Ralph Steadman avec Gonzo: The Art
Hunter S. Thompson, in his drunken, rambling introduction to this volume of paintings and illustrations, calls Ralph Steadman "the Albert Gore of twentieth century art". It's hard to imagine a less apt appellation: Steadman's drawings and paintings are the wild antithesis of the notoriously stiff vice president. His pop art is also the opposite of Warhol's clean lines and soulless imagery; it screams with pain and nightmare power. While Steadman is best known for his illustrations to Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and other works, here his art is given free rein, and works with titles like "Earliest man, full of the sense of his own worth, screaming into the blackness, needing no god but himself..." and "Good time crucifix" combine Steadman's trademark splattered ink and unfolded figures with collage and sloppy airbrush. Although the text may offend those with no sense of irony (Thompson compares Steadman to artist manqué Adolf Hitler; Steadman relates the story of his first bowel movement), the hyperactive visuals are sure to delight even those who've never snorted ether while tripping on pure human adrenochrome. --James DiGiovanna
RALPH STEADMAN has illustrated many books, including Hunter S. Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and the fiftieth-anniversary edition of George Orwell's Animal Farm. He is the author of The Grapes of Ralph (for which he won a Glenfiddich Food & Drink Award), Still Life with Bottle, The Book of Jones, and Gonzo: The Art.