‘Displaced’ artist Zito returns for retrospective | East Villager & Lower East Sider

‘Displaced’ artist Zito returns for retrospective

Photos by Clayton Patterson

Photos by Clayton Patterson

zito,-ellisAnthony Zito’s recent show, “Displacement: Anthony Zito Then and Now,” at the Mark Miller Gallery, at 92 Orchard St., brought together 20 years of the longtime Lower East Side artist’s work, which was exhibited on two floors.

Zito has painted the portraits of countless East Villagers and Lower East Siders, always using found objects from the street as his canvas.

These materials can range from a radiator grill to a 3D mirror to — in one case, for a married couple who own a pizzeria — a cardboard pizza box whose flaps must be opened in order to see the pair painted inside.

Pictured on this page, at last month’s closing party for the show, are clockwise from above left, Zito, right, with Nicolina — who did the “13 Portals” interactive street-art project on the Lower East Side in summer 2013 — with a portrait of Nicolina done by Zito; artist Steve Ellis — who is known, among other things, for his series of cool lighter paintings — with Zito’s portrait of him done on a lighter; and the gallery’s basement, where people could pick something for Zito to use for a canvas to paint a portrait of him or her on.

Zito opened a gallery on Ludlow St. after the 9/11 attacks, when few were willing to take a risk on the area. But he ultimately had to leave the space in September 2006 due to escalating rent.

The gallery’s closing was marked by a 200-person-strong party with revelers carrying a coffin marked “L.E.S.,” to mark the death of bohemia in the famed enclave.

Zito now lives on a farm in Connecticut with his father, who is also an artist.