A pioneer when Graffiti met the formal gallery ecosystem, artist Futura 2000 (born Leonard Hilton McGurr) was known as early as the 1970s for his radical approach in the street, introducing abstraction to what was an entirely letter-based discipline. His work on canvas caught attention in the 1980’s, and established him as a leading voice within a wider art movement that included the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Kenny Scharf. Entirely self-taught in what he calls “the subway school”, Futura has been compared to Wassily Kandinsky for his mastery of color, geometric composition and line—and is celebrated alongside his friends Dondi White and Rammellzee for his progressiveness and of-the-moment dynamism.
Radical at the genesis of his career, his methodology and studio practice can now be viewed over the span of several decades as something consummately pure. Futura's creativity—articulated across canvas, paper, sculpture, photography, graphic design and large-scale mural work—shines as a result of its kinetic composition, elemental quality, and fully-original gestures.
His work has been exhibited at notable art institutions such as the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles, MoMA PS1 in New York, the New Museum in New York, the seminal Fun Gallery—as well as, most recently, the Beyond the Streets exhibitions in Los Angeles (2018) and New York (2019). As an artist who also has a dedicated commercial practice and product brand (Futura Laboratories), he has collaborated with partners such as Louis Vuitton, Comme des Garçons, Chanel, Nike, Off-White, BMW and Levis; he has also designed iconic album packaging for musicians such as The Clash, and DJ performance visuals for Virgil Abloh.