Ramones Designer Arturo Vega’s Irreverent ‘Insult’ Paintings

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Mexican-born artist Arturo Vega is best known as the designer behind The Ramones’ iconic logo. He was also the band’s stage illumination director and a New Yorker, from 1971 until his death in 2013. Vega’s paintings focused on his fascination with the printed word, influenced by Lower East Side supermarket window signs, evoking newspaper headlines from Mexico and New York in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Howl! Happening presents some of Vega’s sharp-tongued paintings in the exhibition Insults , which opens March 5 and runs through March 31.

The bold graphics and saucy remarks have absurd appeal, but Howl! Happening gallery director Ted Riederer relates the naughty slang to a personal perspective: “These ‘Insults’ may have been hurled at Arturo Vega as he walked the streets of Mexico City, a young gay hippie during a period of repression in late ’60s Mexico, or overheard between a shop owner and a vagrant on the Bowery during the ’70s.”

Insults is Howl! Happening’s second exhibition from the Arturo Vega Archive.

©Arturo Vega, courtesy of Howl! Happening

©Arturo Vega, courtesy of Howl! Happening

©Arturo Vega, courtesy of Howl! Happening

©Arturo Vega, courtesy of Howl! Happening

©Arturo Vega, courtesy of Howl! Happening

©Arturo Vega, courtesy of Howl! Happening

©Arturo Vega, courtesy of Howl! Happening

©Arturo Vega, courtesy of Howl! Happening

©Arturo Vega, courtesy of Howl! Happening

©Arturo Vega, courtesy of Howl! Happening