Robert Miller Gallery is pleased to present ITICA PRITICA, an exhibition by Beezy Bailey and Dave Matthews. Comprising 28 silkscreened works and a film made in collaboration, as well as a large scale sculptural installation by Bailey, the exhibition will be the artists’ first together in New York.
Long-time friends, Bailey and Matthews, both born in South Africa, first worked together in 1999 creating six paintings that were exhibited at Africa’s first World of Music, Arts and Dance festival in Johannesburg. In 2012 they collaborated on the present body of work, a homage to Warhol and Rauschenberg in enamel, oil and silkscreen on canvas. The Statue of Liberty, the “fatman,” and Bailey and Matthews themselves are reoccurring motifs. The film, ITICA PRITICA, was made on the first day of their collaboration in New York while scouting for source imagery to be used in the silkscreened works. Settling on a graffiti backdrop on the Bowery, Bailey, who is known for alter egos, began dancing around dressed in the “fatman” costume (a stylized fat suit) while Matthews filmed the impromptu performance with his mobile phone. Matthews had recently produced a melancholic yet humorous musical composition, and this unreleased material later became the film’s soundtrack.
As it is in Heaven, an installation by Beezy Bailey will also be on view. Produced in 2012, the work consists of a rhinoceros skeleton with angelic wings and a golden horn. Theatrical lighting creates a haunting shadow as an audio loop of the Kings Collage Choir performs the music of Gregorio Allegri (1582-1652). This will be the first presentation of the work in New York. It will then travel to the Beijing National Gallery in China.
Beezy Bailey has participated in numerous exhibitions in South Africa and around the world and has collaborated with Adem Letch, Zwelethu Mthwthwa, and David Bowie among others. Alter-ego Joyce Ntobe was born of the frustration of "increasingly prevalent affirmative action" in post-Apartheid South Africa. Bailey submitted two artworks for a triennial exhibition - one with the traditional 'Beezy Bailey' signature (rejected) and the other signed 'Joyce Ntobe'. The ‘Ntobe’ is now in the permanent collection of the South African National Gallery. When the gallery’s curator was researching three black women artists for a paper, Joyce Ntobe being one, Bailey revealed himself as having produced the works causing a huge scandal in South Africa.
Dave Matthews is best known as the lead vocalist/guitarist for the Dave Matthews Band. In the years since his 1999 collaboration with Bailey, Matthews has continued to forge his own distinctive style as an artist. He created the album artwork for the band’s most recent No. 1 records — 2012’s Away From The World and 2009’s Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King. Matthews’ illustrations, infused with humor and a sense of wistfulness, echo and enrich the themes of each collection of songs.