Steadman Retrospective Still Going Gonzo at the Library

The ink-splattered exhibit Ralph Steadman: A Retrospective, currently on display at the Central Library through Sept. 8, 2019, has been popular among art lovers throughout the region. Featuring more than 100 of the illustrator's original works, the special touring exhibition's stop in Kansas City offers a number of ways to learn about Steadman's career and the cultural, political, and creative forces that helped shape his art over time.

Aside from the exhibit itself, there are other ways to celebrate all things Gonzo, including opportunities to purchase commemorative merchandise, attend original Library programming, read in-depth stories about Steadman's life and work, and more.


Steadman Exhibit - Guldner Gallery

Retrospective exhibit in the Central Library's Guldner Gallery, first floor.
Steadman Exhibit - Mountain Gallery
Retrospective exhibit in the Central Library's Mountain Gallery, second floor.


After you've viewed the exhbition, you can take a bit of gonzo home with you. A variety of retrospective merchandise is available for purchase at the Central Library's first-floor customer service desk during operating hours. A portion of sales benefit the Library.
Items for sale include:
- Exhibition catalog   - T-shirt   - Tote bag   - Postcards
- Stickers   - Dr. Gonzo-emblazoned socks   - Collectors' pins
A selection of books are also for sale, including The Joke's Over, Steadman's memoir about his creative collaboration and friendship with writer Hunter S. Thompson; illustrated editions of George Orwell's Animal Farm and Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland featuring Steadman's art; and a number of other titles.

Exhibition catalog

Exhibition catalog
Tote bag
Tote bag


Dr. Gonzo socks



Dive deeper into the stories behind the artwork in these features and news stories.    
Ralph Steadman at KC Library
Schliefkevision blog
by Michael Schliefke



In conjunction with the exhibition, the Library recently hosted a dicsussion of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas for the latest edition of the FYI Book Group, co-presented by the Library and the Kansas City Star. Attendees were able to tour the two galleries featuring highlights of Steadman's work throughout his career, noting a few pieces that were used as illustrations in Fear and Loathing.

Read the story in the Kansas City Star
Steadman exhibit tour

Anne Ducey, the Library's exhibits director, discusses the retrospective.
FYI Book Group discussion

FYI Book Group attendees talk about Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.



Ralph Steadman's career is inexorably tied to that of his frequent collaborator, gonzo writer Hunter S. Thompson, beginning with their infamous pairing on an assignment to cover the Kentucky Derby and most  notably on Thompson's Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which Steadman illustrated.  On August 21, the Library will host author Timothy Denevi for a discussion of his book Freak Kingdom: Hunter S. Thompson's Manic Ten-Year Crusade Against American Fascism. Denevi goes beyond the caricature of Thompson as drug- and booze-addled and explores the work of a forceful literary and political journalist who was in his prime from 1963 through Nixon’s resignation in 1974.  


Guests visiting the Library are enjoying the exhibition and sharing their experience with others. Tag your social media posts with #SteadmanKC and #SteadmanRetrospective!
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