Mana Contemporary and Gary Lichtenstein Editions presents:

Pulling Through: Reflections of America


September 25, 2016 — December 1, 2016

These works reflect the common thread of American values in us all. In this regard, I believe that our similarities outweigh our differences. The goal here is to create a platform for discussion and understanding.
– Cey Adams

Each of the works within this exhibition is a carefully contemplated assemblage on paper and canvas, comprised of acrylic paint, silkscreen and other multimedia. Silkscreen is used here as a painting tool – not as a printer’s technique. The application of silkscreen occurred in tandem with the process of collage as each was created individually. Some of the pieces contain legible sections of newspaper articles; some include recognizable photographs and advertisements. No two paintings are identical but each shares the same number of stars and the same number of stripes.

Cey Adams is a master of collage and his work is very much informed by imagery that infuses daily life and, as a result, influences or affects daily life. When Adams introduced Gary Lichtenstein to the idea of creating a series of American Flags, the two embarked on a journey that inspired the evolution of this exhibition. It is important to recognize the results of a fierce collaboration while acknowledging that the exhibition is significant, not only because of the content within it but because of the processes employed during production.

The American Flag is ever present throughout mainstream America and the Flags on view here are certainly a testament to the power of an iconic image across a society that is so diverse. At the same time, it is not the artist’s intent to convey a specific message or to persuade a unified idea. The Flags are meant to be wide open for interpretation, together or individually. Despite the differences inherent within each Flag, every viewer is, quite simply, confronted with an American Flag. Like other pop artists before him, Adams seeks to encourage an uncomplicated approach to his work. Take a look and take something away — an opinion, an interpretation, a conclusion. Art history classes are not required here.

Cey Adams, a New York City native, emerged from the downtown graffiti movement to exhibit alongside fellow artists, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. Cey’s work explores the relationship between transformation and discovery. His practice involves dismantling various imagery and paper elements to build multiple layers of color, texture, shadow and light. Cey draws inspiration from 60s pop art, sign painting, comic books and popular culture. His work focuses on themes including pop culture, race and gender relations, cultural and community issues.

About Cey Adams
Cey Adams was the Creative Director of Def Jam Recordings, where he founded the Drawing Board, the label’s in-house visual design firm that created visual identities, album covers, logos and advertising campaigns for, among others, Run-DMC, Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Notorious B.I.G., Maroon 5 and Jay Z. He has exhibited, lectured and taught art workshops at MoMA, Brooklyn Museum, Museum of the City of New York, New York University, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Walker Art Center, MOCA, Los Angeles, Pratt Institute, Stanford University, Howard University, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, High Museum, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Mount Royal University and The University of Winnipeg in Canada. He is the co-author of “DEFinition: The Art and Design of Hip-Hop;” Harper Collins and the designer of “Def Jam Recordings: The First 25 Years of the Last Great Record Label;” Rizzoli. Cey is an honored Academy Ambassador of Amario’s Art Academy, Atlanta’s first and only comic, design and animation school for grades 3-12. For more information, visit

About Gary Lichtenstein Editions at Mana
Gary Lichtenstein is a printer and publisher with over forty years of experience, which includes collaborations with artists such as Marina Abramovic, Bob Gruen, Robert Indiana, and Jessica Stockholder. He founded Gary Lichtenstein Editions in 2001, now located at Mana. His facilities include world-class screen-printing equipment and a private gallery. Click here for more information.

Press Release

Cey Adams, Free World, 2016
Cey Adams, 3 Brothers, 2016
Cey Adams, Black Genius, 2016