Coming in at 175 pages of pure, unadulterated cult movie art, Crazy4Cult – Cult Movie Art 2 collects a burgeoning art movement dedicated to your favorite films and puts it right in your hands.
Owning to a lineage which includes art history giants such as Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, and Roy Lichtenstein, today’s pop art movement has exploded throughout the streets from heavyweights like Banksy and Shepard Fairey and across the internet in places like Reddit or Imgur, where an artist’s work can reach millions in moments. In this accessibility, we’ve seen a new art movement emerge; a movement based not on a critical view of popular culture, but simply an extension of the appreciation toward culture. “Cult movies” are, by definition, films that may or may not be overtly popular but have made a cultural impact with a certain amount of people. Like cult films themselves, the artists like those featured in Crazy4Cult – Cult Movie Art 2 have experienced a renaissance of sorts in the past decade. Much of that is due to the expansion of the internet and the ease with which it allows like-minded people to communicate, but a great deal of it is thanks to people like Katie Cromwell and Jensen Karp. That’s where Gallery1988 comes into the picture.
In an introduction written for Crazy4Cult – Cult Movie Art 2, Karp describes how he and Cromwell saw artists creating amazing art that was going unappreciated by the art community, just ten years ago. That’s why, in 2004, the two opened Gallery1988 in Los Angeles to give a home to affordable artwork from emerging artists whose work focused on the pop culture subjects they enjoyed. Since then, they’ve grown to two locations in Los Angeles, and they have shows in New York City.
In 2007, Gallery1988 held their first annual Crazy4Cult series, which–you guessed it–features art inspired by cult films. The annual show, hosted by Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier, has grown into a worldwide attraction. It’s another instance of Cromwell and Karp picking exactly the right time to jump into the pop art fray, as the internet has made it so easy for people to speak up and say “Yes, I like this. Give me more.”
Crazy4Cult – Cult Movie Art 2, if it’s not obvious, is a follow-up to Crazy4Cult – Cult Movie Art, a collection which was released in 2011. The first book collected some of the best artwork from the first four years of the Crazy4Cult series and was very well-received. This second book includes even more phenomenal artwork inspired by not only the films you might expect–like: Back to the Future, Robocop, Ghostbusters, and Alien–but also some unexpected films like Harold and Maude, The Hudsucker Proxy, The Room, and so many more.
Speaking of the unexpected, there are two things I got from Crazy4Cult – Cult Movie Art 2 which I legitimately didn’t expect. First, I don’t know why, but it did not even cross my mind that the art would not be all paintings. Not only does the paper art include things like acrylics on wood, gouache, screenprints, giclee prints, etc; but there are also mixed media sculptures, ceramics, and even freaking needlepoint. There is really something for everyone who loves cult movies and/or damn fine art.
The second unexpected thing I got out of the book is something that Seth Rogen kind of touches on in the foreword he penned for it. Art, being a visual medium, is supposed to capture your eye; the classic works of Michelangelo, Raphael–you know, all the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles–certainly does capture the eye. However, art is supposed to also capture your spirit and your mind; that classic work certainly does still do that for quite a few people, but it’s, frankly, not representative of a modern world. That’s what much of our contemporary art–pop art, in particular, at its core–does; the pop art movement of the 1950s and ’60s turned a mirror on society and the popular culture of the time. Now, most of the art we consume is not the static wall art of old, but rather the moving art of film or video games. To that end, the mirror held up by Crazy4Cult – Cult Movie Art 2 (and the modern cult art movement it represents) is not a mirror of criticism like that of past pop art but a mirror of admiration which forces a sort of nostalgia upon you which can be moving, because that’s just how nostalgia works.