Which is to say, Pecou's work is both a response to 50's exaggeration of a hip-hop hypermasculine bravado (a front that toys with and embraces caricature) and a commentary on the enthusiasm with which American culture consumes thug routines. Don't get it twisted: Pecou loves hip-hop. He just doesn't worship it.
The presence of imitation Jean-Michel Basquiat chalk scribbles at the edges and sometimes centers of Pecou's paintings brings recent art history into the equation — in a manner that taunts potentially clueless buyers. Pecou possesses a post-Basquiat dandified flair (as with another compelling artist, Kehinde Wiley, it manifests in self-portraiture) and a skepticism that can only come from viewing the fatal footsteps of such a talent. He is in the process of making a film about his own self-creation as an art and media star, an endeavor that isn't as revealing about his bright future as the edges of his canvases. That is where handsome paint renderings of magazine photos and fonts give way to shades of white that more than hint there are many other areas that he wants to explore. After painting himself into commercial boxes, Pecou leaves a space open so that he might perform a Harry Houdini–like escape. SFBG
"NEW WORK: PHIL COLLINS: DUNYA DINLEMIYOR (THE WORLD WON'T LISTEN)"
Through Jan. 21, 2007
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
151 Third St., SF
$7–$12 (free first Tuesdays; half price Thursdays after 6 p.m.)
"NEOPOPULAR DEMAND: NEW WORKS BY FAHAMU PECOU"
Through Nov. 20
Michael Martin Galleries
101 Townsend, suite 207, SF
To read an interview with Fahamu Pecou, go to Pixel Vision at www.sfbg.com/blogs/pixel_vision.