Monday, September 9, 2013

Legendary French Street Artist BLEK LE RAT Leads The Way, Exhibits In Chelsea (& Bushwick!)

One of my favorite "original/pioneer" street artists, Blek le Rat, was present all the way from France for a legendary show at Jonathan Levine Gallery this past weekend.  The celebrated French visionary's second solo show at the gallery; "Ignorance is Bliss" featured a series of works on canvas using large stencils and vibrant colors, with of course, the celebrated "rat" in a number of humorous positions.  His work has influenced the contemporary artists working today, in a quote from BANKSY in 2005 he explains:
"Every time I think I have painted something slightly original,
 I find out that Ble le Rat has done it as well, only twenty years earlier."
Blek le Rat, (Xavier Prou born in 1951), was one of the very first street artists in Europe to use the large stencil to create icons on the streets instead of writing his name.  He was exposed to graffiti in 1971 in New York but didn't start making his own until ten years later in Paris.  
Have a look at a few up-close photos of Blek, the exhibit and additional close ups of the details in his art...
Blek le Rat (Xavier Prou)
Graff artist SinXero photographing Blek
...and these are mine!
Above; the new print edition release by the gallery, contact them to obtain yours, they won't last!
Close up of Dali, dollar signs...
Famed graffiti artist Crash & Blek
Gallerists; James "Early" Barreiro and Abdul
One of the first graf writers from Europe; Niels "Shoe" Meulman (also with work at Leila Heller's Calligraphy exhibit), Blek and gentleman who runs London Graffiti Tours
Adele Remault and "Shoe" / and artist Ivory
Below: here is a look at the stencils Blek did at The Bushwick Collective walls while in town. (This is located in Brooklyn off the Jefferson stop L train.)

Blek's work has been exhibited around the world and featured in publications such as TIME Magazine, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and many other art publications and books throughout the world.   In 2011, Art Publishing, Ltd. released Blek le Rat: 30 Year Anniversary Retrospective.
The exhibit tuns through October 5, 2013. For more information visit: and see the exhibit located at 529 - West 20th Street in Chelsea, for your international street art history fix.