Lowbrow art

DEFINITION

Artist Robert Williams (1943- ) wrote in the February 2006 issue of his "Juxtapoz Art and Culture Magazine", that he had invented the term 'lowbrow art'. (He also claims copyright to the term.) For him, lowbrow, as opposed to 'highbrow', is a kind of populist art that has roots in 1950s popular 'street' culture, especially southern California hot rods, babes, and surfing, and always is presented through realist or representational art. It is basically aligned with illustration, and most of the practioners come from that background with emphasis on the commerical side, including tattoo art and comic books. Lowbrow art generally has a sense of humor and pokes fun at convention. The first artists, Williams and Gary Panter (1950-), were also underground cartoonists, and early lowbrow art shows were held in alternative galleries in Los Angleles. Robert Williams founded highly popular magazine "Juxtapoz" in 1994 with a group of artists and collectors, and it brought the movement broad attention around the world. Williams was also one of the originators of Zap Comix, a main source and breeding ground for both the style and content, which is often very violent, sexual and sexist. Other artists currently working in this style are Camille Rose Garcia, Todd Shorr, Mark Ryden, Tim Biskup, Gary Baseman, and Anthony Ausgang. Source: Paul Karlstrom PhD; the website wikipedia; arthistory.com; lowbrowartworld.com. Submitted by Teta Collins

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