We’re thrilled to announce a complete re-design of the American Cinematheque website. See The New Site Now >
1931, Sony Repertory, 89 min, USA, Dir: Frank Capra

The newspaper business inspired some of the best screwball comedies, this early gem from director Frank Capra among them. Workaday reporter Robert Williams catches the eye of idly rich Jean Harlow when he writes a story about her playboy brother. Can their marriage survive the difference in social class? Not if fellow journalist Loretta Young has anything to do with it! If the film’s title is forever associated with Harlow, the real revelation is Williams’ sparkling performance (which was also his last; he died days after PLATINUM BLONDE premiered).

2013, Cinema Libre, 89 min, USA, Dir: Mary C. Reese, Doug Blake, Nancye Ferguson, Michael LaFetra, Stephen Nemeth

Winner of Best Documentary at the Comic Con Int'l Independent Film Festival 2013!

This new documentary profiles Robert Williams, whose rise from hot rod/underground comics illustrator to hotly collected conceptual realist offers a fascinating perspective on the contemporary art scene.

Robert Williams was an artist in search of a movement. A prolific oil painter whose painstakingly detailed work often featured naked women, death, destruction, booze and clowns, he didn’t quite fit the fine art mold. In the early 1960s he was confronted with trendy abstraction and superficial pop art. Schooled in the Hot Rod Culture of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and Von Dutch, he emerged as a leader in the Underground Comic revolution along with R. Crumb, contributing regularly to Zap Comix. His antisocial paintings of an alternative reality were marginalized by the art world for decades although he became a hero of sorts for underground artists. His notoriety exploded when his painting "Appetite for Destruction" was used (and much vilified) as the cover for that 1987 Guns N’ Roses’ album.

When he started Juxtapoz Magazine in 1994, his movement found him. Legions of artists looking for a place within the contemporary art world for their cartoonish realism identified with his “LowBrow” aesthetic. At the time, Williams predicted that, “Low brow and alternative art are the crack in the dam and with this leak the art world will never be the same.”

By 2010 the art world could ignore him no longer and he was included in the prestigious Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. ROBERT WILLIAMS MR. BITCHIN documents this influential artist as he rises to the top of the art world, always an outsider.

"The best movie about an artist I've ever seen!" - Ed Ruscha

"This irreverent documentary delivers insight into multiple American counter-cultures by following the great American artist and underground legend Robert Williams. From Hot Rods to Punk and Metal, from LSD to the top of the art world, the influential paintings of Robert Williams defied categorization until they became their own art movement." - Juxtapoz Magazine

Los Angeles history buffs will delight in the fact that in the film, Robert Williams tells the story behind his painting "Death on the Boards" depicting an L.A. vintage racetrack! In the 1910’s & 20s, the intersection of Wilshire Blvd. & Santa Monica Blvd (now Beverly Hills), was smack in the middle of a giant race track stadium that sat up to 70,000 spectators. It was one of only 30 tracks in the United States at the time and thrived up to the beginning of the Great Depression. On Thanksgiving Day 1920, there was a terrible accident that killed 3 drivers including Gaston Chevrolet, brother of Louis Chevrolet who co-founded Chevrolet Motor Car Company. Due to the tragic nature of the accident, green became an unlucky color in the racing world and was not used in racing for almost fifty years. This accident inspired Robert William’s painting “Death on the Boards,” because he wanted to show younger generations the world that existed right under their noses.

Syndicate content