“The Incredible Keith”
* With photos of Keith Haring never seen before *
2 Rivington St. New York, NY 10002
September 8 – September 14, 2015
Villazan Art Gallery NY is pleased to announce “The Incredible Keith”, an exhibition of black and white photographs of the legendary artist Keith Haring by Javier Porto and Ricky Powell. Two different Artists but the same scenario NYC.
In the 80s New York was nerve center of emerging artists and where the pop culture develop. Ricky Powell shared experiences and the stage with the visionary Keith Haring. Their camera lens captured daily images with great historical value which help us to know as it was the everyday of the one of the most famous artist of the world.
Javier Porto and the making of the photo shoot that joins four great myths of the twentieth century. The main New York City Art icons worked hand in hand in a photo shoot at Robert Mapplethorpe’s studio, located on 24 Bond street in NYC, financed by Andy Warhol for Interview magazine, and was carried out by photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and the disco queen Grace Jones as his model. Javier Porto, Robert Mapplethorpe’s assistant, captured – with every detail – multiple moments that allow us to travel back in time to the birthplace of pop culture.
Photographer Javier Porto’s career began as a street photographer in Madrid during the late-70s at the pivotal point of cultural change following the death of dictator Francisco Franco. “The Movement” or “La Movida Madrileña” as it was known, saw the rigid social structures that had been implemented previously crumble and as a result of economic growth, exposed many in urban areas to the excesses of pornography, drugs and prostitution. These years of cultural debauchery are reflected in the photographer’s early work, a time during which, he also visited the Fernando Vijande Gallery where a chance encounter with Robert Mapplethorpe would change the course of his career.
In 1984, Porto moved across the Atlantic to New York and became Mapplethorpe’s assistant. In contrast to Madrid, New York was experiencing an economic slump, the results of which led to a similar environment that New York had a few years earlier, drawing distinct parallels between the two cities. Immersing himself in the New York art scene, Porto was surrounded by Mapplethorpe’s friends and acquaintances – a group consisting of musicians, artists, porn stars and filmmakers – who became the focal point of his work, reflecting both his experiences working alongside the famed image-maker and the influence he had on him.
Born and raised in New York City, Ricky Powell is a legendary photographer who specializes in the environmental portrait. He graduated with an AA in Liberal Arts from LaGuardia Community College and a B.S. in Physical Education from Hunter College. Though Powell initially rose to fame because of his relationship with the Beastie Boys, he is well-known for his intimate photographs that have been featured in The New York Times, The New York Post, The Daily News, The Village Voice, TIME, Newsweek, VIBE, The Source, Rolling Stone, and more.
Powell’s photographs focus on the organic New Yorker. His photographs simultaneously convey intimacy and detachment, as they provide a unique lense through which the viewer can analyze the mundane. Powell considers the relationship between the photographer and the photograph to be “a chemical connection of some sort”. The connection between Powell and his camera is only further stimulated by Greenwich Village, where he currently resides. As the intrinsic qualities of the photograph have changed since Powell began capturing his moments, so have the subjects; he is now more likely to “photograph strangers in his Greenwich Village neighborhood than multiplatinum hip-hop acts and Downtown art stars”.