Rick Prol’s WEEGEE at Grey Art Gallery in Williamsport, PA
Rick Prol installing WEEGEE at the Grey Art Gallery in Williamsport, PA.

Rick Prol’s “Weegee” at the Grey Art Gallery in Williamsport, PA is a throwback to a New York when the world was black and white and crime scenes dominated the news, the streets and the public’s imagination.  The artist whose career surfaced from the rubble of the East Village scene in the 1980s, captured a similar sort of crime world with his own art.  Like Weegee (Arthur Fellig) who roamed New York’s Lower East Side looking for, finding and dramatizing death, Prol is also a legend who scratched the surfaces and came up with something equally unsettling and equally beautiful.  He’s still at it: “Weegee” imbues New York’s landscape with his iconic “cartoon expressionism,” and a world of hot paint featuring cat-like losers with broken bottles, knives and nails in their necks and heads. Here his characters attempting to cross New York City on a broken down bicycle sink into a nuclear slime; buses fly through a blood red post-apocalyptic sky, soldiers advance legless, bodies pile up along brick walls, and cars are stacked on top of each other, rusting into eternity.  There’s no hope in this Weegee World, but the brutality of living grinds on. And there’s a beauty to it all. Rick Prol: “Weegee,” on view from April 5 – May 12, 2012.  See Grey Art Gallery  for more gallery images and exhibition details; download the PDF catalog here.

Tags1980s New York Art, Cartoon Expressionism, East Village, grey art gallery, matthew rose, Rick Prol, Weegee
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