On sale date: March 19, 2024
A complete monograph of the unique and subversive artist Joe Coleman, the "walking ghost of old America."
Joe Coleman paints incredibly detailed portraits of sinners, saints, freaks, and personal friends that collectively present a dark history of America. Painting with a single-hair brush and a jeweler's loupe, the artist states he only knows when the painting is done because he runs out of room on the canvas. With a body of work that spans five decades (including his early work as a comic book artist), Coleman's work includes subjects such as Hank Williams, Ed Gein, Jayne Mansfield, and his wife and muse, Whitney Ward. Coleman not only captures his subject's likeness, but his portraits also serve as ambitious narratives of the subject's life. Told in lozenges scattered throughout the often-larger-than-life works, the portraits contain scenes from the subject's life and words and phrases. Coleman is not afraid to explore the dark reaches of the human psyche, but also portrays a distinct humanity in his subjects and often includes a touch of humor.
A Doorway to Joe collects over 150 paintings and comprehensively illustrated sections and essays about Coleman's fine art, comics art, music career (as front man of the '70s punk band, the Steel Tips), performance art, and the artist's "Odditorium," a private museum where sideshow objects, wax figures, crime artifacts and works of religious devotion live together to form a dark mirror that reflects the alternative side of the American psyche. Featuring a foreword by museum director Mike McGee, an introduction by musician Tom Waits, and essays by art critics, curators, and impresarios including Rebecca Lieb, Dan Cameron, Nicholas Hall, Darius Spieth, Steven Holmes, Kimiko Hahn, Latitia Ante Delictum, Jonathon Shaw, Monte Beauchamp, Clemens Marschall, Sara Fortson, Walton Ford, and Carlo McCormick.
"If P. T. Barnum had hired Breughel or Bosch to paint sideshow banners, they might have resembled the art of Joe Coleman." — The New York Times
"His meticulous, intricately detailed, psycho, eye-candy paintings give voice to a ragtag cast. Primarily a portraitist, Coleman paints intense tableaus of those mired in the suffering of the human condition. Experiencing one of his pictures grips the mind." — Juxtapoz
- 9.7" × 12"