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The “Godfather of Lowbrow"

Artist Robert Williams debuts new work at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art

By Eddie Torres

Fort Wayne Reader


Robert Williams: SLANG Aesthetics! is the Midwestern debut for a new body of work by the champion of underground artists, Robert Williams. Williams is widely regarded as the godfather of the lowbrow, pop surrealist, and colloquial realism art movements.

An American painter and cartoonist, Williams founded Juxtapoz Art & Culture Magazine and was part of the group of artists who produced Zap Comix with R. Crumb. Comic-style illustration influenced his own highly detailed, complex paintings, fusing the sunny side of California car and surfer culture with the bawdy underbelly of all things underground.

As both patriarch and outlaw, Williams’ enduring influence on the movement is undeniable. A true maverick who sought to create vital work that channeled the shifting energies and immediacy of the countercultural from the 1960s onward, Williams’ self-described "Conceptual Realist" paintings invoked a return to craftsmanship, figuration, and demotic imagery that rejected the more elitist tenets of conceptual minimalism.

“After our museum’s expansion in 2010, we expanded our vision of what type of exhibits to curate for these new spaces,” says Charles Shepard, President and CEO of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art. “A particularly interesting area of contemporary art was the work being done across the country by artists who increasingly seem to lack a special reverence for the contemporary ‘fine art world.’ These artists, in a wide variety of media, were pushing their careers forward without waiting to be invited by the art world. That nonconformist attitude is precisely what led us to want to do this show – despite the fact that Williams and his offspring never behaved as though they needed a museum to anoint them as acceptable,”

Robert Williams: SLANG Aesthetics!
April 22-July 23, 2017
Fort Wayne Museum of Art
311 East Main

For more info visit fwmoa.org

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