Opening an art gallery inside a restaurant may not be an entirely original idea, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t happen more often. In fact, I think it’s a spot-on idea whose time as arrived! In a thrilling and logical partnership, TAO Group and Pop International Galleries have joined together to create a new art gallery in the vestibule of Vandal, one of the coolest contemporary pop art-themed restaurants and lounges in New York City.
Art by Dom Pattinson (Left) and Flore (Right)
It’s worth noting that Pop International Galleries’home base is located just a few doors down the street from Vandal, and the Pop gallery insideVandal features works by a select handful of popular street artists that the gallery represents. Along with original artworks by UR New York, Sean “Layercake” Sullivan, Flore, Dom Pattinson and RESO, a portfolio of ten very affordable, signed and numbered limited-edition prints by this group of artists are on exhibit and available for purchase.
Ringo Starr Arrives for his Exhibit at Pop International Gallery, Soho (All Photos By Gail)
There’s a wickedly humorous story in Beatles’ legend that goes something like this: when asked by a journalist if Ringo Starr was the best drummer he’d ever heard, John Lennon replied, “Ringo isn’t even the best drummer in the Beatles.” As hilarious as that joke is, I think that Ringo Jokes exist for the same reason that Blonde Jokes exist: because people are jealous. I mean, Ringo Starr was in The fucking Beatles, and The Beatles invented everything! As far as I’m concerned, he has carte blanche to do whatever he wants. Ringo Starr!
In addition to currently being on a national concert tour with the most recent incarnation of his All Starr Band, Ringo is also touring his original artwork. On Monday, June 25th, he made a pit stop in Soho to host a VIP reception at Pop International Gallery on West Broadway. The packed-to-capacity gallery space was filled mostly with “VIP” patrons who had previously purchased signed copies of the drummer’s colorful, school of Pop art, but plenty of Music Biz celebrities and Ringo supporters were on hand as well.
We spotted the legendary Todd Rundgren (a current member of Ringo’s All Starr consortium) as well as previous RASB contributors like drummer Greg Bissonette and MTV-Generation rocker Billy Squier, who has been flying below the radar lately but still looks fantastic.
As celebrity artwork goes, I have seen work by Academy Award Nominated Directors and Tabloid-Fodder Rock Has-Beens that did not impress me much, but Ringo’s work is vibrant and accessible. It’s easy to see the influence of modern Pop innovators such as Peter Max and Andy Warhol in Starr’s work, but he also has his own whimsical style that is distinctly Ringo.
Part of all proceeds from sales also go to support The Lotus Foundation, a charity founded by Ringo and his wife Barbara Bach. The foundation’s primary objectives are to offer financial aid and assistance to facilitate family and child welfare, women’s issues, animal protection, addiction recovery and education.
We had a fun time at the reception and really enjoyed Ringo’s art work. And while it was a minor thrill to be in such close proximity to THE Ringo Starr, it was a wee bit of a bummer to be actually unable to meet him, due to his giant body guards and the mob scene-generating essence of the situation (i.e. Live Beatle in Person) in general. So close, and yet so far, as they say.
Pop International Galleries is Located at 473 West Broadway, New York, NY 10012