Lee Quinones in V Magazine


Check out Lee Quinones in the fall issue of V Magazine.

Published by admin, on July 27th, 2011 at 3:29 pm. Filled under: Art,BONCHINCHE,HERESAY Tags: , No Comments

Lee Quinones at MoMA: Looking at Music 3.0

Lee invited curators and videographers from the Museum of Modern Art to his studio to discuss the roll of music in his creative process.

Published by admin, on May 2nd, 2011 at 11:48 am. Filled under: Art,BONCHINCHE,MUSEUMS Tags: , , , , , , 1 Comment

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.


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

Lee’s Q & A with New York Times Readers

photo: Priscilla Vazquez

photo: Priscilla Vazquez

Answers From a Graffiti Artist

Check out The New York Times City Room Q & A Lee worked on with readers in March:

Lee Quiñones, an artist who emerged from the subway art movement of the 1970s, responded to readers’ questions. Following is the first set of answers from Lee Quiñones, an artist who emerged from the subway art movement of the 1970s.


Lee, what does it feel like to be honored by a show like “How to Make It in America,” even though some people would argue that your canvases are slightly unethical?

— Posted by Mike L.


It felt great to work alongside a host of talented characters representing the hustle and bustle of New York’s center stage. “How to Make It In America” aligns itself with the daily grind of elated breakthroughs and fall backs that reflect life itself, but it also strives to achieve authenticity relying on New York’s iconic symbols and personalities. They approached me to deliver a dynamic piece that moves — the truck driven by Luis Guzman’s character — even when it is standing still.

Unethical? “Unorthobox” is my own slang to describe how my work has made its transition to canvas and helped preserve one of the most important American-led movements — rapid enamelism. Originally, my work reconfigured how art should be presented, using the public space. Now that the early public works were inevitably eradicated from review, something has to survive to cement the movement. What mattered all along to me was the message, the expression and reaching an audience – what most artists crave. Most historical revered art movements have had controversial beginnings where both time and matured juries evaluated the note and revisited the verdict. My canvas work as well as my earlier public works have always been and still are well thought out to achieve some kind of conversation with the viewer. It is never intended to have a direct commentary on any given subject without having an input either spiritually or physical.


I recently started producing my own work. It has been difficult for me to gain any recognition for it. I love to create, but after a while it gets frustrating when it seems like nobody noteworthy acknowledges your work. I can’t help but think that what people want to see from women, especially women of color, is very limited. How did you start to receive recognition for your work? How did you break out from the label of “street, graph artist” to internationally respected artist?

— Posted by Noro


Though it may seem easy to say, I would not let any distractions that flank your head space and physical studio dictate what and when something is achievable. You are the composer of your very own legacy and you know the swagger it deserves to be strong to you first, because you are the first one envisioning it. You will sleep at night and your work will party in the studio like it’s 2099. Creating something is half the battle these days. Sure, acceptance is a difficult seven course to swallow and sometimes life as an artist may masquerade itself as a ruthless gauntlet and a darling at the same time, but that is what should make up the running joke within the trench hole from where you wage your vision.

Take into account what artists like Wangechi Mutu, Jenny Holzer and Georgia O’Keefe among many others have endured in their own personal spaces. While artists may come from different ethnic backgrounds, economic and genders, they still carry a full clip on the hip.


Where do you live? I’m sure you won’t mind if we come to your house and paint all over your walls… it’s cool, right?

— Posted by Nolane


Sure, you can come over any time with some great art and interior design my home walls to hang along the likes of Futura, Basquiat, Haze, Swoon, Os Gemeos, Martin Wong and others.


Since it appears you have profited as a result of your graffiti art, have you made any effort to pay restitution to the city or other property owners of locations you vandalized?

— Posted by Anne


Since I have seemed to have profited from my (graffiti) art, (graffiti) is a state of mind to some and a sore to others as well as a byproduct of breaking news — art is art. Graffiti and art are two different animals.

I have contributed to this city as well as my neighboring ones. One example is my charitable bicycle ride from Brooklyn, N.Y., to Miami Beach, Fla. to raise funds for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America affected by Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. I have lectured at various academic youth institutions and juvenile detention centers, teaching young people how to be proactive, creative and to believe in their abilities. One of the youths who I met at these programs has worked in the studio with me as an apprentice.


