The other night, Tim Schreier stopped by a special opening at the Castle Fitzjohns Gallery on Orchard Street — an exhibition paying tribute to Jef Campion. The former firefighter was a 9/11 first responder who took his own life earlier this year. Campion was also a street artist who went by the name Army of One.
Here’s an excerpt from the gallery’s exhibition guide:
In January 2014, at the age of 52, Campion passed away due to the unrelenting and unsuccessfully treated effects of this trauma (both mental and physical), but not before leaving behind an astounding artistic legacy, as well as an enduring message: Give peace a chance. Self described as pro-soldier and antiwar, a compassionate political polemic was never far from Campion’s thinking—or works of art… Calling upon his deep inner rage and frustration at injustice within the world as well as within his own life, Jef composed an astounding body of work under his own name (and not his Army of One alias) which defies categorization. Evidence of true genius and fine art practice, this profoundly personal oeuvre is at once aesthetically entirely separate from and still intrinsically related to his street art practice. From poetry to found objects, iconography to sculptural combines, this body of work for this exhibition only memorial retrospective will be seen in its entirely for the first time at Castle FitzJohns Gallery. We are at once immensely proud and deeply saddened to have the opportunity to honor such a brilliant artist, activist, public servant, and individual.
Castle Fitzjohns is located at 98 Orchard St.