Past Talks & More | Artist Talks | Exhibitions

Futura2000 in Conversation with Zephyr and Carlo McCormick

Diversities in Practice

Join famed artist Futura2000 in conversation with fellow artist Zephyr, moderated by art critic and writer Carlo McCormick.

Together, the group will discuss their artistic paths and the work that brought them to The Ohio State University in 1984. From train graffiti to painting on canvas in museums and galleries, Futura2000 and Zephyr recall the conditions of the 70s and 80s that led to their rise as artists.

Visit the exhibition To Begin, Again before the talk to see Futura2000's work.

This conversation takes place in the center’s Film/Video Theater and streams live above; the video will be made available on this page again after the event.

More about Diversities in Practice

Diversities in Practice is a collaboration between Ohio State’s Wexner Center for the Arts, Department of Art, and Living Culture Initiative. This series includes talks and moderated discussions featuring a range of artists, thinkers, and practitioners engaged in compelling and critical work, centering projects ​that examine, shape, and push both material and ideological boundaries. These presentations will be available online throughout the year.

Futura2000 in a black wool cap wears paint-splatterd clothes, brightly colored sneakers, and sits with one leg propped on a cement bench

Futura2000 | Photo by Celeste Sloman

Zephry sits in front of a brightly colored spray painted wall with his name spray painted in bright, vivid colors

Zephyr | Image courtesy of the artist

Carlo McCormick with long gray hair in a ponytail that sits on their shoulder. he wears thin wire-rimmed glasses

Carlo McCormick | Photo by Tessa Hughes-Freeland

About the speakers

Futura2000 chevron-down chevron-up

A pioneer when graffiti met the formal gallery ecosystem, artist Futura2000 (born Leonard Hilton McGurr) was known as early as the 1970s for his radical approach in the street, introducing abstraction to what was an entirely letter-based discipline. His work on canvas garnered attention in the 1980s and established him as a leading voice within a wider art movement that included the likes of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Kenny Scharf. Entirely self-taught in what he calls “the subway school,” Futura2000 has been compared to Wassily Kandinsky for his mastery of color, geometric composition, and line and is celebrated alongside his friends Dondi White and Rammellzee for his progressiveness and of-the-moment dynamism.

Zephyr chevron-down chevron-up

Dubbed "the elder statesman of New York Graffiti" by the New York Times, Zephyr began painting subway trains in 1977. He is a respected historian within the culture as well as a highly vocal spokesperson. His illustrations and aerosol renderings have appeared in countless venues and continue to circulate worldwide. Still very active and deeply involved with the current graffiti community, Zephyr sees no end in sight to his aerosol exploits.

Carlo McCormick chevron-down chevron-up

Carlo McCormick is a pop culture critic and curator. His numerous books, monographs, and catalogues include Beautiful Losers: Contemporary Art and Street Culture, The Downtown Book: The New York Art Scene 1974–1984, and Dondi White: Style Master General. His work has appeared in Art in America, Art News, Artforum, and many other publications. 

This talk is cosponsored by Ohio State’s Wexner Center for the Arts, Department of Art, and its Living Culture Initiative.

To Begin, Again: A Prehistory of the Wex, 1968–89 is organized by the Wexner Center for the Arts and curated by Associate Curator of Exhibitions Daniel Marcus with Curatorial Associate Kristin Helmick-Brunet and Curatorial Intern Arielle Irizarry.

Ohio Humanities
Cardinal Health
Joyce and Chuck Shenk
Reed Arts
Nancy and Dave Gill
Larry and Donna James

Bill and Sheila Lambert
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts
Carol and David Aronowitz
Crane Family Foundation
Mike and Paige Crane

American Electric Power Foundation

American Electric Power Foundation

Ingram-White Castle Foundation
Ohio Arts Council
Martha Holden Jennings Foundation
State Farm
Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation
Karen Bell and Ben Maiden
Barb and Al Siemer
Chalmers P. Wylie VA Ambulatory Care Center

The Wexner Family
Greater Columbus Arts Council
The Columbus Foundation
Ohio Arts Council
American Electric Power Foundation
L Brands Foundation
Adam Flatto
Mary and C. Robert Kidder
Bill and Sheila Lambert
Institute of Museum and Library Services
Nationwide Foundation
Vorys, Sater, Seymour, and Pease
Arlene and Michael Weiss

Mike and Paige Crane
Pete Scantland
Axium Packaging
Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
President Kristina M. Johnson and Mrs. Veronica Meinhard
Nancy Kramer
Lisa Barton
Johanna DeStefano
Russell and Joyce Gertmenian
Liza Kessler and Greg Henchel
Ron and Ann Pizzuti
Joyce and Chuck Shenk
Bruce and Joy Soll
Clark and Sandra Swanson
Jones Day

This program is made possible in part by Ohio Humanities, a state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily reflect those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Past Talks & More

Futura2000 in Conversation with Zephyr and Carlo McCormick