An Art Movement by Any Other Name...

Columbus Alive | April 14, 2005
Matt Dukes Jordan features some 23 different visual artists in his field guide to lowbrow art, Weirdo Deluxe (Chronicle), and one thing every one of them seems to agree on is that “lowbrow art” is a pretty awful term for what they do. But, as The Pizz puts it, “Everybody has a problem with the name, but no one has come up with another one.”

The problem with the term, of course, is that it implies that something is of a lesser quality than highbrow art (an idea quickly dispelled with a flip through the book) or is strictly for the fringes—clearly not the case when a lowbrow artist like Gary Baseman can work for Disney. Jordan doesn’t wrestle with the terminology too much, or do much in the way of heavy lifting, beyond a fun 14-page timeline of the movement’s influences that kicks off the book, letting the images instead speak for themselves (which is perhaps for the best).

The rest is pretty much a well-designed coffee table book pointing to incredible artists who should have their own coffee table books that you should buy, many of whose works will be familiar from ads, magazine covers and illustrations, even if you don’t know their names, like Mark Ryden, Josh Agle and Tim Biskup. In fact, they should all be doing more ads, magazine covers and illustrations—hell, I’d buy any product with one of Todd Schorr’s scary-ass pop apocalypses or Camille Rose Garcia’s swollen-headed goth fawns on the label.

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Founded in 1983, Alive is the Capital City's oldest and only independent alternative and is known for providing a forum for the area's free thinkers. The paper's spirited and original perspective on music, arts and culture distinguish it from the...
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