Burgess (Jess) Collins 1960

Although the seeds of Pop Art – ‘fine’-art based upon popular culture – had been sewn earlier in the century (Eduardo Paolozzi 1947, Richard Hamilton 1956), the flowering of pop art in America is really a Sixties phenomenon, and here in 1960 we have Jess Collins with his enormously entertaining deconstruction and remediation of Chester Gould’s comic strip from the 1930s. Gould’s Dick Tracy reformulated and reconstructed as Tricky Cad, creates a world conceptually even more surreal than the original (Gould was brilliant at inventing hyper-real villains). I love Gould’s graphic style – the flat, two-dimensional world that he creates with his unbreakable rectangular grid of frames, and I love too the way that Collins recasts these graphic devices into a series of existential excerpts. This body of work easily stands alongside that of the other great narrative collagist of the 20th century – Max Ernst (Les Malheurs des Imortelles 1922, Une Semaine de Bonte 1934, etc)



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