On February 7, the same day Shepard Fairey was arrested in Boston on 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 among 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, amongst others.
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--who are considered rebels themselves in the low-brow art community--and had them interpret 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 been sold.
Frank 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 of the show staring out coolly from his black-framed glasses. Kozik explained, now that he has the luxury of doing commissioned work he generally avoids gallery shows, but his customized tank is just a teaser for his own bike 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.