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Rubin Natal-San Miguel, Buttons Up Souleo Button Show Rush Gallery Untapped Cities AFineLyneRuben Natal-San Miguel, Buttons Up (Souleo) Harlem, 2014

Ever wonder what to do with all those buttons you’ve collected over the years? Souleo Enterprises has teamed up with the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation’s Rush Gallery to present The Button Show, a visual art exhibition highlighting the medium, with clothing buttons reimagined and repurposed in contemporary art. The group show will include eleven artists using buttons as either a dominant medium or a featured element in work from sculptures to wearable art.

Beau McCall Buttons Rush Gallery Untapped Cities AFineLyneBeau McCall, also known as the King of Buttons

Beau McCall The Button Show Rush Gallery Untapped Cities AFineLyneA close-up of Beau McCall’s darkmuskoilegyptioncrystals & floridawater/redpotionno

Souleo, who is well known for creating colorful, edgy artistic projects, highlights clothing buttons as medium. “Each artist forces us to reimagine this everyday object as a viable tool for communication and self-expression through visual art. In these works, buttons become signifiers of issues of class, politics, race, beauty and personal narratives in ways that are visually stimulating and highly engaging.”

Beau McCall, World Spinnin on a 45 Rush Gallery Untapped Cities AFineLyneBeau McCall, World Spinnin’ on a 45, 2015

Beau McCall AFineLyne Untapped Cities ButtonsBeau McCall. Photo by Souleo

Beau McCall will tell you that he was inspired by the vast button collection of his mother and aunts. “They stimulate curiosity with their unique history. Buttons are a universal fastener connecting the world through an everyday item.”  Mr. McCall has made them more than an everyday item, as a creative artist specializing in the use of buttons for visual and wearable art.

Lisa Kokin, Party Hat Diabolique 2004 The Button Show Untapped Cities AFineLyneLisa Kokin, Party Hat Diabolique, 2004

Lisa Kokin has always loved buttons. Her parents were upholsterers, and her earliest memories were of playing in their shop. She started by simply joining the buttons together, and eventually constructed a family portrait in buttons. Her creations expanded and so did her audience, with a three-part public commission of button portraits of Rosa Parks, Ceasar Chavez and Fred Korematsu. She will say that her creations are akin to painting with buttons.

Lisa Kokin, Rescue Untapped Cities Rush Gallery The Button Show AFineLyneLisa Kokin, Rescue, 2004

Hannah Battershell, Lost Girl Button Show Untapped Cities AFineLyneHannah Battershell, Lost Girl, 2014

The London-based artist, Hannah Battershell draws her inspiration from literature. Well known for small-works, she often incorporates found objects into tiny collages and dioramas. The holes in a button might become the eyes of a portrait, or a matchbox might become a miniature painting. Her work has been displayed in various exhibitions including The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, and her painting “Crocodilian” appears in ‘images 36′, the 2012 Association of Illustrators’ Best of New British Illustration publication.

Hannah Battershell, Emma 2014-Rush Gallery The Button Show Untapped Cities AFineLyneHannah Battershell, Emma, 2014

Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation was founded in 1995 by media mogul Russell Simmons and his brothers, artist and activist Danny Simmons and Joseph “Rev Run” Simmons. In addition to the exhibit, there will be an artist talk on Saturday, February 20 from 4 to 6 pm, with select exhibiting artists and clothing button experts, moderated by Peter “Souleo” Wright, the exhibit’s curator. The panel discussion will explore the history of buttons, and their relationship to the visual arts. The Button Show and related events are free and open to the public, located at Rush Gallery, 526 West 26th Street, Suite 311, on January 21st and will be on view through March 12th.

Rubin Natal-San Miguel, Buttons Up Souleo Button Show Rush Gallery Untapped Cities AFineLyneRuben Natal-San Miguel, Buttons Up (Souleo) Harlem, 2014

Amalia K. Amaki, Latch Key The Button Show Rush Gallery Untapped Cities AFineLyneAmalia K. Amaki, Latch Key, 2014

Totally inspired and in need of buttons? Check out a shop completely dedicated to the classy little fasteners. Get in touch with the author at AFineLyne.

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