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Peter Max’s world didn’t always include the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, Bruce Springsteen and Super Bowl stars. His life wasn’t always as vibrantly reassuring as the iconic paintings in signature colors that would come to define the artist — and an entire pop art movement.

The artist who has painted for six U.S. presidents, five Super Bowls and countless rock stars was born Peter Max Finkelstein in October 1937 in Berlin, Germany.

His parents fled the Nazi regime a year later, moving among China, Israel and Paris. The family finally settled in Brooklyn, New York when their son, now known simply as Peter Max, was 16.

He studied at the prestigious Art Students League of New York and was involved with the psychedelic movement in the ’60s and the counterculture revolution that accompanied the colorful exploration. Max’s art career started when he began creating posters for bands of the ’60s, complete with bubbly letters, abstract designs and rainbow hues. 

It then exploded and will be celebrated at Key West Gallery, 601 Duval St. through May 31 for “The Peter Max Retrospective: Celebrating the Pop Art Movement, Music and Artistic Vision.”

Steven Tyler

“Though he is an outspoken political activist and environmentalist, Max has also produced designs for the ad campaigns of several high-profile brands, including 7-Up and Chrysler,” states his biography on artnet.com. “The artist’s works are included in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. He currently lives and works in New York, New York.”

“Throughout the years, I have painted so many beautiful, beautiful, imaginative musicians: Mick Jagger, Sting, The Beatles, David Bowie, Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, Pharrell Williams, Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Jon Bon Jovi, Yes, Phil Collins, Gwen Stefani, Steven Tyler, Aretha Franklin, Norah Jones, Taylor Swift, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine and so many others. It’s mind-blowing when I think about it. I love great music and the amazingly talented people that make it,” Max has said. 

“I’m just wowed by the universe. I’m just glad to do something I love to do. I love color, I love painting, I love shapes, I love composition, I love the people around me,” he once said. “I’m adoring it all.”

Max was an official artist of the 2006 U.S. Olympic Team at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy. He has also been the official artist of five Super Bowls, World Cup USA, the World Series, the U.S. Open, the Indy 500, the NYC Marathon and the Kentucky Derby, states the Key West Gallery website.

Dolphins helmet

His instantly recognizable work is seemingly everywhere, including Key West, where it’s on display and available for sale through May 31 at the Key West Gallery, 601 Duval St.

Gallery events featuring Lesley Smith, Peter Max historian and collection curator, will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, May 21 and at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday, May 22 at the gallery.All artworks are on exhibition and available for acquisition. All events are free and open to the public, but RSVP’s are requested by calling 305-292-9339 or emailing moc.yrellagtsewyek@ofni.

The post PETER MAX’S ICONIC ART NOW AVAILABLE IN KEY WEST appeared first on Florida Keys Weekly Newspapers.

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