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Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon's Novel Gravity's Rainbowby Zak Smith
Synopses & Reviews
Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (1973), set in an alternative-universe version of World War II, has been called a modern Finnegan's Wake for its challenging language, wild anachronisms, hallucinatory happenings, and fever-dream imagery. With Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon's Novel Gravity's Rainbow, artist Zak Smith at once eases and expands readers' experience of the book. A leading exponent of punk-based, DIY art, Smith here presents his most ambitious project to date — an art book exactly as long as the work it's interpreting: 760 drawings, paintings, photos, and less definable images in 760 pages. Extraordinary tableaux of the detritus of war — a burned-out Königstiger tank, a melted machine gun — coexist alongside such phantasmagoric Pynchon inventions as the "stumbling bird" and "Girgori the octopus." Smith has stated his aim to be "as literal as possible" in interpreting Gravity's Rainbow, but his images are as imaginative and powerfully unique as the prose they honor.
"Zak Smith, with uninhibited bravado and exactly the right kind of insanity, has done something remarkable in Gravity's Rainbow Illustrated: created a series of images that approach the richness of their source. He draws a lurid and intoxicating netherworld, complete in its own right and, at the same time, an illuminating companion to the novel." Emily Barton , Los Angeles Times
"Smith trained as a fine artist at Yale and Cooper Union — his specialty is portraits — so it makes sense that the end result of his endeavor is less an illustrated novel than a series of eerie, high art interpretations."Marcela Valdes, Washington Post
One Picture for Each Page: An Illustrated Gravity's Rainbow features the work of an Ivy League-educated, punk-rock, porn-star visual artist who has created a drawing for every page of a novel that is widely considered to be the most difficult work of literature ever produced in English.
Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (1973) has been called a modernFinnegans Wake for its challenging language, wild anachronisms, hallucinatory happenings, and fever-dream imagery. With Pictures Showing What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon's Novel Gravity's Rainbow, artist Zak Smith at once eases and expands readers' experience of the twentieth-century classic. Smith has created more than 750 pages of drawings, paintings, and photos--each derived from a page of Pynchon's novel. Extraordinary tableaux of the detritus of war--a burned-out Konigstiger tank, a melted machine gun--coexist alongside such fantasmagoric Pynchon inventions as the "stumbling bird" and "Grigori the octopus." Smith has said he aimed to be "as literal as possible" in interpreting Gravity's Rainbow, but his images are as imaginative and powerful as the prose they honor.
About the Author
Zak Smith was born in Syracuse, New York, in 1976. In addition to the Gravity's Rainbow illustrations, which were shown in the 2004 Whitney Biennial and are now in the collection of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Smith's recent projects include the multipanel painting 100 Girls and 100 Octopuses and an ongoing series of portraits of friends and acquaintances in the sex industry entitled Girls in the Naked Girl Business as well as a number of stand-alone paintings and drawings, abstract and otherwise. His work has appeared in numerous publications worldwide and is held in many public and private collections, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum. He is a frequent contributor to several independent comics and zines, including Paping and See How Pretty, See How Smart. His first monograph, Zak Smith: Pictures Of Girls, was published in 2005. He lives and works in Brooklyn, where he is currently working on new paintings as well as an autobiographical series entitled Drawings from around the Time I Became a Porn Star.
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