Books

Currently based in Brooklyn, New York, Genea Barnes began exhibiting her artful photography in 2005. Her current work has taken her into the streets of over 50 cities where she has photographed hundreds of ghost bikes. 

genea barnes ghost bike child nyc Genea Barnes Takes Us on a Photographic Ghost Bike Journey

When and where did you begin photographing ghost bikes?  

I saw my first ghost bike in Brooklyn in May 2010. It struck me. It felt like someone had punched me in the chest. That was the first ghost bike I photographed. I’ve since traveled to over 50 cities photographing them.

genea barnes ghost bike williamsburg nyc Genea Barnes Takes Us on a Photographic Ghost Bike Journey

Why — do you suppose — you became so committed to this project?

I feel a special connection to these bikes. I am taken by their intense beauty. Their impact was — and still is — tremendous on me. They remind us of lives that were lost and they remind us to keep safe. I knew, at once, that I wanted not only to photograph them, but to share my findings with others.

genea barnes ghost bike and man nyc Genea Barnes Takes Us on a Photographic Ghost Bike Journey

Have you any particular message you would like your photos to convey?

I am frustrated by people’s lack of spatial awareness. A ghost bike represents the most grievous outcome of this. A ghost bike, like much of  street art, is a way to call people out. We must all start paying closer attention to our surroundings.

genea barnes ghost bike and graffiti nyc Genea Barnes Takes Us on a Photographic Ghost Bike Journey

Why a book?

I had always hoped that my art would make a difference…that it would raise awareness. And after my first exhibit of ghost bike images, I knew that it could. Not everyone will attend an exhibit, but anyone can check out a book and, hopefully, be moved by it.  We are so distracted by technology that we often forget to pay attention to our surroundings. And the outcome of that can be fatal.

genea barnes ghost bike nyc Genea Barnes Takes Us on a Photographic Ghost Bike Journey

You can find out more about Genea’s remarkable photography project here and help fund her book at her Kickstarter here.  

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I am Michael Alan Michael Alan on His Recently Released Book, Artistic Freedom and more

Earlier this fall, the wonderfully talented multi-media artist Michael Alan released a book of selected drawings and writings. With the limited edition just about sold out, Michael offers some insights into it all.

Why did you decide to publish this book?

I am tired of artistic control. The government. The police.  Most outlets for publication.  I am also tired of solo shows in New York. Super stress to basically make some dumb money and hear people talk about beer. So came the idea of the book. My work is too intricate for the web. It needs to be in your hand. People need to slow down. That’s what books do. They slow you down. I also wanted my friends and fans who can’t — or don’t want to —  buy a painting to be able to own a handmade affordable piece. The book is a work of art.  And I’ve been sick. In case something happens to me, I don’t want anyone rewriting my mind.

Michael Alan art1 Michael Alan on His Recently Released Book, Artistic Freedom and more

How did you decide what to include? 

Kristen Collins chose the works. She is a lovely, brilliant artist who made this possible. She is passion.

Michael alan artworks book Michael Alan on His Recently Released Book, Artistic Freedom and more

What are your personal favorites and why?

They are all my favorites. My work is about change. Energy. Life. These differ every day. That’s why I work in multiple styles.

michael alan alien Michael Alan on His Recently Released Book, Artistic Freedom and more

How have folks responded to the book?

The response has been great. It’s attracted a range of fans – from as far as Australia. We had only gotten the word out on Facebook and Instagram, and we are almost sold out. This will be the first blog to cover it.

Michael Alan art Michael Alan on His Recently Released Book, Artistic Freedom and more

If you are interested in owning a signed copy of the book, you can contact the artist at artisticrevolution@gmail.com.

All images © Michael Alan 

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Motohiro Nezy sticker sticker bomb skulls  Stickerbomb Features over 180 Skull Stickers from across the Globe

Researched and edited by Ryo Sanada and Suridh Hassan of Studio Rarekwai, Stickerbomb Skulls is an extraordinary collection of skull stickers certain to appeal to those of us who love street art. Ranging from the humorous to the morose, the stickers included in the newest addition to the Stickerbomb peelable sticker book series encompass an array of styles and cultures.  And as Finland’s  Micke Nikander – whose image is the first one featured in the book — suggests, the skull is the one thing we all share as it “follows us from cradle to grave.”

