Peter Max Brings New Show to State of the Arts Gallery

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BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY FEB 24, 2017

Pop art icon Peter Max will be in Sarasota this weekend for the opening of a newly curated retrospective exhibit at State of the Arts Gallery. Entitled The Art of Peter Max, the show hangs for only three days in State of the Arts’ Gallery C, with two appearances by the artist scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

Painting prolifically since his appearance on the arts scene in the 60s and 70s, translating the Summer of Love and psychedelia into his signature illustrative style, all bright primary colors and thick lines. Over the ensuing half century, Max rose to prominence alongside figures like Jackson Pollock and Robert Rauschenberg, has painted for five presidents and been the official artist of global events ranging from the Olympics to the World Cup. He was tapped to In this current exhibit, Max present work from this time, as well as a new series of homages to the Old Masters.

Set to a Woodstock-inspired soundtrack, the walls of Gallery C are packed with more than 100 paintings from Max’s career. The subject matter ranges from pop art iconography—Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, a collage of 60s musicians from The Rolling Stones to Frank Zappa—to a solid display of Americana in countless US flags and portraits of the Statue of Liberty and the classic “LOVE” in acid-trip bubble letters. Through it all, Max retains his bold and distinct palette. Along one wall, his most recent work sees the artist offering his own take on some of the most famous paintings by artists such as Van Gogh, Renoir and Dali.

But for his decades of success, including producing work for the cover of TIME magazine, Max remains seemingly indifferent towards ideas of fame and immune to navel-gazing, reluctant to over-examine himself or his art. “I just love painting,” he says. “I don’t paint for any other reason except I love to paint. I love the moment.”

The Art of Peter Max opens tonight at 6pm at State of the Arts Gallery with a reception with the artist. The exhibit hangs through the weekend with a second appearance by the artist from noon to 2pm on Saturday. All work is for sale.

Pictured: "Cosmic Runner" by Peter Max. Photo courtesy of the artist.

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