A modern stunt driver with roots in the silents - Off-Ramp for August 3, 2013

Artist Robert 'Mr Bitchin' Williams and his appetite for creation

John Rabe

Actors Richard Chamberlain and Ian Buchanan (from "General Hospital") at the Egyptian Theatre for the American Cinematheque's screening of "Robert Williams: Mr. Bitchin'" on Tuesday, July 30, 2013.

Robert Williams

Robert Williams

Robert Williams painting "Pansies."


Off-Ramp attends the American Cinematheque's screening of  Robert Williams: Mr. Bitchin', the man one art critic calls the "sperm" of the so-called Low-Brow movement.

We talk with co-director Nancye Ferguson; Coagula Art Journal founder Mat Gleason; and contemporary historian Charles Phoenix; plus we hear excerpts from the documentary, and Williams himself talking about his life and work at the Q&A session that followed, including a stroke-by-stroke breakdown of one of his most famous and controversial works, Appetite for Destruction.

But if there's only one thing to love Williams for, it's this obviously accurate description of LA's place in the art world, which delighted the crowd at the Egyptian Theatre Tuesday night:

"I don't know, it may be a year, it may be five years, ten years, before Los Angeles is the art capital of the world. Almost every art community in the United States has styled itself after New York, and you take a long look at New York, and you see that New York is sitting on one big stick, and that stick is sophistication, and somewhere along the line that stick is going to break. When you shed sophistication, then your playing field is so gigantic, and your opportunities of imagination are so enormous. New York watches us, and they watch us close, and they watch us with caution."


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