Futura American, b. 1955

Futura, the name sounds like a premonition already. Author of a visionary body of work, Futura is known for being one of the first graffiti artists to ever depart from lettering in the early 1980s and turn to abstraction. His famous work Break, painted over the entire length of a New York subway car in 1980, constitutes a major milestone. At the time the piece sparked the beginning of a revolution in the standards of graffiti. A revolution which is still ongoing, with many artists who continue today to claim Futura’s influence.

 

The artist grew up in New York. A teenager in the 1970s, those years which saw the rise of the graffiti and urban arts movement, he quickly took an active part in this period of great artistic emulation and soon made his own mark thanks to his unusual style. Futura therefore holds a unique status in the history of graffiti, both as pioneer and iconoclast of the movement.

 

He has sometimes been compared to Jackson Pollock for the expressiveness of his paintings. In his most abstract pieces, some would see connections with the work of Vassily Kandinsky. "These references spoke of the sophistication of Futura," recalls photographer Henry Chalfant, who has documented the graffiti scene since its inception. “He had been able to move away from lettering to echo the world of art. "

 

From the turn of the 80s, he developed the use of canvas in his practice, exhibiting alongside artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring or Kenny Scharf. The key elements of the style which we associate with Futura today were already there: clouds of color with subtle variations, fine lines that seem to be barely scratching the surface, and above all this astonishing fluidity that gives his work such a unique atmospheric mood. A personal touch and a virtuosity that make Futura an essential figure among urban artists today. After fifty years of career, he continues to be a painter with an ever-fertile creativity. One who was able, with his lofty abstract style, to stay relevant through the years and to free himself of reductive categories.

 

Leonard McGurr, a.k.a. Futura, was born in New York City in 1955. In the early 1970s, he founded the collective Soul Artists with Marc Edmonds, a.k.a. Ali. An actor of the influential underground movement which emerged in New York at the beginning of the 80s, he participated in the famous New York / New Wave exhibition at PS1 in 1981, a highlight of this period of cultural effervescence. At the same time he became friends with the group The Clash, for whom he painted on stage during concerts on the occasion of a European tour in 1981. Artist of historical importance, he is regularly invited to participate in projects and exhibitions by institutions around the world, including the Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the MOCA in Los Angeles and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Futura also runs his own design studio, Futura Laboratories, through which he collaborates with brands and fashion designers like Virgil Abloh (Off White, Louis Vuitton), Nike, Karl Lagerfeld, Lévi’s and many others. He lives in New York.

 

 


 photo Stéphane Bisseuil

 

Selected Solo Shows

 

 

2019

 

Abstract Compass, Danysz gallery in Hong Kong, Hong-Kong

 

Constellation, Gillman Baracks, Singapore

 

 

 

2018

 

Chez Nous, duo avec André Saraiva, Danysz gallery, Paris, France

 

The Bridges of Graffiti, Biennale de Venise, Venise, Italy

 

 

 

2014

 

Introspective, Galerie Danysz, Paris, France

 

Timewarp, Schusev State Museum of Architecture, Moscow, Russe

 

Futura, Galerie Danysz, Shanghai, China

 

 

 

2012

 

Futura Shock, Valmorbida, New York, USA

 

Expansion, Galerie Jérôme de noirmont, Paris, France

 

 

 

2009

 

Collection Patrick Lerouge, Ecole spéciale d’architecture, Paris, France

 

Odyssey Two, Galerie 95, Art Forum Berlin, Berlin, Germany

 

 

 

2008

 

Strategic Synchronicity, Galerie Phantom, Los Angeles, USA

 

 

 

2005

 

Futura 2000 Year in Pictures, V1 Gallery, Copenhague, Denmark

 

 

 

2003

 

U.N.K.L.E, Galerie ICA, Londres, UK

 

 

 

2002

 

The futura 2000 place, Space 3 (an Australian independent creative net work), Sydney, Australia

 

 

 

2001

 

Futura, Colette, Paris, France

 

 

 

2000

 

Futura 2000, Bob, New York, USA

 

 

 

1999

 

