Ralph Steadman: A Retrospective

Saturday, June 1, 2019 to Sunday, September 8, 2019

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 downtown Central Library, Ralph Steadman: A Retrospective, explores the full range of his inimitable work, including material from Private Eye, Punch, and Rolling Stone magazines; illustrations for Alice in Wonderland and George Orwell’s Animal Farm; savage political cartoons; and images of extinct, endangered, and imaginary birds created for the books Extinct Boids and more recent Critical Critters.

Also, of course: illustrations for the seminal Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and other writings by Thompson.

More than 100 of Steadman’s original works are featured in the exhibition, which will fill both of the Central Library’s two galleries and spill into the first-floor grand foyer, Kirk Hall. The Kansas City Public Library is one of a limited number of venues nationwide chosen to host the retrospective, which is sponsored by Audible, Flying Dog, and United Therapeutics.