Groundswell Community Mural Project Honors Lee Quinones

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Groundswell Community Project will honor Lee Quinones on Nov. 10. For more information on the event check here.

About Groundswell:

Groundswell Community Mural Project brings together artists, youth, and community organizations to use art as a tool for social change. Groundswell projects beautify neighborhoods, engage youth in societal and personal transformation, and give expression to ideas and perspectives that are underrepresented in the public dialogue.

Published by admin, on July 27th, 2011 at 3:30 pm. Filled under: Art,HERESAY,Uncategorized Tags: , , , 1 Comment

Lee on Life + Times Part II


In a second segment, Lee invites Life +Times to his studio where he discusses the painting “Benchmark: A Great Rush Hour in the Bronx” that depicts Cliiff 159, Rammellzee, and Noc 167, Futura, Lady Pink, Taki, Fab Five Freddy and himself in the backdrop of the infamous Writer’s Bench at Grand Concourse.

The painting is included at the Art In The Streets at MOCA Geffen Center, in Los Angeles which closes Aug. 8.
Source: Life + Times

Published by admin, on July 27th, 2011 at 3:00 pm. Filled under: Art,MUSEUMS,Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

The Making Of Birds Of A Feather at MOCA

Lee worked with Futura, Risky, Loomit, Cern, Push, Risk and Abel on “Birds of A Feather” outside of the Geffen Building at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

Published by admin, on May 2nd, 2011 at 11:46 am. Filled under: HERESAY,Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

Lee Quinones Motorcycle Jacket for Andy Warhol Museum

photo: Terry Richardson

photo: Terry Richardson

Lee, along with 18 other artists, interpreted the leather jacket in a benefit for the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. The concept was conceived and curated by Glenn O’Brien and the jackets were debuted in a one-night show at the Palazzo Bovaro in Milan. Jackets are available for online bidding at Charity Buzz. Dan Colen, Tom Sachs, Rita Ackermann, Kenny Scharf and Stefano Castronovo are among the other artists who contributed jackets.

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Published by admin, on September 26th, 2010 at 10:43 pm. Filled under: HERESAY,IF YOU SEE SOMETHING BUY SOMETHING,Uncategorized Tags: , , , No Comments

Lee in Lapham’s Quarterly Arts & Letters Issue

 Print by Chas. Hart, c. 1891.

Print by Chas. Hart, c. 1891.

Check out the new Arts & Letters issue of Lapham’s Quarterly with a reprint of Craig Castleman’s 1976 interview with Lee The story is from his book Getting Up, which was published in 1984. Castleman called Lee the “King of the City” in the acknowledgments to his book.

This issue of Lapham’s Quarterly features some particularly amazine essays by Kurt Vonnegut, Marcel Proust, James Baldwin and Vincent Van Gogh. Lee is happy to be among the living contributors, including Zadie Smith and Salman Rushdie. The essay is posted online, but the issue is worth the print investment.

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Published by admin, on May 10th, 2010 at 9:46 am. Filled under: BONCHINCHE,Uncategorized Tags: , , , , No Comments

Review of El Principio: An Essay by Jayson Edlin

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By Jayson Edlin (Terror 161), Nov. 22, 2009.

The best graffiti show of my lifetime was held last night but you’ll probably never hear about it. Jeffrey Deitch had nothing to do with it : neither did any wealthy European “connoisseurs.”

It wasn’t held in a gallery and there were no street art superstars or work of former graffiiti artists who dropped the letters from their work to please the art world. It was a one man show by —The Man—Lee Quinones.

Quinones is  known as the most dilligent “transit worker” of the mid to late ’70s for the barrage of whole cars he left in his wake. His post subway gallery career has seen his work hang in the collections of Eric Clapton, Agnes b and countless museums. But the eccentric Quinones decided to put on a show for those closest to him in the Lower East Side apartment in which he grew up.
The elevator made several stops on its way up to the 15th floor, each one providing a sound bite of salsa music blaring or the smells of Puerto Rican dishes wafting through the air.

The body of work consisting of the blueprints for some of his whole cars and handball court murals were rescued from a scrapbook that had fallen apart long ago and saved in a vault until Quinones (Thank God!) decided to hang them in sparse frames on the walls of his boyhood home and illuminate them with strings of Christmas lights. The works done on paper with design markers form the blueprint from the most important body of work ever done on subways by a single artist.

The import of the drawings is best understood by those ancient enough to recall the trains Lee rendered in the seventies rolling through the system that transformed the IRT’s into a rolling Metropolitan Museum of Art. Seeing the original sketches for iconic whole cars such as Heaven is Life , Earth is hell and The Egg Shell Men reduced me to a star struck fan akin to those teenybopper girls who used to scream at the sight of The Beatles.
The unobstructed view from the apartment’s window revealed a tranquilly flowing East River and an unobstructed close-up of the Manhattan Bridge, which seemed like it was tied in with Lee’s Christmas light motif.
While people ate pasteles, Lee gave an informal tour of his former home: “This was my father’s room. This was The Fabulous 5’s war room where we planned out our whole cars. This was my room. (His was the room with the killer view of course.)

Unfortunately Lee’s mother a.k.a. MOM101 a resident of the building since 1954, was asleep when I got there. I would have liked to have met the lady whose son did top to bottoms and window downs honoring her while most of us hid our art from our mom’s for fear of punishment, confiscation of photos, blackbooks and other ephemera.

