Curse of the Spider Queen

  • Posted : June 30th, 2016

Curse of the Spider Queen

The paint just dried on Curse of the Spider Queen, my entry in the MF Gallery’s “The Smut Peddlers: An Exhibition of Pulp” Group Show:

Housewife orgies, men shooting wild animals on safari, army men tricked by beautiful female double agents, a hero jumping out of an airplane into enemy fire, the hypnotic gaze of a woman bathing in a lake, GI’s dropping bombs on the Nazis, survivors of a plane crash in the Arctic, a medic patching up a mortally wounded soldier, Amazonian jungle sex fantasies, bordello shoot-outs, rescuing a heroine from the ravages of war, sex with space aliens…

It’s all there. From the 1950’s through the early 1970’s there were fresh specialty magazines and new novels created just for your predilection. Scores of successful publishers and copious second stringers pumped this stuff out in excess throughout the middle of the 20th Century. The best and oddest of the century’s writers from Mario Puzo to Dashiell Hammett to L. Ron Hubbard wrote the books. The artists then did impossibly beautiful work racing against the clock each day.

Smut Peddlers: An Exhibition of Pulp is an exhibition of paintings and drawings curated by Michael Lee Nirenberg in collaboration with MF Gallery. The show includes classic 1960’s pulp paintings by legends such as Norman Saunders, Robert Bonfils, Darrel Millsap and Basil Gogos, alongside the 1970’s illustrations of John Thompson of Playboy. The tradition of pulp has been absorbed by a younger generation of artists who, inspired by the classics, have also created work for this show. These artists include Yuri Makoveychuk, Lawrence Van Abbema, Drew Maillard, Chad Savage, Martina Secondo Russo, Greg Maillard, and more…

The exhibit celebrates the beauty of 1960’s pulp art. The men and women who cranked it out everyday for decades were waging a quiet art revolution that occurred in bedrooms and bathrooms throughout the country. In the age of instant pornography their work seems quaint and even somehow romantic.

Many of the artists will be at the Opening Party on Saturday July 9th, from 7 to 10pm. Admission is free and open to all ages.

MF Gallery is located at 213 Bond Street, between Baltic and Butler Streets in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn. Take the F or G to Bergen St., the A or C to Hoyt/ Schermerhorn, or the R to Union.

After opening night, the gallery will be open by appointment only. The artwork can also be viewed and purchased online at:

Email for appointments to visit the gallery or for any other inquiries.

The Smut Peddlers: An Exhibition of Pulp

Prints of this painting will, as ever, eventually be available via!

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