Gio Black Peter’s work is seductive and languid, so you may not notice at first that he's addressing issues of gender, at-risk youth, and police brutality.
Born in Guatemala, Black Peter has not only made New York his home, but also has become a quintessentially New York artist, and a visible — sometimes naked — icon of the downtown scene. His work is luscious and tropical, not quite what you would first associate with the Big Apple. But his posturing Latino boys loosely painted over NYC subway maps are so New York.
Black Peter’s solo exhibition, “If We Do Not Destroy Ourselves,” opening tonight at Casa de Costa catalogs the newest paintings, drawings and works on paper by the multimedia artist. This body of work, created in late 2015 and early 2016, is heavily influenced by current events and political discourse in the United States, including police brutality and the Black Lives Matter movement, the rise of Donald Trump, anti-immigrant sentiments, right-wing terrorism, and political violence.
The painting titled Bad Cops Make Good Snacks, for example, depicts a post-coital Adam and Eve as a black man and trans woman, looking on as the serpent devours a corrupt policeman. Another painting, The Velvet Ribbon, depicts a young white man surrounded by faceless black hands, delineating a conservative white America’s fears about its future in a multicultural country.
"If We Do Not Destroy Ourselves" opens on Wednesday, March 30 and runs through Thursday, May 26. Casa de Costa is open to the public Tuesday through Friday, from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. In the second half of this gallery, we've included images from our 2011 Artist Spotlight on Black Peter.
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