Vandal Expressionism at 90 Stanton Street
With Reinerland and CharmNYC officially relocated, “Vandal Expressionism” launched last night at 90 Stanton Street. The exhibit beside Le Salon D’Art is the brainchild of artist and third-generation Lower East Sider Joseph Meloy. Downtown Express interviewed the six-foot-five man at his Brooklyn studio for their current issue.
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“It’s almost like a re-appropriation of techniques and aesthetics used to deface and to destroy,” he explained. “If you scribble your name or face on a car, why not take that script and use it to create?”
Inspired by the New York School of Abstract Expressionism of the 1940s and ‘50s, the artist says he is also influenced by “écriture automatique” — a fundamental principal used by Surrealist artists to liberate themselves from reason by way of spontaneous, uncalculated creation. Meloy’s Lower East Side art hero is pop artist Luz Azul (known as “Marco”) — who sells colorful, cartoon-like murals and pop portraits from a truck he drives around Manhattan. “I like his ubiquity,” said Meloy. “You walk down Houston Street, and all the storefronts have his art there.”
“It’s still grittier and cheaper [than the West side of Manhattan],” he said of the Lower East Side bar scene, “and it just feels more like home.”
Like Marco, Meloy hopes to cultivate his identity in a New York neighborhood — preferably on the Lower East Side. He is a product of the metropolis, he says, and his works exemplify the raw, urban scene he grew up in.
The Vandal Expressionism exhibit runs through March 31.