Abrasive art

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The Independent Culture
Abrasive art

Ten years ago, Rob Shepherd got quite a name for himself. As London's answer to New York graffiti king Keith Haring, Shepherd daubed several London underground sites with his familiar Matisse-style faces and ran foul of the authorities on more than one occasion. He also used to create 10-second portraits for a fiver, selling them to bemused commuters. Now, the irrepressible mischief-maker is back with a series of new faces. But this time, it's all above board. The Abrasive Faces show opens at Soho's Bar Italia, the famed 24-hour coffee hangout that usually looks like a set from a Fellini film. This is the first art venture for the caf. Shepherd's faces stare down from the mirrored walls - the good, bad and indifferent, spray-painted in black through stencils on to varying grades of sandpaper. Marilyn Monroe, Cilla Black, Lindsay Kemp, Louis Bourgeois, Rifat Ozbek and VS Naipaul are included in the 60 or so sandpaper slices which, in a very limited edition, are going for £20 a time. In this gallery of ironic icons, Shepherd hopes to challenge the nature of stardom and those who make the headlines. Forget the soft-focus treatment - everything here, quite literally, has a gritty reality.

Bar Italia, Frith Street, Soho, W1 (0171-437 4520)