Moody Center for the Arts

Michael De Feo – Crosstown Traffic

Thursday, Jun. 9, 2016 – Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016

Untitled (Naomi Campbell by Steven Klein for Balmain) (detail), acrylic on magazine page, 10.75 x 8 inches, 2016

Untitled (Naomi Campbell by Steven Klein for Balmain) (detail), acrylic on magazine page, 10.75 x 8 inches, 2016

This summer Rice Gallery visitors will be treated to the color and energy of Crosstown Traffic, a new Summer Window installation by Michael De Feo. This is the 7th exhibition in the Summer Window series, which features works visible through the glass wall while the Gallery is closed for the summer. De Feo, who was profiled this spring in The New York Times, is a painter with a penchant for street art: he removes bus stop fashion ads, paints them with buoyant floral patterns, and then returns the new works.

Michael De Feo is known as “The Flower Guy” for his paintings of flowers that appear on the streets of New York and over 60 cities internationally. His iconic line drawing of a curving stem topped with daisy-like petals can be seen sprouting from the bases of telephone poles, tucked in between signs, and embellishing a myriad of surfaces. A project that started nearly 25 years ago and continues today began with a simple aim, says De Feo, “to spread some cheer and smiles in a city full of concrete, steel, and glass.”

De Feo found a new way of inserting his work into the daily life of the city when in 2014, Public Ad Campaign, an international alliance of artists founded by Jordan Seiler that provides access to municipal infrastructure for public dialogues, gave him a key to open advertising kiosks at bus stop shelters throughout New York City. He removes the locked-away fashion ads, brings them back to his studio, and paints on them using bold strokes of bright color and lush, encroaching, abstract patterns suggesting flowers. De Feo then returns the ads to different kiosks, completing what he calls a “quiet intervention” and an “unauthorized collaboration” with the company, model, photographer, and art director. The painted ads have been largely embraced by the fashion industry for their sensitive touch, whimsical quality, and beauty, which has led De Feo to unforeseen opportunities: designing two covers for the April 2016 issue of the Neiman Marcus catalogue, THE BOOK, and designing his own line of scarves and wraps for Echo New York.


About the Exhibition

Michael De Feo grew up in Rye, New York, graduating from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan in 1995 with a degree in graphic design. He began installing his art on the streets in the early 1990s, and in 1993 he started his now iconic flower project. A Master of Arts in Teaching from Manhattanville College in Purchase, New York led to a job teaching art at Westhill High School in Stamford, Connecticut for 15 years, until he left in 2013 to pursue his artistic career full-time. De Feo’s work has been shown at venues including The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT; MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA; Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR; The New Museum of Contemporary Art, NY; and StolenSpace, London, UK. He created a series of paintings for a line of women's accessories developed in partnership with Echo New York, which launched in March 2016. The products are available at Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor and echodesign.com.  De Feo also created work for a promotional campaign for designer Christian Louboutin. Michael De Feo lives and works in New York.  He is represented by Danziger Gallery in New York where he will have a solo exhibition opening July 13th, 2016.

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  • Tuesday - Saturday, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
    Hours change based on exhibition.
  • Free Hours: Always free and open to the public. Closed Sundays, Mondays, University Holidays, and during installation periods. Please check our website to confirm an exhibition is on view before planning your visit.

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  • Paid Parking
  • The Moody Center for the Arts is located on the campus of Rice University, and is best reached by using Campus Entrance 8 at the intersection of University Boulevard and Stockton Street. As you enter campus, the building is on the right, just past the Media Center. There is a dedicated parking lot adjacent to the building. Payment for the Moody Lot is by credit card only. Maps are available at rice.edu/maps

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Moody Cafe
Enjoy a coffee, beverage, or light bite to eat at the Moody Cafe, operated by Salento. The Cafe is open Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-2pm; visitors are also invited to use the laptop bar overlooking the Central Gallery (with free wi-fi) during open hours.

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