You’re not likely to see a Mercedes-Benz van used too often as an ice cream truck — unless you’re perhaps wandering the streets of Cannes Monaco or visiting a new art exhibit in Los Angeles this month. Since the French Riviera lends itself more to gilded gelato over red, white and blue bomb pops, your best shot would definitely be LA.
Currently, Mercedes-Benz and the 4AM Gallery teamed up to present artist Gregory Siff for the unveiling of The Portrait of the American Ice Cream Man. The automaker commissions its favorite artists to contribute to its cultural promotions around the world, and Siff’s latest work commemorates the 10 Year anniversary of The Deitch Parade in NYC where the artist introduced his popular work, The Marshmallows.
On display through July at 422 S. Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90013, Siff’s work looks to recreate his experience of childhood through becoming a man in Los Angeles. Mercedes-Benz offered up a small Sprinter Van as a pristine, white canvas to represent a glimpse into those child years.
This isn’t the first time the Brooklyn born Siff took on “Vans” as either subject matter or medium. However, the previous effort focused on the footwear variety. He was previously selected by Vans Custom Culture to be one of their “Art Ambassadors.” He hand-painted custom Vans that were then put on display at the Whitney Museum of American Art in Manhattan.
The large collection housing the special Mercedes-Benz follows the “Experience Rooms” Siff created for MoMA PS1’s Rockaway Exhibition. His LA Ice Cream Room looks to transform the viewer to a “state of innocence where moments become held…The reward of chasing down the Ice Cream Truck as a child and the wonderment of choosing your own adventure becomes possible again. This kind of ice cream heals all wounds and brings children to a state of unbounded excitement.”
As Siff himself puts it: “Gus was my first Ice Cream Man. He was the original happiness dealer. A chocolate milkshake could heal anything, just like a good painting. These days the more paintings I make the more I feel like Gus.”