JOHN AHEARN | MARTHA COOPER
September 10 - October 4, 2015
Dorian Grey Gallery is proud to present
Photographer Martha Cooper’s Street Play
Sculptor John Ahearn's Walton Avenue life casts
Friends and artistic collaborators John Ahearn and Martha Cooper
capture the creative spirit of kids on the gritty streets of the Lower East Side and the Bronx
In hommage to Martha Cooper and her perfect 70's photo series Street Play
, John Ahearn is presenting Walton Avenue Kids
. In the 80's, Ahearn, in collaboration with Rigoberto Torres regularly used the sidewalk in front of his building as a life casting studio and a display of all the neighborhood portraits. This was especially exciting during summer Block Parties with DJs and crowds of people. Unlike most parts of NYC, many neighborhoods in the Bronx now have the same families as they did thirty years ago. In 2008, Walton had a reunion Block Party. John Ahearn set up casts from the 80's and life cast the cousin of his old friend Raymond Garcia. Martha Cooper was present to beautifully capture the mood. For the installation Walton Avenue Kids
, all the 80's casts of kids (seen in context in Martha Cooper's photos) will be arranged at the Dorian Grey Gallery.
John Ahearn was born in Binghamton, New York in 1951 and lives and works in New York City. He was a founding member of Collaborative Projects, Inc. and co-organizer of the Times Square Show
, 1980. John Ahearn's work alongside that of his long-time collaborator, Rigoberto Torres was the subject of a survey exhibition,
South Bronx Hall of Fame, organized by the Contemporary Arts Center, Houston in 1991 which traveled to museums in Europe and North America. In the 1980's and 1990's, the artists executed several outdoor murals in the Bronx, New York and collaborated on public projects and exhibitions in Europe and North America. Between 2000 and 2002, John Ahearn completed a public project in Pan Chiao, Taiwan and between 2005 and 2006, Ahearn and Torres collaborated on two large scale wall murals at the Inhotim Centro de Arte Contemporanea in Brazil. In the fall of 2010, their work was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Aljira Center for Conetmporary Art in Newark. In May 2012, John Ahearn participated in the special projects section of the Frieze Art Fair on Randall's Island, where he presented a reconstruction of his legendary 1979 exhibition at Fashion Moda, South Bronx Hall of Fame
In addition to numerous public works projects and museums in the US and abroad, John Ahearn's work is in the collections of Metroplitan Museum of Art, NY, The New York Historical Society, NY, Studio Museum in Harlem, NY and Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden at The Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC.
From 1977-1980 Martha Cooper was a staff photographer on the New York Post
. On her way back to the paper at the end of the day, she began driving through Alphabet City on the Lower East Side, looking for photos to use up the leftover film in her cameras. Her shots captured streets filled with freely roaming children immersed in creative play. These photos have been called some of the most exuberant and memorable photographic depictions of youth and ultimately lead to her documentation of graffiti and emerging hip hop.
Martha Cooper was born in Baltimore, Maryland and moved to New York City in 1975. She is a documentary photographer who has specialized in shooting urban vernacular art and architecture for over thirty-five years. Her books include Subway Art
, a collaboration with Henry Chalfant, R.I.P.: Memorial Wall Art, Hip Hop Files 1980-1984, We B*Girlz, Street Play, New York State of Mind, Tag Town
and Going Postal
. Cooper's work has appeared in numerous magazines from National Geographic to Vibe. Recently Martha has been documenting street artists worldwide as well as shooting an on-going personal project comparing SoWeBo, a neighborhood in Southwest Baltimore to Soweto, South Africa.
Rolling Stone magazine’s editors have named Martha Cooper’s Instagram account #26 in their feature ‘100 Best Instagram Accounts’ .
instagram account @marthacoopergram
The New York Photo Review