The New Salon



The Asheville Art Museum is thrilled to announce the upcoming exhibition, The New Salon:
A Contemporary View, guest-curated by Gabriel Shaffer. On view from March 8 to August 19, The New Salon takes the tradition of the salon in art history as a site of rebellion against the norm, infusing it with the diverse and often fantastical narratives prevalent in New Contemporary figurative art. This exhibition features an eclectic mix of XX artists working in the genres of Pop Surrealism, Street Art, and Graffiti, among others. 


The rebellious spirit of The New Salon can be traced to the groundbreaking influence of Robert Williams. In the 1970s, Williams emerged into an art world dominated by the growing conceptual art movement, minimalism, and abstraction. Beginning his career on the California hot-rod scene in the 1960s, Williams sought a platform that celebrated the artistry of figurative painting and the human imagination. In 1994, he founded Juxtapoz Magazine, sending out a rallying cry to artists, many of whom were inspired by Surrealism, Pop art, Graffiti, and Street Art. With a design that referenced comic books and psychedelic rock posters, the magazine created an alternative art space for a generation of artists and art collectors who were disillusioned with the direction of the mainstream art world.


“If there was one question, I could ask the majority of these artists who have been around since the nineties, it would be, ‘Where were you when you read your first copy of Juxtapoz?’ stated guest curator Gabriel Shaffer. Multiple sub-genres of art have blossomed out of its countercultural foundation, giving rise to countless artists furthering the styles it once championed. Jux helped make it possible for cartoon imagery, illustration, craft, graffiti, fantasy, and good old-fashioned art mayhem to have a diverse and broad audience.” 

The exhibition will feature a broad range of work, including the photorealistic and surreal paintings of Robert Williams, Medieval-inspired works by Daniel Diaz, and the robot-like Deities of Kumkum Fernando. Notable artists such as Mab Graves, Kukula, Lori Nelson, and Todd Shorr exemplify Pop Surrealism's figurative techniques and fantastical narratives. Shepard Fairey represents Street Art, and the renowned New York-based writer Faust demonstrates the hand style of Graffiti. Folk Art and Americana find expression in the works of Dennis McNett (Wolfbat), MSRA, Ben Venom, and Rachel O'Donnell. 

Among the distinguished lineup is Los Angeles-based artist Lauren YS (they/them), who will contribute a site-specific mural. Known for their mystical creatures and psychedelic style, they invite viewers to explore the boundary between reality and fantasy, enhancing the immersive experience of the exhibition. Though stylistically varied, this exhibition gives visitors a window into an alternative art world that Juxtapoz fostered, demonstrating its profound influence on contemporary art and culture.

 “I want to thank Gabriel, each of the artists, and the generous lenders whose contributions have made The New Salon exhibition possible,” says Pam Myers, Executive Director, Asheville Art Museum. “The works present a compelling and engaging entrée to New Contemporary art.”

Visit for the full line up of artists in the exhibition.

About Gabrial Shaffer
Gabriel Shaffer lives and works in the heart of the French Quarter of New Orleans. He is co-owner and curator of Mortal Machine Gallery, Located on Royal Street. He is also the son of renowned folk/visionary artist Cher Shaffer and learned from a number of pioneering artists in this genre as a youth. Since a sellout premier at the 2005 Outsider Art Fair in NYC, Gabriel has exhibited his work extensively throughout various major cities nationally and internationally. He has appeared in numerous publications such as Raw Vision, Art Papers, Boing Boing, Traditional Home, Architectural Digest, Art News, The Guardian, The Huffington Post and Juxtapoz. Gabriel has also had extensive experience with producing murals, installations and illustrations for various corporations, restaurants, and museums, including Facebook, BMW, Pandora Music, Sierra Nevada, PBR, Branded Arts, Mellow Mushroom, SECCA, and the North Carolina Museum of Art.

About the Asheville Art Museum
The Museum welcomes visitors Wednesday through Monday from 11am to 6pm, with late-night Thursdays from 11am to 9pm. The Museum is closed on Tuesdays. General admission is always free for Museum Members, UNC Asheville students, active-duty military personnel with valid ID, and children under 6. Admission is $15 per adult, $13 per senior (65+), and $10 per student (child 6–17 or degree-seeking college students with valid ID)—added fee for special exhibitions. Admission tickets are available at Visitors may become Members at the welcome desk during their visit or online at

Established by artists and incorporated in 1948, the Asheville Art Museum is committed to being a vital force in community and individual development and to providing lifelong opportunities for education and enrichment through the visual arts. The Museum’s mission is to engage, enlighten, and inspire individuals and enrich community through dynamic experiences in American art of the 20th and 21st centuries. The Museum is dedicated to advancing diversity, equity, access, and inclusion—now and in the future—and we welcome all visitors without discrimination. The Museum acknowledges that it is situated upon the ancient, southern Appalachian ancestral homeland of the Cherokee Tribe and that this region is still the home of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians today. The Museum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. Learn more by visiting

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