Robert Williams’ epic cartoon-inspired history paintings draw from American vernacular and its visual slang. Relying on concrete, relatable, and often absurd imagery to invoke social commentary, Williams work continues to confront and confound. In the 1960s, Williams began creating work that channeled the shifting energies and immediacy of counterculture. His paintings rejected the prevailing dominance of conceptual minimalism, focusing instead on a return to craftsmanship, figuration and popular imagery. In 1979, Williams coined the term “low brow” as a way to articulate his opposition to an establishment “high” art world from which he was excluded. For better or worse, “low brow” became the namesake of the fledgling New Contemporary movement, which Williams was instrumental in fostering.
Williams grew up immersed in California’s hot rod Kustom Kulture, Rock n’ Roll and EC Comics, and was steeped in the populist currents of his era. He worked commercially and became studio Art Director to Kustom Kulture icon Ed “big daddy” Roth in 1965, and was a founding contributor to the underground ZAP Comix in the late 60s, all the while creating his own caustic, unapologetic work. In 1994 Williams founded Juxtapoz Art & Culture Magazine, a publication dedicated to the underground, which has become the top-selling art magazine worldwide.
Current and Previous Works by Robert Williams
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