric and less physically aggressive. Witz further develops this notion in Small Orgy, an amorphous interlocking of nude figures in the midst of experiencing different stages of ecstasy. Sorry that I did not get a picture of the orgy, because too many people were standing in front of it, and I could not wait for them to move away.

Brite Nite 2 Detail
Brite Nite 2 (Detail)

I love this detail of Brite Nite 2 (above), which seems to indicate a flirtation between these two characters, each with an arm in the air, and freezes for eternity a moment of energy and emotion that I find completely compelling. Rave on!

Sick of It All
Sick of It All

While building upon established themes, Witz remains true to his skillful methods of conveying light, shadow, movement and depth. Mosh Pits, Raves and One Small Orgy exemplifies his renowned trompe l’oeil artistry, as well as his ability to epitomize the primordial instincts of his subjects.

Dan Witz Spy Pic
Spy Pic of the Artist that I took at the Opening Reception

I would like to add that Dan Witz seems like a very nice guy. Geoffrey took a selfie with him once about five years ago and now every time we see him, he always nods at G, or says Hi, even though he must meet a gazillion people. He is also supportive of other artists’ work, as we see him out at nearly every LeVine opening, and we go to most of them. Dan Witz!

Dan Witz’ Mosh Pits, Raves and One Small Orgy will be on Exhibit Through April 30th, 2016 at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at 529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District. While You are There do Check Out Erik Jones’ Twenty Sixteen, which Runs Concurrently in the Adjoining Gallery Space.

Dan Witz Signage

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The Color and The Fury: 10 Years of the Jonathan LeVine Gallery

Jonathan LeVine Teletubby by Mike Leavitt
A Jonathan LeVine Teletubby is Part of the Art Army by Mike Leavitt (All Photos By Gail, Click on Any Image to Enlarge for Detail)

It is no secret that Worleygig.com is a huge fan and supporter of the Jonathan LeVine Gallery and that we try to attend and cover every show! So, it was lots of fun to find ourselves at the opening reception of The Color and The Fury group show, celebrating 10 Years of great art at Jonathan LeVine!

Installation View
Installation View, Before the Crowds Swarmed In!

I’m not sure if ice cream treats were served at some point during the evening, but if they were it was after we left. In addition to an exhibit of selected works by LeVine-represented artists, one wall of the gallery is dedicated to a site-specific, shrine-like installation of memorabilia from past shows, oddball props and various likenesses of Jonathan LeVine himself created by artists like Mike Leavitt and Dan Witz — also very fun!

JL Message Book

Speaking of Ice Cream Treats, here is a lifesize-ish cut out of Jonathan LeVine as an Ice Cream Sandwich!

JL Likenesses
The Many Faces of Jonathan LeVine!

JLG 10

The wall was full of little Tableaus like This One of Jonathan with his Fans, Friends and Supporters.

JL Shrine with Mason Jars

We enjoyed finding little reminders of shows past tucked among the many cards and mini shrines along the wall.

JL Grey Suit

I wish I could say that I remember what that Grey Suit was about, but I do not.

JL Spray Paint Cans

In honor of JLG’s dedication to and support of the Street Art of The World!

Blue Shelf With Red Jar

I wonder what is in that jar? Is it little Gummy Jonathans?

Contribution from Gary Taxali

Contribution by artist Gary Taxali!

Gary Taxali

Here is an example of Gary’s art!

Black Shoes

Whose boots are these? I have no idea.

More Shrine

How many of these shows were we at? So many.

Darth Vader

Don’t you want to go see all of this stuff in person after I have teased you mercilessly with my awesome photos? I know you do.

Brett Amory

You can see this painting by Brett Amory while you are there.

SHAG

And this one by SHAG.

Pose

And this one by Pose, which I really like.

If you love art, please make sure to see the Jonathan Levine 10th Year Anniversary Show while it is up, until March 21st, 2015, at 529 East 20th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District.

 

 

Dan Witz Presents NY Hardcore at Jonathan LeVine Gallery

Mosh Pit Green Hair
All Photos By Gail

Artist and Former Musician Dan Witz, whom I’m just going to go ahead and label the Norman Rockwell of Hardcore, is back at Jonathan LeVine Gallery with an outstanding collection of his hyper-realist style paintings and portraits of Hardcore music fans captured in their natural habitat: The Pit. NY Hardcore is Witz’ second solo exhibit at LeVine, following Mosh Pits, Human and Otherwise in July of 2011. The current show features select paintings previously exhibited in 2011.

Witz Large Mosh Pit

It’s hard to believe that these are paintings and not photographs. They look so real, I can almost smell them.

Mosh Fists

I like this one a lot.

