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Graffiti artist, Daze, will be spring 2014 artist-in-residence

Copyright Chris Daze Ellis. ABOVE:  Kiddyland Spirits, 1996, oil on canvas, courtesy of the artist. BELOW: The Coney Island Pier, 1996, oil on canvas, courtesy of the artist

NYC's Chris Daze Ellis hailed as one of today's most important 'writers'

March 13, 2014 —This spring, the Addison Gallery of American Art, located on the campus of Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, will present Street Talk: Chris Daze Ellis in Dialogue with the Collection. The exhibition, on view from May 3 through July 31, 2014, will feature recent works by Chris Ellis—best known by his street name, Daze—in juxtaposition with a group of paintings, prints, and photographs chosen by the artist from the Addison’s collection. A member of the “second generation” of New York graffiti artists, Daze has been hailed one of the most important ‘writers’ of his time. In conjunction with the exhibition, Daze will be the Addison’s spring 2014 Edward E. Elson Artist-in-Residence.

Daze began his career in graffiti in the mid-1970s as a teenager, tagging subway cars alongside Crash, Seen, Lady Pink, and Futura. Turning his focus from trains to canvas in the early 1980s, he has been one of the most successful graffiti artists of his generation to transition from street to studio. Using spray paint in combination with the more traditional media of oil and acrylic to capture the energy and essence of the urban scene, Daze’s large-scale paintings are a provocative blend of spontaneity and control, abstraction and representation. Viewed among a variety of objects from the Addison’s permanent collection in Street Talk, Daze’s work will be set within the context of American art history, while also providing new insight to some of the museum’s familiar favorites.

“This exhibition and artist’s residency continue the Addison’s long tradition of partnering with contemporary artists and embracing innovative work that engages with the world beyond the museum,” notes Allison Kemmerer, the Addison’s Mead Curator of Photography and Curator of Contemporary Art. “By bringing Daze’s unique style and art-making approach to the Addison and showing his work in conversation with objects from our collection, we hope that this exhibition will reveal intriguing and unexpected resonances in artistic approach, theme, and subject matter.”

As the Edward E. Elson Artist-in-Residence, Daze will spend several weeks prior to the opening of his exhibition in Andover meeting with classes from both Phillips Academy and community schools. With Phillips Academy students, he will collaborate on a mural on the wall outside the Addison’s Museum Learning Center and create work to be included in a spring student exhibition. Daze will also engage in a month-long project with a mural painting class from Lawrence High School to create work that will be included in his exhibition at the Addison. “Through his residency, Daze will provide incredible opportunities for students in this community to work alongside a trailblazing artist, who began his own artistic pursuits as a high school student. We are excited to witness the collaborations and the creations that will result,” states Curator of Education Rebecca Hayes. Additionally, Daze will give a Gallery Talk for his exhibition Street Talk on Sunday, May 4 at 2:00 p.m., immediately preceding the Addison’s opening reception for the spring exhibitions, which will run from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Both events are free and open to the public.

The Addison’s Artist-in-Residence program, which began in 1946 with Charles Sheeler, plays a critical role in the museum’s exhibition and education programming. Endowed in 1982 through the generosity of Phillips Academy alumnus Edward E. Elson, the program has energetically supported contemporary art by bringing established and emerging artists to campus to create and exhibit work as well as engage with students. Participating artists have included Frank Stella, Robert Frank, Alison Saar, Joel Shapiro, Robert Hudson, Richard Shaw, Kerry James Marshall, Dawoud Bey, Glen Seator, Tony Feher, Jose Bedia, James Casebere, Anna Gaskell, Andrea Zittel, Jessica Stockholder, Lee Mingwei, Trisha Brown, Fred Wilson, Wendy Ewald, Jim Hodges, Sue Williams, Terry Winters, Alexis Rockman, Type A, William Wegman, Tristan Perich, Laurel Nakadate, and James Prosek.

The Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts, is open to the public from Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Sunday 1:00–5:00 p.m. The Gallery is closed on Mondays, national holidays, December 24, and the month of August. Admission to all exhibitions and events is free. The Addison Gallery also offers free education programs for teachers and groups. For more information, call 978-749-4015, or visit the website at


Contact Info

  • Rebecca Mongeon
  • Addison Gallery of American Art
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