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Histories of jazz and graphic art blend into 'Diffusion' expo of 44 book sculptures


Heads Up - Ultimate Spiderman, 2018
hardcover book, acrylic varnish
11.50h x 7.50w x 1d in


Image courtesy of Jonathan Ferrara Gallery

The histories of jazz and graphic art aren’t similar, but the two come together in the work of Tony Dagradi. Best known as the founder of the group Astral Project, Dagradi's smooth saxophone playing weaves in and out of the sounds of his fellow instrumentalists in what may be the closest thing to a classical contemporary jazz combo.


It’s “classical” because you can hear the history of modern jazz reborn in sleek new forms. Dagradi brings a similar sense of context to the 44 book sculptures in his “Diffusion” show at Jonathan Ferrara Gallery. "The juxtaposition of abstract shapes... is very much how I perceive the interplay of melody, harmony and rhythm,” Dagradi says.


Modern jazz and comic book superheroes both rose to prominence in midcentury America, so Dagradi's new series based on the superheroes of his 1950s childhood seems in keeping with the midcentury timeframe of his musical influences.