Art Paul

June 19, 2015, 8:55am

Art Paul: Kill The Rabbit

Good God!, did it ever fucking multiply; springing forth from the singular mind of the cartilage-crushingly on-the-nose-named Art Paul, who needed a mascot-cum-logo for this eccentric's girly mag, a product, like Paul himself, of the Hog Butcher of the World—when that Lake Michigan wind blows, it blows, baby!—and ended up with an icon, an honest-to-goodness American deity, a long-eared, bow tied rabbit, a lapin a la mode who kept cocked ear bent towards what is comme il faut for the jet age gentleman, who is to sex and a certain cigar-smoke cured, bourbon-splashed, wood-paneled, velvet-touched kind of groomed wolf masculinity what the spider or coyote or raven is to chicanery, arguably the most famous bunny in the world—and here his hare straitens its bow tie, takes a pull off the tumbler, and exhales, in a cloud of fine, fine tobacco smoke, “Not much, doc; what's up with you?”—and an image that would have to be included in any kind of even semi-holistic and honest pastiche of American popular culture, the Playboy bunny!

It has been manifested in a million different inks and mediums, from gloss magazine stock to newsprint to flesh, rendered in rhinestones and sequins and neon tubes, in white and black and pink and a veritable zoo of animal print, looking dapper both soft-core and hard-core, on hats, shirts, sweaters, swizzle sticks, and thongs, across an entire sea foaming with licensing and corporate fornication, hopping—if one can excuse the turn—from one bedfellow to the next like, like … like a goddamn rabbit, one supposes, achieving that absolutely most rare and august of atmospheres wherein a piece of visual art can be both of the commercial sphere—bathing, in filthy lucre and public adoration, for immortality like Báthory—and above it; that bowtied cottontail created a cuniculus to very empyrean itself, and the bunny's enormous brood is both Paul's lasting impact—unfair or not—and lasting curse. – B. David Zarley, Chicago Contributor


Art Paul | Cheers, 1987, colored pencil on paper, 8 x 11.5 inches. Photo courtesy of UIMA

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