Andy Valmorbida is pleased to present FUTURE SHOCK, the first New York solo exhibition of new paintings by FUTURA in over a decade, curated by Nemo Librizzi. The exhibition opens at 560 Washington Street, New York City on Thursday, September 6, 2012 from 6 PM – 9 PM, in collaboration with Bombardier Aerospace, RVCA Artist Network Program and VistaJet.
FUTURA, born Leonard Hilton McGurr, is widely known as one of the pioneers of the New York street art movement. Working in a time before hip hop became a commodity, he was “bombing” subway cars while simultaneously exhibiting internationally. He has continued to transcend mediums, walls and facets of popular culture for over 30 years. FUTURA’s paintings depict intangible objects and symbols developed over time to form his own alphabet. Vibrant and rhythmic, his canvases are reflective of the aggressive and contemplative manner in which he both works and lives.
With his new series of work, the evolution of FUTURA’s language is illuminated. Using large scale wooden boards and canvases, he applies layers of both acrylic and spray paint, creating dynamic abstract compositions. Though avoiding the inclusion of literal objects, singular images repeat throughout the work – such as a reappearing long grouping of gridded, perpendicular lines – a subtle nod to architecture. This approach, while referencing traditional abstraction, harkens back inversely to FUTURA’s beginnings using the city as a moving canvas.
FUTURA lives and works in New York City. In 1979, together with influential graffiti artist ALI, he started the famous crew “Soul Artists of Zoo York.” FUTURA made the transition from subway car to canvas in 1980. He toured with The Clash in 1981, painting live on stage and in 1982 he toured with Afrika Bamaataa during the first hip hop tour in Europe. His work has been included in various museum exhibitions, “New York / New Wave,” at PS1 (1981), “Coming from the Subway” Groninger Museum (1992) “Beautiful Losers” (2004) and “Art in the Streets,” at MOCA (2011). Various galleries have exhibited his work including Fun Gallery, Tony Shafrazi Gallery, Robert Fraser Gallery, Galerie du Jour Agnès B, Sidney Janis and Galerie Jerome de Noirmont. He has collaborated with such companies as Nike, Bathing Ape, Zoo York, and Maharishi. FUTURA’s new book, published by Rizzoli, will come out in 2014.
Nemo Librizzi is an artist and filmmaker from New York City. Growing up in a fine art background, his childhood was devoted to tagging subway trains. He knew it was just a matter of time before the art establishment accepted graffiti as an important new phase in the western tradition. Decades later, he saw that the greatest talents of this culture were still being labeled by critics as "street artists" as if it were some criminal accusation. If the movement were to be properly represented, he felt he would have to join in the effort. This is his first curatorial undertaking to this end. In 1982 he befriended FUTURA at the FUN Gallery, and has watched his art evolve over the years and relates, "if Futura was at the forefront of the culture then, in developing his own signature system of symbols, he is even more significant now that his work has left language behind and plunged completely into the abstract."
Andy Valmorbida is an art entrepreneur and a pioneer of the “pop-up” gallery model. Since 2006, he has created 23 pop-up exhibitions in cities around the world including: New York City; Cannes; Los Angeles; London; Milan; Moscow; Florence; Southampton; Miami; and Melbourne, with upcoming exhibitions in Hong Kong, Vienna and Sao Paulo. He is a member of the Serpentine Gallery’s council in London.