by Frank Forte
This weekend Los Angeles will host an extravaganza of Lowbrow and Pop Surrealist art with an exhibition of new works by Robert Williams entitled SLANG Aesthetics! and a retrospect of artists featured in Juxtapoz magazine entitled 20 Years Under the Influence of Juxtapoz.
Robert Williams is considered the godfather of Pop Surrealism and it’s been over ten years since he’s exhibited new works in his hometown of Los Angeles. If you’ve never seen a Williams piece up close, this show is not to be missed!
20 Years Under the Influence of Juxtapoz is an incredible group exhibition with an amazing list of artists who will be contributing work to commemorate two decades of the magazine’s influential contribution to contemporary art and culture.
The exhibit will take place at The Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Art Park in the East Hollywood/Los Feliz neighborhood of L.A.
Robert Williams: SLANG Aesthetics! and 20 Years Under the Influence of Juxtapoz
February 22nd – April 19th, 2015
Guest Curators: Andrew Hosner (Thinkspace) & Gary Pressman (Copro Gallery)
Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery
at Barnsdall Art Park
4800 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Invitation Only Reception: Saturday, February 21st from 6:00 – 11:00 PM
RSVP TO: firstname.lastname@example.org
Public First View: Sunday, February 22nd 2:00 – 5:00 PM
On view: Sunday, February 22nd – April 19th, 2015
Gallery Hours 12:00 – 5:00 PM, Thursday – Sunday
Sunday, Feb. 22nd 3:00 PM: Movie Screening of Robert Williams’ Mr. Bitchin’ at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre
Saturday, Feb. 28th 2:00 PM: Artist Talk with Robert Williams
Saturday, March 14th 2:00 PM: Curator / Juxtapoz Talk (with Andrew Hosner, Gary Pressman, Greg Escalante, Robert Williams, Suzanne Williams, Gwynn Vitello, Evan Pricco, and Jeff Soto)
Saturday, March 28th 2:00 PM: Book Signing for Robert Williams’ new book SLANG Aesthetics! with Baby Tattoo
The Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and Juxtapoz magazine in association with Thinkspace Gallery and Copro Gallery are pleased to present new works by Robert Williams. SLANG Aesthetics! is on view at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery from February 22nd to April 19th, 2015. The exhibition is Robert Williams’ first major body of work to make its debut in Los Angeles in well over a decade, and will feature 25 new oil paintings by the artist alongside a suite of drawings, and a series of large-scale sculptures fabricated with the assistance of Gentle Giant Studios.
Robert Williams is widely upheld as the godfather of the low brow and pop surrealist art movements, and with as much frequency denigrated as an irreverent iconoclast among the arbiters of “high” art. As both patriarch and outlaw, Williams’ enduring influence on the New Contemporary movement is undeniable. A true maverick who sought to create vital work that channeled the shifting energies and immediacy of counterculture, from the ’60s onward, Williams’ paintings invoked a return to craftsmanship, figuration and demotic imagery that rejected the elitist tenets of conceptual minimalism. A kid of the ’50s, Williams grew up immersed in California’s hot rod Kustom Kulture, Rock n’ Roll and EC Comics, and was steeped in the populist currents of his era. He recognized the raw visual power of popular culture: its graphics, its counter movements and its undergrounds, a network of palpitations he would continue to tap well into the era of punk rock. He worked commercially and became studio Art Director to Kustom Kulture icon Ed “big daddy” Roth in 1965, and was a founding contributor to the underground ZAP Comix in the late ’60s, all the while creating his own caustic, unapologetic work.
The work that Williams’ created was different, and didn’t fit within the established critical and intellectual paradigms espoused by the East Coast dominated art scene. Creating epic cartoon inspired history paintings charged with sex and ultra-violence, Williams drew from the social power of the American vernacular and its visual slang. He refused the immaterial aspirations of the art object, as it moved further away from representation, and felt no affinity with the contentless legacy of Abstract Expressionism. Instead, Williams sought idiosyncrasy, content, narrative, skillful figuration and popular culture, and created work that captured its visceral and libidinal energies through accessible references. Williams continued to disregard the arbitrary exclusions of the low from “high” culture, and in 1979 coined the term “low brow” as a way to articulate his opposition to an establishment from which he was excluded. For better or worse, “low brow” became the namesake of a young fledgling art movement, which Williams would prove to be instrumental in fostering. In 1994 Williams founded Juxtapoz Art & Culture Magazine and created a platform for this young and insurgent energy on the West Coast; a publication that was dedicated to the underground and to its cultural mutineers.
Williams, a self described Conceptual Realist, continues to create artworks that elicit a response and offer an opinion. Relying on concrete, and relatable, imagery to invoke ideas and concepts, rather than on the non-comital spasms of abstraction, his work continues to cut, seethe, confront and move. Not for the faint of heart, Williams speaks an unruly truth that captures the dark, the beautiful and the appalling tenor of our modern world.
This exhibition is sponsored in part by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery. The LAMAG is located within the beautiful Barnsdall Park at 4800 Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, California. To contact the gallery please call 323.644.6269. Gallery hours are Thursday through Sunday from Noon to 5:00 PM. For special tours and school groups, please contact Marta Feinstein at email@example.com or to arrange special adult tours, please contact Gabe Cifarelli at Gabriel.firstname.lastname@example.org – visit LAMAG on the web atwww.lamag.org
20 Years Under the Influence of Juxtapoz
Guest Curators: Andrew Hosner (Thinkspace) & Gary Pressman (Copro Gallery)
February 22nd – April 19th, 2015
The Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery and Juxtapoz magazine are pleased to present 20 Years Under the Influence of Juxtapoz, a group exhibition to commemorate two decades of the magazine’s influential contribution to contemporary art and culture. On view at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, and curated by Andrew Hosner of Thinkspace Gallery and Gary Pressman of Copro Gallery, the exhibition features close to one hundred artists who have graced the publication’s pages and website, and showcases the diversity and breadth of the New Contemporary movement Juxtapoz has championed and helped to uphold.