Futura 2000, Variant, New York, USA

 

 

 

1996

 

Futura 2000, Musée des Beaux Arts de Tourcoing, Tourcoing, France

 

Futura 2000, Solaria, Fukuoka, Japan

 

Futura 2000, Galerie Live stock, New York, USA

 

 

 

1994

 

Futura 2000, Galerie Cotthem, Knokke,  Belgium

 

Futura 2000, Time Space Light, New York, USA

 

 

 

1993

 

Futura 2000, Galerie Martin Lawrence, New York, USA

 

Futura 2000, Galerie Zero One, Los Angeles, USA

 

 

 

1992

 

Futura 2000, Galerie du jour Agnès b, Paris, France

 

 

 

1991

 

Futura 2000, Galerie du jour Agnès b, Paris, France

 

Futura 2000, Structures, Montpellier, France

 

 

 

1990

 

New paintings, Galerie Phillipe Briet, New York, USA

 

Futura 2000, Galerie B5, Monaco

 

 

 

1989

 

Ultimes Obres, Galerie Arcs & Cracs, Barcelone, Spain (catalogue)

 

New Works, Galerie du jour Agnès b, Paris, France

 

Futura 2000, Musée de Vire, Vire, France (catalogue)

 

 

 

1988

 

Futura 2000, Galerie Philippe Briet, New York, USA (catalogue)

 

 

 

1986

 

Futura 2000, Galerie Semaphore, New York, USA

 

 

 

1985

 

Futura 2000, Galerie Michael Kohn, Los Angeles, USA

 

Futura 2000, Galerie Tony Shafrazi, New York, USA

 

 

 

1984

 

Futura 2000, Galerie Fun, New York, USA

 

Futura 2000, Galerie Michael Kohn, New York, USA

 

Futura 2000, Galerie Tony Shafrazi, New York, USA

 

 

 

1983

 

Futura 2000, Four Blue Squares, San Francisco, USA

 

Futura 2000, Galerie Fun West, San Francisco, USA

 

Futura 2000, Baronian-Lambert, Gent,  Belgium

 

Futura 2000, Yaki Korinbilt, Amsterdam, Netherlands

 

Futura 2000, Galerie 51X, New York, USA

 

Futura 2000, Galerie Six,

 

Futura 2000, Galerie Fun, New York, USA

 

Futura 2000, Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris, France

 

 

 

1982

 

Futura 2000, Galerie Fun, New York, USA

 

Futura 2000, Fnac Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France

 

 

 

1981

 

Futura 2000, Soul Artists Alternative Space, New York, USA

 

 

 

 

 

Group shows

 

 

 

2019

 

Beyond the Streets, Brooklyn, NY, USA

 

 

 

2018

 

Beyond the Streets, Los Angeles, USA

 

Art from the street, curated by Magda Danysz, Art Science Museum, Singapore

 

 

 

2017

 

Street Generation(s), curated by Magda Danysz, Condition Publique, Roubaix, France

 

 

 

2016

 

Glamorous Graffiti, Nassau County Museum of Art, New York, New York, USA

 

 

 

2015

 

Choices 2, Galerie Danysz, Shanghai, China

 

Sleeping Beauty, Galerie Danysz, Paris, France

 

Interventions, Galerie Danysz, Paris, France

 

360 Degrees, Galerie Danysz, Shanghai, China

 

 

 

2013

 

Les Bains/résidence d’artistes, Galerie Danysz, Paris, France

 

Urban Art Biennale 2013, Volklingen, Germany

 

 

 

2012

 

Art From the Streets, CAFA art museum, Pékin, China

 

Deep Space, Joseph Nahmad Contemporary, New York City, USA

 

 

 

2011

 

Kings, Subliminal Projects, Los Angeles Kindergarten, Galerie Civica, Modène, Italy

 

Graffiti New York 80’s, Galerie Jérôme de Noirmont, Paris, France

 

Art in the Streets, The Geffen Contemporary of MOCA, Los Angeles (catalogue)

 

 

 

2010

 

