Out of Exile
“Grafitti Writers Return from Exile,” published by the Examiner on January 15, details the creative career of SAIC alumnus Mario ZORE Gonzalez Jr. (CS 1989–94), a visual artist who grew up tagging bridges and abandoned buildings around the city. This month, Gonzalez’s “historically significant cultural project” Has Beens & Wannabes opened at Zhou B Art Center, bringing together 21 underappreciated graffiti artists working in Chicago since the early 80’s. “A whole generation of artists was dismissed. We were ahead of our time,” Gonzalez says, describing the anti-graffiti resentments that kept many artists out of sight. “Say what you will about graffiti on the streets or subway trains, works by Mario Gonzalez Jr., a.k.a. ZORE, are joyously alive,” says writer Mary A. Osborne. “In the somber world of contemporary art, ZORE's large scale paintings are thrilling combination of letterforms, long brushstrokes, and paint drips on abstract monochromatic surfaces.” Gonzalez’s work is also featured in a concurrent solo exhibition Style Bombingat 33 Contemporary Gallery. Has Beens & Wannabes and Style Bombing both run through February 9.