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<I>Michael Vasquez: Authority Figures</I>

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Smurf, 2005; mixed media on canvas, 36 x 24 inches, Collection of Andrew Reed, Miami, FL

Larger-than-life portraits of South Florida gang members dominate a new exhibition at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art called Michael Vasquez: Authority Figures.By Laura Spencer

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/national/local-national-639397.mp3

Kansas City, MO – Michael Vasquez: Authority Figures, October 5-December 30, 2007 at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.

To read Curator Christopher Cook's exhibition essay, check here.

Michael Vasquez is a Miami-based artist in his early 20s, a graduate of the New World School of the Arts, and this is his first solo exhibition although his works, some just completed within the last few months, have already been snapped up by collectors. One portrait called Smurf shows a smiling young man with gold teeth and a red bandana; he's flashing a gang sign and a thick stack of hundred dollar bills. But Vasquez says in these works he's not promoting or condemning - he's simply examining issues of identity in urban youth. The artist talked recently to KCUR's Laura Spencer at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art about his involvement with street gangs and friendships that evolved out of a lonely childhood.

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