Street and Studio, Von Basquiat Bis Seripop, Kunsthalle Wien, Museumsquartier, Vienne, Austria

 

 

 

2009

 

Natural Selection, Galerie Atkinson, Somerset, UK

 

From style Writing to Art, Galerie Danysz, Paris, France (catalogue)

 

Graffiti - Etat des lieux, Galerie du jour Agnès b, Paris, France

 

Né dans la rue : Graffiti, Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Paris, France (catalogue)

 

Futura, Phil Frost, Stash, Galerie Cuadro Fine Art, Dubaï, UAE

 

 

 

2008

 

The Elms Lesters Book and Christmas Exhibition, Elms Lesters Paintings Rooms, Londres, UK (catalogue)

 

Beautiful Losers – Contemporary Art and Street Culture, expositions itinérante (catalogue), La Casa Encendida, Madrid, Spain

 

 

 

2007

 

Small, Médium and Large, Elms Lesters Paintings Rooms, Londres, UK

 

Futura 2000 and Jose Parla – Pirate Utopias, Elms Lesters Paintings Rooms, Londres, UK

 

Beautiful Losers – Contemporary Art and Street Culture, exposition itinérante (catalogue), Museum Sztuki, Lodz, Poland

 

My 2007, Colette, Paris, France

 

 

 

2006

 

Ugly Winners, Galerie du jour Agnès b, Paris, France

 

Beautiful Losers – Contemporary Art and Street Culture, Exposition itinérante (catalogue) 

 

 

 

2005

 

Icygrape No. 1924, Elms Lesters Paintings Rooms, Londres, Royaume Uni

 

Beautiful Losers – Contemporary Art and Street Culture, exposition itinérante (catalogue) : Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach ; Contemporary Museum, Baltimore ; University of South Florida / CAM, Tampa, USA

 

 

 

2004

 

East Village USA, New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (catalogue)

 

Beautiful Losers – Contemporary Art and Street Culture Touring show (catalogue) : Contemporary Art Center of Cincinnati ; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, USA

 

 

 

2001

 

Renaissance 2001, New York City Urban Experience Museum, New York, USA

 

Graffs, Galerie du jour Agnès b, Paris, France

 

 

 

1999

 

Pittura Dura : Dal Graffitismo alla Street Art, Palazzo Bricherasio Foundation, Turin (catalogue)

 

Untitled, Byss Bistro, Hong Kong, China

 

 

 

1998

 

Reproduced 98 Marok vs Futura, Berlin, Cologne, Hambourg, Munich, Francfort, Germany

 

Untitled, Reproduced, Berlin, Germany

 

 

 

1997

 

Untitled, Tramshed, Londres, UK

 

 

 

1995

 

Untitled, Summersault Festival, Melbourne, Australia

 

Untitled, C World, New York, USA

 

Untitled, Alcorcon Exhibit, Madrid, Spain

 

Untitled, Candem Town, Londres, UK

 

Untitled, Tbm Experiment, Rome, Italy

 

 

 

1994

 

Spraycan Art, Galerie Sixth Congress, Tucson, USA

 

Le Temps d’un Dessin, Galerie de l’école des beaux-arts de Lorient, Lorient, France

 

 

 

1993

 

Untitled, Picasso Museum, Antibes, France

 

Untitled, Time Space Light, New York, USA

 

Untitled, Berlin Art Academy, Berlin, Germany

 

 

 

1992

 

Group Exhibition, Galerie Klarfeld Perry, New York

 

Coming from the Subway – New York Graffiti Art, Groninger Museum, Groningen (catalogue), Netherlands

 

 

 

1991

 

Untitled, Federal Reserve, Washington D.C., USA

 

Untitled, Musée du Trocadéro, Paris, France

 

Untitled, Galerie Greco, New York, USA

 

Untitled, Galerie du jour Agnès b, Paris, France

 

Untitled, Galerie Lawrence, New York, USA

 

Untitled, Galerie Liverpool, Bruxelles,  Belgium

 

 

 

1990

 

Artists of the year, Galerie Philippe Briet, New York, USA

 

Untitled, Galerie B5, Monaco

 

