by Ariadna Zierold
The celebrated Italian artist Ozmo has transferred Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe (Eduoard Manet’s 1863 painting The Luncheon on the Grass) and its three lunching figures onto the giant backside of the Mitchell Brothers’ O’Farrell Theater, where he’s added a large-scaled nude Barbie doll and classical nude statues. Ozmo has also put a bull’s head a la Picasso’s Guernica over the face of the lunching middle man. And he’s added a humongous panther ring from the high-end French jeweler Cartier.
Ozmo, a street name chosen for the elegance of its graphic form and wide open to thousands of meanings, is a fine performer capable of astonishing outdoor works, big murals and installations all of which have a sophisticated style and deep contents including powerful iconography, strong tributes to the history of figurative art, alchemy and sacred art, as well as every kind of symbol so far used by humankind. He is known for reworking historical art sources, and the Olive Street painting coincides with a new exhibit of his at San Francisco’s Fifty24SF Gallery, which opened July 1. With its then-unusual mix of flesh and flora, Manet’s original 1863 canvas caused controversy in staid French art circles. Its choice as a starting point for Ozmo’s newest work, on the outside of a theater where nude women tease and gyrate for mostly male patrons is entirely appropriate.