New York

Robert Williams

Psychedelic Solution

The recent exhibition of “Messages from a Drunken Broom,” a new series of paintings by Robert Williams, was the first one-person show in New York for this leading force of esthetic terrorism over the past two decades, and it was shamefully overdue. How these works of antiestablishment vulgarity were received was as revealing as it was predictable, with opinion split according to the fundamental values of opposing social groups. Williams is relevant for both his status as a guru of the countercultural underground and as a maverick disregarded by the prevailing power elite. His career as one of the great ’60s masters of weirdo psychedelic psychographics, and the dark aura of his cult status, make it easy for us to think of him only in such terms; however, his recent paintings prove that he is an artist of great virtuosity and intelligence with whom we will have to contend.

All radical

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the March 1987 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.