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Pop Art Meets Today’s Pop Culture in a Digital Footprint: Georgio Sabino III

CLEVELAND, OH — Artist/photographer Georgio Sabino III embarks on an adventurous presentation of images and icons as part of the African American Artists Alumni exhibit at Case Western Reserve University, with an opening reception Sat., Feb. 8, from 5 to 8 p.m. through Friday, Mar. 6, 2020.

Sabino’s newest work references iconic pop art of the past and juxtaposes photos from his recent sports images of the Cleveland Cavaliers and championship basketball star LeBron James.

“I want us to continue basking in the glory of the winning spirit that LeBron James brought to this region, rather than looking to the instant gratification of the newest next thing. I am still celebrating that major win, which had not occurred since 52 years ago,” Sabino reflects. “LeBron is an example of a great American, coming from little means and still making his dream come true…showing that you can do it.You can still achieve your dreams.” 

In a world that has become over-politicized and many issues overly stigmatized,Sabino’s pop art is a reflection of our culture through a pro-American fun subject. The art of the digital footprint is to leave a legacy of what we have witnessed in our current culture. 

With the current saturation of information technology and social media, Sabino harkens back to the pop art tradition as an update in play now. Although simple in its appearance, Sabino’s work illustrates a few tongue-in-cheek observations that are as much a metaphor for the game of life.

Contemporary art lets us breathe, not tied down to that which is conventional, and provides an outlet — locally and globally — that can be appreciated in the more recent history of art than from traditional Western European art history.

Among his influences are Andy Warhol, Keith Waring and Roy Lichtenstein, Jean Michel Basquiat and Kehinde Wiley. Sabino’s representations of pop art are a newer reworking and evolution of images from an Ohio native son, that persists in the grit and resolve to conquer educational genocide and the financial oppression of today’s systems. 

“Look at the example from the movie about Elizabeth ‘Dido’ Belle Lindsey, and compare that with our current British royal Megan Markle. Here is a modern day replay of a similar transformation,” Sabino points out. 

“When enough people don’t stand up for the injustice of disparate treatment and fair play, the game is unfairly won in favor of those who have rigged it that way. We are partly to blame for not fighting against it, as is our educational system, the media and a general blatant disrespect of humankind. Yet LeBron overcomes and surpasses all that. So have others — and that means we can do so, too.”

Pop art, the term first coined from British artist Eduardo Paolozzi’s 1947 collage, “I Was a Rich Man’s Plaything,”  was an important representational shift of identifying source material in art, from the elements of everyday culture and mass media commercialism. Its depictions from British and, later, American artists from the 1950s and ‘60s connected fine art for the masses by relating imagery that they could recognized.

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