From walls to subway trains to the gallery, Lee Quinones has watched as his style of art took the world by storm. “Wild Style”, subway trains. Both are iconic facets of New York’s culture and the global street art movement. Quinones is a celebrated figure in both the contemporary art world and in popular culture circles, faithfully producing work that is ripe with provocative socio-political content and intricate composition.
Born in Ponce, Puerto Rico in 1960, Quinones was raised in New York’s Lower East Side. By age 5, Lee showed a penchant for drawing, instinctively drawn to the colorful characters of his neighborhood and the more fantastical realm of Japanese post-war science fiction monster films.
These cultural cues would later shape much of his work as he gravitated to the urban underground during the explosive 1970s in New York. Against the perilous backdrop of a fractured city, Lee painted his first subway piece in 1974. Inspired by the leading figures of subway lore, Lee began creating whole 40-foot subway car murals in late 1975. By 1976, Lee was a shadowy legend, leaving his fervent mark in a voracious whole subway car campaign strewn across the #5 IRT. Over the next decade he would paint an estimated 115 whole subway cars throughout the MTA system. Lee was instrumental in moving enamellist art above ground when he stealthily painted “Howard the Duck,” the first entire 25 x 30 foot handball court mural, in the spring of 1978 outside of his Corlears Junior High School #56.
Lee had his first solo exhibition in 1979, which was also the first international show to feature graffiti-based art. One year later, Lee made his New York gallery debut with “The Third Phase” at the White Columns Gallery, ushering in an era as spray paint made the transition from moving objects to stationery canvas. That same year, he was part of the seminal Times Square show held in an abandoned massage parlor that highlighted the post-modernist masters of the day,including Jenny Holzer, Keith Haring and Jean Michel Basquiat. As his work gained widespread exposure, Lee found himself at the cross-section of two movements in their infancy- hip-hop and punk rock, which provided context for the direction of his work.
Much of this influence was due to Fred Brathwaite who sought out Lee in 1979. Lee credits Brathwaite – known as Fab Five Freddy- for single-handedly fusing uptown hip-hop flavor with the gritty downtown punk aesthetic. Lee starred in director Charlie Ahearn’s Wild Style, a film loosely written about Lee’s life, endearing him to a generation of hip-hop fans that premiered in 1983. His work also appeared in Tony Silvers and Henry Chalfant’s 1983 documentary film Style Wars. The art and music of the time further meshed as Lee, Fab Five Freddy and Jean Michel Basquiat designed backdrops for Blondie’s infamous “Rapture” video. Lee’s body of work extends across a massive scope – from canvas to large murals and installation to elaborate commissions. His collaborations with companies include a 25th anniversary edition of the Adidas shoe as part of a series including the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Missy Elliott, of which his edition sold out worldwide in half a day. He has also worked with Ford Motor Company, Nike, IFC TV, Viacom, Absolut Vodka, and Automobile Magazine among others.
Lee’s paintings are housed in the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of Art, the Museum of the City New York, the Groninger Museum (Groningen, Netherlands) and the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (Rotterdam, Netherlands, and have been exhibited at the New Museum Of Contemporary Art (New York City), the Museum of National Monuments (Paris, France) and the Staatliche Museum (Germany). He has has lectured at universities and cultural institutions including New York University, Columbia University, and others. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, he raised $65,000 for the Boys and Girl’s Clubs of America by riding a bicycle from New York to Miami. For his humanitarian efforts, October 27th is officially Lee Quinones Day in New York, an honored bestowed by both Manhattan and Brooklyn borough presidents. While the nature of Lee’s work continues to evolve, his artistic identity remains rooted in principle and adherence to highly detailed, composition that defined his work on the subways.
“A true art movement never goes by the script, instead it flips the script, faithfully reinventing itself.”
