P·P·O·W is pleased to present historical and contemporary works by Charlie Ahearn, Daze, Anton van Dalen, David Wojnarowicz and Martin Wong.
Charlie Ahearn (b. 1951) Since the 1970s, Ahearn has documented street culture and the rise of hip hop in New York City, capturing the excitement and raw energy that infused the movement through photography, films and slideshows. His super 8 kung fu movie, The Deadly Art of Survival (1978) was shown throughout the Lower East Side, Fashion Moda, and The Times Square Show (1980). At The Times Square Show Ahearn met Fab 5 Freddy, leading him to direct his iconic film Wild Style (1982), which is recognized as the first and most beloved movie in hip hop history. For this year’s edition of Frieze New York, the gallery will premiere new silkscreen paintings by Ahearn, made from slides first shown at the Ecstasy Garage in the early 80s. The brightly colored, exuberant works offer a window into the nascent years of the hip hop community, capturing the expression and energy of a particular moment in time. After directing other films such as Bongo Barbershop and artist documentaries, in 2002 Ahearn co-authored the book Yes Yes Y’all, an oral history of the first decade of hip hop with many photos by the artist. Wild Style The Sampler by Ahearn was published in 2007 on the 25th anniversary of that movie. Ahearn has been producing documentaries such as Richard Hunt Sculptor 2010, Jamel Shabazz Street Photographer 2011 and hip hop musical shorts, his latest being All City Take It to the Bridge. Ahearn was born in Binghamton, NY, and currently lives and works in New York City. Charlie Ahearn: Scratch Ecstasy, the artist’s debut exhibition with P·P·O·W, will open on Thursday, May 18 and run through Saturday, June 24.
Chris Daze Ellis (b.1962) entered the world of art via graffiti, writing on the city’s streets and subway system in the late 1970s. In the early ‘80s, Daze turned his attention from the street to the studio, creating works on canvas that merged elements of street style with figurative painting. His first group show was Beyond Words at the iconic Mudd Club in New York in 1981, showing alongside artists such as Jean Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, with his first solo exhibition following in 1982 at the seminal progressive art space Fashion Moda, in the South Bronx. At this year’s Frieze New York, the gallery will premiere recent works that depict the vibrancy and vitality of New York City, combining abstract and representational forms, using the visual culture and iconographic landmarks of New York to meditate on personal themes of memory and erasure, collective and personal, and the locus of self within the urban world. A recent retrospective of his works entitled The City is My Muse was mounted at the Museum of the City of New York last spring, along with a coinciding publication Dazeworld. Paintings by Daze are in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The Brooklyn Museum; The Museum of the City of New York; The Groninger Museum, Netherlands; and The Ludwig Museum in Aachen, Germany. Daze was born in New York City, where he continues to live. Chris Daze Ellis’ debut exhibition with P·P·O·W will be in spring 2018.
Anton van Dalen (b.1938) immigrated to New York in 1966, and has lived in the East Village since 1971, documenting the dramatic cultural shifts in the neighborhood through paintings, drawings, prints, stencils, collage, and performances. The Pigeon Car, 1987, a large-scale sculpture housing live pigeons, will be the centerpiece of our presentation at Frieze New York. One of the last remaining pigeon keepers in Manhattan, van Dalen has often used avian imagery in his work to symbolize migration, freedom and community. Beginning his career as a chronicler of the blocks immediately surrounding his studio, van Dalen has quietly captured the rapidly changing scene in the East Village, depicting evolutions in design and technology and their effects on daily life. What emerges from this consistent study is a trenchant indictment of capitalism and materialism and a celebration of natural life in the urban jungle. The Pigeon Car originally exhibited at Exit Art in Anton van Dalen’s solo exhibition “The Memory Cabinet” in 1988. He has been included in group exhibitions at notable institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; New Museum, New York; Contemporary Art Center, Cincinnati, and the New York Historical Society. He has also been the subject of solo exhibitions at Temple Gallery, Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia; University Gallery, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and Exit Art, New York. Anton van Dalen was born in Amstelveen, Holland and lives in New York City.
David Wojnarowicz (1954-1992) was a powerful voice and undeniable presence in the New York City art scene of the 1980s, and early 90s. Through his volumes of fiction, poetry, memoirs, painting, photography, installation, sculpture, film, and performance, Wojnarowicz’s legacy affirms the vivifying power of art in a society he viewed as alienating and corrosive. Our presentation at Frieze New York will focus on Wojnarowicz’s use of stencils in his paintings and works on paper, a technique that allowed Wojnarowicz to fuse his incisive symbolism to the city itself, most notably in the derelict interiors of Pier 34 on the Hudson River. Wojnarowicz’s 1982 triptych Peter Hujar Dreaming will be installed atop a large-scale storefront painting by Martin Wong, evoking the work’s public presence above the iconic gallery Civilian Warefare in the early 1980s. His artwork has been included in solo and group exhibitions around the world, at institutions such as The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; The American Center, Paris, France; The Busan Museum of Modern Art, Korea; Centro Galego de Art Contemporanea, Santiago de Compostela, Spain; The Barbican Art Gallery, London; and the Museum Ludwig, Cologne Germany. His works are in permanent collections of major museums internationally and the subject of significant scholarly studies. Highly influential to the current generation of artists, writers, and activists, his work continues to be the subject of important exhibitions. Wojnarowicz has had three retrospectives: at the galleries of the Illinois State University in 1990 curated by Barry Blinderman; at the New Museum in 1999 curated by Dan Cameron; and his forthcoming traveling retrospective will open at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2018, co-curated by David Kiehl and David Breslin.
Martin Wong (1946-1999) During the '70s, Wong was active in the San Francisco Bay Area art scene and was involved with the performance art groups The Cockettes and Angels of Light. In 1978 he moved to Manhattan, eventually settling in the Lower East Side, where his attention turned exclusively to painting. Wong set forth to depict urban life on the Lower East Side where he then lived, as well as to create intimate portraits of the neighborhood, placing his work in line with the early American Realist painters like Reginald Marsh and George Bellows. Through his visual diary he built a landscape of stacked bricks, crumbling tenements, constellations, and hand signals. His narratives were populated by the neighborhood's denizens including firemen, boxers, the incarcerated, graffiti artists, and families. P·P·O·W will exhibit a large scale storefront painting from 1985 alongside figurative paintings populated by police men and graffiti writers, characters who recur throughout Wong’s two decades of painting Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Wong's works are charged with a multitude of levels that address the artist's personal, poetic, and social concerns, reflecting a sense of compassion and self-identification within his subjects that still resonates today. Wong’s work can be found in museum collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art, The Bronx Museum of The Arts, and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; The Cleveland Museum of Art, The Art Institute of Chicago; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Wong had a one person show Sweet Oblivion at the New Museum (1998). City as Canvas: New York City Graffiti from the Martin Wong Collection opened at the Museum of the City of New York in 2013 and traveled to the Amsterdam Museum in 2016. Wong's retrospective, Martin Wong: Human Instamatic, opened at the Bronx Museum of the Arts in November 2015, before traveling to the Wexner Center in Columbus, Ohio in May of 2016, and will open at the UC Berkeley Art Museum in San Francisco, California, in the fall of 2017.