Antony Zito - Then and Now


Mark Miller Gallery, 92 Orchard Street New York, NY 10002

Opening Reception: Thursday November 13 from 6-9pm

Exhibition on view through December 4, 2014

Gallery Hours: Wed thru Sun 12-6pm

With paintings incorporating collage and found materials created over the course of 20 years in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Antony Zito returns to his former home to discuss the dissolution of culture and the displacement of neighborhoods. In an exhibition anticipated by many long-time New Yorkers, Mark Miller Gallery hosts the first ever large-scale showing of Zito’s work from across two decades in the East Village.

Zito’s early portraits of friends and neighbors scribe a distinct line through the culture that once was the Lower East Side. This was his neighborhood and Zito painted its inhabitants onto the stuff they stepped over on the sidewalk, the displaced relics and detritus of the city. Included in the show, on loan from Jim Jarmusch, is Zito’s portrait of “Lee Marvin” that was hung alongside The White Stripes in “Coffee and Cigarettes”, the film which featured, yet another displaced Lower East Side legend, the late and infamous, Taylor Mead.

In 2008 his non-profit, 4heads, took over the decommissioned military houses on Governors Island to organize a massive annual exhibition. “Gems Among the Ruins”, The New York Times calls the 100 rooms of artwork, sprung up as if from nowhere, in the crumbling, dilapidated landmark buildings of Governors Island Art Fair in 2014.

Zito’s more recent paintings incorporate elements of collage, layering complex vignettes of implication, in stark juxtaposition to the pure clarity of his early portrait works. His collaged painting of “William Burroughs”, weaves overlapping horizons and Bosch-ian symbology, and portrays W.S.B. engaging the darkness, swallowing whole the experience of existing. Other pieces in the show portray distorted historical figures, corrupt deities, angered innocents, grinning junkies, visionary explosions of cosmic energy, and Ellis Island arrivals from distant shores, each feeding, in their own way, into the reality of displacement.

At the opening reception and during the run of the exhibition, Zito will be in the gallery painting live portraits on found objects, objects that the public will be asked to bring in as a product of their own adventures. Zito will paint them then and there, like he did on Ludlow Street, a decade earlier.


Displacement email image.jpg


(Zito Studio Gallery on Ludlow Street, 2004)


"Zito is one of my very favorite New York artists, partly because he thinks of himself as an artisan and partly because he's just a really fine and inventive painter.  I have two of his paintings, one is a portrait of Lee Marvin (commissioned for my film COFFEE AND CIGARETTES) and one of the Ethiopian master musician Mulatu Astatke (commissioned for my film BROKEN FLOWERS).  I value them greatly.  I hope for a few more in the future.  Hats off to Zito!"  

--Jim Jarmusch, Director


"Zito can capture your essence by painting on a found object for 20 minutes more effectively than more formal and pretentious artists can do by fussing on a canvas for weeks. A genius!"  

--Michael Musto, Village Voice


"Zito is a quick-draw artist of astounding talent.  I sat down for just a second and when I stood up there was a portrait of me. His work sells with equal speed."  

--Stephen Saban, the WOW Report


"Antony Zito took an old flowered cabinet door and transformed it into a cool, realistic portrait of myself that I felt compelled to buy on the spot. (I don't even like looking at myself either)  Did I mention he did it in about 7 minutes?  Because there is no way I could sit any longer. The best quick portrait painter in the business, with an amazing artistic flair. This guy is amazing."   

--Patrick McMullan, NYC Celebrity Photographer