You can paint on my walls any day, Inside or out! I just showed my gf Wild Style last night and she loved it, and so did I. Congrats on surviving the scene, it must have been brutal.
As for my question here goes: Would you ever try to teach this art in a school? If you have, where? And if you could, where?

— Posted by Charles


Thank you much. The film has garnered an international cult status in turn serving as a blueprint for many careers that took off for many talented minds. My painting has given me opportunities to lecture at a few universities in Europe as well as here in the U.S. at Columbia University, University of New Mexico and the School of Visual Arts. I am currently lining up additional lecture engagements. In my lectures, I describe my technique and open up the discussion of the politics of graffiti.


How much have you spent in actual jail time?

— Posted by Perley J. Thibodeau


I’ve never been to jail.


When someone scrawls their name onto a mailbox or stop sign, or scratches their initials into a store window, do you consider that to be art? If someone vandalized your front door or car by putting their tag on it, how would you feel? And do you think that the cops are right in arresting such people?

— Posted by Julie


I do not advocate senseless scrawling, scratching and tagging as the representative of the art form itself. Everything has its beginnings, some humble and some in the rumble. It just depends how and when you take it from where it has been. I do understand hopelessness and confusion in society. The tag has been part of the social and visual fabric in this society since pop cultures was diagnosed as art as we know.

The tag is seen in many formats and accepted by many heads that contribute to a sense of economical and social relevance. Engineered commerce, fantastic, in that sense, the tag is well merited. Signature denim brands and fine handbags use the tag, or what’s also known as corporate logo. Equally, on the other side of the fence, why not embrace art even if it is not from a place that you would expect to find it, or a message that finds you? “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls,” sang Simon & Garfunkel. By the way, my car was vandalized with a big fat tag across the whole trunk. Yes, it needed a paint job, and so someone took the liberty to do it for me.

Read Part II and III. Read more…?

Published by admin, on May 9th, 2010 at 9:56 am. Filled under: BONCHINCHE Tags: No Comments

Martin Wong’s Downtown Crossings


Martin Wong’s Downtown Crossings opens at the Asian Pacific American Institute at New York University Friday, March 6 and is on display through Dec. 18. Martin and I collaborated on a piece that I loaned to the exhibition.

Here’s exhibiton info:

The Asian/Pacific/American Institute at New York University is proud to present the exhibition “Art, Archives, and Activism: Martin Wong’s Downtown Crossings” from March 6-December 18, 2009. From the mid ’80s through the early ’90s, artist Martin Wong and other downtown New York artists were affected by an intersection of major historic events spanning the AIDS epidemic, urban renewal and attacks on graffiti in the city, to Tiananmen Square abroad. The exhibition explores artists who crossed paths during this particular time, influencing and inspiring discussions, art works, and activism.

Artists, writers, and friends of Wong who worked alongside him have loaned his paintings, personal remembrances, photographs, and selections of their own work for this exhibition. These friends and peers include Charlie Ahearn, John Ahearn, Tomie Arai, Jane Dickson, Chris “Daze” Ellis, Bing Lee, Miguel Piñero, Lady Pink, John “Crash” Matos, Lee Quiñones, Yasmin Ramirez, Sharp, Harley Spiller, Wicked Gary, Zhang Hongtu, PPOW Gallery, and his New York art dealer Barry Blinderman at Semaphore gallery.

“Art, Archives, and Activism” presents a story of a time and the interconnectedness of the artists with the world around them through artwork, letters, photographs, videos, postcards, posters, and flyers of participant artists. The exhibition traverses two decades, presenting an artist’s life and the issues that engulfed him, catalyzed from these connections and overlapping paths.

The opening reception is also the reception and book celebration for the Asian American Art Symposium 2009 at NYU presented by A/P/A Institute and co-sponsored by The Noguchi Museum; The Japan Foundation, New York; The Asia Society; NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development; and Museum of Chinese in America. For more information about the symposium please visit www.apa.nyu.edu

Co-curated by Alexandra Chang, Tomie Arai and I-Ting Emily Chu.
Associate Curated by Mie Iwatsuki.
Archival consultation and support by Fales Library and Special Collections at NYU
Installation design by Jonathan Lo

Gallery hours: 10am-6pm Monday-Friday
FREE and open to the public.
For more information, visit: www.apa.nyu.edu

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Published by admin, on March 5th, 2009 at 1:12 pm. Filled under: BONCHINCHE Tags: , , , , 1 Comment