The Highs of Lowbrow

With its roots in comics, punk rock and pop culture, it’s no surprise that the lowbrow-art movement — also known as pop surrealism — was ignored by “serious” critics and galleries in its early days. “It’s art that’s not ‘fine art’; it’s more adventurous,” explains Scott Bailey, curator of the Octopoda Invitational, an exhibition featuring a mix of local and national pop-surrealist artists. “It started in California with a very specific movement, but now it’s pretty broad.”

Championed and popularized by magazines like Juxtapoz and Hi-Fructose, the movement produced such stars as Mark Ryden and Robert Williams, earning some measure of acceptance in the mainstream art world along the way without completely giving up its outsider status. Bailey’s Octopoda show puts work from fifteen of these artists, including well-known names such as Camilla d’Errico, Brian Despain and Caia Koopman, on display for a sampling of what the movement offers. “I picked a lot of it, and a lot of it’s kind of trippy and a lot of female [images]. It’s all very high-energy. It’s all literal; there’s not going to be anything that’s abstract,” Bailey says.

The show opens tonight with a reception from 5 to 9 p.m. at Love Gallery, 570 Inca Street, and runs through March 29; admission is free. For more information, visit benjaminbenjamin.tumblr.com.
First Wednesday-Sunday of every month. Starts: March 5. Continues through March 29, 2014

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Cory Casciato is a Denver-based writer with a passion for the geeky, from old science fiction movies to brand-new video games.
Contact: Cory Casciato