This brash collection of sketches, paintings and the occasional photograph form an impressive companion to Pynchon’s stunning masterwork. Smith is well-steeped in both punk culture and comic book artistry, and the works herein are duly brazen and unflinching. The artist’s bold pen is particularly suited to render Pynchon’s super-sexual war narrative, with its numerous carnal couplings/groupings and its sadomasochistic theme of military dominance. The ladies are prevalent, the rockets are fueling and the chaos is paramount.
Shepard Fairey, who created an iconic campaign image of Barack Obama, has joined Jennifer Gross in compiling Art For Obama: Designing Manifest Hope and the Campaign for Change (Abrams, $22.50). The widespread support for Obama’s presidential campaign was accompanied by an outpouring of creative work from artists of all sorts. Musicians produced a CD to raise money. Actors appeared in ads and some worked the polls on election night. Visual artists designed images that were silk-screened for t-shirts and adorned museum walls. Much of this work is reproduced here. The book is amazingly diverse and beautiful. Many of the artists speak about what inspired them to create these pieces. If you’re not over Obama and love art, this is a wonderful way to remember the historic 2008 victory of Barack Obama and the people of the United States.