Micke Nikander

Micke Nikander sticker skull  Stickerbomb Features over 180 Skull Stickers from across the Globe

Colombian artist Matacho Descorp

Matacho descorp sticker bomb skulls edited 1  Stickerbomb Features over 180 Skull Stickers from across the Globe

Australian artist Mike Watt

Mike watt sticker skull  Stickerbomb Features over 180 Skull Stickers from across the Globe

Singapore-based artist One Two Delta

One Two Delta sticker bomb skull edited 2  Stickerbomb Features over 180 Skull Stickers from across the Globe

Welsh artist Mr. Kobo

Mr. Kobo sticker bomb skulls  Stickerbomb Features over 180 Skull Stickers from across the Globe

Here in NYC, the Stickerbomb peelable sticker book series, published by Laurence King, is available at StrandBarnes and NobleMcNally Jackson and at the Museum of Modern Art Bookstore.

Stickerbomb Skulls Front  Stickerbomb Features over 180 Skull Stickers from across the Globe

 Book review by Dani Reyes Mozeson; first two stickers — Run DMC & the Notorious Big — by Japanese artist Motohiro Nezu

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Banksy I love NY Banksy in New York: Writer and Photographer Ray Mock Chronicles Banksys New York Residency

The following guest post is by Houda Lazrak, a graduate student in Museum Studies at New York University.

Last October, the British stencil artist Banksy paid an unexpected visit to New York City. And fervently chronicling the elusive artist’s daily workings — during his month-long residency —  was writer and photographer Ray Mock. The founder of Carnage NYC, Mock presents — in Banksy in New York – a comprehensive and insightful account of the month that captivated us street art aficionados, along with so many other New Yorkers.

Banksy in New York Banksy in New York: Writer and Photographer Ray Mock Chronicles Banksys New York Residency

For each of Banksy’s pieces, Mock offers a short narrative, providing insights into the various sites and neighborhoods, as well as into the artworks and the reactions they elicited. Each account is complemented with a range of photographs — from selected close-ups to shots of strangers’ poses with the pieces.

Banksy with hammer Banksy in New York: Writer and Photographer Ray Mock Chronicles Banksys New York Residency

In addition to chronicling the pieces that surface throughout the month, Mock shares first-hand insider anecdotes.  We follow him on his adventurous rides to the designated locations and we meet some of the others out there  – who, too, are obsessed with locating and photographing every Banksy piece that appears. Mock also offers us intriguing background information. He recounts, for example, how a half-joke by a local resident to charge for photographs of the East New York beaver stencil resulted in a price tag of $20 for each photograph shot that day.

Banksy East NY Banksy in New York: Writer and Photographer Ray Mock Chronicles Banksys New York Residency

As Banksy’s pieces — particularly those that are politically-motivated — are contingent on location, the local viewers’ reactions and interpretations are part of the process. Banksy’s piece, Ghetto 4 Life, in the Melrose section of the Bronx, for example, did not go over well with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, who had loved Banksy’s previous Ronald McDonald installation.

Banksy Ghetto 4 life Banksy in New York: Writer and Photographer Ray Mock Chronicles Banksys New York Residency

Despite all the attention Banksy’s residency received in the media, Mock provides us with something that was lacking — an overarching personal account of Banksy’s legacy on this city’s urban and social landscape. We speculate, along with Mock, on Banksy’s possible intentions and we embrace the artist’s uncensored creative expression.

Banksy Graffiti is a crime Banksy in New York: Writer and Photographer Ray Mock Chronicles Banksys New York Residency

In addition to the limited edition of the book — with a screen printed cover —  which can now be purchased via Ray’s site, a new hardcover edition will be available for pre-order on his site starting on November 3. It will also be in bookstores by Thanksgiving.

All photos by Ray Mock

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stephen powers a love letter to the city Stephen Powers: A Love Letter to the City    A Look at the Book

The following guest post is by Houda Lazrak, a graduate student in Museum Studies at New York University.  

