Al Diaz - SILVERTUNA STUDIOS + COLLECT WITH LULU
Curated by SILVERTUNA STUDIOS + COLLECT WITH LULU
Sept 1 - Oct 30, 2023
Al Díaz’s career spans five decades. Born and raised Puerto Rican in New York City, by age 15 he was an influential first-generation subway graffiti artist known as “BOMB-ONE.” His friendship and artistic collaboration with high school schoolmate Jean-Michel Basquiat on SAMO©, (a late 70s Avant-garde graffiti tag project) has been noted often in contemporary art history. Díaz later contributed percussion to numerous musical recordings and performances, including Basquiat’s historic 1983 record, “Beat Bop,” (considered to be one of the earliest hip-hop albums).
Díaz is sought-after as an expert of New York City counterculture art. He appears often in publications, as a highlighted speaker for a variety of panel discussions at universities and museums (including Smithsonian Institution, the Brooklyn Museum, The New School and Christie’s Education), and has been featured in several films, including Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean-Michel Basquiat, BBC’s American Masters — Basquiat: Rage to Riches and Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child.
Díaz’ current creative practice in Brooklyn includes gathering the standard “WET PAINT” signage used throughout the NYC MTA, and reconstructing them to create clever, poignant anagrams in various mixed media and public art formats. His work is shown and privately collected internationally.
In 2018, Diaz authored SAMO©...SINCE 1978, an in-depth, color illustrated history of the street art legacy that he began with Basquiat in the late 70s. A notebook that Díaz made with Basquiat in his teens is currently held in the collection of the Yale University Beinecke Library.
In 2023, Al curated the exhibition and released the book CITY OF KINGS: A History of NYC Graffiti chronicling the history of graffiti’s genesis in New York from its late 1960s origin to the present, as seen through the lens of writers who started the movement.
Silvertuna Studios is the brainchild and production arm of filmmaker and graffiti artist, Koz. Born and raised on Long Island, New York, Koz was constantly surrounded by art via his artist-parents who fully supported his artistic endeavors from the get-go. While it was comic books and the art of Michaelangelo that ignited his love for drawing, it was graffiti, the art witnessed on the street while on skating missions in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan, that set the bar and trajectory for his creative life. As a teenager, Koz was deeply impressed and transfixed by the scrawls of CAP, JA, PACE SWK, FIB, JEST, EASY, QUIK just to name a few. Professionally, everything changed for the better when he began obsessively filming himself and his fellow skateboarders during the early era of VHS, HI8 and Mini DV recording Days.
In his late 20's Koz went to work for the production company Vidiots Inc. in Manhattan, Koz would meet his filmmaking mentor and now Co-Owner of Silveruna Studios, Jeff Fisher, a Twelve-time Emmy Award winner. Within four years, Koz worked for over 20 different networks on more than 40 tv shows. After Vidiots Koz left to work for CBS where he was an Avid Media composer engineer, and later a photographer. His photography was showcased throughout their New York City headquarters. After a few years at CBS Koz headed to NBC to work on Talk Stoop as a camera operator and set photographer, where he was nominated for an emmy for his camera work. After NBC Koz left to start SIlvertuna, his Queens based production company, he premiered two episodes of a six-part series about graffiti artists in NYC called "The Blackbook Diaries" at the Angelika Theater. Currently, Koz is still working on the remaining episodes of the series, curating shows and working closely with the likes of legendary graffiti artist EASY, Chris RWK, Al Diaz (SAMO) Skateboarders Bam Margera and Zered Bassett as well as film actress, Kathrine Narducci. His goal is to have one of his films premiere worldwide.
Laura “Lulu” Reich is a curator, art dealer, collector, and former gallery owner with a focus on the personal aspect of art and collecting. She has over 15 years of experience representing creatives within the luxury market. Her inspiration is sharing artist's stories and creating meaningful connections with art lovers. She believes in the value of encouraging genuine conversations about art and life.
Lulu has spent her career within fashion, fine art galleries, auction houses, and their corporate offices in New York, Chicago, and Connecticut. She has assisted at Moniker Art Fair, Art Expo, Welling Court, POW WOW Worcester, the Bushwick Collective, and Wabash Arts Corridor. Lulu is passionate about supporting US and international contemporary, graffiti, and street artists. Recently Lulu founded her own independent art dealing and curation company Collect With Lulu, LLC.