I’m happy to say that I am moving back home tonight after 10 days of couch surfing, iPadding on the bus and living out of a bag. Thanks to everyone who helped make these past two weeks a little less hellish than they could have been.
Thanks to Geoffrey’s incredible talent for scheduling an evening that includes multiple events located across town from each other, we were able to make an extended pit stop at Pace Prints for the opening night of Shepard’s Fairey’s amazing new exhibit, Harmony and Discord, wedged between attending a Kehinde Wiley opening on 29th Street and a lovely evening seeing Brendon Benson perform at the Bowery Ballroom. Timing!
Shepard Fairey is one of my favorite contemporary artists and this latest exhibit is the most exciting collection of his work that I’ve seen so far. Fairey created the works for Harmony and Discord in the Pace Editions studios in New York, which provided him with the opportunity to scale the work to a larger size, so the exhibit includes the largest screen prints he has done to date. If you are familiar with Shepard Fairey’s work you know that he started out as a street artist, creating the global “Obey” sticker campaign and continued his politically-themed art (Fairy’s best-known work is the iconic and much-copied Obama Hope poster) as he moved from the street into the galleries of New York, Los Angeles and Europe.
On view in Harmony & Discord are a number of silkscreens done with collage and spray paint, as well as handmade paper (his first works with this medium), embossment and relief prints, and large metal plates with screen print. Relating to the surfaces of his street work, the hand painted multiple (HPM) works in this series have backgrounds of stenciled pulp, collage, screen print and embossment, allowing the image to pop off of its vintage, layered surface. The Pace Prints exhibition also marks the first time Fairey is presenting metal relief plates as art pieces, layered with silkscreen, furthering spatial extent within the work. The metal plates are so finely detailed, and these were definitely my favorite pieces in the exhibit. You have to see them up close to appreciate how beautiful they are. I also really liked the pieces that were heavily influenced by the Comic Book Art motif of the late pop artist, Roy Lichtenstein.
Shepard was in attendance at Saturday’s opening and he was so nice and attentive to his fans! He will sign anything you have with you, pose for a photo, give you stickers and even take the time to thoroughly and thoughtfully answer any questions you ask him, even though many people were waiting to have five seconds with him. So nice! Thank you Shepard Fairey for your wonderful art and for being such a cool person!
Photo of Gail and Shepard by Geoffrey Dicker
Harmony and Discord will be on exhibit through June 16th, 2012 at Pace Prints, located at 521 West 26th Street, 3rd & 4th Floors, New York, NY 10001. Gallery Hours are Tuesday -Friday: 10: 00 AM to 6:00 PM and Saturday: 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM
With a background as a graffiti artist who progressed to cartooning and illustration – studying at NYC’s School of Visual Arts where he developed the distinct style he calls, simply, Fumeroism – local painter Fumero has joined the ranks of up-and-coming artists currently creating a buzz on the New York City art scene. While Fumero made an impression at last winter’s Art Basel contemporary art fare in Miami, and he has participated in a group show at NYC’s Art Bazaar space, his work officially graduates from the streets to the Gallery with his first solo exhibit now on view at Phantom Audio, just a few blocks east of the Chelsea gallery hub.
Show Curator Frankie Velez Poses with his Likeness
Curated by artist Frankie Velez, Fumeroism showcases nearly two dozen of Fumero’s portraits on canvases of various sizes. Fumero explains that his preferred palette of vibrant colors and the definitive line details of his portraits are directly influenced by the shapes and colors of “wildstyle” graffiti lettering to create an abstract yet recognizable human likeness. The work is really quite remarkable and each portrait invites a trail of possible conversations which must be blazed. For example, his portraits of iconic figures such as Gandhi, Bob Marley, Jim Morrison and Marilyn Monroe could not be mistaken for anyone other than their subject, but through Fumero’s eyes and brushstrokes their expressions transform into something almost otherworldly.
Jim Morrison’s mouth has a noticeable feminine pout while Monroe looks more gaunt and menacing than voluptuous and inviting. Marley’s portrait embraces such a sense of movement in the way the colors interact with each other that, to be quite blunt, it reminds me of how one might “experience” the paining while frying as hard as possible on LSD. Fumero has a unique way of seeing the face that is undeniably hallucinatory but also very effective.
My favorite piece in the exhibit is a portrait of Fumero’s grandfather, entitled “Grandpa,” which flaunts equal parts abstraction and realism in how the loving, aged character of Grandpa’s face is represented not by wrinkles but by colors. Needless to say, this collection of portraits is extremely compelling.
“The Family Portrait” (Table Series)
“Table Series Logo” By Fumero
Also on display at Phantom is a representation of the artist’s semi-autobiographical paintings, The Table Series. This series of works in progress depicts an Italian American family (reflecting Fumero’s heritage) congregated around and socializing at the kitchen table. In this way, he brings his life experiences, traditions and nostalgic memories directly into his work. The Table Series also spawned the well-known “Table Series Logo” sticker, which has become one of the most famous, iconic street tags in urban settings from New York to Los Angeles. Clearly, for Fumero the story behind the painting is just as important as what goes on the canvas. We should all look forward to hearing more of the story.
Table Series Logo Sticker
Fumeroism is on exhibit now at Phantom Audio, Located at 48 West 25th Street (East of 6th Ave), 10th Floor in NYC. Viewings are by appointment only, so please call (212)727-0452 if you plan to stop by.
On Tuesday, a judge dismissed copyright lawsuits between street artist Shepard Fairey and the Associated Press news service over an image of Barack Obama that Fairey used for a 2006 Obama campaign poster. This is a rather complicated case, or series of related cases actually, which involve Fairey and the “Obama Hope” image, which was later used on merchandise such as T-shirts and mugs. You can read up on the details at This Link. I’m not saying that “stealing” is ever justified, but there are ways to amicably resolve these types of issues without getting all Metallica-style litigious on everyone’s ass. At any rate, the ruling is good news for Fairey – whose work I am a huge fan of – and other artists of his ilk, who sometimes appropriate fair use images from pop culture in their artwork.