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Gardeners of Eden
Recent Works of David Choe
January 6, 2007 - February 3, 2007
Jonathan LeVine Gallery

Written by Eve Hyman
Photos Courtesy of David Choe

David Choe painted a large, impressive mural on the diner down the street from my apartment in Hollywood. It must have been 2001 or so and he was still living in Koreatown, on the verge of moving to the Bay Area. I always admired his mural as drove past it on my way band practice and then I stumbled upon his book in a favorite bookstore. Titled “Slow Jams,” it chronicled Choe’s fascination with the girls of LA. It was a great read from a talented visual artist who possessed a unique if haphazard writing voice. I’d always wanted to like comic books but didn’t - until “Slow Jams.”

Pink Socks

I soon contacted Choe to ask him to do the art for my band’s album cover. We
met, but he declined; he was already busy designing 12” covers for a label. But I remained a fan and I was happily surprised to receive an email from my favorite gallery (the Jonathan LeVine Gallery) saying that they were hosting David Choe’s first New York City exhibit.


Diamonds, Ass, Chocolate, Tits, Flowers
Driving Home Alone (detail)

City Girl Detail

City Girl

I forwarded the info to friends and we went to the opening and fought the crowd. Trying to see “Gardeners of Eden” at the reception was a stifling venture; the show was too popular. My friends loved his work as much as Vice Magazine does,
but potential suffocation was a barrier to true appreciation so I returned a couple weeks later for a another viewing.

Simian Dreams

Because he’s a fun read (www.davidchoe.com), I won’t give away Choe’s story. I can only press you to read his blog and see his exhibit at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery for yourself. Years spent traveling plus a stint in a Tokyo prison have only added to Choe’s eccentric, intense perception of his surroundings and his ability to convey his thoughts through color, texture, and form. The small details are hilarious: an aerosol piece of a large beautiful woman exhaling has Aztec faces
hidden on her bum while a minute, naked, erect man swings from a rubber-band figure eight in the corner of the painting and whales, sweat-socks and Dr. Seuss-like cloud figures float along the bottom.


Throughout his work there are plenty of sexual themes, lucha masks, striking color and bursts of violence to hold your attention. David Choe’s “Gardeners of Eden” features bouffant-sporting- retro-broads, fake-breasted-porn-queens, naked-pretty-girls-riding- horseback, men and ape figures, robots, monsters, and sock puppets. Choe has created gorgeous mosaics to video game cityscapes, mash-ups of pop and graffiti art that manage to communicate emotion in a more immediate, vulnerable and exciting way than most of his pop-art contemporaries. Choe’s paintings are romantic, perverse and human. He’s the same guy from the mural in LA, filtered through new adventures, professional successes and heartbreaks. It’s a great time to see his work in NYC.

For more information on the artist: www.davidchoe.com.

Jonathan LeVine Gallery is located at 529 West 20th Street, 9E New York, NY 10011 ph: 212-243-3822. It is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 6pm.

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