To the discontent of many, the corporate advertisements plaguing the urban landscape have become integral to our every-day visual vocabulary.  As a response, street art is often offered as an alternative platform to reclaim public space from the impersonal iconography of corporate publicity.  However, Philadelphia native Stephen Powers has employed that very language to empower his own personal vision.

Steve Powers Espo street art Stephen Powers: A Love Letter to the City    A Look at the Book

A Love Letter to the City tells the tale of how artist Steve Powers’ witty lettering and profound insight turned advertising on its head.  Authored by Powers himself, the book is a visually astonishing compilation of his large scale public art projects in cities across the globe, such as Philadelphia, New York City, Dublin, Sao Paulo and Johannesburg.  With each chapter focusing on a metropolis, the book illustrates the artist’s engagement and collaboration with local communities and art organizations to “reflect their collective visions and dreams… to make art for the people.”

Powers’ outrageously honest introduction retraces his debut into the graffiti world under the moniker of ESPO in Philadelphia.  In first-person narratives, he highlights his experiences and encounters that propelled him to the status of acclaimed public artist.  Readers are treated to his eloquent personal recollections, as well as captivating photographs of his beautifully executed street art pieces.

Stephen Powers street art NYC Stephen Powers: A Love Letter to the City    A Look at the Book

Steve Powers’ employs signage style graphics to produce poignant conceptual pieces, ranging from single word slogans to multiple line phrases. The publication’s images bear witness to Powers’ ability to marvelously blend colors into the pre-existing urban hues.  Prior to hand-painting site-specific murals, Powers deeply immersed himself in the spirit of each city.  He embraced the values and needs of communities, deciphered central issues of local histories, and appreciated the soul of its neighborhoods.

Steve Powers Street Art NY Stephen Powers: A Love Letter to the City    A Look at the Book

In Coney Island, Powers worked with local citizens to revitalize an abandoned space into a sign shop/social club. The shop produced street signage for the inhabitants free of charge, which served to invigorate local businesses, as well as to enhance the community’s visual landscape.  In another instance in Dublin, Powers altered his design plans when he saw a neighborhood recurrent tag: “Please call me, I am home, the door is open, ” followed by a phone number.  Inspired by the message of love and loneliness, Powers then created a mural that spoke to similar concerns.

steve powers Espo street art Philadelphia Stephen Powers: A Love Letter to the City    A Look at the Book

A Love Letter to the City provides invaluable insights into the creative mindset of a unique street artist.  It sheds light on the back-stories of his sign pieces, from his improbable conversations with passersby to the formally held community meetings.  Ultimately, the book illustrates how Powers and his team remarkably wove intricate typographic art into the fabric of multiple cities around the world.

All images courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press

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 The following guest post is by Houda Lazrak, a graduate student in Museum Studies at New York University. 

Currently on view at the Museum of the City of New York through September 1, 2014 is the exhibit City as Canvas. To accompany the splendid exhibition featuring pivotal selections from Martin Wong’s exceptional graffiti art collection, the museum released a book by the same name. Edited by exhibit curator Sean Corcoran and cultural critic Carlo McCormick, it features hundreds of images, along with essays from experts in the field and artists’ recollections.

City As Canvas Cover  City as Canvas, New York City Graffiti from the Martin Wong Collection    A Look at the Companion Publication to the MCNY Exhibit

City as Canvas – New York City Graffiti from the Martin Wong Collection, the companion publication to the exhibitis a fascinating window not only into the graffiti that surfaced in the 80s, but also into the life of artist, collector, curator, and visionary Martin Wong.  A San Francisco native of Chinese origin, Wong moved to New York City’s Lower East Side in the 1980s.  Immediately inspired by the surge of graffiti, he at once sensed the creative value of the then teenage-run art movement. Wong’s collection documents the roots of the graffiti movement in NYC and the evolution of writing styles through the 1990s.

Graffiti Kids photograph Jon Naar 1973 MCNY  City as Canvas, New York City Graffiti from the Martin Wong Collection    A Look at the Companion Publication to the MCNY Exhibit

In his introductory essay, Sean Corcoran, Curator of Prints and Photography at the MCNY, explains how Wong championed young graffiti artists by befriending them, collecting their works and ultimately opening a museum dedicated to the art form (Museum of American Graffiti).  Essentially, Wong acquired artists’ black books and requested canvas reproductions of their street pieces – such as Lee Quiñones‘s iconic Howard the Duck, originally painted on a Lower East Side handball court wall. He also secured — what he considered to be — significant canvas pieces, such as Lady Pink’s Maniac Depression.  These reproductions form the bulk of the Martin Wong collection and are presented in the second section of the book, alongside biographies of twenty plus instrumental graffiti artists.

