In the latest issue of JUXTAPOZ Art & Culture Magazine, co-founder and pioneer of the underground contemporary/pop surrealist/low brow art movement, Robert Williams, not only has his work grace the cover — much like it did on the premier issue — but an extensive interview with the subversive art legend is also featured within it’s pages. As is the case with more groundbreaking movements and revolutionary ideas than one could ever hope to shake a paintbrush at, JUXTAPOZ was born out of frustration and necessity, as Williams continued to carve his own path, after a continued lack of acceptance in the mainstream/”high brow” art world, since his career first began. In the interview, he touches on the roots of the idea for the magazine by referencing a situation where he was communicating with a girl holding a tattoo magazine, wherein he expressed the need to find a similar outlet for the outsider artists that he shared a particular kinship with, who also had no platform of their own. Brainstorming with art collector and owner of the highly influential Copro Gallery in Santa Monica, Greg Escalante, the two got the idea to approach Thrasher Magazine and Independent Truck Co. founder, Fausto Vitello who, along with Eric Swenson (Vitello’s partner in both ventures) used their experience to help launch the publication. Also joining the team was writer/artist/photojournalist Craig “C.R.” Stecyk known for being a co-founder of the iconic Zephyr surfboards and an important figure in propelling Dogtown and its infamous Z Boys into the public eye through his compelling coverage in Skateboarder Magazine — years later, Stecyk would go on to write and produce the award winning documentary, Dogtown & Z-Boys. Clearly, this crew was not comprised of individuals who were new to the idea of forging their own way, promoting ideals and lifestyles that were a bit off the grid, but I doubt that when they aimed their collective focus toward publishing something for those who had been marginalized in the visual art game that even these men could have ever foreseen to what magnitude their venture would flourish. This both pertains to the scope of the content that they would go on to embrace, genre-wise, as well as in regards to what degree their little magazine would expand — JUXTAPOZ is now the most widely circulated art publication in the world.
This weekend two major exhibits open at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Park, paying tribute to both the legacy of Robert Williams himself, and the magazine that he founded, respectively. These shows have been co-curated by the likes of Andrew Hosner of the Thinkspace Gallery and Gary Pressman from Copro, two impressive and incredibly consistent names at the forefront of their field. Running concurrently with Williams‘ solo exhibit and retrospective, Slang Aesthetic! (preview HERE), 20 YEARS UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF JUXTAPOZ is a group show boasting contributions from some of the biggest names in the alternative, underground, and contemporary art scenes, both past and present. With no more than a quick glance given to the extensive roster, which featuring over 100 different contributors, it’s nearly impossible not to recognize name after name of ridiculous talent popping up off the screen. Names like Mark Ryden and Shepard Fairey, who are pioneers in their own right, are paying tribute to a publication that played a role so vital to their careers and others like them that it cannot be overstated. It’s unlikely that you will see another show this densely packed full of such big name and highly respected talent, anytime soon, but it’s worth considering how these names came to find their way onto so many of our radars and into so many of our homes,in the first place. Before JUXTAPOZ sprouted up 2 decades ago, there was little platform for these artists to get any shine, and before Robert Williams, his influence on the artworld, and the sparks that he’s ignited, and continues to ignite, many of these folks may never have even had careers to pursue to begin with.
There’s a lot going on surrounding these events, but for now, checkout the following details via the press release:
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.
Here’s a list of the folks providing pieces for this event…
LIST OF CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS
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, Yosuke Ueno
The invite only artist reception is this Saturday the 21st with the first public view coming the following day, but the show runs into April with a number of other really exciting related events continuing throughout. Here’s a breakdown.
Check out a selection of preview images below, after the following event details.
20 Years Under The Influence Of JUXTAPOZ
Curated by Andrew Hosner (Thinkspace Gallery) & Gary Pressman (Copro Gallery)
Artists Reception (invitation only)
Saturday, February 21st
First Public View
Sunday, February 22nd
(Free screening of Robt. Williams Documentary, Mr Bitchin @3pm)
LA Municipal Art Gallery at Barnsdall Park
4800 Hollywood Blvd.,
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Show runs from February 22nd – April 19th, 2015
Gallery Hours: 12-5PM, Thursday – Sunday
Showing in tandem with SLANG Aesthetics! from Robert Williams (see our perview HERE)
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/653750664750432/
[click images to enlarge]