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LA GIA-HONDA: ROBERT WILLIAMS' CAR-CRASHES ON CANVAS

“Something dead in the street commands more measured units of visual investigation than 100 Mona Lisas!” So says Robert Williams in his “Rubberneck Manifesto” of 1989, and it’s true—no Louvre gridlock matches the rubbernecking delays caused by a good car-wreck. But isn’t this a deadly realization for a painter? Creating a single Mona Lisa would be enough for most artists, but Williams wants to surpass a hundred of them. Can rattling the bars of an old medium like easel painting ever attract as much attention as road kill?

After a youth spent among beatniks and street gangs, in the mid ’60s Williams attended a Los Angeles art school that propounded a rigid Abstract Expressionist pedagogy. In rebellion he turned to the city’s underground culture, designing tattoos and customizing cars for Ed “Big Daddy” Roth. In 1967, Williams joined cartoonists R. Crumb and S. Clay Wilson at the underground

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