Lee Quinines Howard the Duck city as canvas  City as Canvas, New York City Graffiti from the Martin Wong Collection    A Look at the Companion Publication to the MCNY Exhibit

As does the exhibition, City as Canvas spotlights the young graffiti artists’ black books. Perhaps the collection’s most prized pieces, these books illustrate the process through which the young writers honed their skills and shared their styles. The publication features full-size pages of sketches and tags by artists such as Zephyr, Kenny Scharf and Keith Haring. True to the original sketches, the pages contain minimal color enhancement and retain their ancient paper background shade and old coffee stains .

Zyphyr black book city as convas  City as Canvas, New York City Graffiti from the Martin Wong Collection    A Look at the Companion Publication to the MCNY Exhibit

Finally, artists such as Lee Quiñones, Daze and Sharp share recollections of their first encounters with Wong. These unique testimonies illuminate Wong’s passionate personality and demonstrate his impact on legendary graffiti writers.   Quiñones remembers his friend telling him: “Just when it all seems done, this is when I am going to buy,” a sign of his “wholly commit[ment] to supporting our work in a difficult time.”

martin wong by peter bellamy 1985 mcny  City as Canvas, New York City Graffiti from the Martin Wong Collection    A Look at the Companion Publication to the MCNY Exhibit

Overall, City as Canvas provides an impeccable overview of the Martin Wong Collection treasured in the Museum of the City of New York.  The publication’s splendid aesthetics and stimulating essays serve as a vital introduction to graffiti art, as well as an indispensible document for aficionados of the iconic movement.

All images from City as Canvas, New York City Graffiti from the Martin Wong Collection © 2013 Museum of the City of New York, Inc. 1. Book cover featuring Lady Pink mural; 2. John Naar, Graffiti Kids, 1973; 3. Lee Quiñones, Howard the Duck; 4. Zephyr, black book; 5. Peter Bellamy, Martin Wong, 1985

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The following guest post is by Houda Lazrak, a graduate student in Museum Studies at New York University.

Outdoor Gallery NYC Icy and Sot street art On Yoav Litvins OUTDOOR GALLERY    New York City

As street art continues to gain legitimacy as a contemporary art movement throughout the world, New York City remains its cradle of birth and continues to attract artists from around the globe.  Gingko Press’s recently published Outdoor Gallery — New York City by author and photographer Yoav Litvin bears witness to the unmediated and diverse creative expression of New York City’s street art.  Thought provoking, comprehensive and aesthetically pleasing,  Outdoor Gallery presents hundreds of street art photographs, accompanied by interviews, featuring more than forty artists.

Outdoor Gallery NYC cover On Yoav Litvins OUTDOOR GALLERY    New York City

For two years Yoav immersed himself in the world of street artists, learning their visual language, engaging in their community and observing their habitus. Outdoor Gallery justly frames street art as a platform for disrupting society’s notion of the use of public space.  As the author states, street art is “a creative and non-violent form of rebellion.”

Outdoor Gallery NYC Toofly street art On Yoav Litvins OUTDOOR GALLERY    New York City

The author provides us with a rare opportunity to view the artists’ actual process.  Yoav photographs artist Adam Dare’s steps as he installs his signature bunny paste-up on scaffolding in the dark of the night.  Jilly Ballistic, known for subway site-specific images, also agrees to guide us through a 9-step process of pasting an image of a city officer in the Astor Place metro station.

Jilly Ballistic On Yoav Litvins OUTDOOR GALLERY    New York City

Although most of the photographs are taken soon after the images have surfaced, Yoav eloquently emphasizes the ephemeral nature of the art form in his opening commentary and throughout the interviews he conducted.  He also reminds us that street art is continuously at the mercy of many factors, such as neighborhood gentrification, weather conditions, vandalism and police intervention.   Photography serves as an ally in keeping the art works alive after they have faded or disappeared.

