Over the weekend, we were pleased to check out an opening for Alex Gross
and Victor Castillo
at the Jonathan Levine Gallery. It was a vivid, strong show. Castillo’s bright blue jungle of black-faced combatants recalls the whole Johnny Gruelle esthetic for the Pop Surrealism movement.
Gross is a much better known artist—most of his paintings had already sold out—but what fascinated us wasn’t the eyeball-stinging colors and acid satire of this series, called “Product Placement.”
No, it was his Studio Series. Gross collects old portrait cards of average people and paints them over with characters from our pop culture heritage.
Like all these superheroes. And Star Trek and Star Wars. Which were then collected into this awesome book by Ginkgo Press.
Which we now own.
The originals went for $600 a piece, and that seemed like a fair price. The combination of the blank, ordinary faces of people long dead with the iconic costumes is riveting and somehow, disturbing. Here’sa bit more on how he does it.
And, given everything that’s gone on the last few weeks, the existence of this art and book was also highly….amusing.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.