2016 Solo Show, The Storefront Project
For FUGITIVE MATERIAL, his first New York City show, artist John Hagerty presents works culled and collaged from vintage advertising, Playboy centerfolds, stock photography and ephemera—in particular the 1970s—re-contextualized as abstract, figurative and surreal cut-ups casting new, often sinister light on a bygone yet perennially seductive eraHagerty is a self-taught artist who works as an art director in New York City. He was born in White Plains, New York in 1979, studying business and sociology at Le Moyne College in Syracuse and obtaining a Masters in Communication from Virginia Commonwealth University.
After working on the business side of advertising, he went back to school and landed a job in the creative department, ascending the ranks to Associate Creative Director. During a brief stint as a sanitation worker in 1998, he stumbled upon a stash of vintage Playboy magazines, which he began collecting, categorizing and cutting up into the 32 collages showcased in FUGITIVE MATERIAL.
Initially an escape from his day job — where on a given day he scans through thousands of digital images in photo archives across the Internet — Hagerty turned to collage as a way of going off-line and making handiwork out of the hoarded Playboys that became a window into the romanticized yet complex era that was the late 1960s and '70s.
Combining soft-core centerfolds with torn fragments from additional print sources, including cigarette and beer ads and childlike imagery from old stock photography manuals, Hagerty captures the tension between youthful nostalgia and the sinister, often salacious perspective that arises through the corruption of time, experience, fragmented memory and sensory overload. Thus a random Playmate of the Month placed opposite the Marlboro Man and superimposed atop a vintage pantyhose ad becomes an unsettling commentary on the sacred icons of the freewheeling '70s — stretched to its brink and ultimately collapsing in exhaustion before the conservative Reagan era took its place.
The Storefront Project is a new gallery space and creative collective located at 70 Orchard Street on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Operating hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 1pm to 6pm.