Lee Quinones on Life and Times

Lee invited Life and Times to his studio.

Published by admin, on May 2nd, 2011 at 11:41 am. Filled under: Art,HERESAY,IF YOU SEE SOMETHING BUY SOMETHING Tags: , , , , No Comments

LEE Quinones in Looking At Music 3.0 at MoMA

TELLUSTools. 2001. Double-LP. Composition: 12 1/4 x 24 5/8" (31.1 x 62.5 cm). The Museum of Modern Art Library, New York. Gift of Harvestworks. Cover Art by Christian Marclay. Produced by Carol Parkinson, Harvestworks. Image courtesy Kanji Ishii

TELLUSTools. 2001. Double-LP. Composition: 12 1/4 x 24 5/8" (31.1 x 62.5 cm). The Museum of Modern Art Library, New York. Gift of Harvestworks. Cover Art by Christian Marclay. Produced by Carol Parkinson, Harvestworks. Image courtesy Kanji Ishii

Lee’s work will be featured in “Looking at Music 3.0″. at Museum of Modern Art, New York City. Feb. 16 – June 6.

Looking at Music 3.0, the third in a series of exhibitions exploring the influence of music on contemporary art practices, focuses on New York in the 1980s and 1990s. In this dynamic period, imaginative forms of street art spread across the five boroughs, articulating the counter-culture tenor of the times. As the city transitioned from bankruptcy to solvency, graffiti, media, and performance artists took advantage of low rents and collaborated on ad hoc works shown in alternative spaces and underground clubs. Appropriation, also known as remixing, thrived. Approximately 70 works from a wide range of artists and musicians will be on view, including works by the Beastie Boys, Kathleen Hanna and Le Tigre, Keith Haring, Lee Quinones, Christian Marclay and  Joanie 4 Jackie, a video chain letter founded by Miranda July.

via Village Voice

Published by admin, on February 13th, 2011 at 2:01 pm. Filled under: Art,HERESAY,MUSEUMS Tags: , , , , , , , , No Comments

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.



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 Quinones at the Moth


Lee joins the Moth storytellers at the El Museo Del Barrio on Tues. May 11 for “Saints & Sinners.”  $35 tickets are on sale at www.smarttix.com ($30 for Moth and El Museo members) or by calling 212-868-4444. All tickets include an open bar.

THE MOTH is a non-profit storytelling organization dedicated to the art of personal narrative. They produce curated storytelling shows, host regular StorySLAMs in New York, Chicago, Detroit and L.A., and operate a community outreach program committed to the discovery of all of the city’s stories. The Moth has a free weekly podcast:

The Moth Podcast: http://www.themoth.org/podcast
Moth CDs: http://www.themoth.org/store
Moth Shows: http://www.themoth.org/events
Published by admin, on May 10th, 2010 at 9:50 am. Filled under: HERESAY 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.


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



Published by admin, on March 5th, 2010 at 2:23 pm. Filled under: HERESAY Tags: No Comments

Lee Quinones x ALIFE x HBO x Complex

How To Make It In America 5 Panel Hats

How To Make It In America 5 Panel Hats

Published by admin, on March 5th, 2010 at 1:00 pm. Filled under: HERESAY Tags: , , , No Comments

HBO’s How To Make It In America: The Rasta Monsta Truck




Published by admin, on March 5th, 2010 at 12:55 pm. Filled under: HERESAY Tags: , , , 1 Comment

Review of El Principio: An Essay by Jayson Edlin


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