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Curiously Sinister Art of Jim Flora Paperback – January 31, 2007
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The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora (2004) was some book, but it was supposed to be a one-shot deal. Then in 2005 the late commercial artist's family opened its stash--enough good stuff, Chusid imparts, for three more books. The first of those three draws primarily from what Chusid thinks is Flora's best period, the 1940s to the early 1960s, during which he put more wildness and violence into his work than he would allow in his later children's books and mainstream-magazine work. Since Flora's style is cartoonishly hieratic, there's nothing grim on view (well, maybe the Ben-Shahn-agit-propish "The Jealous Husband"); it's just that the pictures' extremely high spirits--whatever else they're doing, the figures in them seem to be jitterbugging--sometimes include a little mayhem. Besides more of Flora's Columbia Records, early magazine, and small-press work, this book includes 35 pages of previously unpublished sketches and completed pieces. Everything attests Flora's affinities to Picasso, Klee, Stuart Davis, the Mexican muralists, and especially Calder and Miro. Real smiley stuff. Ray Olson
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About the Author
Irwin Chusid, based in Hoboken, NJ, is a journalist, music historian, radio personality and self-described “landmark preservationist.” Since 1975, Chusid has been a DJ on free-form radio station WFMU in New Jersey. He is the author of Songs in the Key of Z: The Curious Universe of Outsider Music. He has produced landmark reissues of the music of composer/bandleader/electronic music pioneer Raymond Scott, Space Age Pop avatar Esquivel, the Langley Schools Music Project, and has salvaged the careers of now-celebrated icons like Jim Flora.
Barbara Economon is a digital media specialist at The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and a former radio host on KFAI. She provides all image restoration for the Flora collections and produces fine art prints of selected works.
Top customer reviews
I was NOT disappointed this is a fabulous collection of Flora's bizarre strangely unexplainable style of art. It is refreshing to see such originality & art from a time (40s/50s mainly but right up to the 90's) that I'm imagine was much, much less swamped with every man and his dog thinking they are the next Top Artist (tm), but rather people with genuine stand alone talent being given more or less freedom to just do their thing.
I haven't had a major look through (but a good look through) but it seems that this book is compiled with a lot of rare magazine covers, personal drawings etc. with a limited selection of his actual album cover art (after all that was what the first book The Mischievous Art of.. was for, and one i shall definitely have to get).
It's funny because the art on the cover is of what some might suggest is not prime book-cover subject matter (you'll have to buy the book to find out what it is called ;). But a lot of Flora's work is so out-there & fairly unrecognizable (in a good way) that it makes you think.
It's a worthy purchase. And if what the compilers of the book keep their promise then there are more volumes to come. Bring them on on I say.