Contemporary art

Alfred Steiner

United States 1973

Pop Art

Alfred Steiner
Alfred Steiner
United States
November 29, 2014
Ok, I know it's so damn corny to quote somebody just to describe yourself, let alone Confucius, but this quote says all about my relationship with Widewalls, so forgive me for doing this: Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. Am I forgiven?

Alfred Steiner is Ohio native who grew up believing he was going to be an artist, then wound up attending Harvard Law School. Today he paints, draws and produces conceptual pieces – when he isn’t practicing copyright law for a large Manhattan law firm. “Law and art have been in most ways separate spheres for me. But there’s no question that the study of law has influenced my work,” he says.

When he was a student, he claims that he drew incessantly. Later, Steiner extended these doodles into more ambitious drawings, wondering how they would change if I introduced an internal compositional logic. At first, he tried geometric forms but soon started experimenting with images culled from art history, like Laocoön and his sons or Dürer’s Knight, Death and the Devil, as well as pop icons, like Bart Simpson or Scooby Doo. Through trial and error, it became clear to this artist that the stylized forms of cartoon characters were ideally suited for this work. Certain axioms emerged that he seemed to be discovering rather than inventing.

Steiner, inspired by the pull of graphics, begins by dissecting them. “I look at my source image, say the Starbucks logo, and I free-associate based on the shapes it contains. Some possibilities readily occur to me, but with others, I might draw a shape over and over, invert my sketchbook and even ask other people what a particular shape reminds them of.” From there, the internet takes over. “Once I have an idea in mind, say a Greek vase for the body of the Starbucks siren, I do various image searches, looking for something that will best fit the contours of my image. Sometimes, I have to abandon an idea because I can’t find a good model.”

His exhibition Likelihood of Confusion refers to the nebulous law of trademark infringement, reflecting on the nature of media and advertising. Steiner reconstructs familiar graphic forms with a juxtaposition of naturalistic images, searching for a corresponding contour through a Freudian technique of free association. Using this method he recreates a likeness of logos, service marks and such, inviting the viewer to form their own opinions about the choice and combination of objects.

Alfred Steiner currently lives and works in New York City.

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group 
2014Alfred Steiner: Likelihood of ConfusionJoshua Liner Gallery, New York City, NYSolo
2014Group Show With Gallery ArtistsGallery Polsen, Copenhagen, DenmarkGroup
2013Alfred Steiner - Contrariwise - 101 ExhibitHollywood, Los Angeles, CASolo
2013The Wild Bunch - New Art from New York #3Gallery poulsen Contemporary Fine Arts, CopenhagenGroup
2013Thanks - Lu MagnusNew York City, NYGroup
2013Direct AddressJoshua Liner Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2013Contrariwise101/exhibit, Los Angeles, CASolo
2013Salon des RefusésArtion Gallery, New York, NYGroup
2013NudesGuerro Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2013Group Show Vol. 4Gildar Gallery, Denver, COGroup
2013Department of Art Faculty & Alumni ExhibitionMiami University Art Museum, Oxford, OHGroup
2012En Plein AirStux Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2012Beyond Bling: The Artist as JewelerClaire Oliver, New York City, NYGroup
2012The Gallery Poulsen Late Summer ShowGallery poulsen Contemporary Fine Arts, CopenhagenGroup
2012Summer Group ExhibitionJoshua Liner Gallery, New York City, NYGroup
2012Group Show, Annual Group Show - 04 -101 Exhibit - Miami, Miami, FLGroup
2012Brucennial 2012 - Harder. Betterer. Fasterer. StrongererBrucennial, New York City, NYGroup
2012Drawn to YouGallery poulsen Contemporary Fine Arts, CopenhagenGroup
2012New Works at Gallery PoulsenCopenhagen, DenmarkSolo
2012Season Opener!Guerrero Gallery, San Francisco, CAGroup
2012Day Job at Philip Feldman GalleryPacific Northwest College of Art, Portland, ORGroup
2012Group Show 101/exhibitMiami, FLGroup
2012Day Job at Freedman GalleryAlbright College, Reading, PAGroup
2012Guilty / (Not) GuiltyNorte Maar, Brooklyn, NYGroup
2012Drawn TogetherGallery Poulsen, Copenhagen, DenmarkGroup
2012The Space BetweenThe National Arts Club, New York, NYGroup
2011Bitches Brew - New Art From New York (Part II)Gallery poulsen Contemporary Fine Arts, CopenhagenGroup
2011A Line of Souls and a Few WordsHoly at Fortress to Solitude, Brooklyn, NYGroup
2010Day JobThe Drawing Center, New York City, NYGroup
2010The Invisible Dog - No Longer Empty (NLE)New York City, NYGroup
201036 Hours in BaselUnternehmen Mitte, Basel, SwitzerlandGroup
2010Fruhstuck KommtGolden Pudel Club, Hamburg, GermanyGroup
2009Regime ChangeSwarm Gallery, Oakland, CAGroup
2009Regime ChangeSwarm Gallery, Oakland, CAGroup
2009Spatial PerversionsThe New School, New York, NYGroup
2008No Longer EmptyThe Invisible Dog Art Center, New York City, NYGroup
2008SURREAL NAIVETÉ: - The Eye of an Emerging CollectorMiyako Yoshinaga Art Prospects, New York City, NYGroup
2008Digital With MonumentSilver Shed Project Space, New York City, NYGroup
2008It’s Not EasyExit Art, New York, NYGroup
2006The Way of All FleshBravinLee programs, New York City, NYGroup