June 06, 2014

Book Notice: "Agents Provocateurs: 100 Subversive Skate Graphics"

Gingko Press is perhaps best known amongst the skate crowd for its publication of Sean Cliver's books, Disposable I and Disposable II (the "Bible"), but it has recently announced that it is coming out with another new book related to skate art, Agents Provocateurs: 100 Subversive Skate Graphics. They describe the book accordingly:

Skateboard graphics took a quantum leap in offensive potential after the sport was reborn aesthetically and otherwise in the ’90s. Artists such as Marc McKee, Todd Francis, Mike Hill, Michael Sieben, Ed Templeton, Sean Cliver, Moish Brenman, Fos, Ben Horton, Alyasha Owerka-Moore, Eli Morgan Gesner, Jeremy Fish, Brice Raysseguier, Johnny “Mojo” Munnerlyn, Alex Kramer, Todd Bratrud, Winston Tseng and others brought dark humor and politically incorrect topics to the forefront of their illustrations.

These artists intended not just to decorate and sell skateboards, but also to raise serious issues and skewer values, deliberately evoking reactions from viewers.

Agents Provocateurs asks new questions of this boundary-pushing artistic genre and its place over the years. Did it save skateboarding? Is it still possible to address such controversial topics twenty years later? What’s left once all the envelopes have been pushed? These 100 boards and the artists behind them will form a clearer picture.

Looks like a very interesting offering to say the least. One can simply look at skateboard art like one might look at any other art: just for its surface value. At this level, it can certainly be interesting in its own right, or others might be tempted to write it off or condemn it out of hand. More interesting, however, is to move into the realm of the artist, skater or skate company who commissioned the work to find out what they were precisely trying to say with their graphics in the same way that one might explore the philosophy of a particular abstract artist, moving beyond simple aesthetic considerations to deeper one's. For those that already appreciate this work, it will only add to it, while for those who condemn such works, they might find that such things might just change their perspective.

Seb Carayol
Agents Provocateurs: 100 Subversive Skateboard Graphics
224 pages, Hardcover
8" x 10" (254 x 203 mm)
130 color illustrations, English
ISBN: 978-1-58423-527-9
$24.95

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