Peter Saul

By: Gary Panter
August 16, 2011

Saigon, 1967 — by Peter Saul

In early Pop Art books, PETER SAUL’s (born 1934) work is often represented by a painting of oranges, cut in half, running around firing guns indiscriminately in the company of money, rendered in bright oil paint colors and slashes. He says that he was trying to paint like De Kooning. De Kooning had been ruling the world of painting for half a decade, with his big fat abstract paintings. He had out bravura’d Picasso, and also reintroduced figuration into the newly established church of abstraction; his nudes were ugly and insulting to women. De Kooning parked his paintwagon in the middle of the art highway and there was a traffic jam. So Peter Saul gets out of his ice-cream wagon and not only out-flails, outsmears, and out-color-composes De Kooning, but opens a Fibber McGee’s closet of obscene, slanderous, jaw-dropping satirical pictorial indictments of humanity: guns, ducks, nudes, soldiers, jet fighters, bombs, pirates, stagecoaches, Roman centurions, swans, cupcakes, exploding subway cars, bridges twisting like licorice whips, Chairman Mao, Hitler, Andy Warhol and Stalin slugging it out. He not only insulted women but everyone on Earth. Everything we hold dear. If you don’t know his work you are in for an electrocution of your sense of what is funny and profound.


HILO HERO ITEMS by GARY PANTER: Tadanori Yokoo | Peter Saul | Yasuji Tanioka | H.C. Westermann | Öyvind Fahlström | Cal Schenkel | Eduardo Paolozzi | Tod Dockstader | Yayoi Kusama | Walter Lantz | Richard Lindner | Shigeru Sugiura | Todd Rundgren | Yoshikazu Ebisu | Jim Nutt | Judy Henske | Tod Dockstader | Jesse Marsh | Tetsumi Kudo | Larry Poons | Ed Sanders | Dick Briefer | Dick Briefer


On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Charles Bukowski.

READ MORE about men and women born on the cusp between the Postmodernist (1924-33) and Anti-Anti-Utopian (1934-43) generations.