Tag Archives: Neo Pop

KAWS Is Not Simply Painting Pop References, He Is Forcing The Art World To Accept Them

Strolling along Madison Avenue I stumbled upon the famed Galerie Perrotin. To my surprise their current show was a solo exhibition entitled by one of my personal artistic heroes, Brooklyn based artist KAWS.

“Pass The Blame” features a series of work that offer a fresh take on his playful pop culture inspired work. His earlier work drew inspiration from Pop gods like Andy Warhol and Roy Litchtenstein, but the newer works seem to be inspired by Frank Stella and Ellsworth. These inspirations find him combining Pop and abstraction and composition that extended the entire canvas borders. Talk about #DEPTH!



This whimsical approach to his abstracted cartoon silhouettes not starkly rendered, but still represented are a masterful experience. Walking through the exhibition the viewer can not help but be immersed in KAWS’ interactive atmosphere. KAWS is not simply introducing popular references, he is forcing the art world to accept these as part of what for many is the real world they experienced growing up. As he taps into the popular psyche, he brings to life the very points of fascination, endearing memories, tender associations and identifications with the world of cartoons that for many were profound experiences and just as meaningful as those in the real world.

“Pass The Blame” runs through December 21, 2013. Take a closer look at some images from the show below.









Anthony Lister has the keys to the city

It would seem that Anthony Lister has the key to the city. If you haven’t noticed the bus shelter posters being resurrected into works of art by the this revolutionary artist, then you are paying as much attention to the ads as he wants you to. Recently voted no #1 world wide figurative muralist for is recent work in Beverly Hills LA by RJ Rushmore for Complex Magazine, Lister is well and truly in the deep end of setting the world on fire.

Next month Anthony Lister is excited to announce he will be having his first solo exhibition at the prestigious Olsen Irwin Gallery, Sydney. This show will see new large works on canvas, bronze sculptures, video work work and even his famous illegal bus shelters, all of which were build in his secret Sydney laboratory.

His illegal works and avant garde street practice have caused much controversy in recent years. From illegally taking bought advertising space to painting on brides on their wedding day, Anthony has only this to say “you know something has gone terribly wrong when disaster is dressed as entertainment. You also know something has gone terribly wrong when advertising locations are being culturally embraced without question. I believe in the freedom of visual speech’

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To coincide with this momentous occasion, Anthony has also celebrated a decade of sketch books, of which he will be releasing a compilation in the form of a hard cover book.

Anthony’s paintings are serous works and he is a serious artist that is at the fore front of contemporary art and that has proven himself internationally at being so. He says about his paintings ‘I see painting like the ocean, the more I wink at it, the more it smiles back’.

Anthony Lister The Beautiful Misery will be officially opening at Olsen Irwin Gallery August 7th – 25th.


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The Dictator Hall of Fame


The Illest Dictators across the globe… according to Artist & Designer Pete Kirill



Miami based Neo-Pop artist Pete Kirill recently shared these images with me of his latest installation located in Downtown Hollywood Florida. In turn I’m sharing them with you. No sense in being an art hoarder. The installation entitled The Dictator Hall of Fame was commissioned by the Hollywood Mega Mural project and features five dictators including Big Daddy Hussein, MC Arafats, Kim jong-Rodman, MC Chavez and Flavor Fidel. Complete with a portrait of each dictator and one piece of fake memorabilia from each portrait. For example, the portrait titled, Flavor Fidel depicts the Cuban dictator holding a microphone, so under his painting on the shelf is a microphone. MC Arafats has sunglasses on his shelf like the one’s portrayed in the painting.

According to Pete, “The Dictator Hall of Fame series focuses on famous dictators worldwide. A strong connective tissue joins dictator worship and celebrity idolization, as these these leaders increasingly resemble American Pop icons versus heads of state.



KingPop Flexes at FLUX

Autumnal breezes on the East-West platform at Edgewood-Candler Park ~ before this, I’d strolled the neighborhood named for the park, after a brief stretch of the park itself, after Historic Druid Hills. Lovely, underrated urbane city to walk, Atlanta. The MARTA train arriving now to whoosh me away through buildings and trees, through the urban forest to its core.

I’m revved to sneak a peak at the first solo art exhibition by William Floyd aka KingPop, at House of Adrene in Historic Castleberry Hill, and it coincides with FLUX. Though I helped pre-organize the event and have spent time in Royal Flush Studios, where studio co-owner Mr. Floyd creates in a huge warehouse in West End, I come with eyes wide open.

