Richard Hambleton Exhibit Fetes Seminal Graffiti Artist, Brings Together Fashion And Art World Elite

One of NYC’s hottest young curators puts together a show of a lesser-known contemporary of Keith Herring.

Forget the Royal Tenenbaums, the real wunderkind family around these parts seem to be the Roitfelds, who have their hand in everything from fashion, to art, to publishing. Though his mother is busy styling for the likes of Barneys and V Magazine, Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld has successfully been making a name for himself in the art world as a much desired young curator. At his most recent opening at Phillips de Pury‘s 57th street location, the place was packed with the upper echelons of the fashion elite- from models like Bar Rafaeli and Karolina Kurkova, to influential figures like Anna Della Russo and Olivier Zahm, to the Hollywood crowd of Mary-Kate Olsen and Lauren Hutton.

As with most high-profile openings of this kind, more attention was paid to the stylish clientele than the actual work. However, those in NYC should definitely stop by the gallery and check out the works in question: in this case that of Richard Hambleton, a street- art visionary whose work not only pre-dates the Banksys’ and KAWS‘ of this world but clearly heavily influenced them as well. The most interesting part of the Richard Hambleton story is not that he created these inspired works, or even his wide-ranging influence, but rather his desire to turn his back on fame. Much like the classic story of the artistic recluse, Hambleton was very early on lauded among his peers as a visionary (often garnering comparisons to Basquiat and Keith Herring), but ultimately found the spotlight chaffing. Though keeping a lower profile (which many say is the reason he managed to outlive his contemporaries) Hambleton has managed produced an impressive body of work over the years, which can be found in the permanent collections of renowned institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Andy Warhol Museum, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Queens Museum, Harvard University, and countless others. Hopefully the irony that an artist with such understated and powerful work, and an aversion to pomp, would be feted with such a large scale event is not lost on the curators. Regardless, this highly visible collaboration is sure to shine a fresh light on this somewhat forgotten seminal artist- and bring forth in a new generation of street and public art enthusiasts.

Gallery below courtesy of Billy Farrell Agency.

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