Hot women and junk food: Does it “work” as art in 2008?
Sacramento native and ’60s artist Mel Ramos painted parodic and satirical images of sexy females juxtaposed with equally seductive snacks: Baby Ruths, Velveeta cheese, hamburgers. In the ’60s, these paintings weren’t offensive, but instead commemorative—at least 40 years ago. Today, however, an artist would have a hard time pulling off, say, The Hills’ Heidi Montag doing the splits on top of a Sparks, which now speaks more to cultural decay than novelty: What’s to celebrate? Hipster voyeurism? Taurine-laced autoeroticism?
Ramos, a Sac State grad, will address these complications and more on October 25, when he comes to town to discuss ’60s art and pop culture. No doubt Ramos will have tremendous insight into the evolution of good and garish kitsch and the artist caboodle—bloggers Photoshopping Sarah Palin—who’ve recontextualized pop imagery since Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol trailblazed the movement. Make a reservation by October 20, because Ramos’s lecture surely will sell out. I’ll betcha a Butterfinger.