Hello City: Urbanity on Paper Opens Tonight

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“The city is a fact of nature, like a cave, a run of mackarel, or an ant heap,” wrote Lewis Mumford. “But it is also a conscious work of art, and it holds within it communal framework many simpler and more personal forms of art.” Emphasis on the art, not the mackarel, at New York’s Anna Kustera Gallery, which tonight hosts opening festivities for “Urbanity on Paper,” a group show that takes the city as its subtext. The works on view include graphic designs by Ju$t Another Rich Kid, photographic works on paper by Charles LaBelle and Laure Leber, and a mixed-media installation by Regina Joseph.

We asked New York-based artist and designer Ju$t Another Rich Kid (a.k.a. Ken Courtney) to describe his piece in the show (pictured above), an untitled diptych in black inkjet and red acrylic ink that features a blood-spattered flyer for a New Year’s Eve party headlined by the The Heartbreakers and The Ramones. “How would I describe it? Actually, I wouldn’t,” he told us. “It’s a visual piece and not a conceptual one.” A frequent appropriator of images, he particularly likes the look of those related to music (see also his fetching Bauhaus t-shirt and his Depeche Mode project for Bon magazine). As for the blood, it’s part of an ongoing series called “Blood Simple.” So, did Courtney ring in 2008 with a rocker-studded “Champagne Party” of his own? “Went to a friend’s party in Greenpoint, then another friend’s party in Williamsburg, then an after party at a friend’s photo studio,” he says. “I won’t tell you what happened after hours. That’s a secret.”