Honoring This Week’s Cover Art: Ted Vassilev Talks Hunt Slonem

November 18, 2022 Dan's Papers cover art (detail) by Hunt Slonem
November 18, 2022 Dan’s Papers cover art (detail) by Hunt Slonem

On the cover of the November 18, 2022 issue of Dan’s Papers and the December 2022 issue of Dan’s Papers Palm Beach is “Totem Fly” by renowned artist Hunt Slonem.

His first cover artwork for Dan’s Papers was on the debut Dan’s Papers Palm Beach issue in January 2022, and we’re thrilled to feature his art once more.

“Totem Fly” comes to us courtesy of DTR Modern Galleries — with locations in New York City, Palm Beach, Nantucket, Boston and Washington, D.C. — so we got in touch with DTR Modern owner Ted Vassilev to discuss Slonem’s successful career and visions of colorful butterflies, birds and bunnies.

Hunt Slonem and Ted Vasilev with Slonem's. bunny paintings
Hunt Slonem and Ted Vassilev with Slonem’s bunny paintingsCourtesy DTR Modern Galleries

DTR Modern’s Ted Vassilev Talks Hunt Slonem

How is this week’s cover art, Hunt Slonem’s “Totem Fly” (2022), representative of the artistic voice found in Slonem’s other recent works?

This is a very typical Hunt Slonem painting, having the dynamic brushstrokes dipped in rainbow colors, the butterfly as a totem creature, signifying the idea of personal metamorphosis and the existential notion of death and rebirth. It is an example of his search of spirituality and spiritualism which is central to his body of work that spreads across close to 50 years of artistic life.

How does Slonem’s distinct Neo-Expressionist style set his work apart from that of his contemporaries?

It is a mistake to qualify Hunt in any particular style. His is larger than any one particular artistic style in the same way that it is a common misperception to qualify Warhol as a “Pop” artist. Warhol is primarily a conceptual artist that employs the visual language of Pop art.

In the very same way, Hunt Slonem is a deeply conceptual artist that uses Pop, Neo-Expressionist, Neo-Pop, et cetera iconography and sensitivities. But, like Warhol, behind this there is an intellectual construct that defines the concept of the work.

"Amazons Sky Fall" by Hunt Slonem
“Amazons Sky Fall” by Hunt SlonemCourtesy DTR Modern Galleries

How and when did DTR Modern Galleries’ relationship with Slonem begin?

My relationship with Hunt began almost 25 years ago when I first met him at his studio in New York’s West Village. I was mesmerized by the exotic and lush appearance of the artwork and entire surrounding environment. From there, our professional relationship evolved into a long-lasting friendship.

How has Slonem’s status in the art world evolved since DTR Modern Galleries first acquired his work, and how do you foresee his career’s trajectory moving forward?

Over the last 25 years Hunt has created an amazing body of work, including paintings, drawings, sculptures and editions. We have been privileged to introduce him to major collections and collectors, being instrumental in facilitating and collaborating with Hunt on museum exhibitions as well as adding to his world-wide acclaim.

Our most recent project was Hunt Slonem: The Bigger Picture, the extremely well received retrospective book published by Scala Arts Publishers, with contributing critics and curators such as Lily Wei, Eleanor Heartney and in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist.

I see Hunt’s career evolving and expanding on the same trajectory as it has to date, which is to say, limitless.

"King Charles Garden" by Hunt Slonem
“King Charles Garden” by Hunt SlonemCourtesy DTR Modern Galleries

With DTR Modern Galleries locations in NYC, Palm Beach, Nantucket, Boston and D.C., would you say that Slonem’s art appeals especially well to clientele in one of these markets, or is it equally popular across the board?

It appeals equally to our collectors across the board. The reason being that he is an incredible balancing act between exotica and “lush,” between representation and abstraction, between spirituality and materialism. In general, his body of work and his environments presented together in one space represent the “total artwork,” or Hunt Slonem as himself.

Would you like to share any closing thoughts or additional information?

DTR Modern Galleries is pleased to present a Hunt Slonem solo show, celebrating 20 years of Basel Miami at Art Miami, booth AM405, from November 29 through December 4. For additional information, please contact [email protected]

To see more of Hunt Slonem’s work at DTR Modern Galleries and inquire about purchasing a piece, visit dtrmodern.com/portfolio/hunt-slonem.

November 18, 2022 Dan's Papers cover art by Hunt Slonem
November 18, 2022 Dan’s Papers cover art by Hunt Slonem

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