The enclave of Castleberry Hill is the official arts district of Atlanta, and FLUX night is the big annual art event in the loft-filled neighborhood. First formed in the mid-1800s, Castleberry Hill was initially a collection of saloons and brothels called “Snake Nation.” Now, it’s where many of the South’s topnotch artists live, work and play.

House of Adrene, a Castleberry fashion boutique in normalcy – which also happens to sell Mr. Floyd’s clothing line, Pop Culture Clothing – has been transformed into a gallery space for Mr. Floyd to display diverse skills, primarily those of his as a fine art and pop painter. Though the clothes remain on display and for sale throughout the space, the transformation into art viewing gallery mostly works for me.

Yours truly originally agreed to curate the show, but also brought in Jeff Prisant, the general manager of an excellent Stone Mountain Village gallery called Butterfly House Studio, to assistant curate and in all practicality manage the show-time operations. Exciting for me to still be a small part of FLUX night, while maintaining a level of once-removed journalistic integrity.

Mr. Prisant, an artist himself, says of becoming a gallerist and art curator, “I was tired of being on the sidelines and wanted to get more involved in the action, helping other artists and getting great art out to the public. Being of service to an emerging talent like William, being down here on FLUX night, it’s pretty special.”

On FLUX, the idea for this type of whole area projection and light show originated in Paris, France, where it is known as Le Flash. Atlanta initially borrowed the name, and Le Flash grew to substantial recognition in America’s southern capital. A few years back, the event organizers renamed it FLUX – a much more original title, obviously. Though the event suffered a noticeable dip in attendance the first year after the rebrand, it rebounded nicely and has steadily risen in popularity since.

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The rich red wine I quaffed pairs nicely with this weather, I’m thinking, as I reach Garnett Station, after changing trains at Five Points, which is Atlanta’s little version of Grand Central. And, I’m quickly up the block and walking into Castleberry Hill under a clear blue sky.

Time to preview some art before the crush of the crowds. The first bit of good art I notice upon entering the boutique is store employee Taprice Martin, the type of gorgeous Atlantan who’d stand out in any crowd.

She introduces me to Alphonzo Cross, the president of MATCH, the Castleberry Hill Merchants Association. He proclaims, “Castleberry Hill is creative, full of potential and occupied by caring residents and vibrant businesses.”

I recognize I’ve always felt a humming buzz of artistic vitality upon my visits to FLUX (and Le Flash). The potential has been what was most evident to me on my other infrequent trips to the area, when it was quieter and less crowded but still alive with good activity. I vow to return often.

Tonight Floyd’s work will be teamed with beats by popular Atlanta DJ crew Watch The Duck, their big single “Poppin’ Off” an unofficial theme for KingPop’s big coming out party. I find that KingPop excels most when he inhales urban or jazzy moods, hip-hop beats or big city grooves. Like many before him working in a pop medium, he paints for the masses. Every icon of music you’d expect or hope to see in a pop piece is colorized and displayed here, amidst majestic architectural paintings.

My second favorite piece displayed features a MARTA train veritably Soul Training through a skyline looking as if touched by van Gogh. Nice to see some of Mr. Floyd’s pop predecessors represented: a painting of Keith Haring, of Andy Warhol, several of the striking Jean-Michel Basquiat.

I first met KingPop at an artists’ market on my anniversary trip to Serenbe and was immediately drawn to his magnetic personality and charm. Soon after, he was one of a dozen artists in my ART BOX pARTy group show at dooGallery. And of course my favorite work hung here is the poetry book cover I commissioned him to paint, ATL’s finest rocket ship buildings blasting off and burning under a blazing Deep South sunshine…

Nepotism. Fairness. Is he this good or is my judgment gone, clouded by closeness? I exit the side door to clear my head and briefly peruse an attached new hair studio with the stylist-proprietors, their fun space reminding me of Warhol’s Factory in its shininess. I decide to have a beer across the street, to enter into another realm in a funky restaurant space.

Back in the boutique cum-gallery briefly after, I decide to leave while still asking myself what it is I’ve seen. How can I fairly tackle KingPop’s talent?

