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Behind the Silkscreen


By Benjamin Lerner

From the pages of our May/June 2024 Issue of Berkshire Magazine

This May, a series of collaborative silkscreen prints made by master printer Gary Lichtenstein and acclaimed mixed-media artist Cey Adams will be exhibited at the Gary Lichtenstein Editions (GLE) gallery space, located on the MASS MoCA campus in North Adams. From May 2 to May 30, visitors will be immersed in a vibrant array of silkscreen prints that illuminate Adams’ illustrious career, tracing a visual timeline through the contemporary evolution of Hip-Hop culture, as well as pop, commercial, and fine art. The opening reception on Thursday, May 2, at 6 p.m. will set the stage for an up-close exploration of the relationship between Adams and Lichtenstein. 

The two artists have created epic masterworks together, all of which encapsulate key points in Adams’ career. One silkscreen print channels the spirit of his early days as a graffiti artist whose contemporaries included Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Several prints pay tribute to the years that Adams spent as the founding creative director of Def Jam’s in-house visual design firm, The Drawing Board. He designed album covers for Hip-Hop legends such as LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Redman, Method Man, and Notorious B.I.G. The series of prints on exhibit at the GLE gallery space concludes with vibrant reinterpretations of Adams Trusted Brands mixed media art series, which incorporates elements of vintage corporate advertisements, logos, and promotional materials. As Adams’ career progressed, he began collaborating with high-profile institutions such as The Smithsonian Museum and multinational companies such as Mattel, Coca-Cola, and Pabst Blue Ribbon. He has since used the Trusted Brands series as a form of artistic cultural commentary, reflecting on the evolution of commercial art throughout the past century in relation to his own creative path.

Read the full article here.


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