URBAN ODYSSEY: John 'CRASH' Matos
Nov 14 - Dec 31 2024
As a result of his decades-long autodidactic art practice, Matos’ fluorescent palette, structural boldness, and graffiti influences have become synonymous with his proficiency. Eye-popping canvases and smaller watercolors balance flatness with dimensionality whilst incorporating signature elements of lettering, ocular motifs, lens flare, and decisive slashes of color. Borrowed imagery from popular cartoons including Popeye, Dick Tracy, and Batman gleefully appropriate and excavate visual history to echo Matos’ childhood memories as he delivers collective nostalgia. Ransacking the senses with bright neon and visually fragmented compositions, Matos generates works that reject the mundane.
Rooted in his identity as a Bronx-born graffiti artist, having come of age in the hip-hop fueled Bronx of the late 1970s, Matos’ unique style made him an iconic part of the New York City visual landscape, while also pioneering a new age for graffiti in 1980 when he curated the pivotal “Graffiti Art Success for America” exhibition at Fashion MODA. A frequent collaborator, CRASH is continuously engaged in various projects, commissions, and numerous museum shows, with works in many permanent museum collections such as the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Brooklyn Museum (New York), Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (Scottsdale), and Stedeljik Museum (Amsterdam). Whether on city streets or gallery walls, concrete or canvas, Matos’ works are instantly recognizable.