Juxtaposed amongst famous graffiti artists and movie stars who sauntered in and out of the now almost vacant apartment (Lee’s mom is now the sole occupant) was his infant son Benicio dancing to the music, which is kind of amazing considering he only mastered the upright position  a few short months ago.

When I started writing graffiti in 1973 I was searching for an extended family to replace my own dysfunctional one. Last night’s soiree made me proud to be a member of the same tribe that produced Lee.The lucky few attendees gleaned a rare insight into the greatest subway artist of a generation’s methods from the front lines where the plans were all hatched. Nothing was for sale which is only fitting because the work is priceless. I believe the art world will figure this out too, probably when Benicio is celebrating his 50th birthday which is why the work heads straight back to the vault when the show’s over.

Published by admin, on November 23rd, 2009 at 9:36 pm. Filled under: Uncategorized4 Comments

El Principio: Drawings 1975 – 1985

lq_v1Raymond and Carmen Quinones were among the first residents to move to the newly-constructed Alfred E. Smith Houses at 10 Catherine Slip in 1954, where they raised four children in a three bedroom apartment on the 15th floor.

Both natives of Ponce, Puerto Rico, they met on the island after Raymond, a World War II veteran, returned from U.S. Army service, and married in 1949. With the advent of opportunity in the work force and affordable airfare, they joined the wave of more than 25,000 Puerto Rican immigrants who came each year to New York after the war. By 1955, nearly 700,000 Puerto Rican were living in New York City. In 1960, Carmen returned to Ponce to give birth to her youngest son, Jorge Lee Quinones. Lee and his mother reunited with his father and siblings in Manhattan one year later.

The Smith Houses are the southern-most projects in lower Manhattan, referred to as the “Lower Lower” by the local population, bordering Wall Street, the financial capital of the world. Lee grew up with the best view in town at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge. He awoke to the New York City sunrise from his bedroom window facing east, and watched idyllic evening sunsets from the west-facing window. It was in this apartment, that he began to cultivate his artistic skills.

By the 1970s, Lee’s childhood neighborhood, once a vibrant hub of Italian, Irish, and Puerto Rican culture, had completely deteriorated. As a teenager, he responded with a series of abstract color and black and white drawings that became templates for his paintings on MTA subway cars. The figurative subjects of the drawings were inspired by Marvel and DC Comics, while conceptually, Lee drew from the issues he was surrounded by in the buildings referred to as the Dark Side — fear, poverty, politics, addiction, environment, and the hypocrisy of organized religon.

For El Principio Lee shows 24 original full-color works in their native environment – the very apartment he grew up in and where his mother resides. Nine of these drawings were developed into whole subway cars on the IRT #5 and RRs. Iconic pieces such as the “Heaven is Life, Earth is Hell” car that Lee constructed in 1977 depict the essence of Lee’s emerging talent as a painter.

These works were schematics for Lee’s prolific subway masterpieces, which ultimately provided the impetus for creativity as a means for survival among destitution. He has saved hundreds of drawings from this era, when his burgeoning art career took shape over a decade on the New York transit system. Lee intends to reveal the entirety of these works in a future career retrospective.

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Published by admin, on November 22nd, 2009 at 9:41 pm. Filled under: HERESAY,Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

Palette Studies

Money Can’t Buy Love (Color Study)
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Buried Blueberries (Color Study)
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Money Flies (Study to American Splendor)
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Worry Be Happy (Color Study)
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The Rose (Study to Heart in a Hurricane)
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Study #1 (Study to Send in the Clowns)
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The Late Sho (Study to Windows)
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The Lying King (Study to Windows)
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Classical Mess (Color Study)
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Published by admin, on June 28th, 2009 at 5:54 pm. Filled under: IF YOU SEE SOMETHING BUY SOMETHING,Uncategorized Tags: , 2 Comments

New Works

Send in the Clowns, 68 x 50
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A Midsummer’s Dawn, 68 x 50
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This Side Up, 51 x 32 (2 panels)
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The Man from Uncle, 48 x 96
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Pass the Dawn Unto You, 50 x 60
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“Heart in a Hurricane” 110 x 66
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Published by admin, on June 28th, 2009 at 8:52 am. Filled under: IF YOU SEE SOMETHING BUY SOMETHING,Uncategorized Tags: , No Comments

Nothing But the Truth & Consequences

In the event that anyone traveled to Genoa for my show to find bare walls this month, I want to apologize for any inconvenience. I made the very difficult decision to remove my paintings from the gallery walls as a result of the Il Trifoglio Nero gallery’s unprofessional conduct and financial challenges. I personally removed my paintings days after the opening before returning to New York to ensure their safe return to the U.S. I was forced to make this decision to protect my work and my family, as well as my integrity.

I am no longer doing business with the Il Trifoglio Nero Gallery in Genoa, Italy. They are still in possession of one my paintings “Speed Kills” that I consider a lost work in the wrong hands, as well as stacks of catalogs that were printed for the show. These catalogs are not an official release representing my work. I have the only original, signed, numbered and authenticated catalogs in addition to the paintings that are in my possession.

This turn of events was heartbreaking, because I love Genoa, I love all of Italy, and I love the Italian people and their culture. The Italian people have extended themselves to me with a warm reception and been extremely supportive of my work for the last 30 years. I hope to return to Italy and find a more ideal situation to share my work in the future.

Respectfully,

Lee Quinones

Published by admin, on May 11th, 2009 at 6:40 pm. Filled under: UncategorizedNo Comments