Ralph Steadman: A Retrospective

The Library launches a special, more than three-month exhibit of the work of British artist Ralph Steadman, known for his distinctive lines and ink splatters and long creative relationship with gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson. Among the more than 100 original pieces is collection of images, exclusive to Kansas City, from Steadman’s coverage of the 1976 Republican Convention at Kemper Arena for Rolling Stone magazine.
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 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.

More about the exhibit


From books and collectors' pins to t-shirts and Dr. Gonzo-emblazoned socks, 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.