Hop Culture

It’s been a long time since a piece of art made us choke. But there we were, mouth full of water, and – boom! Out comes the wet stuff, dousing us and our computer. We howled, then toweled off.

The art in question was a merry, glazed-ceramic piece titled The Blue Bunny from the “Max Lehman: Products of a Disordered Mind” exhibit. The ASU grad’s frumpled brain was the product of immersion in downtown’s pre-First Fridays art scene of the 1980s/’90s, which was centered on talent incubators such as CRASHarts, MARS Artspace, and the Icehouse.

Lehman now lives near Santa Fe with five dogs and a warren of pop-culture bunnies. “Part of being a pop artist is to go with the flow,” Lehman tells New Times. “My imagery is quite a mishmash of several ideas. I am heavily influenced these days by the fine-art toy movement, or ‘kaiju for adults,’ as it’s known in Japan.”

Lehman started whipping up siwwy wabbits four years ago, and now, like the fast-reproducing family Leporidae, he can’t stop. His quirky creations reference everything from Golden Age Hollywood to TV Nation (“Some day I should do a couch-potato bunny”) to mainstream advertising. “I love the characterization of food or the use of animal cartoons in advertising,” he says. “Has anyone else ever found it creepy to see a pig selling sausages?”

Tuesdays-Sundays; Thu., Feb. 21, 7-9 p.m. Starts: Feb. 7. Continues through Feb. 24, 2008
KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Clay McNear
Contact: Clay McNear