After nine years of obsessive work, Curt Hoppe’s bigger-than-life homage to the people who encouraged and inspired him when he first arrived in New York in the mid-70’s is ready to take center stage. Consisting of 105 photographs and 24 monumental black-and-white hyperrealist paintings, Downtown Portraits is too big for just one gallery.
Hoppe’s project began in 2010 with his portrait of Arturo Vega (1947 – 2013), the downtown artist best known as the art director for the Ramones and whose creative legacy lives on at Howl Happening, An Arturo Vega Project, 6 East 1st Street, NYC. Howl’s exhibition of Downtown Portraitshouses all 105 photographs plus Hoppe’s oversized paintings of himself and Vega. We anticipate a lively opening on Wednesday, April 24th, 6pm-9pm, with many of the portrait subjects in attendance.
The Frank Bernarducci Gallery at 525 West 25th Street, NYC, will be exhibiting 22 of Hoppe’s acrylic on canvas portraits, each eight feet tall and towering over the viewer. While Hoppe’s project looks back to the 1970’s, it is not just about youthful glories of the past. All the subjects are still productive, and are presented as they are now: closer to the end of their journeys than to their beginnings. “These portraits are about taking the measure of our lives right now as much as memorializing our shared past,” writes Hoppe in his artist’s statement. The Bernarducci show opens on Thursday, April 25th, 6pm-8pm.
In conjunction with Hoppe’s Downtown Portraits, Howl has published a catalogue with all the photos and paintings, along with essays by Walter Robinson, Carlo McCormick and Gallery 98’s Marc H Miller. Howl’s exhibition runs to May 22nd, while Frank Bernarducci’s exhibition can be seen until May 25th.