From the shadows of New York's 1980s underground art scene, Richard Hambleton emerged alongside Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Prowling the alleyways and subways of the city, his life-size black-silhouetted figures sparked fear and controversy, making him one of the most collectible artists of his time. Dubbed the 'godfather of street art', Hambleton retreated into the darkness of drugs and poverty, and his tragic story was shelved in the archives of art history. Until now. From 16th July until 22nd August, our new exhibition space at the ICC in Birmingham's city centre will hold a groundbreaking exhibition of Hambleton's works, shedding light on his genius.
Featuring our new limited edition graphics and rare original works curated by the Hambleton foundation, this free event will take viewers to the streets of NYC and inside the mind of the man who inspired contemporary street artists like Banksy, JR and Blek le Rat. Exclusive to Castle Fine Art, the Shadowman series marks the first time since his passing that there is a distinct movement to keep alive the undertaking that Hambleton started over forty years ago. The artist has also been said to be 'experiencing a revival' by the New Statesman, which stated: 'In the COVID-19 era, Hambleton's dark, sinister imagery could not be more timely.'
The Shadowman collection will launch on Thursday 1st July. To find out more about the series or exhibition, get in touch or contact your local gallery. Make sure you're following us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for more exclusive events!
While Hambleton's shadowed figures have faded away, his impact on the art world remains. To this day, his work sells alongside the likes of Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist and Jackson Pollock.
Director of our ICC gallery, Bethan McCarthy-Boyce, says: "As an art dealer, it's the ultimate dream to sense that you are involved in a moment of historical significance, to be a torchbearer, and that is how I feel when looking at the work in our gallery. Richard and his contemporaries - including Haring and Basquiat - were at the vanguard of a new kind of artistic expression that would bring the street and the studio closer than they had ever been before. In the beginning, there was Richard...and in the end, his legacy lives on."
Born in Vancouver, Canada, in 1952, Hambleton studied at the Francisco Institute of Art before embarking on his notorious Image Mass Murder project, which saw splatters of blood-red paint outlined in chalk in the shape of a body in 15 cities across the United States and Canada.
Titled 'a sick fraudster' by the San Francisco Examiner, Hambleton moved to New York and joined the underground art scene, creating his infamous shadowmen. Lauded by the likes of Andy Warhol and exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art and the Venice Biennale, Hambleton nevertheless succumbed to the darkness, leaving behind his tragic legacy.
"Richard Hambleton’s standing shadows revolutionised and commercialised street art in the early 1980s, paving the way for Basquiat, Haring and Banksy. I cannot emphasise the importance of the role he’s played in modern art history."
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