Dan Witz at Reception

Artist Dan Witz at the opening reception chatting with fans. He is very nice.

NY Hardcore includes both crowd scenes – captured from various vantage points – and individual portraits.

We All Know This Guy

Everybody knows this dude, right? I think I used to see him at the Fleetwood (Redondo Beach, CA) back in the early ’80s.

Uncle Fester

I’m pretty sure that this guy is meant to be gallery owner Jonathan LeVine.

 

Witz 3 Paintings

Dan Witz: NY Hardcore runs through May 3rd, 2014 at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at 529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor, in the Chelsea Gallery District. Gallery Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 AM to 6 PM.

Nirvana Short

OK, Who wears a Nirvana shirt at a Hardcore show?

Must See Art: Ten Years of Wooster Collective

 Paul Insect Portraits
Art By Paul Insect (All Photos By Gail, Click on Any image to Enlarge for Detail)

The Jonathan LeVine Gallery is wrapping up the summer with a simply delightful group show that honors 10 Years of Wooster Collective – a website that helped to introduce Art from the Streets of the World into popular culture.

Liu Bolin in a Kenny Scharf
Liu Bolin Hiding in a Kenny Scharf Mural

Ron English Grin
Grin By Ron English

Many of the featured artists such as Dan Witz, Olek, How & Nosm, Judith Supine and D*Face exhibit regularly at LeVine, while others (Kenny Scharf, Liu Bolin, Ron English, TrustoCorp, Swoon) are WorleyGig favorites whose art has been covered many times on this blog.

Buff Monster
Buff Monster

Judith Supine
Judith Supine

Needless to say, but you can see I am about to, it was a huge treat to visit the exhibit this past weekend and see so many amazing works by favorite artists.

Olek Crocheted Skeleton
Crocheted Skeleton by Olek

Other participating artists not mentioned above include: ABOVE, AIKO, Anthony Lister, Bast, Ben Eine, Blek le Rat, Bo130, Buff Monster, C215, Chris Stain, Cope2, Crash, DALeast, Daniel Sparkes, Dark Cloud, Doze Green, ELBOW TOE, Eltono, Faile, Faith 47, Galo, Hyuro, Invader, Jace, Jordan Seiler, JR, Logan Hicks, Ludo, Mark Jenkins, Martha Cooper, Mcity, Michael De Feo, Microbo, Miss Van, Paul Insect, Skewville, Skullphone, Stikman, , The London Police, Vhils, Vinz, Will Barras, WK, xoooox and Zevs.

Trustocorp Collection
Various Signs By Trustocorp

Trustocorp Donuts
Trustocorp Detail

Dan Witz
Dan Witz

10 Years of Wooster Collective, expertly curated by Marc and Sara Schiller, is only up through Saturday, August 24th, 2013, so don’t miss it! For this exhibit only, the LeVine Gallery space has moved to a ground floor pop-up location at 525 West 22nd Street (West of 10th Avenue) in the Chelsea Gallery District.
Wooster Collective Signage
Doze Green
Doze Green

Jonathan Levine Gallery Presents Detournement: Signs of the Times

Levine Detournement Invite

The Image Above Courtesy of the Jonathan LeVine Gallery. All Other Photos by Gail Worley

Worley Gig has taken a bit of a break from Gallery hopping this summer: partly because lots of the galleries are on their summer hiatus and partly because we’ve just been too busy doing other fun things. Oh, New York Contemporary Art Scene, how we have missed you. But what better way to get re-immersed in the vibrant Chelsea gallery scene than with Jonathan LeVine Gallery’s latest group show, Détournement: Signs of the Times, brilliantly curated by Carlo McCormick, which opened this past Thursday. We’d especially like to thank the gallery’s Associate Director, Malena Seldin for allowing The Gig to photograph the show in the empty gallery prior to the start of Thursday night’s opening reception.

Bright Future Save Petrol By Shepard Fairey
Bright Future By Shepard Fairey in collaboration with Jamie Reid

Much like Opera Gallery’s Streets of The World group show this past May, Détournement features the work of many of the most famous contemporary pop and street artists currently working, including:

AIKO, Dan Witz, David Wojnarowicz (estate), Dylan Egon, EINE, Ilona Granet, Jack Pierson, John Law (Jack Napier), Leo Fitzpatrick, Mark Flood, Martin Wong (estate), Max Rippon (RIPO), Mike Osterhout, Posterboy, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Steve Powers (aka ESPO), TrustoCorp, Will Boone and Zevs.

