I'm a native New Yorker.
Queens-born, Brooklyn-bred. You may have your idea about our kind, and you're probably right. We're big. We're loud. We're tough. In nearly three decades of existing here I've learned a lot... like how to abandon common creature comforts such as (the preposterous idea of) personal space. I walk as fast as fucking possible, avoid Times Square like the plague, and can navigate the subway with my eyes closed. To me, there is generally no worse fate than having to venture above 14th street; so when my boss asked me to photograph an exhibition opening in Chelsea, I suppressed my initial compulsion to flip his work desk and agreed to brave the trip on the promise of some art and culture. (Vic, if you're reading this — I'm sorry.)
Urban art enthusiasts might tell you the Brazilian twins are two very prolific figures in the street-art scene today. I have been familiar with the duo's work for quite a bit, after seeing their large and colorful murals right here at home, on a trip to Miami, and in London.
A 30-minute line to enter at the Lehmann Maupin gallery yielded quickly to an in-your-face explosion of color and (quite frankly) sensory overload in the best way.
The exhibition was comprised of unique floor-to-ceiling installations, paintings, mixed media, kinetic and interactive sculptures featuring the brothers' continued series of iconic yellow and brown characters juxtaposed against urban, and often NYC and Brazilian-related, backdrops.
DJ Qbert aided in setting the vibe as droves of young art enthusiasts, and the occasional celebrity sauntered through the space. I was told I missed my chance to rub shoulders with/force marriage onto Leonardo DiCaprio — but it's whatever.
I did happen to have another right-place, right-time moment as you can see above.
All in all, it was a pretty awesome evening, and I learned that uptown (okay, uptown to me) isn't so gut-wrenchingly-heinous in small doses.