Outdoor Gallery NYC Hellbent street art On Yoav Litvins OUTDOOR GALLERY    New York City

The book’s narrative also acknowledges and insists on the diversity of mediums, surfaces and messages embedded in the art pieces.  The interviews inform us of the range of intention behind the pieces.  For some artists, such as gilf!, Enzo & Nio, and Icy & Sot, political commentary is the rationale behind their work.  Alice Mizrachi, on the other hand, uses her large-scale murals to encourage community engagement. Finally, street art serves as a creative outlet and as a form of self-expression. Shiro describes her signature character as her “alternative self, reflecting [her] experiences and emotions as [she] goes through life.”

Outdoor Gallery NYC Never street art On Yoav Litvins OUTDOOR GALLERY    New York City

This book provides remarkable insight into the motivations and the creative process of dozens of street artists whose works have surfaced in NYC. More than shedding light on the extraordinary talent of these artists, Outdoor Gallery inspires readers to discover for themselves the treasure trove of outdoor art New York City has to offer.

Outdoor Gallery — New York City can be ordered online at Amazon and is available from retailers worldwide including Low Brow Artique and Zakka in Brooklyn and Strand Books, the MoMA and Guggenheim Museum shops in Manhattan.

Images © Yoav Litvin 1. Icy & Sot in Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 2. Toofly in Bushwick, Brooklyn and in Astoria, Queens; 3. Jilly Ballistic process in underground metro; 4. Hellbent in Astoria, Queens & 5. Never Satisfied in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

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Speaking with 0H10M1ke

February 27, 2014

You may have seen 0H10M1ke on the streets of NYC or at a public event where he creates instant matchbook portraits of strangers he meets. We discovered him at work on his serially numbered one-minute portraits at the opening of LA2’s solo exhibit at the Leila Heller Gallery this past December.  We recently had the opportunity to find out more about him.

OHIO MIKE draws at Leila Heller Gallery1  Speaking with 0H10M1ke

When did you begin drawing? Is this something recent?

I never had a formal art education, but I’ve been drawing all my life. I started way back as a kid in Ohio. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t doodling or sketching on some surface.

When did you first come to NYC? And what was your initial experience like?

I moved here in 2002, and I became involved with a cult. I gave two years of my life to it, and by the time I left it, I couldn’t even draw a circle. I knew then that I had to reinvent myself.

How did you go about doing that?

The year of my 30th birthday – in 2006 – I did 1,000 drawings.  I started my matchbox series of portraits, and my work was featured in a show in Williamsburg. I completed portrait 10,000 on June, 2011 at Governor’s Island.

Ohio Mike at Leila Heller Gallery NYC  Speaking with 0H10M1ke

Have you continued to exhibit your work?

Yes, I’ve exhibited in a range of places from Berlin, Germany to Governor’s Island here in New York City.

What inspired you to create your artwork in public settings – where you interact almost entirely with strangers?

My inspiration came from seeing UFO’s work on NYC streets.  I love the way his iconic character surfaces unexpectedly.

These days, about what percentage of your time is devoted to art?

About 50%. I am a social worker by profession.

OHIO Mike Sketch  Speaking with 0H10M1ke

 

How has your work evolved in the past few years?

I began with one-line drawings and I have moved to color, digital and live drawings that I incorporate into performances.

How does your family feel about what you are doing?

My family loves me, but I don’t think they get it.

Any other interests?

Music. All kinds of music. I draw to music. It’s all about art and music. I create live drawings to the music of Comadante Zero, a Brooklyn-based electro funk music/art collective.

Ohio Mike Brooklyn Rooftop art NYC  Speaking with 0H10M1ke

How do you feel about the role of the Internet in all this?

I’m over it. We’ve been oversaturated.

What do you see as the role of the artist in society?

I learned from Robert Henri how important it is to be a creator. According to Henri, the artist “enlightens and opens ways for better understanding.”

What about you? What’s ahead for you?

My goal is to create 100,000 matchbox portraits and tour with my band as its resident artist.

Ohio Mike Rooftop graffiti NYC  Speaking with 0H10M1ke

Editor’s note: 0H10M1ke will be drawing live with Comandante Zero at The Rubin Museum April 4 at 7 PM.

