After founding the multifaceted arts and culture website The World’s Best Ever, David Wilfert found himself remarkably equipped to curate an expansive summer group show for Joshua Liner Gallery. “I’d been exposed to artists for seven years, so I had a big archive, essentially, within the website, so I went back and starting asking people,” he says. “All of these artists came through. I was blown away.”
Titled “All Types of Characters,” the exhibition opened last week and includes mostly original commissions from 34 contemporary artists who responded to Wilfert’s chosen theme of “characters,” as seen in comic books, cartoons, magazines, and more. The artists range from trending New York-based artists like photographer Jaime Warren and painter Jeanette Hayes, to old school graffiti idols like Chris “DAZE” Ellis, to comic-oriented illustrators like Jay Howell and Steve Nazar, whose work has never before been formally shown in a gallery. Wilfert did not know what the final exhibition would look like, but as works arrived prior to installation, loose subgroups emerged around works by commercial artists, depictions of women by female artists, and large-scale works, so Wilfert arranged them in the space accordingly.
All together, it’s a refreshingly colorful array for Chelsea, where galleries tend to err on the conservative side compared to Lower East Side or Brooklyn counterparts. “I was tired of going to galleries and seeing abstraction and not being excited,” explains Wilfert. “I grew up on cartoons, looking at advertising, dabbling in the graffiti world, so characters have surrounded me my entire life…When Josh asked me to do the show, I thought, ‘What’s relatable to everybody? Characters.'”
On the way out, viewers will see a section of wall where is listed each artist’s Instagram handle and the show’s hashtag (#AllTypesofCharacters). “I feel like everybody needs a little bit of a following…and because The World’s Best Ever is a website, I wanted to bring the digital element in,” says Wilfert. “This way the show will be online forever, until someone pulls the plug on the Internet.”
“ALL TYPES OF CHARACTERS” WILL BE ON VIEW AT JOSHUA LINER GALLERY THROUGH JULY 10, 2015.