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IRL: Explore Pop Art Centric 'Paper Jam' at Private VIP Collector's Night

By Alisa Hauser | April 3, 2014 7:24pm
 Images from "Paper Jam," a new show featuring works by 17 artists at Ukrainian Village's Vertical Gallery.  The show opens April 5 and closes April 26. 
IRL: "Paper Jam" Anniversary Show at Vertical Gallery
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UKRAINIAN VILLAGE — "Paper Jam," a group exhibition packed with new takes on familiar images from popular culture, is coming to a Ukrainian Village gallery this weekend.

"Sometimes people think of pop art as an Andy Warhol piece, but it is more than that; pop art is a very approachable style of art that appeals to a wide audience," said Patrick Hull, owner of Vertical Gallery at 1016 N. Western Ave. in Ukrainian Village.

From Clark Kent/Superman in a Wal-Mart uniform to antidepressant medication Zoloft juxtaposed against Mickey Mouse, the Paper Jam show represents a resurgence of the 1960s pop art movement that draws inspiration from comics, advertising and consumer products.

Curated by Australian-based pop artist Ben Frost, Paper Jam brings together works on paper by 17 national and international artists including Pilsen-based artist Hebru Brantley.

Brantley's work will hang alongside pieces by up-and-coming International artists such as Australia-based graffiti artist Numskell and James Jirat Patradroon, who draws inspiration from "gangster rap, professional wrestling, sci-fi films, and superheroes."

Brantley has previously said he created his iconic "Flyboy" character, who wears goggles and is often, as the name implies, flying, "out of a need to have heroes of color, whether black, Asian, or White, European."

In October, Nike commissioned Brantley to create a Flyboy mural along the wall of the Nike Running Store at 1640 N. Damen Ave. in Wicker Park. A few years ago, hip hop artist and rapper Jay-Z  spent $20,000 on a painting by Brantley titled, "Everyone's Scared."

 Two new works by Hebru Brantley, one of 17 artists participating in Vertical Gallery's "Paper Jam" anniversary show.
Two new works by Hebru Brantley, one of 17 artists participating in Vertical Gallery's "Paper Jam" anniversary show.
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Hebru Brantley/Vertical Gallery

For Paper Jam, Brantley has submitted two pieces, "Hello Goodbye to Yesterday," and "Coffee the new tanning cream," which features a Flyboy in front of the words "Coffee Makes You Black."

Though Brantley is headed to his first solo show in London and will not be at the Paper Jam opening reception, Frost and Denial, a Canadian graffiti and mixed media artist, will be at the reception, Hull said.

Denial's "Super Saver" features Clark Kent/Superman wearing a Wal-Mart badge on his chest and the words, "Save! Save! Save!" in the backdrop.

On Thursday, Hull said "work is still flowing in" but that when everything is mounted and hung on the gallery's walls,  there will be over 100 original works to view on paper as well as on "some other fun items, like painting on packaging."

By packaging, Hull is referring to a Valium prescription package that Frost used as a canvas for a piece called "Valium Lover."

Price for most of the work in the Paper Jam show are around $150 - $700, with the exception of Brantley's pieces, which are $2200 each, Hull said.

Though Paper Jam opens to the public on Saturday, Hull is inviting DNAinfo Chicago readers to join an exclusive "VIP" party at the gallery scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m Friday. The free reception will include complimentary appetizers and drinks as well as an opportunity to talk with artists and collectors.

If you would like to join DNAinfo Chicago on Friday, please email irl@dnainfo.com.  This gathering is limited to five people so we can have enough time to learn about art and experience "Paper Jam" in a small group setting.

Paper Jam, a new show featuring works by 17 artists, kicks off with a public reception from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday at Vertical Gallery, 1016 N. Western Ave. The exhibit will run through April 26.

 "Valium Lover" by Ben Frost.
"Valium Lover" by Ben Frost.
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Ben Frost/Vertical Gallery