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The 'godfather of lowbrow' opens a new show at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art
Robert Williams, The Fraught Proposal, 2014. Oil on Canvas.

FORT WAYNE, IN.- Robert Williams: SLANG Aesthetics! is the Midwestern debut for a new body of work by the champion of underground artists, Robert Williams. The exhibit is on view April 22-July 23, 2017 at the Fort Wayne Museum of Art in Indiana.

Robert Williams: SLANG Aesthetics! features new work by an artist widely upheld as the godfather of the lowbrow, pop surrealist, and colloquial realism art movements, direct antecedents of the New Contemporary Art movement. Williams is an American painter and cartoonist who founded Juxtapoz Art & Culture Magazine and was part of the group of artists who produced Zap Comix with R. Crumb. Comic-style illustration certainly influenced his own highly detailed, complex paintings that fused the sunny side of California car and surfer culture with the bawdy underbelly of all things underground.

As both patriarch and outlaw, Williams’ enduring influence on the movement is undeniable. A true maverick who sought to create vital work that channeled the shifting energies and immediacy of the countercultural from the 1960s onward, Williams’ self-described "Conceptual Realist" paintings invoked a return to craftsmanship, figuration, and demotic imagery that rejected the more elitist tenets of conceptual minimalism.

“After our museum’s expansion in 2010, which gave us more than 3 times the number of galleries, we expanded our vision of what type of exhibits to curate for these new spaces. A particularly interesting area of contemporary art was the work being done across the country by artists who increasingly seem to lack a special reverence for the contemporary ‘fine art world.’ These artists, in a wide variety of media, were pushing their careers forward without waiting to be invited by the art world. That nonconformist attitude is precisely what led us to want to do this show – despite the fact that Williams and his offspring never behaved as though they needed a museum to anoint them as acceptable,” said Charles Shepard, President & CEO of FWMoA.

This exhibition is organized by the Fort Wayne Museum of Art in collaboration with Thinkspace Gallery, Los Angeles, led by FWMoA Curator of New Contemporary Art Josef Zimmerman and Thinkspace co-owners Andrew Hosner and Shawn Hosner.

A second exhibition, Juxtapozed, also opens at FWMoA April 22. Juxtapozed features the artists working in the styles, themes, and attitudes of the art world that were pioneered by Robert Williams. Today, the movement is known as the New Contemporary Movement, encompassing such genres as Street Art, Muralism, Pop Surrealism, and Hyperrealism. Juxtazpozed will close two weeks sooner than the Robert Williams exhibition, July 9.

The New Contemporary Art Movement has been largely self-sustained through a network of alternative cultural platforms, primarily outside of the mainstream and institutionally-vetted art markets, including social media, blogs, zines, underground collectives, galleries, and urban and alternative spaces. Thinkspace Gallery in Los Angeles is one of the movement's most visible and active proponents, taking the work to art fairs, collaborating with galleries internationally, and opening institutional channels for its exhibition and appreciation. Boasting over 400,000 followers through its various social media outlets, Thinkspace has helped to bring this work to a wider international audience. As the movement continues to expand on a global scale, its diversity, inclusivity, and vitality set it apart from more exclusionary art world models.

Juxtapozed was conceived by Andrew Hosner of Thinkspace Gallery and Josef Zimmerman of the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, with the assistance of Gary Pressman of Copro Gallery, Santa Monica, CA.

Co-founder and Curator of Thinkspace Gallery Andrew Hosner, says, "Our plan is to continue to knock on the door of the establishment until more listen, more take notice, more start to add these artists to their permanent collections, and start to give the movement the attention it has earned and deserved."

Juxtapozed features installations by Laurence Vallieres and Icy and Sot plus site-specific murals by Cinta Vidal and Bumblebeelovesyou. The exhibition includes individual works by 48 New Contemporary artists including 1010, Aaron Nagel, Alex Garant, Allison Sommers, Amy Sol, Bec Winnel, Benjamin Garcia, Chris Mars, Cinta Vidal, Craig ‘Skibs’ Barker, Daniel Bilodeau, David Rice, Derek Gores, Dulk, Erik Siador, Erika Sanada, Fernando Chamarelli, Frank Gonzales, Fuco Ueda, Ian Francis, Jeff Gilette, Joe Sorren, Joel, Daniel Phillips, Jolene Lai, Jon Swihart, Josh Keyes, Juan Travieso, Kazuhiro Tsuji, Kelly Vivanco, Kikyz1313, Lauren Brevner, Liz Brizzi, Mark Ryden, Martin Whatson, Martin Wittfooth, Mary Iverson, Mike Davis, Meggs, Ron English, Sepe, Sergio Garcia, Shag, Shepard Fairey, Stephanie Buer, Telmo Miel, Travis Louie, Wiley Wallace, and Yosuke Ueno.

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