Family Guy

Painter looks at a half-century of American icons.

Pop-culture symbols share the spotlight in Friends and Family, now on view at Shaheen Modern and Contemporary Art. The exhibit features more than a dozen paintings of famous dead people -- like James Dean, Marvin Gaye, and Elvis -- by New York artist Keith Mayerson. There’s even a somber 9/11 piece, inspired by Mayerson’s view of the World Trade Center from his Soho apartment: Smoke billows from a gaping hole in one tower, while an airplane plows into the other. “If there’s any silver lining in that,” he says, “we’ve learned to love, respect, and take care of one another.”

Another work memorializes Matthew Shepherd, the gay Wyoming college student whose murder ignited a crusade to combat hate crimes against sexual minorities. “Like a film director, I cast these people to portray powerhouses who have made the world a better place,” says Mayerson. “Art is about waking people up and making them think of themselves and our situations in life.”
Tuesdays-Fridays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Starts: May 29. Continues through July 27