Once overlooked and dismissed, cadre of new contemporary artists, many of them influenced by street art and graffiti, are now recognized by some of the world’s leading cultural institutions. In 2010, it was KAWS and Adlrich Contemporary Art Museum in Connecticut. This year was the effort by gallerist Jeffrey Deitch and his coup de grace, Art in the Streets, at Los Angeles’ MOCA. Come next year, illustrator Parra will be joining the same procession as San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) presents the artist’s first museum commission in the U.S. Almost completely self taught, the Amsterdam-base artist often presents works with fluidity like that of graffiti and a witty theme to match as well. The Parra exhibition will start on March 31st till July 29th, 2012.
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
151 Third Street | Map
San Francisco, CA 94103
Exhibition Dates: March 31st, 2012 – July 29th, 2012
SFMOMA PRESENTS PARRA
First U.S. Museum Commission for Dutch Graphic Artist
Release date: November 21, 2011
SFMOMA PRESENTS PARRA
Parra, Untitled (SFMOMA installation preview), 2011; acrylic on white wall; © Parra
From March 31 through July 29, 2012, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) will display the first U.S. museum presentation of work by Dutch graphic artist Parra, whose bold and playful post-Pop style has garnered a substantial cult following. Featuring an expansive mural, the exhibition Parra is organized by Joseph Becker, SFMOMA assistant curator of architecture and design.
Parra’s witty, often raunchy work captures attention with its vibrant color, curvaceous lines, and eccentric, distinctive imagery. The largely self-taught artist began his illustration and design career drawing flyers and posters for music venues in Amsterdam in the 1990s; since then, his cartoonlike, hybridized human-bird characters and freeform typography have become iconic, while his signature hand-drawn approach to graphic design has landed him high-profile collaborations with companies like Nike and InCase.
Although Parra’s accessible, off-the-cuff work and his popularity with youth and underground audiences have led some critics to associate him with street art, in fact his sensibility is rooted in Pop art and the experimental graphics of the 1960s. In this sense, he has less in common with his contemporaries than with artists like Keith Haring or Victor Moscoso, a designer of celebrated psychedelic rock posters for San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium.
In the past Parra has typically worked in editions, but of late he has been producing more unique artworks; the mural at SFMOMA extends this recent practice. The new work, which will extend across the 60-foot-long wall of the museum’s second-floor landing, is likely to incorporate many of the artist’s characteristic motifs along with his experimental typography in a free-floating, puzzle-like composition. An edition of prints will also be produced using a scaled-down version of the mural’s imagery.
Pieter Janssen (who goes by the single name Parra) was born in the Netherlands in 1976. His graphic design and illustration clients have included Nike, Converse, Heineken, InCase, Stones Throw, Vans, Etnies, and Zoo York. He has exhibited his prints, drawings, and sculptures around the world; recent venues include HVW8, Los Angeles; Common Gallery, Tokyo; Project Space, Los Angeles; Pool Gallery, Milan; Patricia Armocida Gallery, Milan; and Lazy Dog Gallery, Paris. He cofounded the apparel company Rockwell Clothing, and performs in the band Le Le. Parra lives and works in Amsterdam.