SIGN LANGUAGE: KADIR LOPEZ NIEVES
James “Whitey” Bulger, mixed media on enamel Coca Cola sign
After nearly a decade away, internationally renowned artist returns to Palm Beach for what promises to be the season’s most talked about solo exhibit
Palm Beach’s most beloved Cuban artist is back on the island. After a creative sabbatical where he was exhibiting in Europe and spending time working on a new series in Madrid and in Havana, he’s back in South Florida. “I’m so excited to be here where I’m always so warmly welcomed,” says Kadir. “And I’m thrilled to be partnering with one of the most respected art galleries in the country as I push the boundaries of how we reflect on our past and look towards the future.”
Kadir’s solo exhibition will include select new works from his Gangster Corporation, Wanted, Grand Prix, Monopoly, and Rubik Cubes series as well as some of his most recent multimedia Glass Neon series.
His artwork will be displayed at Cavalier’s South County Road location, 292 S. County Road, from February 23rd to March 7th. Other works will also be displayed at Cavalier ’s 235 Worth Avenue on a permanent basis. Cavalier Gallery will also be available to meet requests for commissioned works from the artist.
Click on images below to experience Lopez’s Monopoly Series
About Signs Series
Utilizing vintage, street signs from American companies that were displayed as part of 1950’s cityscapes in places like Havana, New York, LA, London and Cape Town, Lopez reimagines them into artistic emblems. Many of the signs carry a deep history, such as ones from Havana that were burnt or shot at by the rebels in 1959. The signs lingered, deteriorated and eventually were removed. Few survived.
Kadir researches the history of these metal relics and collages them with archival photo-images from the same era. Many of the images are of events that occurred in the same geographical locale and changed the geo-politcal landscape of the city.
Featured below a few historical moments recorded on vintage signs
Sophia Loren giving Jayne Mansfield the side-eye on Coca Cola Sign; Jackie and JFK on Cuban Telephone Sign, James Dean on Mobil Oil sign;
Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull on Coca Cola Sign
Manufactured with serigraphic engraving, instead of traditional pigments, layers of pigments, photos and unusual materials are deftly arranged in a technically arduous process –that includes baking at high temperatures–but in the end produces a three-dimensional work of art. “An advertisement or publicity in a fixed moment in time now becomes a foundation for taking on the burden of history and the moments that push us into the future and ultimately change us,” says Kadir. “Mixing past, present and future into a circuitous cycle–allows us to reflect, revisit and perhaps weigh our choices for tomorrow. As they say, history is a textbook for learning from our mistakes and victories.”
Gangster and Wanted Sign Series
Some of our history’s most notorious criminals reimagined on vintage signs
Charles “Lucky” Luciano, Kelly”Machine Gun”and Pablo”Drug Lord”Escobar from Gangster Series
John Dillinger, Dalton Brothers, Bonnie & Clyde from Wanted Series
Kadir has exhibited his work consistently since 1990 in over 90 solo and group shows in North and South America, Europe, Asia, and the Caribbean. He has participated in several of the art world’s prominent international art fairs including the Havana Biennale, the Toronto International Art Fair (TIAF), ArtMadrid, Miami International Art Fair, Art Palm Beach, Pinta New York, Houston Fine Arte Fair, Hamptons Art Fair and many others. Among his many outstanding solo exhibitions, the Signs series, brought him critical attention and he was named one of the top ten artists to watch in 2011 by The Huffington Post.
In addition to creating art, Kadir lectures at university conferences and in museums worldwide. His work can be found in several major museums collections, as well as a large number of private collections all over the world, including Arizona State Univeristy Art Museum in Phoenix; Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA) in California; Museum of Finest Cuban Arts in Vienna; Art Nexus Collection in Bogota and Sotheby’s Institute of Art collection in New York.