- Merge Records co-founder & Superchunk singer/guitarist Mac McCaughan interviews SK for Talkhouse“Play “Cut Your Hair” as you read…this is a great book about a great artist. His paintings sell out, but he never has…one of the season’s outstanding art books.” – Bookforum
“This guy must be the most prolific artist of all time.” – artist Shepard Fairey
“[Keene is an] assembly line Picasso” – TIME
“By some measures, Mr. Keene […]
is one of the most successful artists in the world.” – New York Times
“Whether they realize it or not, most rock fans of the past 20-odd years,
especially indie rock fans, already know the work of artist Steve Keene.” – Variety
“This is a wonderful book…
it’s a real keeper, it’s a work of art itself.” – Jim DeRogatis, Sound Opinions
“A ’90s icon of contemporary art in his own right,
Keene’s work remains revered well into the 21st century.” – Consequence
“Warhol claimed he wanted to be a machine,
but Keene IS a machine.” – artist Ryan McGinness
“…slapdash yet distinctive. The brushstrokes thick, the figures he replicates en masse
are compelling and relatable.” – Brooklyn Magazine
Last Tuesday of June 14th, The Steve Keene Art Book (#SKartBook) — the highly anticipated, first ever published collection featuring the work of one of America’s most beloved and affordable artists, Steve Keene — is out via Hat & Beard and Tractor Beam. Documenting arguably the most prolific and collected American artist of all time, the book arrives after a successful Kickstarter campaign with over 600 backers, and has seen support from Forbes, Variety, Billboard, Consequence, Sound Opinions and beyond. Nearly the same size as the LPs that Keene is so very fond of, The Steve Keene Art Book is more than simply a love letter to the prominent vinyl fan and cultural icon.
Perhaps best-known for his deep ties to the 90s indie rock scene — thanks to work with Pavement, The Apples in stereo, The Silver Jews, Bonnie “Prince” Billy and more — Keene is a legend amongst music and art fans both for his vibrant, automated style, and his everyman prices of just $5 – $10 per painting. After producing over 300,000 hand-painted original pieces over the last 30+ years, he’s earned his reputation as the art world’s “Johnny Appleseed,” allowing thousands to become art collectors and challenging the notion that “good art” has to be expensive art along the way.
Produced by Daniel Efram over a span of six years, The Steve Keene Art Book came to fruition from efforts to document a 2016 exhibition at legendary artist Shepard Fairey’s Subliminal Projects gallery, but expanded to include original works sent in from dozens of Keene collectors and Kickstarter supporters. The book includes long-form essays and insight into Keene’s life, space and process from rock stars like Chan Marshall (Cat Power), Will Oldham, and members of Superchunk, as well as anecdotes and personal stories from artists like Ryan McGinness and Fairey, journalists, collectors, art-world insiders and devoted fans around the world. Alongside a dazzling collection of 277 of Keene’s works, Efram takes readers into Keene’s utilitarian chain-link “painting cage” for an all-access pass into the artist’s fascinating systemic technique.
For more about Steve or to see some of his work, click on this video documentary playlist: https://bit.ly/3KFzebN
Specific details of book:
$95 // Hardcover // 264 pages
Published by Hat & Beard and Tractor Beam
Official Pub Date: June 14 / Available online only via Hat & Beard https://bit.ly/3IsEfCu
From July 28 – August 12, Steve Keene will also be making his return to Los Angeles for his first art show since 2019 at the newly opened Palm Grove Social (1902 S. Palm Grove Ave. Los Angeles, 90016), curated by Hat & Beard Press.
The multi-room exhibit will include both new and old artworks from various collections, and will feature selections from the personal libraries of Efram and The Apples in stereo’s Robert Schneider and Eric Allen. Plus, in much the same way that the book was curated, LA locals are invited to post their Steve Keene collections on Instagram with the tag #SKartBook #SKartShow in order to be considered for having their pieces included in the show.
Keene’s long-awaited return to Los Angeles follows the show that proved to be the inspiration behind the book: his 2016 “Modular Synthesis” month-long stay at Shepard Fairey’s Subliminal Projects gallery, where Keene sold 550 pieces on opening night and saw lines stretch out the door and around the corner in Echo Park.
Photo Credit: Daniel Efram