Weird like The Hairy Who
Weird for ad's sake
In 1966, Jim Falconer, Art Green, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Suellen Rocca, and Karl Wirsum put on their first show under the banner of their newly named collective: The Hairy Who.
The work was quite unlike the colossally successful Pop Art of the time from such luminaries as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Their pieces contained none of the detached irony that made Andy’s cans and Roy’s comics so undeniably captivating and yet literally quite bland.
The collective would take inspiration from similar raw materials – advertising, comics, graphics, tattoos, but go for the jugular with nervous, dorky and undeniably strange artworks.
They tackled the kitsch tackiness of American culture in a loving embrace and displayed them in a joyfully democratic opposition to the prissy exactness of the New York art scene.
The Hairy Who would become renowned for their hallucinatory imagery, especially when representing the human body – often exaggerated, occasionally mutilated – contrasting with an otherwise jovial aesthetic.
Keep modern art weird.
Weird is one of those subjective words like ‘cool’ that often gets lost in translation or stretched in all different kinds of directions.
The types of weirdness I want to focus on, and the kind of weirdness that The Hairy Who excelled at –I think– is a sketchy, unpolished, wiggly, freakish kind of strangeness.
Anything that can be both endearing and off-putting.
Inspiring a kind of advertising appraoach that seems almost demented, given its job to sell products and make brands desirable…
Here’s two oldies from the famed wobbly hand of illustrator R. O. Blechman:
Here’s a horrifying, hellish skate graphic approach from Habito:
Chris Cunningham went all warped for Sony:
Likening your chocolate bar to a turd is deliciously weird.
Cultured yeast…Get it?
Marmite playing with itself.
Ok so these last two are polished. But they are also utterly deranged.
“Everyone you love is gone. There is only ice cream.”
Trying to communicate something most people won’t understand? Why not double down with a concept that makes no sense…
Do you have a favourite weird one?
Drop a comment, send a reply – and I’ll share next time.
Thanks for reading,
Who are you? Who, who, who, who…
Want to hear more about the weird and wonderful Hairy Who? Listen to their episode of Kunst Please:
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