By Jacqueline Monahan
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Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Launches Modern Art Rock Event Series

This time, it was modern art that rocked the house at the Hard Rock Hotel.

The inaugural January 27 exhibition, held in the ultra-chic lounge area located on the second level of the HRH Tower, (an escalator will get you right into the middle of it) was the beginning of a monthly art series that will showcase artwork by M Modern Gallery.

Gallery curators Jay and MiShell Modern featured a Retro Rhythm, an exhibit themed around retro and rock artwork to kick-off what is to become a monthly event.  Works by three California-based artists hung from black wire racks, which highlighted their vibrancy and framed each one’s retro nature with an urban backdrop.  The effect was dynamic as each artist’s color, theme and style seemed to complement the work of his co-exhibitors.

For example, SHAG (aka Josh Agle) displayed his mod side with works entitled West Coast Jazz and Four Drummers of the Apocalypse.  The stylized serigraph prints are reminiscent of cartoon scenes from the sixties.  Drummers has a Tiki statue in it, while Jazz has a turntable with a bubble cover and a cool cat appreciating the sounds.
West Coast Jazz by SHAG (12 color serigraph print)  $650
SHAG took his name from the last two letters of Josh and the first two letters of Agle.  The former freelance commercial illustrator had his first solo gallery exhibition in 1997 and, in addition to the United States, has had his work shown in Japan, Europe and Australia.
Four Drummers of the Apocalypse by SHAG (9 color serigraph print)  $650
Chris Reccardi’s Miss Modular 1 shows a cool blue guitar-playing girl (with bobbed hair, headband and white lipstick) that looks as if she could be at home in any one of SHAG’s portraits.  So could the man in Opus Mod Plus, reed-thin, seated on a stool at a curvy keyboard, and wired to a host of screens and electronics.  He’s got sideburns, too, and sits amid the scarlets, browns, oranges and muted yellows, captured in a perpetual groove.
Miss Modular 1 by Chris Reccardi (giclee on canvas print) $229
An award-winning animator, designer, story artist, director and musician, Reccardi has contributed to The Ren & Stimpy Show, Samurai Jack, and Powerpuff Girls, among many others. He has completed conceptual art/design on features currently in development at DreamWorks, Film Romance (Rob Zombie's Haunted World of El Superbeasto") and Sony Pictures Animation's Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.  Reccardi will show his work in Melbourne, Australia later this year and has had solo exhibits in Palm Springs, Denver, Seattle and Los Angeles.
Opus Mod Plus by Chris Reccardi (giclee on canvas print) $250
Then there’s Zoey Stevens, infusing the mod mood with a rock element featuring celebrity musicians along with people in the throes of performance, famous or not.  You get the feeling that he was influenced by black-light posters of the seventies, only you don’t need one to be ambushed by his electrifying acrylic shades.  His Pink captures the singer in all of her ferocious performance energy, while Punk as F**k depicts a female singer in a contortion only a stage persona could bring out.  Stevens preserves the urgency of the image, as if it would bleed if it could.  Paint spatters help, but the movement is all Stevens’ doing.
Three Works by Zoey Stevens (acrylic on panel)
The former art director served an impressive list of clients, including Disney, Seaworld, Nickelodeon and Universal Studios in Florida.  His paintings are in the art collections of such notables as Dennis Rodman, Howard Stern, and Las Vegas celebrity chef Kerry Simon.  Stevens has also created three large paintings for the opening of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s Reliquary Salon.
Pink by Zoey Stevens (acrylic on panel) $800
Even the featured cocktail was a retro creation called The Clover Club, dating all the way back to the days before Prohibition.  With its mix of gin, lemon, raspberry topped a frothy egg white blanket, it was a strong and sweet reminder of days gone by, capturing an era in a glass the way the featured artists had on canvas and serigraph.   As the saying goes, everything old is new again.
Boomerang table, anyone?
Retro Cocktail:  The Clover Club

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