Milan and New York: Galleria Salvatore Ala/Tony Shafrazi Gallery, 1984. 1st Edition. Large quarto, publisher's illustrated stiff paper wraps. Inscribed to front free endpaper in gold marker: "For Billy Ma Boy / Love / Ronnie Cutrone 84" – with an original drawing of a bowtie-wearing cat with spiral eyes within a light bulb. Tony Shafrazi Gallery card for a February 16 - March 16, 1985 exhibition laid in.
Post-pop painter and Warhol studio assistant Ronnie Cutrone's series of vivid neoplatonic watercolors, bringing together ancient and classical iconography with modern-day cartoon and video game characters. Cutrone took up with Warhol and his set as a teenager in the mid-1960s, first as a participant in performances by the Exploding Plastic Inevitable and the Velvet Underground, later as a staffer at Interview and, for ten years, principal studio assistant at the Factory, where he infamously contributed the main ingredient to Warhol's series of Oxidation and Piss Paintings. In the 40 watercolors gathered here, undertaken in the immediate aftermath of his tenure at the Factory, Cutrone juxtaposes Woody Woodpecker, Mighty Mouse, the Pink Panther, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Felix the Cat, Pac Man and others, with figures from Greek and Roman mythology, Egyptian hieroglyphs, early Christian saints, and iconography from the Bible and pre-Columbian sources. "The basic theme is the power struggle between good and evil....The idea of inventing my own characters or language is not appealing to me. There are already enough icons and languages in the world today as to cause visual and audial saturation to the point of distortion and nausea....I also hesitate to speak about apocalyptic warnings, but any person with the slightest amount of intelligence and a clear mind can see we are living on the razor's edge" (from the introduction). Cutrone pointed a way forward for younger artists seeking to escape the influence of post-pop minimalism, and the full-page drawing accompanying the inscription here is reminiscent of the Graffiti-inspired style of Keith Haring, ten years his junior. (Meanwhile, as much as we would wish it, the inscription to "Billy" is not to Billy Name, Warhol superstar and Cutrone's predecessor at the Factory.) Text in English and Italian. Dampstaining to lower quarter of a handful of pages, not affecting images; moderate creasing and edgewear to wraps; some nicotine odor. Withal, a good or better copy, most desirable with a large original drawing. Item #610