Reflections of America
New works by Cey Adams
On view at Gary Lichtenstein Editions, September 14 - December 1, 2016
Private Preview: September 13, 2016 (invitation only / contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information)
These works reflect the common thread of American values in us all. In this regard, I believe that our similarities outweigh our differences. The goal here is to create a platform for discussion and understanding.
- Cey Adams
Each of the works within this exhibition is a carefully contemplated assemblage on paper and canvas, comprised of acrylic paint, silkscreen and other multimedia. Silkscreen is used here as a painting tool – not as a printer’s technique. The application of silkscreen occurred in tandem with the process of collage as each was created individually. Some of the pieces contain legible sections of newspaper articles; some include recognizable photographs and advertisements. No two paintings are identical but each shares the same number of stars and the same number of stripes.
Cey Adams is a master of collage and his work is very much informed by imagery that infuses daily life and, as a result, influences or affects daily life. When Adams introduced Gary Lichtenstein to the idea of creating a series of American Flags, the two embarked on a journey that inspired the evolution of this exhibition. It is important to recognize the results of a fierce collaboration while acknowledging that the exhibition is significant, not only because of the content within it but because of the processes employed during production.
The American Flag is ever present throughout mainstream America and the Flags on view here are certainly a testament to the power of an iconic image across a society that is so diverse. At the same time, it is not the artist’s intent to convey a specific message or to persuade a unified idea. The Flags are meant to be wide open for interpretation, together or individually. Despite the differences inherent within each Flag, every viewer is, quite simply, confronted with an American Flag. Like other pop artists before him, Adams seeks to encourage an uncomplicated approach to his work. Take a look and take something away -- an opinion, an interpretation, a conclusion. Art history classes are not required here.
Cey Adams, a New York City native, emerged from the downtown graffiti movement to exhibit alongside fellow artists, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. Cey’s work explores the relationship between transformation and discovery. His practice involves dismantling various imagery and paper elements to build multiple layers of color, texture, shadow and light. Cey draws inspiration from 60s pop art, sign painting, comic books and popular culture. His work focuses on themes including pop culture, race and gender relations, cultural and community issues.
Cey Adams was the Creative Director of Def Jam Recordings, where he founded the Drawing Board, the label’s in-house visual design firm that created visual identities, album covers, logos and advertising campaigns for, among others, Run DMC, Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Notorious B.I.G., Maroon 5 and Jay Z. He has exhibited, lectured and taught art workshops at MoMA, Brooklyn Museum, Museum of the City of New York, New York University, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Walker Art Center, MoCA Los Angeles, Pratt Institute, Stamford University, Howard University, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, High Museum, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Mount Royal University and The University of Winnipeg in Canada. He is the co-author of “DEFinition: The Art and Design of Hip-Hop;” Harper Collins and the designer of “Def Jam Recordings: The First 25 Years of the Last Great Record Label;” Rizzoli. Cey is an honored Academy Ambassador of Amario’s Art Academy, Atlanta’s first and only comic, design and animation school for grades 3-12.
This Fall, at Detroit’s Murals in the Market, Cey will join a host of celebrated artists including 1010, Apex, Ben Wolf and Janette Beckman, as they embark on ten days of mural painting within one of Detroit’s most notable historic districts. For more information visit: www.muralsinthemarket.com
Beginning Friday, September 23, 2016, on the Washington Monument Grounds, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (a Smithsonian Institution Museum) will present “Freedom Sounds: A Community Celebration,” featuring artists who represent the numerous cultural threads encompassing our shared African diasporic histories and traditions. Cey Adams will be among them, creating a monumental mural inspired by his newest series of American Flags. The three-day event is free and open to the public. For more information visit: www.nmaahc.si.edu.
Gary Lichtenstein is a publisher and printer of limited fine art silkscreen editions. Over the course of his remarkable 45-year career, Gary Lichtenstein has published a wide range of silkscreen editions with artists including Jay Batlle, Michael DeFeo, Jane Dickson, Joanne Greenbaum, Bob Gruen, Gerard Hemsworth, Charles Hinman, Robert Indiana, Eugene Lemay, Richard Meier, Rebecca Miller, John Newsom, Yigal Ozeri, Gary Panter, Shelter Serra and Jessica Stockholder. He has printed for industry legends including Marina Abramovic, Karl Benjamin, Robert Cottingham, Alex Katz and Ken Price.
Despite, and because of, rich historical influences, Gary Lichtenstein’s vision and artistic intellect are uniquely his own and clearly evident throughout the enormous portfolio of work that spans his 45-year career. Lichtenstein’s work has been exhibited and collected by, among others, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, New York’s Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian, the San Francisco Art Institute, the Chicago Art Institute, the Butler Institute of American Art, the College of Art & Architecture at the University of Tennessee, the Boca Raton Museum of Art, the Silvermine Arts Center and the International Print Center NYC.