Andrew Edlin Gallery is pleased to announce Hard-Ass Friday Night: The Art of Spain Rodriguez, its first show for the artist since announcing its representation of the estate. Curated by Dan Nadel, this career-spanning retrospective will include unique drawings for comics from the 1960s through the 1990s alongside sketchbooks, paintings, and ephemera.
Spain Rodriguez (1940-2012), called the “socialist soul” of the 1960s underground comics movement, combined leftist politics, outlaw biker adventure, and science fiction in dynamically
drawn stories. He was a natural yarn spinner with an entertainer’s flair for dramatic staging, noir cityscapes, and striking figures. Robert Crumb, who has called Spain a mentor, said recently, “His politics were driven by genuine, authentic class anger, class hatred. It was always clarifying, bracing, to discuss politics, social and cultural issues with him.”
Raised in Buffalo, New York, he attended an art trade school for a few years before working a factory job for the first part of the 1960s. In Buffalo he became a member of the Road Vultures
Motorcycle Club, which offered him comradery and decades of material. When Spain moved to New York’s East Village in the mid-1960s, he began a nearly fifty-year run of publishing that
ended with his passing. He became a staff cartoonist for the most renowned of the underground newspapers, the East Village Other, appearing alongside the likes of Ed Sanders and Allen Ginsberg. There he introduced the world to Trashman, Agent of the 6th International, a kind of urban Marxist James Bond, and the corrupt cop Manning. Original drawings from both series
will be on view for the first time in decades. Trashman, in all his class-warrior glory, is further represented by individual drawings and complete stories from the 1960s through the 1980s.
Two of his autobiographical comic book epics, originally published in Zap Comix in 1975 and 1982, will be exhibited in their entirety, as well as a painting made in honor of the motorcycle club.
In 1969 Spain moved to San Francisco, where he was invited to join Zap Comix by Robert Crumb. Two intensely detailed collaborative “jam” drawings for Zap by Spain, Crumb, Robert
Williams, Victor Moscoso, and S. Clay Wilson will be on view. Spain went on to either found or contribute to many of the most important underground comics, including his own Subvert
Comics, Insect Fear Comics, and the seminal anthologies Arcade and Weirdo. Rare editions of these comic books, as well as underground newspapers, flyers, sketchbooks, and art from Spain’s personal collection by the likes of Robert Crumb, Gilbert Shelton, Willy Mendes, and Johnny Craig will offer historical and visual context for Spain’s life and work.
February 12, 3–7pm at Andrew Edlin Gallery
Robert Crumb and Aline Kominsky-Crumb in conversation with exhibition curator Dan Nadel
February 24, 1pm EST on Zoom
Bad Attitude: The Art of Spain Rodriguez film screening with dir. Susan Stern and Kim Deitch
March 24, 6:30pm at Andrew Edlin Gallery