Kadir López Nieves’ New “Signs” Series Solo Exhibit February 23 to March 7
Early man filled their caves with them, as did the Pharaohs in their Egyptian pyramids. You’ll find them in the night sky, arranged by an omnipotent artist and on the Autobahn, planted by work crews in hard hats. Signs. They tell us where the bathroom is, show us the nearest exit, where to find our departure gate and when to be mindful of bears. “Signs are everywhere. They dictate our lives,” says contemporary artist Kadir López Nieves. “Our alphabet is a group of signs and so is our numerical system. They can be simple or complex. The big gas station and soft drink signs seduce and communicate a feeling. And in a way, that’s what a great work of art does.”
This February, Kadir López brings his union of art and salvaged signs to his Palm Beach solo exhibit at Cavalier Galleries’ on South County Road. After almost a decade away from his Palm Beach collectors, López returns to a resounding homecoming. “Kadir López is one of the most original artists working today, from celebrating his Cuban heritage to his extraordinary use of historic figures in novel, artistic mediums,” says gallery owner Ron Cavalier
OUTLAW OR CELEBRITY?
López’ three newest “Signs” series, now displayed at Cavalier Galleries’ Worth Avenue location, include: Wanted, Gangster Corporation and Grand Prix. Reclaimed corporate and government placards from around the globe have been carefully curated by López and turned into a historical tableau for commemorating an icon and their moment in history. In his Wanted pieces, Kadir transposes black and white historical photographs of famed outlaws onto his signs and then–using a proprietary method– creates a third paint layer. “The protagonists in Wanted blur the line of fame and infamy,” says López. “When does an outlaw become a celebrity?”
But for all the glitz, López still remains starstruck when the owner of prestigious Art Nexus Collection bought one of his works early in his career. “I always try to remain humble, but when you are embraced by the greats in the art community, it’s hard not to stop smiling,” says López. Today, the artist is dividing his time between Cuba, Spain and the US. While Cuba has been home base for years, he bristles at being labeled a Cuban artist. “I’m proud to be Cuban, but why put labels?” says López. “Cuba influences my art, but the Cuban diaspora is everywhere. We draw inspiration from more than a fixed place and time.”
Along with his “Signs” collections, López has also brought to Palm Beach his latest, larger than life Monopoly board with neon game pieces, “Havana Noir.” As well as three, cheeky Rubik’s cubes, throwback brain puzzles deftly suspended in the air. Instead of primary color stickers on their squares, one cube features Democratic Presidents, another Republican Presidents and on the third, the faces of notorious gangsters. Parallels are open to interpretation. “His work is seductive and captivating on the surface, but thought provoking as one digs deeper,” says Cavalier. “We are honored to represent this work and genius.” The buzz is building to a crescendo as a new crop of collectors and regulars clamor for a piece of the artist’s point of view. “His art is heralding such excitement in town,” says local art connoisseur, Kassi Lowenstein. “His show, his presence, his themes are electrifying.” It must be a sign.