cover image Drawing Blood: Forty-five Years of Scarfe Uncensored

Drawing Blood: Forty-five Years of Scarfe Uncensored

Gerald Scarfe, . . Little, Brown, $55 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-316-72952-9

British satirist Scarfe is a master of the caricaturist's art of breaking down a subject's physical elements and rebuilding them in a stylized manner to portray the subject with a slant. Chronicling his long and storied career, this volume confirms that no person or subject, from 1960s icons like the Beatles right up through Eminem and George W. Bush, is off limits to Scarfe's shockingly revealing distortions. Grotesquely exaggerated (especially when depicting the sex organs), Scarfe's drawing style at first brings to mind the tripped-out work of Ralph Steadman, but Scarfe's keen eye for detail, his fidelity to each subject and his unique sense of overcrowded space set him distinctly apart. Scarfe follows a chronological path through his varied involvement in the political realm, stage production, film and rock and roll (most notably in collaboration with Pink Floyd on The Wall ), working both on paper and in papier-mâché. Short critical texts, newspaper clippings and contemporary ephemera round out Scarfe's personae, and his running commentary provides insight into specific drawings and events. This much-deserved retrospective presents a panoramic view of the career of a popular artist who has helped shape how we see an overwhelming and often unkind age. (May 15)