101/EXHIBIT proudly presents Morally Reprehensible, a solo exhibition from artist and critic Pedro Vélez. This is the artist’s first showing with the gallery and will include new paintings on canvas, collage, and the artist’s signature banners. A limited edition, tri-fold conceptual show card designed by Vélez will accompany the exhibition. Additionally, the show will feature a soundtrack by Gardy Pérez, an experimental musician and leader of the seminal shoegaze band un.real, who is a long time collaborator of Vélez's. One copy of the soundtrack will be available which includes a poster/collage based upon the audio.
The opening reception with the artist will be held on Saturday, May 3rd, from 7 – 10pm, and will conclude on July 12th. 101/EXHIBIT is located in West Hollywood at 8920 Melrose Ave on the corner of North Almont Drive, one block south of Santa Monica Blvd. This opening will also serve as the re-launch celebration of 101/EXHIBIT’s original and newly remodeled 1,300 square foot West Hollywood gallery space.
For his first exhibition in Los Angeles, Pedro Vélez will produce a new series of paintings on canvas based on photographs taken by the artist over a period of seven years. These works combine quotes by other art critics, imagery of hotel room views, bits and pieces of personal conversations, and portraits of art world figures and sites to create a visual essay in which beauty, art journalism, social media, race, and political corruption collide. With Morally Reprehensible, Vélez mimics the way the majority of art critics distribute information today. This exhibition culminates the quadrilogy about morality and art criticism he started with #DrunkDictators, recently on view at Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago, #ProtestSigns at Galeria Obra Alegria in San Juan, and #TheMonochromaticCritics, his installation currently on view until May 25th at the 2014 Whitney Biennial.
For those unfamiliar with Pedro Vélez, it is important to consider the immediacy of his artistic process and how it wells up directly from his strong opinions of today’s social and political ills. Much in the way that Jean Michel Basquiat, when under the gun for a rapidly approaching exhibition could switch into a raw and frenetic zone of artistic production, Vélez has the ability to become just as mentally and physically prolific, which allows him to keep the content spontaneous, up-to-date, and even revolutionary. Much of Morally Reprehensible is currently being produced during Vélez’s four-week residency at his alma mater Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in Puerto Rico, where he earned his degree in communications in 1994.
Vélez makes no claim to be an agent of change, for as the old saying goes, “You can lead the horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”. Of course this, as most sayings go, uses the right words, as does this press release. Therefore, to curb the often direct whistle-blowing that Vélez can concern himself with, an invented anti-language is often applied to his compositional text work that puts the responsibility in the viewers’ hands to make use of the supplied information, fill in the gaps, and develop one’s own opinion on the matter. As a further courtesy, Vélez appeases the culture of looking in which we exist today, as his works also have a certain and undeniable hipness in their appearance. As many celebrity interior designers and real estate agents have gleefully chanted on their reality shows, “if it looks good, it is good!”, Vélez simply prefers to expose such misnomers.
Pedro Vélez was born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico in 1971. He lives and works between New York City, the Midwest, and San Juan, Puerto Rico. He has participated in American and international solo and group exhibitions at numerous galleries, museums, and art fairs including the Whitney Biennial 2014 in New York and #DrunkDictators, an “On The Wall” installation at Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago. Past shows include A Study in Midwestern Appropriation, curated by Michelle Grabner, at the Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago; Contemporary Passions: American, European, and Latin American Art from the Serapión and Belk Collection, Museo de Arte de Ponce, PR (2012); Eraser, curated by Rachel Furnari, at Magnan Metz Gallery in NYC (2011); The Day of the Corrupt at Western Exhibitions, Chicago (2009); Epilepsy and Pegatina and Adult Porn, Plush Gallery in Dallas (2007); Godfuck at Galeria Comercial, San Juan, Puerto Rico (2006).
His work as an artist and writer have been discussed in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Artspace, Frieze, El Vocero Newspaper, and Artforum among many other publications. For 10 years Pedro Vélez maintained a regular column about the art scenes in San Juan and Chicago for Artnet Magazine and his writing has been published in Newcity, New Art Examiner and Arte al Día. He was also the controversial editor of the blog El Box Score in San Juan.
101/EXHIBIT was founded in 2008 by Sloan Schaffer in Miami, FL. Named after its original location, 101 NE 40th St., the gallery actively represents an international group of prolific emerging and established contemporary artists. Initially built around artists who emphasize the human form and figurative concerns, the gallery program embraces unparalleled craft, counter trend experimentation, New Media, and deviations into abstraction, installation-forward, and object-based works to expand the greater initiative of the program.