The San Francisco–based arts and culture journal Juxtapoz was founded in 1994 by painter Robert Williams as a response to the dominant critical aesthetic of the New York art scene, which he saw as favoring abstraction and Minimalism over representational forms of art. The magazine aligned itself with Surrealist traditions of figurative art, contemporary pop culture, and the “graphic tradition of EC comic books, psychedelic rock posters, sideshow freak banners, and Zap comics,” giving voice to a generation of artists working in genres that were variously described as “Lowbrow” and “Pop Surrealist.” This series includes seven documentary features about artists championed by the publication, along with in-person appearances by artists, filmmakers, and special guest speakers. Several of the films will be East Coast premieres.
Organized by Ron Magliozzi, Assistant Curator, Department of Film.
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Juxtapoz magazine founder and self-described “conceptual realist” painter Robert Williams (b. 1943) is regarded as the godfather of the Southern California–based Lowbrow and Pop Surrealist art scenes. He began his career as a commercial artist for Kustom Kulture entrepreneur Ed “Big Daddy” Roth in the mid-1960s, and was later a member of the Zap Comix collective that included R. Crumb, S. Clay Wilson, Spain Rodriguez, and Rick Griffin. In the late 1970s he helped organize the Art Boys, a loosely affiliated fraternity of L.A. artists that included Gary Panter, Mike Kelley, Matt Groening, and The Pizz. While he was already a towering figure in the underground comix and music scenes, his work reached a new audience when the painting Appetite for Destruction (1978) was used as the original cover image for the 1987 Guns N’ Roses album of the same name. This opening program in the exhibition “All the Wrong Art”: Juxtapoz Magazine on Film features the East Coast premiere of Mary C Reese’s biographical documentary Robert Williams Mr. Bitchin’.
Born in 1976 and raised in Los Angeles, David Choe began his career as a school drop-out and wandering graffiti artist. In the 14 years since he self-published the graphic novel Slow Jams (1996), Choe has created a kinetic body of work as an illustrator, muralist, painter, collagist and sculptor. His potent figurative work, inspired by body art, pornography, religion, and indigenous cultures, has been described as “compellingly repulsive.”
In this closing program of the exhibition “All the Wrong Art”: Juxtapoz Magazine on Film, filmmaker Harry Kim presents his documentary Dirty Hands: The Art and Crimes of David Choe (2008). Filmed over a 10-year period, it recounts Choe’s misadventures in the Congo and Japan and charts his creative activity from the mean streets of L.A. to the executive offices of Facebook. The screening is followed by a conversation between Choe, director Harry Kim, and New York artist Ron English.
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