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Canceled Poster Boy Show Moves to RAW


October 07, 2011

Poster Boy is coming back.

The New York-based street artist, whose planned exhibit at Trinity College in September, "Street Alchemy," was canceled at the last minute, will reassemble that exhibit at Real Art Ways, from Oct. 20 to Jan. 30, 2012. It will be called "Street Alchemy 2.0."

Poster Boy is the pseudonym used by Hartford native and Manchester Community College graduate Henry Matyjewicz, although Poster Boy insists that he is part of a collective of artists.

Poster Boy creates artworks by slicing up advertising billboards and reconfiguring them to cast ironic commentary on the object advertised, or on the advertising industry in general.

The Trinity exhibit was to have centered on two altered billboards, one for State Farm Insurance and another for the National Guard.

John O'Donnell, visual arts coordinator of Real Art Ways, says Poster Boy agreed to the show because "he's aware of Real Art Ways' history and our commitment to artists and artistic expression.

"We really believe in the rights of artists and their message," O'Donnell said. "He feels very comfortable about it."

While Poster Boy has cried censorship at the cancellation of the Trinity show, the college insists that the show was canceled for only one reason: because the artist uses stolen materials, a fact Matyjewicz freely admits. He has been arrested on multiple occasions in New York in connection with his work.

An opening reception will be Thursday, Oct. 20, from 6 to 8 p.m., in conjunction with Creative Cocktail Hour, at the arts venue at 56 Arbor St. in Hartford

Real Art Ways, entering its 35th year of operation, has a history of embracing artworks banned by other venues. Last year, the venue showed a video banned by Washington's National Portrait Gallery, David Wojnarowicz's "A Fire in My Belly." In 1999, it showed Tanya Butera's "Domesticated Pleasure," an exhibition about sex aids that was banned from the city's Pump House Gallery. In 1998, it accepted an exhibit of paintings by Connecticut state university students that was removed from the state Capitol. In 1996, it showed "Girls on the Beach,'' which was removed from the Connecticut Workers' Compensation Commission after complaints by some workers that it was demeaning to women.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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