Ralph Steadman: A Retrospective
Ralph Steadman is one of the world’s most acclaimed graphic artists, and his work combines expressive lines and emphatic ink splatters that depict a range of subjects. Featuring more than 100 original works, this retrospective includes his earliest published cartoon from 1956, and drawings seen in publications including Private Eye, Punch, The Observer, and Rolling Stone, to name a few.
He is famous for his long collaboration with the writer Hunter S. Thompson, most notably providing illustrations for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1971) and—these are on view—works that document the duo’s trip to the Kentucky Derby for an article in Scanlan’s magazine in 1970.
Literary classics including Alice in Wonderland, Animal Farm, and Treasure Island have attracted Steadman’s sardonic eye for outrageous narratives, and politics has offered him leaders including Richard Nixon, Margaret Thatcher, and Donald Trump, each ripe for his critical treatment.
He has stayed relevant by continuing to tackle new projects in theatre, television, children’s books, and product design. Working with pen, brush, and delicate mists of colored ink blown from a mouth atomiser, his distinct style is suited to take on Disneyland, the crucifixion, prize fights, and the natural world. Examples of these are on view along with the artist’s first sculpture, a life-size bronze figure of Hunter S. Thompson as Dr. Gonzo.
The UK Art Museum is one of the few American venues for this touring exhibition, originally curated by Anita O’Brien at the Cartoon Museum, London. A full color catalog is available and an audio tour by Audible includes commentary by Steadman, actor Tim Robbins, and curator Anita O’Brien.
Members Preview Party photos by Alan Rideout.
Special thanks to Executive Director Sadie Williams and Exhibitions Coordinator Andrea Harris at the Ralph Steadman Collection for their enthusiasm for Steadman’s work and help with all aspects of this project.
Flying Dog Brewery
Image: RALPH STEADMAN, ‘Don’t draw, Ralph! It’s a filthy habit…’ HST. Self-Poortrait, 2006, Pen, brush, and ink on paper with celluloid and collage and strip of ink-splattered paper from desk, Private collection © Ralph Steadman.
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