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Madonna’s son Rocco hosted an art show in Miami while she was in town for her tour

Madonna’s son Rocco hosted an art show in Miami while she was in town for her tour

Amanda Rosa

From pop music to charcoal drawings, a famous family graced Miami this week with their art.

Rocco Ritchie, a London-based artist and son of pop icon Madonna and filmmaker Guy Ritchie, celebrated the opening of his first solo show in the United States Wednesday night in Miami’s Design District. The show, called “Pack A Punch,” features 20 portraits of Muay Thai fighters inspired by a recent trip Ritchie took to Thailand.

The show, originally meant to be up for two days, has been extended until Friday by appointment.

“I’m obviously a little nervous, but I’m happy with the work and space, and I’m grateful that I can do it,” Ritchie said. “I think Miami is a popping art movement, there’s a lot going on. I was lucky enough to find a space, so I took the opportunity.”

Earlier this week, Madonna wrapped her Celebration Tour with three concerts in Miami, where she honored victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting and brought Ricky Martin on stage. Besides a late appearance from Madonna, guests at Ritchie’s show included Miami musical royalty Gloria, Emilio and Emily Estefan, Design District real estate developer Craig Robins, restaurateur and club owner David Grutman, Miami Dolphins linebacker Duke Riley, Lauren Jauregui of Fifth Harmony fame, and about 100 well-dressed, suntanned visitors.

Born in Los Angeles in 2000, Ritchie studied at Central Saint Martins and the Royal Drawing School in London. He used to create and sell art under the pseudonym Rhed, but the cat was let out of the bag in 2021 after Too Faced Cosmetics co-founder Jerrod Blandino posted about purchasing a painting from Ritchie on Instagram. His foray into the art world has spurred critiques from some art critics who questioned the young artist’s skill level and early success.

Ritchie, now 23, is heavily inspired by British painters such as Lucian Freud, Paula Rego and Francis Bacon with a splash of Pablo Picasso. Those influences are apparent in the Design District show with its twisting bodies, dramatically dark shadows, jagged musculature and banged-up faces. Still, a viewer may wonder if the slightly-off body proportions in some of the drawings (like a too-small foot or too-short arms) are stylistic choices or not.

Ritchie has shown his work at the Palazzo Reale in Milan and in London, which sold out, said art dealer Jessica Draper. The works at “Pack a Punch” are also on sale for $25,000 a piece, she said. Five sold last night.

“He’s very interested in the human figure, the human form,” Draper said. “The charcoal works on canvas were inspired by a show at the Courtauld Gallery in London by Frank Auerbach, where he works in charcoal. And [Ritchie] felt like this medium reflected the practice of Muay Thai, which is all about movement.”

Ritchie told the Herald that he’s looking forward to several upcoming projects.

“This is the beginning of a much longer road,” he said.

In true Madonna fashion, the proud mom of six pulled up to the event about 30 minutes after it was supposed to end. She stepped out of a jet black car wearing a bright emerald green suit, a white cowboy hat and a smile as she greeted her son.

Ritchie happily linked arms with his mother as he showed her around the exhibition. Maybe celebrities really are just like us.

The Queen of Pop was accompanied by a Secret Service-like entourage of bodyguards who enforced her strict no photos rule while she attended the show. When a rather bold man asked Madonna for a photo, she turned to him and said, “For a million dollars.”


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