The Date Farmers
The Crying Playboy
April 5, 2008
through May 3, 2008
Jonathan LeVine Gallery is pleased to present The Crying Playboy, a solo exhibition of new works by Armando Lerma and Carlos Ramirez, known together as The Date Farmers. For the pair’s first show at the gallery, and their first solo exhibition in New York, The Crying Playboy features a collaborative series of mixed media work incorporated into a site-specific installation. Together, the artists create collages, paintings, and crosshatch ink drawings on a variety of surfaces—used as alternative canvases—such as discarded signs, wood, cardboard, and corrugated sheet metal.
Artwork by The Date Farmers echoes Mexican-American heritage rooted in California pop culture. Their paintings, collages and three-dimensional sculptures contain elements influenced by graffiti, Mexican street murals, traditional revolutionary posters, sign painting, prison art and tattoos. Living in the peaceful seclusion of the desert, the artists often travel across the border, into Mexicali and Oaxaca to scavenge for materials. With traces of ancient indigenous art, mushrooms, and mescal, the Date Farmers combine familiar pop iconography and corporate logos with figures from comics, folklore and Catholicism. Desert creatures such as coyotes, snakes, and scorpions appear frequently in their works as well as found materials like stamps, bottle caps, hand painted or collaged lettering.
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Armando Lerma and Carlos Ramirez -The Date Farmers- have a history that is just as compelling as their artwork. Originally from Indio, California, they met at an art gallery in Coachella Valley ten years ago. Marsea Goldberg of New Image Art gave them their first show, naming them The Date Farmers because Armando’s father owned a Date Farm in Coachella where Carlos worked, picking dates. Carlos’ mother was a migrant who once worked with civil rights leader Cesar Chavez—American activist and co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association—during the grape boycott of the 1970s. Through their unique perspective as American-born Chicanos, The Date Farmers explore topical subjects with a profound simplicity. In The Crying Playboy, they touch on Immigration and other important political issues facing contemporary society in the United States, while the conscientious recycling of discarded material in their work conveys a more global statement of environmentalism.