Among the street and low-brow art communities, the Shred show on now at Perry Rubenstein Gallery is probably the most-talked-about exhibition currently on in New York. Shred is a show of collaged-based artwork which has been curated by Carlo McCormick. While Shred is by no means intended as a show about “street artists,” there are works by a number of street artists hanging alongside classic collage artists like Gee Vaucher. Perry Rubenstein Gallery is a major New York City gallery, and to my knowledge, this is the first time they have exhibited work in their gallery by the current generation of street artists (although there is a Faile solo show at the gallery later this year).
After speaking with a few people about this show, but not yet having seen it in the flesh myself, I was disappointed. Most of the people that I spoke with were of the general opinion that although the show might have one or two solid pieces, it wasn’t really worth stopping by and it was generally not as good as anyone had expected. Luckily, I didn’t listen to those friends and stopped by the gallery anyway while I was recently in New York. I can’t figure out what people were complaining about. The show has plenty of solid pieces along with some of the best work I have seen from Judith Supine and Shepard Fairey.
This piece by Judith Supine is one of my favorites that he has ever done (I always seem to say that when I see his work in the flesh, but he just keeps getting better). Unfortunately, this photo just doesn’t do the work justice. The varnish that Supine often coats his paintings with has been lapped on extra thick and reflective here and the green specks throughout the piece are actually fake nails embedded into the varnish. I’ve heard complaints that the work is too reflective, but I have to disagree. Besides, most any frame that the work’s owner might put on the piece would be reflective as well unless they decided to spend extra money on non-reflective glass. New Yorkers really need to go see this one in person. It’s a real beauty.
And Shepard Fairey’s piece is a retired stencil; in fact, it’s one of the best retired stencils I’ve seen from Fairey.
Shred marks the start of something new for Brian Adam Douglas (did you know that Vandalog recently interviewed Brian?), with his collages moving from portraits to a new narrative subject matter:
Finally, there is Swoon’s contribution to Shred. While I’m not really liking this new image that she’s been using recently (the man’s head looks like more of a caricature than her typical portraits which bring out the inner beauty of her subjects), the collaged details are what makes this piece so interesting. It’s definitely not a typical Swoon. For this work, Swoon has taken to doing Fairey-like collages of newspaper artists and tiny screenprints in the background of the work. Unfortunately, I don’t have an image that really shows these off well, but the small screenprinted designs towards the bottom of the work are stunning.
Shred runs at Perry Rubenstein Gallery in New York City through August 27th, and I urge you to go have a look in person.
Photos courtesy of the artists and Perry Rubenstein Gallery