Bass! How low can you go?

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© Courtesy of Leila Heller Gallery
Bass! How low can you go?
Curated by: Amir Shariat

568 West 25th Street
10001 New York
May 8th, 2013 - June 1st, 2013
Opening: May 8th, 2013 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Other (outside areas listed)
+1 212 249 7695
Tue-Sat 10-6; Mondays by appointment


Leila Heller is pleased to announce “Bass  How low can you go?,” a group show curated by internationally renowned collector Amir Shariat. Coinciding with the Frieze Art Fair,  the exhibition will be on view  from May  8  to  June 1, 2013 and will include works by  young  artists Erica Baum, Raphael Danke, Rachel  Lee Hovnanian,  Sheree Hovsepian, Anthony  Pearson,  Gibb  Slife,  Italian  masters  Alighiero  Boetti,  Agostino  Bonalumi,  Enrico Castellani, Lucio Fontana, Dadamaino, Paolo Scheggi, as well as Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol. 


Hip Hop artist Simon Harris’ 1989 Number One hit song “Bass (How low can you go?)” was based

on  a  sample  of  Public  Enemy’s  foot[stomping, metal  crunching  1987  song  “Bring  The Noise,”

which, itself, was covered by notorious thrash metal band Anthrax in 1991. In Bass (How low can

you  go?)”,  Simon  screams  “Turn  it  Up ”  and  “Yeah,  Boy ”,  each  phrase  sampled  from  Public

Enemy’s  legendary  frontmen  Chuck  D  and  Flavor  Flav.  “Bring  the  Noise”  remains  one  of  the

most sampled rap songs of all time. 


Rap  in a  sense  resembles contemporary art or even art at  large. Musicians and contemporary

artists mix, record, remix, sample, scratch, voice over and let the brushstrokes spin  The essence

of hip[hop and rap is based on sampling older songs, with the Godfather of Soul, James Brown,

being  the  number  one  sampled  king  of  music.  Contemporary  art’s  master  kingpin  is  Andy

Warhol and, also,  to a  large extent,  the  Italian Masters  of  the  second half  of  the  last  century.

“Mankind has become furious in the fast lane and art allows us to dream but also to reassess the

reality of the world we live in,” says Shariat. “The same way that we delve back into history to

better  understand  the  present  and  predict  the  future,  artists  find  inspiration  in  the works  of

previous generations.”



It is with the tools of history, coupled with an innate sampling spirit, that Erica Baum, Raphael

Danke, Sheree Hovsepian, Rachel Hovnanian, Anthony Pearson and Gibb Slife’s creativity comes

to  the  fore. The origins of  their  sins  can be  traced back  to Andy Warhol and also  to Agostino

Bonalumi,  Enrico  Castellani,  Dadamaino,  Lucio  Fontana  and  Paolo  Scheggi.  The  Italians  knew how to bend the fabric, slice the canvas and, finally, cut the Gordian Knot. Bonalumi, Castellani, Dadamaino and Scheggi represent the Italian post[war avant[garde, itself deeply associated with the Argentine[born Fontana. “Whilst juxtaposing the young guns’ works with their mentors’ one delights  in  the  fact  that  history does not  repeat  itself but  is  taken  to  the next  level,” observes Shariat.


Shariat  continues:  “When Chuck D  raps  “He  can  cut  a  record  from  side  to  side,” he  is  cannilyreferring  to Terminator X,  the  legendary Public Enemy DJ. Erica Baum and Gibb Slife allude  to the  voyeurism  of Warhol, while  the  former  revels  in  the  genius  of Michelangelo  Antonioni’s masterpiece  Blow%Up% and  the  latter  can’t  stop  our  innate  thirst  for  news  and  gossip.  Sheree samples  Fontana’s  slashes  for  only  Man  Ray  rescues  the  paper  from  being  sliced  up.  Her sculptures  then  take  Rodin  to  the  next  level  or  should  I  say  the  Tower  of  Babel?  Anthony,  a seasoned record collector, meets Bonalumi head on, takes his hand and shows him the way to America.  Rachel meets  Enrico  and  Enrico meets  Rachel:  it’s  not  the  economy  stupid,  it’s  the fabric  of  society   Raphael  D  rounds  them  all  up  and  shouts  “Danke”  to  Agostino,  Andy, Dadamaino, Enrico, Lucio and Paolo. Fontana’s 1946 White Manifesto  sums up  the exhibition:

"Matter,  color  and  sound  in  motion  are  the  phenomena  whose  simultaneous  development

makes up the new art".


Turn it Up  Bring the Noise  



About Amir Shariat:


Amir Shariat is a private equity executive who has been immersed in the art world for most of

his life, having lived mainly in Europe. He has been a member of the boards of Tate Patrons and

Tate Young Patrons, as well as a supporter and donor of projects such as Artangel and museums

such as Camden Arts Centre, ICA London and Tate Modern. Amir has been supporting various

charities in England and the USA via a program of art donations. He currently resides in Dubai,

where he is also a Patron of Art Dubai.