Posted: April 8 2009
BIG BANG
ARTIST 12 MIDNITE CREATES A BIG BANG WITH 20 YEARS OF NEON ART



ARTIST 12 MIDNITE CREATES A BIG BANG WITH 20 YEARS OF NEON ART

Saturday, April 18, Canadian Prince of Pop Art 12 MIDNITE reinvents the Lowbrow universe with BIG BANG! at The Chapel: 304 Dunlevy, Vancouver.

While modern art is often stuffy or inscrutable, pop art, often derisively (or proudly) termed “lowbrow” is anything but.
12 MIDNITE takes accessibility one-step farther with flashing neon car crashes, explosions and billboards for bad ideas.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 20 years since 12 MIDNITE returned to Vancouver in his 1959 Impala, roadworn and paint-splattered from series of continent-spanning FEAR NO ART, DARK CITY spray paint tours and holed-up in his gastown loft to embark on a totally new tack from the political stencil graffiti that had made him an 80s underground art icon.

His new work, mixing political pop imagery with neon lighting was debuted as simply “Scary Neon” on Halloween night 1988 at the seminal Pitt Gallery to little fanfare, but the small whisper grew to a roar when he returned with “ART MAD: CONFESSIONS OF A SPRAY PAINT FEIND” in May, 1989 at Brad Chernoff’s Macewan Arts gallery.
Somewhat inexplicably, this show, mixing Pop art and neon immediately sold out and overnight, 12 MIDNITE, punk vandal and hot rod hooligan, became rabidly sought out by moneyed collectors and surprisingly, even interior designers who wanted to make a splash. Public demand for his work, fueled by considerable media attention, including several appearances on the cover of Vancouver’s tabloid daily newspaper, generated enough momentum to open the legendary SMASH GALLERY OF MODERN ART, generally regarded as the rearing ground for a generation of alternative artists who continue to shape the Canadian art landscape.

Since then, MIDNITE has continued to march ahead of a motley crew of followers, painting compulsively, running a succession of galleries culminating with Chinatown’s Lucky Red, (Vancouver’s only real lowbrow gallery) building hot rods, recording albums that never seem to get released, and of course working with neon. He’s had a hand in keeping many of the vintage signs we all love lit, and has created countless pieces for Vancouver’s thriving film industry as well as commercial signs and commissions, along with his own artwork.


In the past 20 years, the art world has grudgingly come to accept “lowbrow” art as not only valid artistically, but possibly THE definitive modern art movement of our time.

BIG BANG is 12 Midnite’s way of pushing lowbrow one step farther.
The ride aint nearly over yet.


One additional note: 12 MIDNITE shows are well known for presenting a collection of his latest hot rods, but sadly his 1963 “Boneville” hearse, which was to be a centerpiece of this show went out with a big bang all its own when it caught fire in rush hour traffic at King Ed and Main in mid march.



12 MIDNITE’S BIG BANG
APRIL 18-MAY 16, 2009
At THE CHAPEL: 304 DUNLEVY, VANCOUVER, CANADA
OPENING: APRIL 18: 8PM
INFO:
luckyred@12midnite.com
info@chapelarts.com











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All images & artwork © 12 Midnite. Not to be used for commercial purposes without written permission.
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