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Beyond Elegance

Art, espresso and amateur tattooing from Todd James and Alexis Ross

by James Thorne in Culture on 13 November 2012

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Opening tonight, 13 November 2012 at 560 Washington Street in NYC, artists Todd James and Alexis Ross are joining forces in a joint show called "Beyond Elegance." Both pranksters in their own right, Ross and James are influenced by a self-taught aesthetic and penchant for farce. The duo and the team behind the show—which is being presented by Andy Valmorbida and PM Tenore—have been working tirelessly, trying to pull everything together while working off of generators at the West Side location.

James' look is instantly recognizable, this time portraying armed rebels on vacation in vibrant colors. The self-taught artist is known in part for creating "Street Market" alongside Steve "Espo" Powers and Barry McGee, which was selected for the 2001 Venice Biennale. In "Beyond Elegance," James' cartoonish figures play with balloon-like AK47s with unexpected levity, unsurprising considering his history of satire.

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Ross presents a set that parts from James in color palette—using deep reds, blues and an off-white—but not in theme. "The Sexual Misadventures of Ronaldo the Great" are a collection of tableaus that detail one philanderer's panty-pinching escapades. Coming from a background in set design, Ross told us that he decided to try his hand at the gallery scene when he learned of Todd James' involvement.

Ross—along with co-conspirator and owner of LA motorcycle shop Choke, Jeff Johnson—is also behind Café Legs, a pop-up espresso bar that is currently in its fourth iteration. Previewing the space, Ross explained that the inspiration for Café Legs comes from "Café con piernas," the ubiquitous Chilean coffee bars that serve up coffee from scantily clad waitresses. During the opening, espresso shots will be pulled as visitors are encouraged to relax inside on the café's communal bed.

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Ross also happens to be an amateur tattoo artist, and has set up a working tattoo station for the occasion. He plans on inking East Coast friends—he lives and works in Los Angeles—during the reception, where a limited number of designs will be available. "Beyond Elegance" opens tonight at 560 Washington Street and will run through 30 November 2012. See more images after the jump.

Images by James Thorne

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