Friday, June 10, 2011

Chuck Sperry Rocks the SFMOMA Windows

Around the corner from the entrance to the SFMOMA you'll see a group of three enormous windows, facing Minna Street that are getting rocked hard by Chuck Sperry, Chris Shaw and Ron Donovan for their June 11, 2011 - January 12, 2012 SFMOMA Windows exhibition.  The "Windows Program" uses the SFMOMA Garage's street-level windows located on Natoma and Minna Streets (between Third and New Montgomery Streets) to showcase artwork.  The program, organized by Renee de Cossio of the SFMOMA Artists' Gallery, invites some of the area's most ambitious artists to transform these everyday spaces into compelling exhibitions that the passerby can view round the clock.  In this case, you really will have to swing by at all hours, because some black-light magic happens with the artwork after dark!

Bay Area rock poster art contemporaries Chris Shaw, Chuck Sperry, and Ron Donovan stand out amongst their predecessors in the Bay Area tradition of poster making that spans nearly 50 years.  Through their prolific bodies of work, the masterful artists have brought innovation, invention, and new meaning to this art form.  Each distinctively fuses propaganda, imagery, text, and historical art references with Pop and rock-poster sensibilities to create accessible, relatable imagery that is at once empowering and undeniably populist.

Chuck Sperry is at the cutting edge of silkscreen printmaking and has been instrumental in spreading the modern silkscreen rock poster art form globally.  Both his posters and fine art prints are widely collected and his printmaking skills are sought after by top bands worldwide.  Sperry tours Europe annually, teaching workshops and making poster shows from Bristol to Belgrade.  His tutelage has inspired a new generation of rock poster and silkscreen artists worldwide, including Alexandre D'Huy who apprenticed from The Beaux-Arts of Paris, Malleus Rock Art Lab of Italy, and the British Rock Artists Group of the UK.  Sperry's rock artistry has also appeared in projects for Goldenvoice, Live Nation, Virgin Megastore, Guitar Center, Random House, Harper Collins, Harvard University Press, Nyon, and Wired.  He is prominently featured in the 2009 documentary "American Artifact", which chronicles the rise of American Rock Poster Art.

Chuck Sperry is represented by Varnish Fine Art in San Francisco.

Sperry and Shaw's Minna Street Windows

The Minna Street Windows
A collaborative artwork involving three individually created window installations, Donovan, Shaw, and Sperry layer silkcreen, painting, collage, and mixed media to transform two-dimensional imagery into three-dimensional expression.  Showing reverence for man's communicative nature, they reference the renewal of the idea that art has a purpose.  Sperry's installation Saint Everyone is a figurative post-modern pastiche of Pop, Op and Rock Art---inspired by a rock poster created by The Big Five (Mouse, Wilson, Griffin, Kelly, and Moscoso) for the 20th anniversary of the infamous San Francisco Summer of Love---that celebrates and correlates the spontaneous popular movements that swept the world in 1967 and that have re-emerged in 2011.

The Natoma Street Windows
Temporarily Bound is a "visual improvisation" between Sperry and Shaw.  Its form is drawn from the Asian accordion-style bound scroll to recognize the Pacific Rim as the gathering center of the art world and to emphasize postmodern appropriated multiculturalism.  Sperry and Shaw express a realization of the temporal, time-punctuated nature of street and poster art.  By binding the panels together in monumental book form, the artists create a visual record of events through a modality of time.  Additionally, through binding invention, the contextualization of visual imagery, and a reassigning of representational meaning, the artists transform ephemeral events and experiences by creating a lexicon of shared cultural visual memory.