La II

LA II/ Angel Ortiz

United States 1967

Graffiti, Painting, Drawing

www.la2graffitiartist.com

LA II
Angel Ortiz
Male
United States
1967

Considered as one of the most recognizable graffiti artists from the Lower East Side in the 80’s, LA II is also known as LA2, LA Rock, Little Angel or by his real name, Angel Ortiz. Beginning his career as a 13 years old boy, of the crucial importance was his acquaintance with Keith Haring with whom he collaborated on a number of projects. This six years long partnership out of Haring’s decade-long career, had a great influence on the work of both artists, although the older Haring took most of the credits leaving the LA II in the shadow.

LA II - Untitled
LA II – Untitled

Business or Friendship

Leaving his High School, LA II travelled around the world working with Haring. His role in the artistic development of his famous companion is marked with peculiarity and original look of their co-produced works. He was for Haring what Jean-Michel Basquiat had been for Andy Warhol. Their partnership was mutually complementary which is evident in the patterns, the consistency of line, the spacing, but also in the technique. These two artists produced hundreds of valuable works, which were exhibited and sold from New York to Tokyo and Europe. Interlacing their styles, LA II complemented Haring’s “empty spaces”. Covering the surfaces of different common objects, they transformed them into the art pieces. Using the Day-Glo paint, they covered sculptures and real things, making installations with graffiti inscriptions with the mixture of contemporary and ancient symbols.

Covering the surfaces of different objects, they transformed them into the art pieces

LA II - Peace sign purple (left) - Peace sign wood (right)
LA II – Peace sign purple (left) – Peace sign wood (right)

Living in a Shadow

The collaboration between Haring and LA II seems like the relationship that Picasso has had with Braque, except that LA II did not get the recognition he deserved. After Haring’s death, his foundation took over the care of his works, including the ones he produced with LA II. Constantly avoided by the art world, LA II’ s work is featured in museums collections and privately held without attribution. His images are used for commercial purpose often out of his knowledge. His tags LA II or La Rock are seen on many pieces that are attributed to Haring only.

LA II’ s work is featured in museums collections and privately held without attribution

LA II - Untitled
LA II – Untitled

The Struggle for Recognition

LA II’a collaborative nature connected him with many prominent artistic names, as Richard Hamilton and street artists like Delta 2, Ero, LES or Cindy Shaoul. His influence over Keith Haring developed by integration of two creative spirits produced some of the most notable works of art that exist in the art market. After the end of Haring/LA II collaboration, LA II started his fight for recognition, creating his own impressive pieces in his distinctive style. His name was in the focus of a scandal in 2008 when he was caught tagging his name in a restored Haring’s mural. It seems that LA II suffered injustice and that critics and public overlooked his important role in Keith Haring’s body of work.

LA II is represented by Woodward Gallery, New York and Galerie Brugier-Rigail, Paris.

The artist lives and works in New York.

Featured image: Artist portrait, 2012, photo via thetelegram.com
All images © artist

YearExhibition titleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2015Altogether different The Manny CenterGroup
2015UnknownThe Hampton art fair, New YorkGroup
2014Keith Haring LA II collaborationsLes Musee de Villa de ParisDuo
2013LA IILawrence Fine Arts, New YorkSolo
2013LA IILeila Heller Gallery, New YorkSolo
2012LA IIThe Children’s Museum of the ArtsSolo
2012UnknownDorian Gray GalleryGroup
2011LA IIDorian Grey Gallery, New York, NY Solo
2011B.I.G.S. Art Fiar Beirut, International Graffiti Street Art Fair, BeirutGroup
2009Keith Haring and LA II Bentley Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ Duo
2009LA II Woodward Gallery: Project Space, New York City Solo
2009LA IIFollin Gallery at 45 Bleecker, New York City Solo
2005LA IIGalleria Leonardo Galerie, Bolzano, Italy Solo
2005LA IIGalleria Leonardo Galerie, Bolzano Solo
2005LA IIGalleria Leonardo Galerie, Bolzano Solo
2004LA IIScope Art Fair, Los Angeles, CA Solo
2003LA II & Keith Haring, Due Amici a New York Negli Anni '80 Putignano Arte, NOCI, Bari Duo
2002LA IIKitting Factory, Los Angeles, CA Solo
2002LA IIPino Pascali Museum, in Polignano a Mare, BariSolo
2002LA IIClayton Patterson Outlaw Museum, New York City Solo
2002LA IIMarco Art, New York City Solo
2002LA IIClayton Patterson Outlaw Museum, New York City Solo
2001LA IIFollin Gallery, New York City Solo
2001LA II with Keith Haring Jeffrey Deitch, New York City Duo
2001LA IIMax Fish, New York CitySolo
2001LA II with Keith Haring Jeffrey Deitch, New York City Duo
2001LA IIMax Fish, New York CitySolo
1990LA II with Keith Haring University Galleries, Illinois State University, Normal, IL Duo
1990LA II with Keith Haring Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL Duo
1990LA II with Keith Haring Future Primeval Queens Museum, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, New York Duo
1990LA II with Keith Haring University Galleries, Illinois State University, Normal, IL Duo
1990LA II with Keith Haring Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa, FL Duo
1984LA II with Keith Haring Salvatore Ala Gallery, Milan, Italy Duo
1983LA II with Keith Haring Fun Gallery, New York City Duo
1983LA II with Keith Haring Galerie Watari, Tokyo, Japan Duo
1983LA II with Keith Haring Robert Fraser Gallery, London, United Kingdom Duo
1983LA II with Keith Haring Fiorucci, Milan, Italy Duo
1983LA II with Keith Haring Paint Building in Tokyo, Japan Duo
1983LA II with Keith Haring Pittsburgh Center For the Arts, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Duo
1983LA II with Keith Haring Galerie Watari, Tokyo, Japan Duo
1983LA II with Keith Haring Robert Fraser Gallery, London, United Kingdom Duo
1983LA II with Keith Haring Fiorucci, Milan, Italy, with Keith Haring Duo
1983LA II with Keith Haring Paint Building in Tokyo, JapanDuo
1983LA II with Keith Haring Pittsburgh Center For the Arts, Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaDuo
1982LA II with Keith Haring Tony Shafrazi Gallery, New York CityDuo