NiteTalk: Gregg Shienbaum Gallery Goes from Master to Urban

Bret Polock - Report Suspicious Acts R
Bret Polock - Report Suspicious Acts (Courtesy Gregg Shienbaum)

Warhol, Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg, Johns. Even if you don't know the names (though you should), you undoubtedly know their work. Till now Gregg Shienbaum Gallery has pretty concentrated on those Pop Art masters; now the Wynwood showplace is on to the work they've influenced. The show, called "Urban/Street", opens this Second Saturday. Niteside got Shienbaum himself to give us the goods.

Wanna tell us a bit about "Urban/Street"?
Within the last 3-5 years, we have seen an emergence of an art movement called Street or Urban Art. Street art has been around for centuries; frescos in Italy, murals in Mexico.  In more modern times Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kenny Scharf, and Blek le Rat started the trend. Now artists like Banksy, D-Face, Shepard Fairey, and many others become more mainstream.

Who all will be included?
For this exhibition I will have artwork by CLANDESTINE CULTURE, Bret Polock, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Magnus Gjoen, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Saraha Hardacre, and Russell Young.

Won't this be the first time Clandestine Culture shows in a gallery? One of my new latest discoveries is an artist called CLANDESTINE CULTURE. The artist chooses to remain anonymous. He hits the street with his face and head completely covered. He believes that the painting and the message is more important then the artist. He uses everyday people, images and words, to show that in the end, we are all part of one world wide culture. . . A CLANDESTINE CULTURE.

How'd you land the elusive man? I saw him pasting his art on an electric pole in Wynwood one evening, and went up to him, and told him how much I like his art. I handed him my business card and told him I wanted to show his work in my gallery.  After much convincing, I promised him that I would not compromise the integrity of the art and its message. He agreed, and as of today we have taken his message and expanded it worldwide.

What prompted the switch from masters to urban anyway? For me the realization came to be, when a client of mine, who is 33 years old, asked me who the guy in the Warhol screenprint was that I had for sale.  When I told him that it was James Dean, he asked "Who is that?". It was at this point that I realized that I need to focus on today's artists. Artists that relate to today's generation of collectors. Their ideas are different, their beliefs are different, the economic situations are different, and their icons are different.   

Anything else you wanna add before we go-go? The Urban Art movement has its roots in contemporary art: Jasper Johns' American Flag the classic, quintessential pop art. Rauschenberg's photo journalistic style, documented the times. Warhol, and Lichtenstein, catapulted pop art to levels never seen before. All theses artists, as well as many others, have influenced the Urban/Street artists of today. Banksy has transformed Warhol's Campbell's soup cans into Tesco Value soup cans, just as Warhol's famous Marilyn faces are now Banksy's Kate Moss as Marilyn. Shepard Fairey uses Lichtenstein's explosion images, and his "POW" in his art. The contemporary masters are the bridge, paving the way for today's Urban artists.

"Urban/Street" opens this Second Saturday May 12 at Gregg Shienbaum Gallery 2239 NW 2nd Avenue Wynwood. For more information log on here.

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