My judgment finally un-clouds in front of the loud college football sounds of my TV, and I send as critic my trusted sister Anna and her nice new beau to Castleberry in my stead. Her first night ever at the sprawl of FLUX is an overwhelming every venue visit, and I’m suddenly feeling a bit nervous to hear her reaction, late night, as I reach her by phone.

She confirms, “KingPop was one of the more standout artists of the entire show: phenomenal graphic work.” We’d both label him an artist to watch.

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NEGUS in Paris, for real

Excuse my French…But Fahamu Pecou is back in France. And this NEGUS is for real. #Imjustsaying. The Atlanta based artist’s latest exhibition entitled NEGUS in Paris is set to open this Thursday, at Backslash Gallery in Paris, France. In these latest paintings and drawings, Fahamu addresses the representations of black men in modern society, engaging in particular with the idea of Négritude as famously symbolized by Aimé Césaire and Léopold Sédar Senghor.

Black Americans can cite numerous anecdotes about the various uses of the word ‘black’, one striking example being actor Gwyneth Paltrow’s description of hip-hop superstars Jay-Z and Kanye West’s West Watch the Throne Tour. Paltrow posted a photo of the pair on her Twitter account, accompanied by the message “Niggas in Paris, for real”. Her use of the word “nigger” created a storm on her Twitter account although she was simply repeating the word “niggas” used by Jay-Z and Kanye West as part of the title for a song off their eponymous album. Often heard within black American society, the word when written down by a white person raises questions of legitimacy, and the matter was very widely debated. Is it possible for a white person to use the word “nigger” in the light of history’s heavy burden of racism and slavery?

The NEGUS in Paris exhibition, inspired by Jay-Z and Kanye West’s song ” Niggas in Paris”, constitutes an acerbic analysis that challenges a certain conformism, particularly that displayed by Black American culture, which can distort the image of Négritude within the public debate. With his characteristic wit and feel for satire, Fahamu Pecou offers timely observations on the various conflicts relating to black iconisation as triggered by this debate and their influence on popular culture….Pecou replaces the terms “niggas” with “Negus”, an Amharic word used to describe Ethiopian royalty in general, and Haile Selassie in particular. He uses this wordplay to subvert the endless hate-filled insinuations that surround use of the word “nigger”. The works in the exhibition feature a series of black Americans famous for their contributions to the history of Parisian art and culture, exploring their influence and distinction.

NEGUS in Paris
runs through January. Take a closer look at some of the works from the show below. And if you’re susceptible to the Persian Persuasion make sure to stop by the opening this Thursday. Click here for more information.




TONE’s solo exhibition at Dock St Market in Leeds

UK based urban pulp iconographer TONE kicked off his solo exhibition at Dock St Market recently (Nov 1). He was kind enough to send us a few snaps of the vibe. TONE’s bright and graphic inspired art works looked amazing. The show runs through November so if you’re in the area make sure to check it out.































Hide your dictators, kill your idols…

Pete Kirill‘s North Korea oil series investigates the relationship between communism and capitalism by representing both ideologies on canvas. The Miami based neo-pop artist highlights the parallels between dictator worship and celebrity idolization, anchored by the physical gestures of the enigmatic, iron-fisted North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. Kirill’s work investigates the fractured relationship between Communism and Capitalism employing tongue-in-cheek depictions of North Korean pictorial and military tributes featuring Kim Jong-il. With his death by largely unknown causes in early 2012, Kirill’s work opens complex possibilities and associations from within and without the culture surrounding a man, rendered as a deity by his own ruling elite.

Pete’s immersion within a Communist state prompted a continued, focused visual study of infamous dictators and their accompanying cults of personality. Kirill’s first solo exhibition was held at Myra Galleries, Miami in October 2011. The attached works Kim Jong-rodman and Kim Jong Ill’n are pieces that depict the North Korean leaders as a hip hop artist and NBA basketball star, drawing parallels between dictator worship and celebrity idolization.

“Portrait of Kim Jong il and Kim Jong Un”


Art Nouveau: What inspires you?

Pete Kirill: Reading books, watching documentaries, following current news on the DPRK and its leaders, as well as broader primary research. I usually find whatever appears strange or unfamiliar in the image. Once I find a suitable subject, I add one or two capitalistic elements to it. Sometimes, these elements instantly appear within the image. At others, ideas emerge after deeper contemplation. I also draw from my experiences living in Havana, where I witnessed the propaganda machine of the Castro regime firsthand.


AN: Tell me about the North Korea oil series. You’re obviously making a large statement. Why depict North Korean leaders as hip hop artists?

