The show opens with a series of cast-resin works layered with vintage Hardy acetate tattoo stencils. While their slick surfaces work against the raw sensibility Hardy strives for, certain works stand out. Shattering Tiger, to take but one example, is an exceptional “painting”. In it, triangular shapes converge to build a cubist-like ground and an almost vertiginous aerial view of the big cat, rendered in wavy, broad strokes. Near the animal’s shoulder, Hardy drops representation and allows his brush to spin a series of arabesques that resemble a face. It’s a beautiful moment in a beautiful piece, one that embodies the freedom Hardy sought when he quit tattooing to make personal work.
The full review is online here.
Just as the installation for the site specific Artists Gallery exhibition The Unruly Art of Don Ed Hardy begins for the opening June 9, the SFMOMA team caught up with Don and asked him a few questions about his work.
EXCERPT from the full interview:
AG: You got your start at SFAI in printmaking. There is an obvious connection between tattooing and etching in both technique and the permanence of their marks. How does painting differ for you? By comparison does it feel more expressive or ephemeral?
DEH: All the mediums are expressive in different ways, primarily at the pace of execution. I’ve always worked quickly, for better or worse. With painting more ground can be covered faster. One of my primary interests or tendencies is the autographic gesture, whether with an etching tool, tattoo machine, or brush. As far as I’m concerned all art is ephemeral; tattoos have the only guaranteed expiration date but let’s not kid ourselves about “eternity”, “art for the ages”, etc. It can all go away at any time.
You can read the full interview here.
The Unruly Art of Don Ed Hardy is a site-specific installation created by Hardy for the Artists Gallery. It will include cast resin work layered with vintage Hardy acetate tattoo stencils, porcelain pieces with cobalt handwork, original prints, and large-scale original brush paintings. Also included will be a replica tattoo shop in a tiny closet space in the gallery: much like ones he observed in the 1950s complete with sheets of “flash” (painted designs), ink, and tattoo machines, it will reanimate the aura of that art in a bygone era.
Hardy has produced a substantial body of original paintings, sculptures, and prints that are informed not only by his lifelong involvement with tattoo, but also his far-reaching knowledge of historic Japanese forms of expression and Western and Asian art history. Hardy’s art draws on multicultural iconography and vernacular sources such as low rider car culture, surf culture, and comic books, along with tattoos.
The Unruly Art of Don Ed Hardy
June 9 – August 25, 2011
Thursday, June 9, 2011
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
SFMOMA Artist Gallery at Fort Mason