The William Benton Museum of Art is hosting an exhibition of Robert Lesser's voluminous collection of original pulp paintings. The show runs until March 14, 2010, and includes artwork from the covers of such magazines as Amazing Stories, Weird Tales, Astounding Science Fiction, and Planet Stories, as well as those of other genres, including Western, detective and crime, and war stories.
To learn more, visit the exhibition's web site: www.thebenton.org/exb_current.php?inc=31
There's also a slide show of artwork, including the covers of the magazines for which it was used, here.
It's a great opportunity to see some great, uniquely American pop art, and I highly recommend anyone who can make the trip does so.
I had a chance to poke through much of the art when I visited Lesser's apartment a few years ago. It was stacked four, five, six, seven paintings deep against every wall of his small, New York apartment. The art hung from every flat surface -- including the ceiling! Overwhelming. Scary and impressive at the same time. Lesser always said that he wants people to be able to appreciate the art, so it's great to see that it's found a home for a while. (I know he plans on donating it to a museum in New Britain, CT, sometime in the future.)
Robert Lesser at the preview of the auction of his vintage robots and space toys. (Photo by Karl Tate)
Lesser's art was on display a few years ago at the Brooklyn Museum. They did a pretty weak job of mounting the exhibition, though the scope and grandeur still came through. I hope this time the museum does the collection -- and the collector -- justice by putting some more thought into how they hang the art.