2007_06_arts_nyart.jpgOpening this past weekend and running through June 30th is Seattle artist Mike Leavitt's "New York Art Army" show. Hand-made action figures were created to visually tell the history of the city's creative scene, the wooden New Yorkers stand alongside other "urban art stars and old masters." Fittingly, the show (exhibited in a site-specific installation) is across the street from the ToyTokyo toy shop, at their Showroom.

Leavitt’s “toys” depict famous and controversial artists like Jackson Pollock, Keith Haring, Lady Pink, and Futura 2000. The biographic project uses toys to bridge art and pop culture. The 6 to 12 inch tall “action figures” are each professionally finished and fully articulate like a real toy, but each is sculpted from scratch with no manufacturing. Pop icons include Stevie Wonder, Joan Jett, Michael Jackson, Tupac, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Slick Rick, and more. The centerpiece is a 3 foot tall, carved wood Andy Warhol; a cigar store-style statue that articulates with 19 moving parts.

2007_06_arts_penny.jpgNearly 60 total pieces will show, with most of the work priced under $200. Another cool project of Leavitt's that will be on display is Penny Places: copper pennies found around New York and painted with 1/2-inch tall city landscapes. All this, and a ton of interactive pop culture art as well (think old Nintendo controllers).

Leavitt said of his small scale urban art, “It makes art gritty and faces famous, but a city’s crowded landscape also demands smaller objects. People can’t buy massive art installations." Check out this video of him with the Andy Warhol figure.

Pictured: The G-train to Brooklyn penny ($200), and the New York Art Army poster art.