Zephyr graffiti artist New York '86 piece marker+paintSee original listing
Apr 27, 2013 00:37:30 PDT
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|Signed?:||Signed||Date of Creation:||1970-1989|
Handmade piece, made with markers and paint, by graffiti artist Zephyr (Andrew Witten) in 1986.
The tag is made on foamboard, which is glued on red painted canvasboard (original).
This artwork was exhibited and sold in 1986 at the Yaki Kornblit Gallery in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
It was Zephyr's 2nd show in the Netherlands since 1983 (at the same gallery).
Some black marker outlines have somewhat faded over the decades.
Signed bottom right in black: "ZEPHYR" '86.
Zephyr's Dutch agent was the (then) noted Dutch painter Rits van Kooten († 2005), see his signature on back of frame.
Dimensions of piece: 10 x 22 cm (4 x 8.5 inch).
Dimensions of canvasboard: 32 x 42 cm (12.5 x 16.5 inch).
Dimensions of frame (original; wooden box with glass front): 9 x 48 x 60 cm (3.5 x 19 x 23.5 inch).
Note: shipping costs are not "$50" but to be determined after sale.
UPDATE: PLEASE NO BIDDING THROUGH THE CONTACT FORM. TO BE MORE CLEAR: YOUR BIDDING IS NOT APPRECIATED!
In 2010 a quite similar 'Zephyr' sold at auction for $1,551: (see bottom left) http://www.artnet.com/auctions/artists/zephyr/untitled
ZEPHYR, born Andrew Witten, is a graffiti artist, lecturer and author from New York City. He began creating graffiti in 1975 and first signed using the name "Zephyr" in 1977. He has been identified as a graffiti "elder", who along with Futura 2000, Blade, PHASE 2, Lady Pink and TAKI 183 invented styles and standards "that continue to be used and expanded upon today". Much of Zephyr's original work was applied on subway trains.
Witten was part of the first wave of graffiti artists to make the transition to galleries, collectors and commercial work. In the early 80s, he showed at NYC galleries specialized in graffiti, such as the FUN Gallery and 51X. His art was part of a five-man show including Fab Five Freddy, Dominique Philbert, Futura 2000 and Dondi White that toured Japan in 1983. From the end of 1983 to the beginning of 1984, his work was featured in two major museums in the Netherlands, along with the work of other graffiti artists (Blade, Dondi, Seen, Crash, Futura, Quik, Noc 167, Lee and Rammelzee). In 2005, he was included in the East Village USA show held at The New Museum.
His works can be seen in the hip-hop culture documentary Style Wars and he was featured as himself in the landmark hip-hop motion picture Wild Style. He has also painted along with the likes of TAME AOR (from Milton Keynes in England). Witten is co-author of a 2001 biography of fellow graffiti artist, Dondi White: Dondi White Style Master General: The Life of Graffiti Artist Dondi White. He is interviewed in the 2005 DIY graffiti video The Art of Storytelling, where he talks about fallen graffiti artist Nace. He was featured in the documentary Bomb It. Zephyr's artwork has appeared in several music videos including the likes of Avril Lavigne, Beyoncé and Justin Timberlake.
His name comes from the Greek word Ζεφυρός, which means west wind. Many of his most popular pieces have been done by simply redesigning his trademark name "Zeph" or "Zephyr". Sharp contrast in the edges of the letters are also featured throughout his artwork.
Witten's influence on New York City's self-image is exemplified in Suzanne Vega's 2007 song "Zephyr and I," which uses a conversation between Vega and Witten as a framing device to create what Vega describes as "sort of a little snapshot of what West End Avenue used to be like in the 70s."
Below you find an article which originally appeared in the December 1983 issue of Art Monthly.
Until around 2010 it was presented on Zephyr's website.
THIS ARTICLE, "AMERICAN GRAFFITI IN HOLLAND" WAS WRITTEN BY GIJS VAN HENSBERGEN.
IT ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN THE DECEMBER 1983 ISSUE OF ART MONTHLY.
The American Graffiti exhibition presently showing at the Boymans van Beuningen in Rotterdam is an important early attempt at making sense of the latest "movement" in New York painting. Organized in collaboration with the Groninger Museum, numerous private collectors, the Yaki Kornblitt Gallery, and the critic Edit Deak, much has been made of the recognition of graffiti as a self-contained movement.
The polemic surrounding the graffiti show concentrates on its transition from subway to museum; from train to canvas, hardly touching at all on any qualitative judgement. For some, the championing of graffiti reverberates with echoes of "radical chic", comparable to Leonard Bernstein asking The Black Panthers to dinner. For others, there seems a perversity in taking graffiti, at least in the short term, from the public and making it private. The intervention of commercial concerns is opportunist and distasteful the painters should be priests. The sanctimonious amongst us still plod on with the same arguments that it seemed Picasso had exhausted twenty years ago. If the strength of graffiti as a movement lies in part in its hermeticism, it is also the same quality which limits its impact. Hence, Edit Deak argues:
"The subway is not cross-Atlantic. True to what canvas has always performed in the history of art by being culture's means for transmitting visual information, these artists in their habitually swift dynamic manner, use this portability of painting for distances no train can travel." What would be far more instructive is to see how graffiti has coped with the transition from a dynamic ephemeral art to a static contemplative one.
The choice of whom to include in the show must have been easier for the curators by graffiti's tendency towards meritocracy, (often based on quantity rather than quality). Titles abound... The King, The Prince, The President, The Duke, etc. Graffiti is old enough to have its history, folklore and myth, accompanied by a deep sense of nostalgia. The curators have fielded an all around team. So we have Rammelzee, the graffiti philosopher, Futura and Lee, whose aspirations are to become "painters", and others like Zephyr who yearn for the return of those lost days of innocence, when it was on to the tracks at 3 a.m. with spray cans in hand. Graffiti is steeped in a New World romanticism. This is, at times, one of its most infectious qualities. In an unabashed way it clarifies explicitly aspects of the creative process which others try to hide behind a wall of highbrow intellectuality and culture. In interviews the graffiti artists stress their desire for attention, for fame, for money. In short they want to "make it". When someone writes their name in eight foot letters the length of the train, we can assume he is in sympathy with Warhol's maxim about being famous for fifteen minutes. It is hardly surprising then that they should welcome absorption into the art world institution. They have come far since the semi criminal days of "bombing" trains. Outsider and underdog, underprivileged and uneducated, they create beauty from banality, or so the myth has it.
If it is easy to dismiss graffiti as pubescent daubings, it is easier still to draw stylistic links between all that has gone before in New York painting since the 1940's. From the abstract expressionists they inherit the all-over action painting. From post painterly abstraction, the branding branding impact of the large-scale single image. From "Pop", the painters Dondi and Zephyr in particular inherit the comic strip, the advertising logo and the witty direct image. Unlike "Pop", the images remain private and self referential, they are not the media based icons of an age.
While the graffiti painters continue to contest their "style wars", the intervention of the museum has forced the transition towards serious art. While for some, graffiti is still the academy of the streets, for others it is now dead. If the best of its initiates, Futura 2000, has been likened to a "space-age Kandinsky", we may still hope for something positive and lasting from this dynamic phenomenon.