By Marie Kloor & Dan Nielsen for Scrimshaw Collective
Last week we were fortunate enough to attend the opening of The Bradley Theodore Experience at ACA Galleries, at 529 West 20th Street, above the Highline. Bradley Theodore is known for creating art using fashion icons as inspiration, so it was only fitting that his exhibit debuted during NYC’s Fall Fashion Week. However, stepping out of the service elevator into the iconic Chelsea gallery, we were greeted not only by fashion types, but also by an eclectic crowd hailing from industries such as finance, media and tech - truly showing Bradley’s diverse group of fans.
It’s not a surprise that many New Yorkers feel a connection to Bradley’s art, it’s become prominent in the city, from street art on the Lower East Side to framed paintings in the Dream Downtown Hotel. It was over a year ago when we first visited Bradley’s collection in NYC, and we were excited to see over 30 of the artist’s new works from his hiatus overseas. The event also marked Bradley’s first ever solo exhibit in NYC, and ACA Galleries curated the experience flawlessly.
Upon arrival, we were served Chandon and Moet champagne out of colorful Bradley Theodore-inspired bottles and encouraged to take photos with the iconic Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld installation. The new additions were prominently displayed, showcasing the artist’s distinctly vibrant style, and derived inspiration from his recent international travels. Bradley’s iconic skeletal portraits featuring Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld, Kate Moss and George Washington were also on display.
The real crowd pleaser however was a live Virtual Reality demonstration featuring Bradley himself. The demo showcased Bradley’s technique, as he painted on a screen using a 3-D headset and virtual color palette. Viewers were truly immersed in The Bradley Theodore Experience as they saw a painting created in front of their eyes. The demo represented ACA’s first ever interactive, VR environment as part of an exhibition and was yet another example of the gallery’s prowess for curating events.
After completing the VR demonstration, Bradley took it upon himself to meet and greet his fans. We had heard he often spends time discussing his art and inspiration with anyone bold enough to ask, but what unfolded was beyond expectation. He expressed words of encouragement to aspiring artists, took photos, and even gave out a few hugs. When our turn came to speak with him we asked about our favorite painting For the Love of Kate II featuring Kate Moss with a cigarette. Bradley observed the painting for a minute before answering, “It’s not the look that’s important...it’s her attitude”. Bradley followed up with a firm handshake, a healthy clap on the shoulder, and a very genuine “thank you for coming and supporting me.” As we were about to leave we saw him waiting in line at the open bar...at his own event; the ultimate sign of humility and respect.
Thank you to ACA Galleries for the invitation, and of course a huge thanks to Bradley Theodore. Please enjoy more shots of the exhibition below and make sure to check it out yourself at ACA Galleries in Chelsea.