The idea of seeing pop culture-themed artwork exhibited in a gallery setting might not seem so strange these days, but that hasn’t always been the case. “When we opened seven years ago, I think we were definitely laughed at for putting on large-scale themed group shows,” Gallery 1988 co-founder Jensen Karp tells us. “One LA gallery ‘luminary’ told an artist, ‘Don’t mind them, they only do group shows.’ And now you can’t go one month without a few movie-themed art shows opening around the world.”
As he explains it, Crazy 4 Cult, the gallery’s annual cult movie-themed show curated by Kevin Smith, was the first of its kind. “We’re showing a group of artists who’s influence is no longer Rothko and Picasso,” Jensen says. “They have a whole new set of inspirations based on our TVs, the movies, and comic books. Low brow and high brow can meet in a very artistic way at this point and it speaks to a large amount of people. I’ve never been interested in abstract art, but I’m very interested in a painting based on Office Space, and we’ve learned over the past five years, I’m not alone.”
Now, thanks to the success of the Crazy 4 Cult series, Gallery 1988 is releasing a new coffee table book that features some of their favorite pieces from the first four years of the show, along with an introduction by Smith. Click through below to preview a few of the works that made the cut, and if you live in LA, be sure to check out Crazy 4 Cult 5: I’m Getting Too Old For This Shit, which opens on July 8th at Gallery 1988’s Melrose location.
Image credit: Cherri Wood. Crazy 4 Cult: Cult Movie Art is out now from Titan Books. © 2011 Gallery 1988. All rights reserved. All art © the respective artists. Used with permission.