Eric Firestone Gallery debuts a new series of ambitious, large-scale painted “TARPESTRIES” by FUTURA at its flagship East Hampton gallery and The Garage, the Gallery’s newest East Hampton space, which recently opened to the public. Created with layers of spray paint on manipulated tarp, the abstract FUTURA paintings are displayed unframed and unstretched in the same manner as traditional tapestries throughout the gallery’s combined 8,000-square-feet of exhibition space. On view from August 6 through September 18, 2022, “TARPESTRIES” marks the second solo presentation of FUTURA’s work at the Gallery.
Comprising more than 20 FUTURA paintings, ranging from seven to 25 feet, the works on view explore what FUTURA playfully refers to as his “Van Wrinkle” approach, a fragmenting technique in which the artist spray paints on industrial tarps instead of canvas. The resulting works are realized in both monochromatic hues as well as full-color applications and feature textured, highly paint-saturated surfaces. While embracing a new process and medium for the artist, this body of work marks a return to FUTURA’s roots in a purist form—with a progressive use of spray paint and a colossal scale not seen since his early days working in situ. The artist will also present a new sculpture in bronze.
Among the most celebrated figures emerging from the graffiti art movement in the early 1980s, FUTURA paintings continue to cultivate an innovative studio practice over the past four decades, working across scales and media. FUTURA’s latest exhibition at Eric Firestone Gallery reflects the gallery’s commitment to reexamining traditional narratives of post-war American art and its ongoing advocacy for contemporary creativity.
The exhibition is accompanied by a series of programming and events, including an artist talk and opening reception, and will be followed by the gallery’s presentation of a solo booth of FUTURA paintings for the inaugural ART SG art fair in Singapore in January 2023.
“This new body of work reflects FUTURA’s enduring studio practice, one that is informed by his creative origins while at the same time leverages new media and techniques. The results are richly layered, expressive works that push new boundaries and yet are immediately identifiable as the artist’s own,” Firestone said. “This exhibition speaks to the innovation and evolution of FUTURA’s distinctive practice, and the gallery’s focus on expanding the canon of postwar and contemporary art.”
FUTURA (b. Leonard Hilton McGurr, 1955, New York) is an abstract painter whose practice first developed in New York during the 1970s. One of the earliest graffiti artists to introduce abstraction into his work, FUTURA was also among the first graffiti artists to be shown in contemporary art galleries in the early 1980s.
Early exhibitions of his work include presentations at Patti Astor’s Fun Gallery and Tony Shafrazi Gallery, as well as within the historic Times Square show of 1980, alongside Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Rammellzee, and Kenny Scharf. MoMA PS1 brought the artists together again in its landmark 1981 exhibition, New York / New Wave. FUTURA collaborated with the punk band The Clash during this time as well, designing their album art and painting on large-scale canvases behind the band as they performed in concert. In recent years, he created collaborative works with Takashi Murakami and exhibited at Kaikai KiKi Gallery in Tokyo. He worked with Virgil Abloh on collections for Off-White and Louis Vuitton and stage visuals for the designer at Coachella.
FUTURA’s work has been shown at The New Museum, New York; MOCA, Los Angeles; the Groninger Museum, the Netherlands; and Yvon Lambert, Galerie De Noirmont, and the galerie du jour agnès b., Paris. In 2020, the Noguchi Museum presented Futura Akari, an installation of Akari light sculptures customized by FUTURA; he created a large site-specific installation at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris; and he was included in the exhibition “Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip Hop Generation” at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
About Eric Firestone Gallery
Charting its own course since 2010, Eric Firestone Gallery reexamines significant yet underrecognized artists from the 20th and 21st centuries. Defined by its scholarly approach, the organization is recognized for taking a fresh look at historic work with a contemporary eye—reintroducing postwar artists to the discourse and the field at large. The gallery supports rigorous scholarship and archival research exploring the entirety of an artist’s creative vision and life, in close collaboration with institutions, academics, and collectors.
Eric Firestone Gallery established its first location in 2010 at 4 Newtown Lane in East Hampton, New York. In 2015, the gallery expanded with an additional loft space in a historic artist live/work building at 4 Great Jones Street in New York City. In 2020, the gallery opened its third location only a block away from its first New York site at 40 Great Jones Street. 2022 marks the inauguration of the gallery’s fourth space, and second in the Hamptons, at 62 Newtown Lane. Each of these spaces is situated in an area of art historical importance, from the East End of Long Island to the heart of New York City—aligning with Eric Firestone Gallery’s mission to promote past modes of expression that remain ever present.