Monday, November 07, 2005

Robt. Williams

This was the best free event Umlaut attended all year:

Robert Williams Slideshow

Sun, Nov 6
4-7 pm

Robert Williams is traveling the West Coast to promote his new book of paintings, Through Prehensile Eyes. It collects the 58 paintings he's done since Malicious (from his past three shows at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery in New York), and is lavishly presented.

Through Prehensile Eyes shows Williams at the top of his game. His work is always provocative, thoughtful, masterfully composed and executed.

At the 111 Minna Gallery, Robert Williams will give a slideshow and a lecture on his art and technique. Don't miss this unique experience to hear directly from the founder of Juxtapoz Magazine, and the progenitor of Lowbrow Art.

111 Minna Gallery
111 Minna St. (at 2nd St.)
San Francisco
(415) 974-1719

Umlaut attended the event with the lovely McBains and the members of Acid King. We were expecting an overflow crowd of hipsters, but amazingly only a modest crowd was in the house, but this included Rock art icons Frank Kozik and Winston Smith (Smith is responsible for many of Alternative Tentacles' iconic album covers.. Dead Kennedys, etc..) and at least one well-respected local tattoo artist.

Hot Rod Race (1976)

Williams is one of the artists who influenced underground pop culture to a profound degree, so his vision is still original and pure. He can't be called derivative because he's where it all began. It was amazing to hear and meet the man whose images became, and continue to be, such a common aesthetic and influence (at least in Umlaut's world). To my surprise, I found that I liked a lot of his recent works more than his famous pieces.

Impervious to Chaos (2001)

His slideshow presentation was one of the most entertaining "art lectures" I've ever attended. It was funny and profoundly interesting. His dry sense of humor, historical references, and comments about which actors and Rock Stars owned certain paintings only added to the event. It was also inspiring that he's stayed true to himself and, despite being such an icon, is still a freak outsider to the Mainstream.

During the Q&A he was asked to comment on Von Dutch merchandising. Williams said how he knew Von Dutch and that he hated all commercialized things, but since Von Dutch was such an unpleasant person the merchandising is appropriate. HA HA! Question for the kidz: How many of you knew that Von Dutch was more than just trendy hats and t-shirts?

Williams said so many great things, but a favorite was his reaction when confronted by a group of Christians at an art gallery who found his art offensive. After hearing them out, Williams responded to them by saying "How can you say what is offensive when your logo is a man nailed to a piece of wood?"

Artists say the darndest things.

It was a busy evening in S.F., with the Dalai Lama and Prince Charles / Princess Camilla (or whatever she's called) also making appearances. Robert Williams could take all of them. Oh yeah, the Niners got their asses kicked again at home too. When the lights go down in the city.....

Umlaut listened to an advance copy of the John McBain (Monster Magnet / Wellwater Conspiracy) CD The In-Flight Feature while typing this. Twas a great soundtrack to the evening. Thanks McBain!