Untitled, Galerie Michael Kohn, Los Angeles, USA

 

Untitled, Galerie du jour Agnès b, Paris, France

 

 

 

1988

 

Untitled, Museum of American Graffiti, New York, USA

 

 

 

1987

 

Untitled, Galerie Michael Kohn, Los Angeles, USA

 

 

 

1986

 

Untitled, Semaphore East, New York, USA

 

 

 

1985

 

Untitled, Galerie Flow Ace, Los Angeles, USA

 

Untitled, Kentucky Litho Building, Louisville, USA

 

 

 

1984

 

Rapid Enamel The Art of Graffiti, The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA

 

Homage to Picasso, Galerie Tony Shafrazy dans le Forum International Kunstmesse Zuric, Hall 7, Booth 703, Zurich, Suisse

 

Miauhaus, Thread Waxing Space, New York, USA

 

Summer Exhibition, Galerie Fun, New York, USA

 

Arte di Frontiera : New York Graffiti, Touring exhibition (catalogue) : Galerie d’arte Moderna di Bologna, Bologne, Italy ; Palazzo delle Esposizioni, Rome, Italy

 

Urban Confrontation, Galerie Ben Shahn, Wiliam Patterson College, Atrium, USA

 

Untitled, Galozzi La Palaca, New York, USA

 

New York Graffiti, Louisiana Museum, Copenhague (catalogue), Denmark

 

Untitled, Galerie Seibu, Tokyo, Japan

 

Graffiti, Groninger Museum, Groningen, Netherlands

 

Untitled, Galerie Robert Fraser, Londres, UK

 

Classical American Graffiti Writers and High Graffiti Artists, Galerie Thomas, Munich, Germany

 

 

 

1983

 

Post Graffiti, Galerie Sydney Janis, New York (catalogue), USA

 

New New York, Galerie Brentwood, St Louis, UK

 

Painting, Sculpture, Totems and 3D, Galerie Tony Shafrazi, New York, USA

 

Champions, Galerie Tony Shafrazi, New York (catalogue)

 

New Art at the Tate Gallery, Tate Gallery, Londres (catalogue), UK

 

Graffiti, Museum Boymans – van Beuningen, Rotterdam (catalogue), Netherlands

 

Untitled, Galerie Fay Fold, Atlanta, USA

 

Untitled, Galerie Fun, New York, USA

 

Untitled, Galerie 51X, New York, USA

 

Untitled, Greenville Museum, Greenville Caroline du Sud, USA

 

Untitled, Galerie 121, Antwerpen,  Belgium

 

Untitled, Galerie Monique Knowlton, New York, USA

 

Untitled, Galerie American Graffiti, Amsterdam, Netherlands

 

Untitled, Lucky Strike, New York, USA

 

 

 

1982

 

New York Now, exposition itinérante (catalogue) : Kestner-Gessellschaft, Hanovre, Germany ; Kunstverein Munchen, Munich, Germany ; musée cantonal des beaux-arts, Lausanne, Suisse ; Kunstverein fur die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Dusseldorf, Allemange

 

Kenny Scharf and Futura 2000, Galerie Tony Shafrazy, New York, USA

 

South Bronx Art Show, Fashion Moda, New York, USA

 

Dondi, Futura 2000, Zephyr, Bank of America, Hong Kong

 

New York / New Wave, P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, USA

 

Untitled, ESSES Studios, U.S.S.C., Santa Cruz, USA

 

 

 

1981

 

Beyond Words : Graffiti Based-Rooted-Inspired Works, Mudd Club, New York, USA

 

New York /  New Wave, P.S.1., Institute for Art and Urban ressources, Long Island City, USA

 

Evnets, Fashion Moda, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York (catalogue)

 

Untitled, Mudd Club, New York, USA

 

 

 

1980

 

Graffiti Art Success of America, Fashion Moda, New York, USA

 

Untitled, S.A., Soul Artists Alternative Space, New York, USA

 

Beyond Works : Graffiti Based-Rooted-Inspired Works, Mudd Club, New York, USA