PK: The North Korea oil series is a study that draws parallels between the way Communism and Capitalism are practiced in their respective cultures, although the core of their ideologies are vastly different. North Korean leaders, particularly Kim Jong-il when he was alive, over-indulge on many Western luxuries, with the rate of consumption rivalling American hip-hop celebrities. Kim Jong-il was one of Hennessey’s biggest consumers, for example, reportedly spending more than $800,000 on the cognac brand per year.

I attempt to illustrate the complications between the principles Kim Jong-il and other Communist leaders imposed on their citizens (and still continue to do so) and what is actually practiced by those in power.

AN: Tell me about “dictator worship.” What parallels do you see in American Popular Culture?

PK: Dictator worship is similar to hero worship, arising when an individual uses mass media tools to create an idealized public image channeled through unwaivering praise. In North Korea, their “Dear Leader” is portrayed on larger-than-life billboards and murals as a divine but likable figure, always smiling down on his people. A glamorous pose or gesture is evident in a similar fashion to Western film and music celebrities in its media churn. While the North Korean citizens blindly worship an ironclad leader, they expend their energy into honoring an idol, or image, that is nonexistent. Fans of pop icons like Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson and Marilyn Monroe create mythologies about them based only on rumor or soundbites. These parallels between dictator worship and celebrity idolization is something I’m continuously exploring.


AN: What does the term “neo-pop” mean to you? And how does your work fit in with this?

PK: Neo-Pop art is Pop in a decidely Postmodern moment, roughly coagulating during the late 1980’s referencing Pop Art’s practical, critical and commercial revival. This term described works from artists such as Jeff Koons and Ed Ruscha. I have been fascinated with Pop ever since I was a teenager. I was immediately attracted to the use of bright, strong color and their comic book-like sensations. I would not say Neo-Pop was a deliberate practical path for me.

What’s next for you?

PK: I’m working on a new series called “The Dictator Hall of Fame,” focusing on famous dictators worldwide. A strong connective tissue joins dictator worship and celebrity idolization, as these these leaders increasingly resemble American Pop icons versus heads of state. “Muammar Jackson” is one example. The recently-deceased Libyan dictator Gaddafi acts like Michael Jackson.

“Kim Land”

“Lionel on Vinyl” and other works from Kristin Farr

Instagram has replaced Tumblr as my favorite social network to find new artists. Take for instance my latest find, Kristin Farr. I instantly became enamored with the San Francisco based artist and Juxtapoz Magazine writer’s geometric inspired mixed media paintings. Take a closer look at some of my favorite pieces from Kristin below.

“Lionel on Vinyl”


Is Rinat Shingareev the Best Artist Alive?


Russian artist Rinat Shingareev‘s Facebook page proudly proclaims he’s the “best artist alive.” I know, I know, you’ve heard that before. Rinat may or may not be the best, especially when legends like Ron English, Banksy and Kehinde Wiley are still well, alive and very productive. But the 25-year old artist, is on to something very extraordinary.

The world according to Rinat is bright, rich and filled with visual references to the biggest memes and artists in pop music and culture. Politics and Music collide as Rinat renders Lil’ B as a martyred Jesus smiling as the American Flag flutters in the background, GaGa in the nude, a tearful George Bush, all in a striking realistic oil technique. Take a closer look at Rinat’s work and read our interview below.

Art Nouveau: Where are you from? Where are you based?

Rinat Shingareev: I’m from Russia, but for 10 years I have lived and worked in Italy. I’ve never stood still and a lot of traveling. New places, cultures and people have also influenced my art.

AN: You’ve painted GaGa, Madonna, Lil’ B and Nicki Minaj to name a few, music is an obvious influence in your work. What are you listening to in your studio these days?

RS: Music has always played a big role for me and is the main source of inspiration. I was educated with Breakbeats, Jungle and Hip-Hop. Sometimes I like to listen to classical compositions. Next was the era of Trance and Progressive House. I remained a fan while the genre did not evolve. It was a time of night clubs and festivals. Now in my studio I listen to  hip-hop, Dub Techno and Deep House. Right now I’m playing the new Ski Beatz album.

AN: You’ve been called pop-successor, how important is Andy Warhol and his legacy to pop art to you and your work?