- Andrew Schoultz
- Camille Rose Garcia
- Clare Rojas
- Cleon Peterson
- Dana Louise Kirkpatrick
- Deedee Cheriel
- Ernesto Yerena Montejano
- Estevan Oriol
- Evan Hecox
- Gary Panter
- How and Nosm
- James Cauty
- Jamie Reid
- Jen Stark
- Jim Houser
- Keith Haring
- Lee Quinones
- Mark Mothersbaugh
- Maya Hayuk
- Monica Canilao
- Neck Face
- Ravi Zupa
- Richard Colman
- Ryan McGinness
- Shepard Fairey
- Space Invader
- Stanley Donwood
- Thomas Campbell
- Tim Armstrong
- Winston Smith
- WK Interact
Day Time Exhibits
Join us in 2016 for an exhibition unlike any other curated by Shepard Fairey. Artwork will be available for purchase at the event.
Tickets to the exhibit will go on sale in Spring.
A Single-Day Pass gives you full access to explore over 40 world famous street and contemporary artists.
Feel free to walk in any time during daytime hours (10AM – 6PM).
Tickets will be $12* at the door.
Children 10 and under are allowed in free with a ticket-holding adult.
Full Cash Bar available.
Evening Aftershow tickets sold separately.
Art Alliance 2014 was proudly sponsored by Hennessy.
A portion of 2014 event proceeds were donated to Chicago Art Partnerships In Education (CAPE).
*plus applicable service charges
The 2014 Aftershows featured a live performance from Nas, Z-Trip, Deltron 3030 and DJ Shepard Fairey.
2016 Aftershow details coming soon. Join our E-List to be the first to know.
while you experience each unique installation and exhibit from The Provocateurs.
Artwork will be available for purchase at the event. Doors at 9PM, show at 10PM. Advance tickets may be purchased above, at a discounted rate of $20. Tickets will be $22 at the door. 18+
Full Cash Bar available. Capacity will be limited.
Art Alliance is proudly sponsored by Hennessy.
A portion of the event proceeds will be donated to Chicago Art Partnerships In Education (CAPE).
About Art Alliance 2014
One of the largest art shows ever assembled, the 2014 Art Alliance: The Provocateurs, featured trailblazers of the art world such as Shepard Fairey, Swoon, HAZE, Space Invader, Dzine, Mark Mothersbaugh, FAILE, Ryan McGinness, Winston Smith, RETNA, Stanley Donwood, Monica Canilao, Clare Rojas, Estevan Oriol, Evan Hecox, Gary Panter, Jen Stark, Camille Rose Garcia, Revok, Cleon Peterson, D*Face, WK Interact and many others. 2016 information coming soon.
The show was far more than a typical exhibition, combining world class art with experiential and interactive components such as: music, public art, panel discussions, charities, local community interests, and education.
In 2014, the Art Alliance: The Provocateurs exhibition took place during, and in partnership with, Lollapalooza, one of the largest music festivals in the world, which draws hundreds of thousands of culturally sophisticated and creatively curious visitors to Chicago each summer. The energy and vibrance of our selected visual artists parallels that of the musicians who rock the festival every year. Cross-pollinating with the Festival allowed the art show to reach beyond the all-too-often narrow audience for art.
The 2014 event was proudly sponsored by Hennessy.
Art Alliance: The Provocateurs was held at Block Thirty Seven, 109 N. Dearborn Street, in a beautiful 25,000 square foot loft-like space encompassing an entire city block in the heart of the Loop.
A portion of the event proceeds were donated to Chicago Art Partnerships In Education (CAPE), an organization which inspires students to be passionate about their education by weaving visual and performing arts into their classroom lessons. They bring academic subjects to life through art, and partner teaching artists with Chicago Public School teachers to develop original, creative lesson plans.
Are you interested in partnering with or sponsoring the 2015 event? Please contact Courtney Graber Trucksess for more info.
E-mail List & Social Media
Sign up for our Official E-mail List or follow us on social media to be on the list for special offers & official updates:
For questions on the 2016 exhibit, aftershow or anything else, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you interested in partnering or sponsoring the event in 2016? Please contact Courtney Graber Trucksess for more info.