Michael Houghton’s “Smoking Series” at 19 Kenmare
Smoking is essentially a cardinal sin in New York these days, where bars, restaurants, and most recently, city parks are now off limits. However, these laws arguably do little to curb the cool for younger generations eager to rebel against the establishment. It is this sentiment that partially permeates the artwork of longtime downtowner Michael Houghton.
For the last couple weeks, his traveling “Smoking Series” portraits have resided in the long-dormant corner storefront at 19 Kenmare Street, previously home to two separate boutiques (Inven.tory and JF & Son). With music as muse, Houghton, known in the fashion world as a clothing designer for rock stars, re-purposes photos of rock legends and adds a touch of blue-toned flair on the canvas. Each bad-boy image in the arsenal glorifies the musician during the act of smoking, whether sparking up, hanging out, or just propped crooked in the mouth.
Despite its inherent subject matter, this ain’t no puff piece. Catch it while you can, as the “Smoking Series” pop-up installation will only occupy 19 Kenmare for another week. Note, however, that the exhibit tends to bounce from venue to venue, so there might be another chance. The previous showcase was at Bread back in December. Hey, Houghton, mark us down for the Clash painting.
Here’s a video, courtesy of the Art Trade: