Born in 1938, the New York artist Steve Gianakos began developing his artistic language in the mid-1960s, in the midst of the Pop Art explosion on one hand and during the early days of Minimal Art on the other. From the clean brushstrokes of his paintings from the 1970s and 80s to the photocopied collages that began to proliferate later in his career, his lines have always remained sober and precise, distilling his trivial truths with a visual efficiency worthy of commercial art. As a Pop artist, Gianakos delves into a variety of sources—adult comics and 1950s children’s books amongst others—while encompassing references to Dada as well as Surrealism, his oeuvre is denoted by its overtly erotic and gory, punk attitude, leading to its qualification as underground. The most obscene, comical and cruel scenes are depicted in the naïve style of vintage comic books, joyfully undermining the American Dream.
Gianakos’ works feature in the most prestigious American public collections—MoMA, the Guggenheim, the New York Whitney Museum—as well as the CNAP collections in France. During the 1970s and 80s, he enjoyed exhibitions at PS1 in New York, Metro Pictures and the Marian Goodman and Barbara Gladstone galleries. In more recent years, he has participated in collective exhibitions at the MoMA, the Brooklyn Museum and the Queens Museum in New York and the Bonnefantenmuseum in Maastricht with Richard Artschwager, Peter Saul and John Wesley. In 2017, the Musée des beaux arts de Dole (FR) held a large retrospective exhibition of his oeuvres.