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"The Streets of Europe
A Playground for Urban Story-Touring"
Jonathan Levine Gallery
529 West 20th St. 9E
New York, NY 10011
Dec. 1, 2007 - Dec. 29, 2007

Written by Mindy Hyman
Photos Courtesy of Jonathan Levine Gallery

Opposite Photo: Artist Blek Le Rat

Jonathan Levine Gallery’s latest exhibit is a tour into the creative and satirically playful minds of six contemporary European artists. The theme of street life is explored through each artist’s work in very distinct and vivacious ways. By means of paint, ink, stencil or tile, each artist, in turn, demonstrates how s/he is a curator of street culture. Their work elevates street art to glorious levels reminding us that urban storytelling is universal; what one feels on a different continent may be closer to our own thoughts and struggles as we connect through urban experience. The artists succeed in creating an awareness that allows the viewer to see new and progressive means of viewing art.

D*Face literally defaces and retraces the portraits of famous political and celebrity icons. Many of the paintings depict a skeleton in place of the face. Queen Elizabeth, George Washington and Che Guevara are brought back down to the level of the everyday homosapien once we see that they are made of bones, just like us. It seems as though the artist is attempting to unmask their status by making folly of their heightened status. Perhaps, as viewers of art, we need to reveal the idolatry that accompanies the world of fame.

Space Invader

Space Invader creates two mosaics out of rubik’s cubes. Space Invader explores how to create a portrait and profile of a man by the usage of scattered pieces of colored tile-or a piece of a rubik’s cube-in a specific point on the piece. The second work of art is of three ghost characters from the game, Pac Man, floating across a peaceful lake in a beautiful, mountainous landscape. The effect is surreal and brings the child out in the viewer. One can’t help but laugh with delight at this large, game-influenced art.

Blek Le Rat

Blek Le Rat

Blek Le Rat uses stencil-like art to portray street life in Europe. He uses humor in contemporary life when we see a young girl holding up a graffiti artist and a stencil of David with an M-16. The statue is definitely more readily equipped in this rendition.

Bo130 incorporates imagery of a man immersed in street life. The artist uses colors of teal, olive-green, bubble gum-pink and black designs in an abstract fashion.




My two favorite artists from the exhibit were Microbo and Blu. Microbo’s art looks like a playful universe of biological, microbial-looking creatures swimming in an oceanic world of black and while flowered wallpaper. The colors in this piece are calming and satiating. The browns, tans, blacks and whites compliment the total nature-effect of being immersed in a world of hair follicles and friends.
Blu draws phrases and instills a sense of playful humor through his art. Particularly funny was a drawing of men pick-pocketing each other in a circle. The piece draws on notions of big business and the rat race in the Western world, namely, that we are all trying to steal from each other and that in the end, the whole deal is a big game of cheat. In another sketch, Blu draws a butthead- a man that smokes so many cigarettes, that the ashtray is his head.

This exhibit exemplifies the notion that we are more universally connected and that urban life in Europe rings true for New York life and style. A free tour to Europe’s finest cities and viewpoints is always a plus. Catch this cool exhibit while you can.

For more information on the Jonathan Levine Gallery, log onto: http://jonathanlevinegallery.com/




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