In 1994 in San Francisco, Robert Williams, Craig Stecyk, Greg Escalante, Eric Swenson and Fausto Vitello founded Juxtapoz with the intent of fostering the art and culture of the underground. Providing an alternative voice and narrative as a counterpart to the dominant New York-centric discourse of contemporary art, it featured artists who straddled “high” and “low” culture. Aligning itself with the aesthetics of contemporary street culture, figurative art, California car culture, gig posters, tattoos, graphics, psychedelia and comics, the publication became a conduit and forum for an entirely new generation of artists who were latching on to the visual vernacular of powerfully populist themes. At a time when representational forms of art were widely disparaged by the reigning critical discourse of the art world, a discourse which championed hyper-conceptual and minimalist dogmas, Juxtapoz provided a mouth piece for the New Contemporary movement. Fluid rather than prescriptive, this movement has many monikers but is united by an ethos. The expressive possibilities afforded by figurative or representational work came to the fore, and a democratic sensibility was unleashed.
What once began as an alternative magazine is now the most widely disseminated art publication in the world. Predicated on the rejection of the artificial boundaries that consecrated “high”, Juxtapoz effectively broke down walls to allow young artists a chance at their own history. It is also an ideal that attests to the power of making accessible art about shared cultural experiences, identities and aesthetics.
The artists featured in this exhibition have been chosen based for their impact on the movement, and on how they themselves have been motivated by such an abundance of inspiration. With access to this imagery and community, new and multifaceted generations of artists continue to emerge from the ranks. Avenues made possible by Juxtapoz, through its wide variety of featured media and expressions, have shaped this aesthetic and preserves its trajectory as far as the imagination will allow.
Aaron Horkey, Aaron Nagel, Adam Caldwell, Adam Miller, Alex Yanes, Amy Sol, Andrew Hem, Andrew Schoultz, Andy Kehoe, Anthony Ausgang, Aron Wiesenfeld, Audrey Kawasaki, Bezt,, Billy Norrby, Brendan Monroe, Brett Amory, Brian M. Viveros, bumblebeelovesyou, C215, Candice Tripp, Chet Zar, Chris Mars, Christine Wu, CR Stecyk, Cryptik, Curiot, Dabs Myla, Dan Quintana, Dave MacDowell, David Cooley, David Molesky, EINE, Elizabeth McGrath, Eric Fortune, Erik Jones, Ernest Zacharevic, Esao Andrews, Femke Hiemstra, Fuco Ueda, Glenn Barr, Heidi Tailifer, Henrik Aa. Uldalen, Jacub Gagnon, James Marshall, Jeff Ramirez, Jeff Soto, Jeremy Fish, Jim Houser, Joanne Nam, Joao Ruas, Joe Sorren, Joe Vaux, John Brophy, Jon Swihart, Joram Roukes, Josh Keyes, Kazu Tsuji, Kevin Peterson, Kikyz 1313, Know Hope, Kozyndan, Kris Kuksi, KuKula, Kwon Kyung-yup, Linnea Strid, Low Bros, Luke Chueh, Luke Hillestad, Marco Mazzoni, Margaret Keane, Mark Dean Veca, Mark Garro, Mark Ryden, Matt Dangler, Michael Hussar, Mike Davis, Miss Van, Naoto Hattori, Natalia Fabia, Niagara, Nick Sheehy, Nicola Verlato, Nikko Hurtado, Nosego, Odd Nerdrum, Peter Ferguson, Rob Sato, Robert S. Connett, Ryan Heshka, Sainer, Sandra Chevrier, Scott Radke, Sergio Garcia, Seth Armstrong, Shag (Josh Agle), Shepard Fairey, Tara McPherson, Tran Nguyen, Tristan Eaton, Troy Coulterman, Word To Mother, Yoko d’Holbachie, and Yosuke Ueno.
Frank Forte Bio
Frank Forte is an accomplished designer, storyboard artist and comic book artist. He has worked in animation for feature films, TV and gaming. Some of the shows Frank has worked on include: Bob’s Burgers, Despicable Me 2, Lego Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out, The Super Hero Squad Show, Marvel Heroes 4D, Lego Hero Factory, Lego Bionicle: The Legend Reborn, Hi Hi Puffy Ami Yumi, Re-Animated Pilot (Out of Jimmy’s Head), The Mr. Men Show, Bionicle: The Legend Reborn (DVD-2009), Lego Clutch Powers 4D ride at Legoland and Lego Atlantis. He co-created The Cletus and Floyd Show with Gene McGuckin, a tribute to animation directors Tex Avery, Bob Clampett and Chuck Jones. Robert S. Rhine and Frank Forte created the pilot episode of Sickcom the Animated Series, which was sold to Spike and Mike’s Sick and Twisted Festival Of Animation in 2003.
In Frank’s spare time he paints. Recent shows include Laluzapalooza 2015 and Laluzapalooza Jury Winners Group Show 2015 at La Luz De Jesus Gallery (Los Angeles, CA), Villains of Animation at Van Eaton Galleries (Sherman Oaks, CA). Past shows include the CATZ Group Show at LTD. Gallery in Seattle, WA and the 6×6 group Show at The Phone Booth Gallery in Long Beach, CA. His art has been exhibited at Cannibal Flower (Los Angeles) and the Animation Guild Gallery 839 (North Hollywood).
Frank is also the publisher at Asylum Press, a publishing company that produces premium comic books and graphic novels within the horror, science fiction, and action genres.