The Rape of The Masters

April 11 - May 13, 2015


Our upcoming solo with New York based artist Tom Sanford will definitely give art historians problems with their libido, or perhaps the opposite - a hard on!

Amongst the victims of Sanford’s brushed act of violence you will find Mona Lisa wearing a burkha, Édouard Manet’s Olympia with a bottle of bourbon whiskey and Kim Jong-Un’s head served on a silver plate by The President of The United States of America, Barack Obama! All of this and more are spread across seven canvases, all reproductions of selected historical masterpieces from the 16th century’s Leonardo daVinci to the 20th century’s Grant Wood. All commissioned from a commercial painting workshop in Shenzhen China, only to be tampered with by Sanford in his New York studio.

“What would it feel like to work into a great painting? To deface (and probably ruin) a work that one has the greatest respect for? What would happen when my starting point was a complete and probably perfect painting?” 

Sanford will also show ten of his customized Mao paintings. A series based on reproductions by Zhang Zhenshi’s portrait of Chairman Mao. This is one of the most recognized image of Mao, and also the very image that Andy Warhol chose to appropriate in his series of Chairman Mao paintings and prints.

”The common denominator of my work is that I want to make images that are quickly and easily accessed by the viewer. This certainly goes for the Mao paintings, I feel they fail if the joke of painting over the famous Mao image is not immediately obvious, and it is for this reason that I like to present them in a group of several Maos. That said, with a little more consideration I hope the paintings reveal another layer of meaning. The above few paragraphs outline that slightly obscure second layer of meaning. Another possible, and equally intended reading of a painting such as my Custom Dame Edna Mao would be, “Gee, that Mao Zedong sure does make a funny looking drag queen.”

Tom E. Sanford (b. 1975) in Bronxville, NY






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