Carlo McCormick offers the following statement about the show:

A détournement is a detour of sorts, but not so much along the scenic route as over the tougher road that goes more directly to the truth. A more proximate translation from the French might be a derailment, but I’m not sure English is so well suited to get both the violence and hilarity of the term. Since coined by the Lettrist International in the 1950s, it has served various generations as a common strategy by which to subvert consensus visual language so as to turn the expressions of capitalist culture against themselves. The most typical folkloric version we encounter of a détournement is when someone writes a word at the bottom of a stop sign, so that with say just three letters this mundane road command might read “Stop War.”

Sign Language Stop Sign By Martin Wong (estate)

Traffic Signs for the Hearing Impaired By Martin Wong (estate)

The idea of an artist co-opting a popular commercial slogan or iconic symbol is not new, but it is done here in ways that create a visceral reaction in the viewer and encourage imaginative extrapolation and discourse. Not to mention, but you can see I am about to, the fact that this show just makes a gorgeous visual presentation. A few of my favorite images are Dan Witz’s series of “Do Not Enter” signs, which range from whimsical to horrifying.

No Entry Dive By Dan Witz
Man of Sorrows By Dan Witz

No Entry Severed Arms By Dan Witz
Peter (Hanging) – collaboration with Till Krautkraemer, By Dan Witz

Ron English also gets one entire wall of the rear gallery dedicated to his mural comprised of a series of darkly satirical grocery store flyers, accompanied by one of his popular reoccurring characters, the sexually anthropomorphized cow:

Ron English Grocery Ad Wall
Incredible Edible Cathy Cowgirl By Ron English

Ron English Grocery Ad Detail Close Up
Human Flesh Detail from Ron English Mural

Of course, two of our favorite brands, Coca Cola and Apple, do not escape unscathed:

Cocal Cola Logo Drip By Zevs
Liquidated Coca-Cola By Zevs

Think Doomed Amelia Earhart By John Law (Jack Napier)
Doomed (Photographed Billboard) By John Law (Jack Napier), Billboard Liberation Front

If you’re outside the tri-state area you can view the works of Detournement online and read more about the exhibit and participating artists at This Link. Otherwise, make a trip to see the show in person before it closes at the end of this month.

See More Photos from this Exhibit After the Jump!

Detournement: Signs of the Times will be on exhibit through August 25, 2012 only at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at 529 West 20th Street (West of 10th Avenue), 9th Floor in Chelsea, NYC. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 AM to 6 PM.

FaceBook Logo By Posterboy
Self Snitch By Posterboy

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Dan Witz: Mosh Pits, Human and Otherwise At Jonathan Levine Gallery


“ABC No Rio” By Dan Witz

Being a veteran of the Orange County punk scene of the late seventies/early eighties, I’ve seen my share of the cultural phenomenon known as the mosh pit. With his background as a musician in New York’s downtown post-punk noise scene of the early 1980s, the paintings of artist Dan Witz will surely strike a chord in the heart of anyone with a similar cache of experiences via his new exhibit, Mosh Pits, Human and Otherwise, up now at the Jonathan Levine Gallery. This vibrant collection features large-scale oil paintings on canvas produced by Witz over the past ten years. The Levine exhibit is his first show at the gallery, and also the first occasion that works in the Mosh Pit series have been exhibited together.  With each painting being very unique, despite their shared subject matter, the mosh pit paintings are titled after the music venues where the concerts took place (such as NYC’s ABC No Rio), rather than the band for which the crowd was moshing. This manner of entitling the works adds an historical perspective for those who’ve been enmeshed in the surrounding culture.


“Lotus Lounge”

Dan Witz’s paintings are striking in their realism. They really do look more like photographs than paintings and they contain fantastic illusions of light, shadow and depth. Dan was present at the exhibit’s opening reception and I got a chance to meet him.  Sporting intricate tattoo sleeves on both arms that, with their dense, interwoven details, also look like mosh pits, he is a super cool and friendly guy. Dan explained that he starts each work from a photo, which is then digitally manipulated before traditional painting techniques are applied.


“Mo”

Additional works in the show represent Witz’s captivating portraiture, depicting isolated female subjects whose faces are illuminated by the screens of their mobile devices, as well as a group of paintings of figures inspired by erotic fetish subcultures. The “Otherwise” reference of the show’s title refers to how Witz expands on the concert crowd theme, including a painting of a herd of suit-wearing businessmen during rush hour in Grand Central Station, as well as non-human subjects such as a pack of fighting dogs and a writhing mass of rats. This is a really fun exhibit that I would recommend to music fans, fans of realist painting and anyone who’s ever personally been in the mosh pit!

Dan Witz: Mosh Pits runs through July 30, 2011 at the Jonathan Levine Gallery, located at 529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor (West of 10th Avenue) in New York. Gallery Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11 AM to 6 PM.

“Grand Central Station”