Ralph Steadman was the artistic yin to Hunter S. Thompson’s literary yang. (Or maybe it was vice versa.) They were collaborators and friends for 30 years, Steadman providing exquisitely outrageous illustrations that were perfectly suited to Thompson’s gonzo writing.
Steadman’s world renown as an artist stems in part – but hardly in total – from that long creative relationship. A special exhibition at the Kansas City Public Library, Ralph Steadman: A Retrospective, explores the full range of his inimitable work, including illustrations for Alice in Wonderland and George Orwell’s Animal Farm; images of extinct, endangered, and imaginary birds created for the books Extinct Boids and Critical Critters; and of course, Steadman’s exquisitely grotesque artwork for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and other writings by Thompson.
Exclusive to the exhibition’s stay in Kansas City: more than a dozen of Steadman’s images from his coverage of the 1976 Republican Convention in KC, where he worked with former White House counsel and key Watergate figure John Dean for Rolling Stone magazine.
Approximately 100 of Steadman’s original works are featured in the exhibition at the downtown Central Library, 14 W. 10th St. The Kansas City Public Library is one of a limited number of venues nationwide chosen to host the retrospective, which is sponsored by United Therapeutics, Flying Dog Brewery, and Audible.
For a century, Kansas City’s westside Guadalupe Center—now Guadalupe Centers, Inc.—has dedicated itself to improving the quality of life and celebrating the cultural heritage of the city’s Latino and immigrant population. Founded in 1919, it’s the longest continuously running Latino-serving organization in the country.
This yearlong exhibit chronicles that rich history and Guadalupe Centers’ role in creating and sustaining a vibrant Latino community. It is curated by Sandra I. Enríquez, an assistant history professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and director of the university’s public history emphasis; Theresa Torres, an associate professor of Latinx and Latin American studies and sociology at UMKC; and UMKC master’s student Hunter Albright. Graduate and undergraduate history students at UMKC are contributing curators.
The exhibit is designed by Daisy Hernandez and Paul Tosh, a UMKC associate professor of studio art.