The Glorious, Profane Spoils of Robert Williams’ 50-Year War With Mainstream Art

His paintings are a wild pop-culture pastiche of hot rods, pinup girls, and cartoon sex and violence. For the better part of the last 50 years, Robert Williams has waged war on the mainstream art world with those eye-popping paintings, a best-selling art magazine and a growing flock of like-minded rebel artists.

Now he’s the focus of a major L.A. retrospective — which at one time might have been a frightening, if not downright laughable, notion to some. The artist himself will be the first to tell you.

“My artwork would not be appropriate if your pastor was coming to dinner,” says Williams, sitting in the library of his home in a sleepy neighborhood of Chatsworth north of Los Angeles.

In a Robert Williams painting, there might be blood, fiery hot rod crashes or lecherous robots. There have also been surly tooth fairies in torn fishnets that bear a

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