French street art provocateur BLEK LE RAT inaugurated modern street art messiah SHEPARD FAIREY’s newly relocated (and visually stunning) SUBLIMINAL PROJECTS gallery in Echo Park this weekend with his first American solo show, “Art is not Peace but War.” A groundbreaking graffiti writer in the 1980s & 90s, Blek is best known as one of the earliest pioneers of stencil art and his simple monochromatic iconography heavily influenced the street artists from the Bristol scene, most notable of which is the current art star du jour and cash register tickler, Sir Banksy, who adopted not only Blek’s stylistic M.O., but his rat mascot as well. Looking at Blek’s simple, understated imagery, which remains largely unchanged since his early days on the walls of Paris, it’s not hard to see the immediate appeal of the stencil as a graphic tool for street bombing situations and Banksy’s adoption of the once rarified method exploded its popularity within a matter of years spawning a legion of young imitators and monied collectors. With pieces selling briskly at prices ranging from $9,000–$40,000 for original spraypaint on canvas works and a queue of young punters, hipsters, and would-be street art stars wrapping around the block for the better part of the opening nite, it’s clear that the medium’s appeal shows no signs of waning.
To celebrate the reopening of groundbreaking gallery SUBLIMINAL PROJECTS in its new location on 1331 W Sunset Blvd this Saturday nite, April 5th, founder SHEPARD FAIREY has chosen none other than Parisian street artist BLEK LE RAT as the subject of the hotspot’s inaugural exhibition. Blek’s “Art is Not Peace but War,” a show of new spraypaint on canvas works by the pioneering artist whose work predates that of followers like Fairey, Banksy, and Nick Walker by over a decade showcases his seminal high contrast iconography in what will be the artist’s first solo exhibition in the US. For all those fans not lucky enough to get their hands on an original (prices range from $9,000–$40,000), Subliminal is making available a set of four black and white prints of Blek’s work as photographed on the street by Sybille Prou, and signed by her, Blek, and the Rat’s frequent co-conspirator, Shepard Fairey for $100 each. The show opens at 8pm, the faithful best start saving their pennies now, and plan to queue up early.
The life and work of one of the most popular and influential in the world of vibrant street art of the past two decades Blek Le Rat will showcase work fromhis self titled book at Artazart in Paris. The work offers a look of a unique kind on the life and work of one of the most popular and influential of the scene of vibrant street art. First stencils representing rats dished on the walls of Paris with posters of the journalist Florence Aubenas through portraits of Lady Di or Serge Gainsbourg, is the art of revolutionary Blek the Rat which is shown in the exhibition.
The exhibition will run from February 21 through to March 31, 2008.