Recap: Inner State Gallery at Scope Miami Beach featuring Ryann McCann, “Naturel” and Tyree Guyton
At this year’s Scope International Contemporary Art Show in the heart of Miami Beach, more than 100 of the leading contemporary galleries exhibited groundbreaking work from around the globe. One of the most buzzed about booths at Scope – which has proven itself a serious platform for the world’s leading contemporary artists and galleries – was none other than Detroit’s Inner State Gallery. The new kids on the block, who exhibited for their first time ever at the prestigious event, presented a multifaceted, yet all-star roster including Los Angeles Ryan McCann, Washington D.C.’s Lawrence “Naturel” Atoigue, and Detroit’s Tyree Guyton.
A few factors may have contributed to why Inner State was the most talked-about booth at Scope. The inclusion of Ryan McCann’s sculpture, “Death To Shepard Fairey”, was arguably the most controversial work of art at the entire fair. The premier showcasing of actual works from Tyree Guyton’s historical and internationally-recognized living installation, the Heidelberg Project was awesome, and Naturel’s capability of attracting some serious celebrity clientele, complete with entourages and camera crews gave the night some shine. Whether it was due to any of the above or a combination of all three, Inner State Gallery infiltrated Scope Miami Beach, solidifying its place in the contemporary art movement and fearlessly providing a platform for the counter-culture and extremely controversial sectors of the game.
Front and center of Inner State’s strategically located booth was Ryan McCann’s sculpture “Death To Shepard Fairey”, a six-foot, life-sized wall installation featuring a crucifixion-by-wheat-paste, if you will. The sculpture, depicting a deceased Shepard Fairey, aroused a spectrum of emotions about one of the most renowned artists in the contemporary art scene. In more ways than one, it provided considerable shock value for anyone strolling the center aisle of the fair, and gained significant social media attention as one of the most photographed pieces at Scope. The former NFL quarterback’s work is the latest release in his “Death To…” series that has tackled the likes of Kaws, Banksy, Jeff Koons, and Damien Hirst.
Aside from McCann’s sculpture, Inner State Gallery presented the first-ever solo show by the Maryland-born “modern tastemaker”, Lawrence “Naturel” Atoigue. His sold out exhibition featured seven original mixed-media works that were released publicly for the first time. Naturel, whose work is in high demand from clients such as Rihanna, Spike Lee, and LeBron James, has proven himself a legitimate influencer with a massive following that continues to skyrocket. His clean-cut triangular illustrations that blend cubism and pop culture through a surrealist lens were all the rage at Scope, as pop icons such as P. Diddy, Swizz Beatz, and Paul Rosenberg sought out his unique exhibition. In addition to the premier of his solo show, Naturel has demonstrated he knows what it means to go from zero to a hundred, real quick. He squeezed in his debut mural in Wynwood Arts District and curated the merchandise for a VIP-only Hennessy x Crooks-N-Castles event (which included the launch of his limited edition print collab with Crooks-N-Castles), all during Art Basel.
As if that’s not enough to spark some interest, Inner State Gallery topped off their Scope premier by exhibiting works from the legendary Tyree Guyton and his internationally acclaimed Heidelberg Project. Coined Detroit’s ‘Ghetto Guggenheim’, the Heidelberg project began as a way to take back the neighborhood from urban blight. Through art installations the area has been transformed into what is now described as the “most powerful outdoor environment in the world.” Inner State provided Scope attendees with a glimpse into Guyton’s world, showcasing a selection of sculptures created in the spirit of the Heidelberg Project, ranging from the project’s tumultuous demolition by the City of Detroit in 1999, to recent arson attacks. Guyton’s mixed media works, featured in his 2005 exhibition “American Flag”, were an additional highlight of Inner State’s booth. Many of Guyton’s art works exhibited at Scope have never been presented to the public commercially, living exclusively as installations in Detroit or in museums around the world. This feat alone is quite an accomplishment on behalf of the burgeoning Inner State Gallery, who, all things considered, set the bar quite high at its powerful and memorable Scope debut.