Mural by TomBob. Photographed on Elizabeth Street near the corner of Prince Street.
My vote for the first Must See Show of NYC’s Fall Art Season is iconic stencil artist Blek Le Rat’s Ignorance is Bliss at Jonathan LeVine Gallery. While Saturday’s opening reception was comparatively sparsely attended, this made for a great viewing experience, perfect photo snapping conditions and a chance to talk to the artist himself, who was on hand to sign cards, pose for photos and, in general, be an all around nice, cool guy. Blek Le Rat!
Ignorance is Bliss is Le Rat’s largest body of work to date and his second solo exhibit at the Gallery.
The exhibit features a series of works on canvas as well as one bronze, marking the first time the artist has worked in sculpture. The gilded bronze piece depicts Michaelangelo’s David holding a rifle, and is based on a stencil that Blek le Rat has stenciled on the streets of cities all over the world. The sculpture also features a small rat by David’s feet (sadly, the rat is slighting obscured by David’s leg in the photo above). This iconic rat is found throughout the artist’s work, and, coincidentally, is also found repeatedly in the work of Banksy, for whom Le Rat is a direct and prominent influence.
It’s always fun to see someone re-interpret this popular shot of the late Sid Vicious by photographer Dennis Morris.
Blek Le Rat is a legend and his work has influenced everyone, so do come out and see this show while you can!
Blek Le Rat’s Ignorance is Bliss will be on Exhibit Through October 5th, 2013 at Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Located at 529 West 20th Street, 9th Floor in the Chelsea Gallery District.
In an ambitious undertaking, the Keszler Gallery (with a Manhattan location on Madison Avenue) has acquired a number of original Banksy street works, some weighing several tons, for an exhibition in Southampton this month. Also included in the exhibition are a number of original prints. Many of the street works are sections of concrete walls gathered from around the globe, which are too heavy to exhibit in the gallery’s two Southampton locations. For this exhibit, the gallery has leased the town’s original power plant to house the art during this show. Being huge Banksy fans, Geoffrey and I made the trek out to Southampton this past Saturday for the opening reception and it turned out to be well worth the haul!
Flying Copper (2003) (all Photos By Geoffrey Dicker)
Geoffrey was lucky enough to see the huge Banksy exhibit at the museum in Bristol, England a couple of years ago but, aside from the Village Pet Store and perhaps one or two isolated pieces in a group show, this was my first experience seeing a Banksy collection in a gallery setting. The space for this show is very fitting as it is an abandoned power plant whose high ceilings, shattered windows, rough hewn doorways and concrete walls make the perfect gallery setting for some of these “canvases” that are basically concrete slabs themselves.
One of the larger works on display is Stop & Search (see above) which was executed in Bethlehem when Banksy returned to the area after his publicized installation in 2005 of nine murals on the controversial West Bank Barrier. These works were later removed and transported to London for restoration. Another of these large scale pieces, Wet Dog, is also on display in Southampton.
Adding to the evening’s buzz created by just being around such storied art was the awesome set of party tunes provided by DJ Twilo, free flowing cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres. Art Party in the Hamptons!
See Additional Pictures of Geoffrey and Me Posing with Banksy’s Art and find out more about the Exhibit after the Jump!