RS: At the Art Academy I learned a lot of material and was very impressed with Pop artists, even my thesis has been devoted them. I’m especially close to art and the philosophy of Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns. Andy Warhol was a genius and advanced for his time. His vision of the things and ideas were revolutionary, that forever changed the art.

AN: You’ve begun to translate your art to t-shirts and hats. What signaled this idea?

RS: It was a very successful experiment! In the Academy I studied fashion and design and for a long time and planned to be engaged by fashion design. I recently released a small line of t-shirts and caps with my work, which sold for a few days. I still get messages from people who want to buy my t-shirts. This is a great way to go beyond the painting and present my art outside of the galleries, the Internet and books, but a simple image on clothing. Now I’m very busy with other projects, but in future I will continue to develop this idea.

AN: How important is achieving realism to your work ?

RS: Achieving realism is not the main purpose of my work, but bright and rich colors, various transitions and a large amount of detail help me to tell more in detail my personage and to transfer the basic idea.

AN: A lot of your work borrows heavily from pop culture. Why do you feel it important to highlight these references?

RS: I believe that the basis of Pop Art will always be actual, only the tendencies will change. I consider myself a Pop Art successor and try to develop as the classical ideas and introduce new elements.

AN: What’s next for you?

RS: I have a lot of ideas that I would like to realize. At the moment I’m work on my solo exhibition. It will be very big and very special event. Also, I will continue my experiments in fashion design, photography and video.

AN: Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

RS: I’d like to underscore that I have nothing but respect to the personalities in my paintings, and that I do not render political beliefs through my work.

Skull Candy, Chris Hamer Reclaims the Title of UrbnPop


When you add credibility to it, Pop is not such a dirty word anymore. If you ask me when add a little bit of indie the shine isn’t so overbearing. That’s exactly what Atlanta based artist Chris Hamer did when he dubbed himself and his work UrbnPop.

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Nostalgia In Full Color, Hernando Alzate’s “American Icons” At Cristina Chacon Gallery

American Icons, a recent solo exhibition by Hernando Alzate was nothing new under the sun. But that isn’t saying much. What is new these days? All forms of creation rely heavily on the work made before it. However, what American Icons lacked in new ideas, it made up for with visually stimulating images and an in depth process that if anything is a technical achievement. In one piece, he’ll evoke the pop masters of the past, Warhol and Lichtenstein. In another he nods to the pop master of the present, check out his Mr. Brainwash nod in the above image.

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After Only Three Public Shows, PaperFrank Is Literally On The Cusp Of Explosion

My assistant Rico and I are downtown this morning in Atlanta’s original commercial district, the historic Farlie Poplar. We are here to meet an already fairly popular up-and-comer in the ever-burgeoning ATL art scene, PaperFrank. After only three public shows, this 20-year-old visual artist is literally on the cusp of explosion.

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Are You Not Entertained? Paul Leli Paints Celeb Reality

Paul Leli is an artist that has recently caught my attention. The 26-year-old artist, is based in Toronto, Canada, but that doesn’t stop him from creating jaw-dropping portraits of pop icons from around the world. Paul Leli is painting celeb reality with a hint of awesomeness. Take a closer look at some of our favorite pieces from Paul below.


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PaperFrank’s “Afro Picks & Bunny Suits 2” at Archive Gallery

The force is strong with this one. On June 1, Artist/graphic designer PaperFrank will debut new works in an exhibition entitled “Afro Picks and Bunny Suits 2” at Archive Gallery. All work and merchandise will be for sale. If you’re in Atlanta and want to know where the art scene is heading, you need to make it out to this show.

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Fahamu Pecou’s “Hard 2 Death” At Backslash Gallery In Paris

During his 2010 residency at the McColl Center for Visual Arts in Charlotte (North Carolina), Fahamu Pecou created a collection of four series of works under the title Hard 2 Death. Now the works have been presented in his first ever French exhibition at Backslash Gallery.


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Everybody Nose: Yis Goodwin Is NoseGo

As an art editor I receive countless submissions. A majority of them aren’t for Art Nouveau. Sometimes it seems as if artists aren’t reading the site. If you browsed through Art Nouveau for two minutes you’d get a pretty solid gist of the type of work we are looking for. Thank whatever or whomever you pray to that Yis Goodwin aka NoseGo knew who he was submitting to. The Philadelphia based artist recently introduced his artwork to us and we’re glad to share it.

Continue reading Everybody Nose: Yis Goodwin Is NoseGo