So Def

Renaissance man Radio Active is a beatboxer for Michael Franti and Spearhead, but don't think you know all about him just because of that. He's also a painter, and his aesthetic is far from, though not antagonistic towards, anything tie-dyed. The guy is definitely a peacenik: Let's not forget Spearhead has a song whose chorus is “You can bomb the world to pieces but you can't bomb it into peace.” But Radio Active's art is painterly, not so much political, somewhere between Raymond Saunders and Georges Braque. He's a cubist Keith Haring with a vintage hip-hop color palette: Think of the kids sitting on the stoop in Do the Right Thing wearing aqua and cherry. Radio Active is also influenced by “the street,” as he says — plenty of his work was never meant to make it from the alley wall into the gallery, but his stuff looks nothing like any other graffiti art we've seen. At “She's Alive,” the artist uses iconographic femininity as a metaphor for the life and supposed death of hip-hop.
March 11-15, 2008

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