FUTURA 2000: BREAKING OUT

OPENS SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2024

Press Release

FUTURA 2000: BREAKING OUT is a retrospective of this singular artist’s evolution from early graffiti art styles to his current practice of contemporary abstraction. The exhibition is the most comprehensive examination of FUTURA 2000’s five-decade career ever presented in his hometown of New York City. On view from Sunday, September 8 through winter 2025, BREAKING OUT showcases his sculptures, drawings, prints, studies, collaborations, and archival paraphernalia dating from the 1970s to the present, as well as new site-specific temporary installations.

FUTURA 2000’s practice today continues to bear his fascination with the aesthetics of science fiction and the space age. These interests led to his early adoption of sophisticated computer technology and video gaming. Utilizing spray paint with virtuosic precision, he creates abstract cosmic compositions on canvas. Refined lines are contrasted by mists of vibrant colors and gestural brush marks while large areas are left empty—allowing forms to float freely across the surface, suggesting the expansiveness of outer space. His recurring motifs include the atom shape, symbolizing perpetual motion; a crane or linear mark, indicating a moment of rupture; and the enigmatic Pointman, reminiscent of an alien presence.

September 8, 2024

The Bronx Museum was founded in 1971, at a time when FUTURA 2000 began exploring his capacity as an artist through street art. As his aesthetic evolved, FUTURA 2000 continued using materials and techniques like spray paint, aerosol, and stencils to create abstract compositions–a revolutionary approach in contemporary art that remains his signature style today.

The exhibition’s title, Breaking Out, refers to FUTURA 2000’s boundary-breaking creative practice and his famous 1980 piece, Break, where the artist painted the full exterior of an NYC. subway car with vibrant color and no lettering—a first for the graffiti art movement. At the time, FUTURA 2000 would “bench” in the South Bronx to watch his Break train pass by on elevated tracks—a short distance from The Bronx Museum.

About FUTURA 2000

FUTURA 2000 is the nom de plume of Leonard Hilton McGurr. FUTURA 2000’s work is included in collections such as The New Museum, New York; MOCA, Los Angeles; Groninger Museum, the Netherlands; Yvon Lambert, Galerie De Noirmont; Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, and Takashi Murakami’s Kaikai Kiki Gallery, Tokyo, Japan. His collaborations include Virgil Abloh and Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons.  In 2020, the Isamu Noguchi Museum presented FUTURA Akari, an installation of Akari light sculptures customized by FUTURA 2000. In the same year, the artist created a large site-specific installation at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris and was included in the exhibition Writing the Future: Basquiat and the Hip Hop Generation at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The artist lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.  Eric Firestone Gallery is the artist’s U.S. fine art representative. The creative and artist management agency ICNCLST represents and the artist’s fine art and commercial projects globally.

FUTURA 2000: BREAKING OUT is organized by the University at Buffalo Art Galleries. Robert Scalise, director of the UB Art Galleries, and Zack Boehler, Public Art Project Coordinator at the Buffalo AKG Art Museum, are curators of the exhibition.

Images:

FUTURA 2000, Invasion From Blue City, 1983, Collection of agnès b.

FUTURA 2000 Portrait, Photo by 13thWitness.

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