DELUSIONAL: THE STORY OF THE JONATHAN LEVINE GALLERY
AUTHOR | CALEB NEELON (BOSTON’S OWN)
PUBLISHER | GINGKO PRESS
RELEASE | 3.9.12
Jonathan Levine has made the art world a whole lot more fun, and for all the right reasons. While many gallery sophisticates may yearn for fame, fortune and gold-dyed poodles, this Jersey born, punk rock kid strove to penetrate the stuffy art world with his relentless diy mentality. He set out to share his love of a more illustrative, underground style of artists and creators.
He now stands proudly as king of a new era in underground art.
While I was in school for illustration, I flipped through the pages of Juxtapoz like a 14-year-old discovering a stash of Playboys. The art each month delivered something new and exciting that flowed back to my love of punk rock, skateboarding and humorous absurdity. I got lost in the 50s horror themes of Todd Schorr, the swinging cocktail parties hosted by Shag and wobbled along the lanky limbs of Joe Sorren. I yearned to see these masters’ work in person, but all of the art shows were happening just out of my reach, or on an entirely different coast.
That is, until the announcement that Jonathan Levine’s “Tin Man Alley” in Philly was moving to the middle of ARTWORLD: New York City. The Jonathan Levine Gallery was born. My initial thoughts and feelings were clear, “Well, fuck! That’s just a sweaty Chinatown bus ride away!” I anxiously caught a bus out of Boston the week it opened and was caught up by one of the most inspiring moments of my life. I took my time with every painting in the 22 artist group show leaving nearly wiser and fulfilled. It was like getting a life-altering mixtape from a friend. Jonathan had created a space for low-brow, pop surrealists, graffiti artists and illustrators alike, giving them the credibility and respect not quite seen until that point. It has always been his goal to highlight the careers of all these intelligent, creative folks. Continually, he understands putting on a good show, going full steam each time. This forges a strong connection to the artists and challenges them to go bigger and better. Over the past 7+ years, those shows have been the source of many meaningful bus rides to NYC, and I can’t thank that man enough for making it all so rad and worthwhile. But you don’t have to take my word for it, check out the show opening this weekend with Eric White, Doze Green and Kevin Cyr!