Photo 1 and 2: 0H10M1ke at the Leila Heller by Dani Reyes Mozeson; photo 3: 0H10M1ke sketch, courtesy of the artist; photos 4 and 5: PhotosL1ght Graff1t1 projected onto Brooklyn rooftop by Oz Skinner

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A stand-out among the street art books published this year is the brilliantly conceived and curated It’s a Stick-Up, designed by Oliver Walker aka Ollystudio with text by Margherita Dessanay. Published by Laurence King, it is devoted solely to the art of the wheat paste, featuring 20 real — easily removable — paste-ups by 20 international artists. Among those featured are two of our favorite Brooklyn-based artists: Dain and Cake.

Dain

Dain wheatpaste New York 2012 ITS A STICK UP Features Paste ups by Brooklyn based Artists Dain, Cake and 18 Other Global Masters of the Craft

Dain Eyes For You New York 2012 ITS A STICK UP Features Paste ups by Brooklyn based Artists Dain, Cake and 18 Other Global Masters of the Craft

Cake

Cake street art Its a Stick Up ITS A STICK UP Features Paste ups by Brooklyn based Artists Dain, Cake and 18 Other Global Masters of the Craft

Cake wheatpaste Its a Stick Up ITS A STICK UP Features Paste ups by Brooklyn based Artists Dain, Cake and 18 Other Global Masters of the Craft

 Book cover featuring Paul Insect 

Its a Stick Up COVER  ITS A STICK UP Features Paste ups by Brooklyn based Artists Dain, Cake and 18 Other Global Masters of the Craft

All images courtesy of Laurence King Publishing 

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DELUSIONAL cover Delusional: The Story of the Jonathan LeVine Gallery

Just how likely is it for a punk kid from a Trenton, NJ working-class background to emerge as a preeminent art dealer in Manhattan’s hottest gallery district?  When Jonathan LeVine spoke of establishing a gallery that would support artists who had been shunned by the mainstream art world, his friend and renowned critic, Carlo McCormick, deemed him “delusional.” But with passion and perseverance, Jonathan LeVine has triumphed, and among the many first-rate artists his gallery features are some of  street art’s finest including Shepard Fairey, Doze Green, Invader, Blek le Rat, WK and Blu. Caleb Neelon’s excellent book, Delusional: The Story of the Jonathan LeVine Gallery, offers an intimate look into the man behind the vision. Interviews with LeVine, along with observations from a range of folks, reveal a deeply humane individual with a fervent mission.

Adrift as a youngster, Jonathan LeVine was reborn in 1985, when, at age 16, he discovered the punk rock scene. The “misfits” this scene attracted were nothing like his high school peers who tormented him for being “different.” Soon LeVine began producing  fanzines and booking and promoting shows — the beginning of a life-long calling of nurturing artists he loved and sharing their work with others.

Delusional the story of the Jonathan LeVine Gallery Delusional: The Story of the Jonathan LeVine Gallery

After graduating from Montclair State College with a BA in art, LeVine spent time on both the West and East coasts, where he met fellow artists and art enthusiasts who now count among his closest friends.  As early as 1996, he organized a solo exhibition of Ron English’s work at Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ, before moving on to curating CBGB’s gallery. The following year, he reached out to Shepard Fairey, offering him his first solo show in NYC.

In 2001, LeVine opened his own gallery Tin Pan Alley in New Hope, PA and a year later moved it to Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties neighborhood. But the art market started booming and NYC was calling, so in 2005, LeVine made the move to NYC’s Chelsea, his current home.

Featured in Delusional are dozens of splendid images culled from exhibits that have graced the walls of the Jonathan LeVine Gallery. Interspersed, too, are comments – often insightful and revelatory — from a range of artists who have found a home with Jonathan in Chelsea.

Delusional images Delusional: The Story of the Jonathan LeVine Gallery

Available at most bookstores and online book sellers, Delusional: The Story of the Jonathan LeVine Gallery is currently on the display table at St. Mark’s Bookshop at 31 Third Avenue between 8th and 9th Streets in Manhattan.  You can also pick up an autographed copy at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery at 529 West 20th Street. Enjoy!

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