On February 7, the same day Shepard Fairey was arrested in Boston on outstanding warrants stemming from tagging charges, approximately 150 people lined up outside Bergamot Station’s Robert Berman Gallery to nab limited-edition Fairey posters. Hours after the show opened it was still difficult to squeeze through the doors of Harley-Davidson’s “The Art of Rebellion” exhibit, manned by two bulky security guards.
“I flew in just for this,” said a long-haired man with sunny highlights. Outfitted in leather, he was part of the swelling crowd of easy-on-the-eyes Westsiders scoping out the show of customized Harley gas tanks paired with complementary pieces by notorious poster artist Frank Kozik, master of seductive imagery Tara McPherson, the tattoo-enthused Shawn Barber and local Pasadena artists the Clayton Brothers, among others.
Tanked up: Frank Kozik’s contribution to “Art of Rebellion”
Curator Evan Cerasoli watched over the show while sipping on a tall can of Pabst. According to Cerasoli, Harley rounded up a number of biggie artists and had them place their interpretations of rebellion onto the tanks in an effort to promote the new, easy-to-customize motorcycle Iron 883. Cerasoli’s eyes shone at the success of the show. He had a reason to look satisfied; six pieces had already sold.
Kozik’s work, rarely for sale in galleries, was among the first to get a little red dot. The California-based artist is a motorcycle rider himself. He stood aloof outside the show, staring out coolly from his black-framed glasses. Now that he has the luxury of doing commissioned work, Kozik explained, he generally avoids gallery shows, but his customized tank is just a teaser for his own bike that he’s building for a larger-scale exhibit in October.
Of course, the never-been-hotter Fairey sold his retired Johnny Ramone stencil almost immediately. Folks can still get a glimpse of it. “The Art of Rebellion,” originally a one-night show, has been extended until February 21. But tough luck gettin’ your mitts on a poster.