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The Steve Keene Art Book: New Excerpt Shared via Legendary “Indie Nerd Bible” Chickfactor

Updated: Jun 3, 2022

First Art Book Documenting the Most Prolific American Painter of All Time Arrives June 14 via Hat & Beard + Tractor Beam

“This guy must be the most prolific artist of all time.” - artist Shepard Fairey

“[Keene is an] assembly line Picasso” - TIME

“By some measures, Mr. Keene [...] is one of the most successful artists in the world.” - New York Times

“Whether they realize it or not, most rock fans of the past 20-odd years,

especially indie rock fans, already know the work of artist Steve Keene.” - Variety

"Warhol claimed he wanted to be a machine, but Keene IS a machine." - artist Ryan McGinness

“...slapdash yet distinctive. The brushstrokes thick, the figures he replicates en masse are

compelling and relatable.” - Brooklyn Magazine

Earlier this month at his first art show since 2019, Steve Keene — one of America’s most collected, beloved, and affordable artists — sold over 500 original artworks. Now, an excerpt from The Steve Keene Art Book is available via the legendary “indie nerd bible” chickfactor, whose editor-in-chief, Gail O’Hara, edited the book. The featured piece is an essay written by Sam Brumbaugh, a curator of Threadwaxing Space, one of the numerous music venues where Keene got his foothold in the NYC downtown indie scene in the 90s. The first ever published collection of his art, the #SKartBook is out June 14 via Hat & Beard and Tractor Beam following a successful Kickstarter campaign with over 600 backers, as profiled in Forbes. Nearly the same size as the LPs that Keene worships, The Steve Keene Art Book is a love letter to the most prolific American artist of all time from his adoring public.

Though perhaps best-known for his deep ties to the 90s indie rock scene — thanks to work with Pavement, The Apples in stereo, The Silver Jews, Bonnie Prince Billy and more — Keene is a legend amongst music and art fans as much for his cheery, automated style, as for his everyman prices of just $5 - $10 each. After a 30+ year career producing over 300,000 paintings, he’s become what many refer to as the “Johnny Appleseed'' of art.

Produced by Daniel Efram over a span of six years, The Steve Keene Art Book was born from efforts to document a 2016 exhibition at legendary artist Shepard Fairey’s Subliminal Projects gallery, but expanded to include original works sent in from dozens of Keene collectors and Kickstarter supporters. The book includes long-form essays and insight into Keene’s life, space and process from rock stars like Chan Marshall (Cat Power), Will Oldham, and members of Superchunk, as well as anecdotes and personal stories from artists like Ryan McGinness and Fairey, journalists, collectors, art-world insiders and devoted fans around the world. Alongside a dazzling collection of 277 of Keene’s works, Efram takes readers into Keene’s utilitarian chain-link “painting cage” for an all-access pass into the artist’s fascinating systemic technique.

Specific details of book:

$95 // Hardcover // 264 pages Published by Hat & Beard and Tractor Beam Pre-Order Date: January 25 / Official Pub Date: June 14

Photo Credit Daniel Efram

More about Sam Brumbaugh:

Sam Brumbaugh is a D.C.-based novelist (Goodbye, Goodness) who has written for Open City, Chickfactor, The Minus Times and Vice. He co-produced the documentary Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt. He is a music producer and programmer who booked shows in NYC in the ’90s, and has worked for the Guggenheim Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Pre-Order Available Now

For more about Steve or to see some of his work, click on this documentary playlist:

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