On View from February 7 through February 21, 2013 at Gallery 151. 132 West 18th Street, New York, NY 10011.
Gallery 151 is pleased to present its owner & founder Michael Namer’s private collection as a special 2-week exhibition entitled GRAFOLOGY. Featuring work from past Gallery 151 exhibitions produced by Namer, the collection includes graffiti canvas pieces by ERO, Fab 5 Freddy, LA2, and KOOR shown alongside never before exhibited sections of the legendary 151 Wooster Wild Style Wall; a collaborative graffiti mural uncovered by Namer in 2007 in SoHo, New York City. Many of the artists exhibited in Namer’s collection have also shown at the Fun Gallery of the 1980s, headed by curators Patti Astor and Bill Stelling. Past Gallery 151 exhibitions that feature works from Namer’s collection on view include KOOR’s solo exhibition Back to the Roots, ERO’s posthumous solo show ERO:RIP – “Ever Rocking On”, Green Style featuring Charlie Ahearn, Jane Dickson, LA2, ERO & Sharp and Fab 5 Freddy New York: New Work, a solo exhibition with a statement written by Jeffery Deitch during MOCA’s Art in the Streets. The opening reception for GRAFOLOGY will be held on Thursday, February 7th from 6-9PM, and will be on view at Gallery 151 through February 21st.
As told by the Associated Press In 2007, Michael Namer’s son Matthew discovered the 151 Wooster Wild Style Mural; a wall of graffiti from the early 80’s hidden under layers of sheetrock at Namer’s 151 Wooster St. building in SoHo. Featuring a large spray painted image of a bomber plane by Fab 5 Freddy (the artist described it as the bomb he was dropping on culture at the time) and distinctive writing attributed to Jean-Michel Basquiat, this collaborative mural captures an iconic moment in the history of early 1980s New York City street art before these artists received international fame. Other artists that were known to have tagged the uncovered wall include Rammellzee, Johnny Dynell, Francesco Clemente, Koor, exVandels, Nesto, and Futura 2000 (who commented that his tag on the wall was one of his earliest.) The first-ever exhibition at Gallery 151, held in December of 2007, was an unveiling of the 151 Wooster Wild Style Mural alongside a retrospective of the Graffiti Movement circa 1980-1985 curated by Hal Meltzer.
GRAFOLOGY will also feature an audio portrait of Michael Namer created by curator/sound artist Laura O’Reilly (aka Miz Metro) that was exhibited in the Summer of 2012 at Deitch protégé Kathy Grayson’s gallery The Hole for the all-star Portrait of A Generation exhibition. The Hole exhibition featured over 100 artists that were paired up and asked to create portraits of each other. The show featured a wide range of artists and culture makers that influenced the downtown art community including Kenny Scharf, Fab 5 Freddy, Yoko Ono, Barry McGee, Terence Koh, Aurel Schmidt, Clayton Patterson and Michael Namer.
GRAFOLOGY, playing-off the literal definition of “graphology”, the pseudoscience of handwriting, refers less to the forensics of the written word than it aims to probe the recesses of the writer’s mind. The works that comprise GRAFOLOGY offer just that, encapsulating the energy and momentum of their creators beyond the facture of traditional painting. The gestures that form every shape are still pulsing with the passion of their creation, leaving viewers with a clear view straight back to the New York of the 1980s and the talent that persists to this day.
Michael Namer is an oil painter, patron to the arts, and green building developer focused on sustainable living. Along with sculpting the actual skyline as a building developer, Namer is giving back to the cultural landscape of New York through his personal support of arts. Inspired by the discovery of the 151 Wooster Wild Style Wall and it’s history Namer decided to take it a step further and cultivated a community around the works and the artists that produced them by founding Gallery 151, (originally created solely to house the 151 Wooster Wild Style Mural) the gallery has continued to be a platform for emerging and established artists and curators to have an outlet from 2007 to the present day. Namer founded Gallery 151 on the belief that art makes the world a better place and that artists should be valued in our society.
Additional Information on the 151 Wooster Wild Style Mural:
It was the stuff of urban legend — rumors that a historic SoHo building had important graffiti hidden in its walls.
Except, in this case, it was true. A large mural that was created by some of graffiti’s earliest pioneers was discovered recently in a 10-story limestone building just as developers were converting it into luxury condominiums. The artwork contains a variety of images and writing executed in spray paint, grease pencil, magic marker and whatever else was at hand — in silver, gold, pink and red. There are cartoonlike pictures of a bomber airplane, images of a heart and a cake, and several references to Quaaludes, a popular 1970s party drug.
The mural was found in the eighth-floor loft owned by art critic Edit deAk in the late ’70s and 1980s — a time when much of fringe art, including graffiti, was being validated. The wall is nearly intact, except for gaps where a dishwasher and plumbing were installed years later.
Fab 5 Freddy and Futura 2000 — who helped pioneer graffiti as an art form by spray-painting entire subway trains in psychedelic colors — figure prominently on the wall. There’s also writing believed to belong to Jean Michel Basquiat. The stylistic words “Dead or Alive” strongly suggest that it is the late artist’s work. His tag, “SAMO,” appears in the stairwell of the building.
But experts say the wall’s significance doesn’t depend on Basquiat, who died in 1988 of an overdose at age 27 and whose works command millions of dollars on today’s art market. Rather, it’s a testament to the underground culture of almost 30 years ago, and especially to the iconic artists who were living the art of the street. “It’s a great discovery,” says Alberto Mugrabi, a major Basquiat and Andy Warhol collector. “It’s the beginning of graffiti (as art).”
“Obviously, it’s a critical piece of history, SoHo history,” says Lisa Dennison, the former director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. – Associated Press, December 12, 2007
Clues to the work’s date are numerous — and despite the archaeological quality … we are not talking prehistory. There are terms like “Fab 5,” as in Freddy, an early rapper, and more than one “1980.” The palette favors hot pink. Also, records show that Edit deAk, an influential art-magazine editor, lived in the eighth-floor space in the early 1980’s, when the neighborhood was teeming with painters and galleries … Gallery owners and museum directors say Ms. DeAk regularly socialized with artists whose medium was spray paint — people like Jean-Michel Basquiat, traces of whose handle, “Samo,” appear on the wall. – New York Times, June 3, 2007
The artwork contains a variety of images and writing executed in spray paint, grease pencil, felt-tipped pen and whatever else was at hand in Silver, gold, pink and red. There are cartoon-like pictures of a bomber airplane, images of a heart and a cake, and several references to Quaaludes, a popular 1970s party drug. The mural was found in the eighth-floor loft, which was owned by art critic Edit DeAk in the late 70s and 80s – a time when much of fringe art, including graffiti, was being validated. – Newsday, Dec. 13, 2007