New York City artist, Al Diaz is coming to St Louis to open an exhibition of his current artwork at Cherokee Street Gallery on Saturday, September 8th. The exhibition is titled “SAMO© LIVES” and opens at the gallery with an artist talk by Diaz from 6:00 to 7:00 pm followed by an opening reception beginning at 7:00 pm.

Diaz says, “I’m psyched about showing theses new pieces. I’ve been preparing all summer for the Cherokee Street Gallery show. St. Louis is proving to be a Street Art Destination.” Al Diaz and Jean Michel Basquiat collaborated on the creation of the enigmatic graffiti tag “SAMO©”, pronounced “same oh” as in “same ‘ol shit” or “same ‘ol thing.”

It was a blasé expression of boredom in reaction to the repeated patterns of daily activity offered by modern life. Diaz and Basquiat worked to build the SAMO© concept by writing short cryptic slogans on the streets of New York City from 1977 to early 1980 tagged with the name SAMO©. According to Diaz, “SAMO© was never intended to be a person.”

Cherokee Street Gallery Founder, Benjamin Lowder’s take on SAMO© is that, “it was meant to be a brand or place holder for the empty promises presented by religion and consumer culture.”

Basquiat took over the SAMO© identity for a while as his art-world alter ego, but Diaz says it was never intended to be that and he presents an alternative viewpoint of what the enigmatic SAMO© actually was. August marks the 30th anniversary of Basquiat’s death and the Contemporary Art Museum St Louis is mounting an exhibition titled “Basquiat Before Basquiat” focusing on the same years that Diaz and Basquiat created SAMO© together.

Cherokee Street Gallery Manager Lisa Simani says, “it’s fortuitous timing that brings these two exhibitions together here in St Louis to present a more complete picture of this culturally significant collaboration between Diaz and Basquiat.”

Via Press Release

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