Pulp Drunk: Mexican Pulp Art at ricco maresca Gallery

Image above: (Left) Untitled (Woman holding pig, cop in pursuit) c. 1960-75, Tempera on illustration board (Right) Untitled (Gorilla attacking man as horrified woman watches) c. 1960-75 Copyright © 2015 Ricco Maresca Gallery, New York.


“Pulp Drunk: Mexican Pulp Art” reintroduces this art form to public as a brilliant and often overlooked pop- culture revelation. This exhibition is a celebration of the art that graced the covers of the paperbacks released south of the US border yet also serves as a visual observation of the fundamentals of Mexican attitudes towards art and consumerism. As Maria Cristina Tavera states in her introduction to the 2007 book Mexican Pulp Art, "The fantasy elements reflect Mexican attitudes about life, death, mysticism, and the supernatural."

Kristin Sancken Media Director of gallery copyKristin Sancken (Author of Mexican Pulp Art) 


Post-war America saw the rise of the erotic pulp paperback novel covers. The objective of these covers was to lure in potential buyers with the promise of sex, suspense and drama. Simultaneously, a similar type of book and marketing strategy was being developed in Mexico. This brand of novel included racy cover art designed to attract and entice consumers; yet the differences in the subject matter being peddled to consumers was vast. While Mexican pulp covers did celebrate sex as much as their American counterparts, they also threw in violence, sci-fi weirdness, psychedelia, murder, and crime, often opting for scenes that depicted the blatantly bizarre rather than soft core smut.

collage 5(Left) Untitled (Cat man) c. 1960-75; (Right) Untitled (Woman on ledge with outline man)c. 1960-75 Copyright © 2015 Ricco Maresca Gallery, New York.


These sensationalized images from the sixties and seventies often feature surreal and lurid images of extraterrestrials, robots, dinosaurs, killers, Zorro and many other icons involving suspense, mystery, romance, and the supernatural. The central characters in the narratives tend to be ordinary people facing the common challenges of day-to-day life. They are not gallant martyrs but commoners who have found themselves confronting outlandish and startling predicaments as a result of poor decisions or risky behavior. Through vivid colors, dramatic lighting and bold imagery, the cover art manages to leave the viewer with a sense of disillusionment and apprehension regarding the character’s fate without reading a word of the novel itself.

collage3(Left) Untitled (Man with gun standing above dead woman and man) c. 1960-75; (Right) Untitled (Surprised woman with question mark man)c. 1960-75 Copyright © 2015 Ricco Maresca Gallery, New York.


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collage4(Left) Untitled (Robots attacking city) c. 1960-75; (Right) Untitled (Woman captured by evil purple vine) c. 1960-75c. 1960-75 Copyright © 2015 Ricco Maresca Gallery, New York.


collage2(Left) Dorantes, Untitled (Terrified woman runs from evil face and shadow man)c. 1960-75; (Right) Dorantes, Untitled (Maid interrupting little green alien attack) c. 1960-75c. 1960-75 Copyright © 2015 Ricco Maresca Gallery, New York.


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Opening images by Antonio Williams


Johan Grimonprez at the SVA Chelsea Gallery