When all the proverbial chips are proverbially down, there’s still art: massive, glorious, in-your-face art. Indeed, with the recent opening of the new flagship Lazarides gallery in London’s trendily up-market district of Fitzrovia, the proverbs of today’s economic calamity have been turned inside out, as this new Lazarides Rathbone confirms the gallery’s continued commitment to examining its maxim of excess and abandon with unceasing fervor.
Since I’ve been covering London’s art scene for Whitehot, the tiny Lazarides Gallery on Greek Street in Soho has always managed to pack a wallop, with show after show of cutting edge and provocative art. Exhibitions, such as David Choe’s April 08 Murderous Hearts, confirmed that Laz was were the edge was. Killer private openings spilled onto Soho’s buzzing streets and gave this city’s gallery scene a vibrancy that insisted the other galleries take note and step up.
Now that same unwavering calibre of tenacious streetwise contemporary art has been granted a long overdue London location to spread out in style. The new Lazarides spot occupies a massive five-storey Georgian building (with a sordid past as a brothel). And if the Rathbone opening soirée is any indication, the PV parties are only going to get bigger and better. As for the old space on Greek Street, well it’s still in Lazarides’s good hands and has been dubbed SHOP, “the ultimate outsider art retail experience” with posters, prints, original works and “highly-coveted cult ephemera”. So despite trembles and frets in other areas of the art market, all seems well in the Lazarides camp.
Hell, with many of the works on show at the new Lazarides haunt demonstrating an unflinching awareness of the pratfalls of capitalist culture and an ultimate disdain for the niceties of polite culture, one might even get the sense that these guys are reveling in the collective financial anxiety of the moment. For example, the favela photography of showing artist JR as well as the Lazarides owned stencils of the ubiquitous Banksy, cast little sympathy for the plight of bankers and the masters of globalization.
Yet glamour and wealth exist, and the new Lazarides flagship taps into these forces as it forges forward into the depths of the 21st century, offering wonderfully provocative punishment for all our intemperate eyes!
Chris Osburn is an American transplant living in London where he has a blast working as a freelance photographer, writer, consultant, blogger and more. www.tikichris.com