New Brow Movement
by Michael Peters for artBUZZ (a POP Gallery Newsletter)

“Lowbrow” begat” POP surrealism, which begat “New Brow” or did Pop Surrealism begat Low Brow, which begat New Brow all begat by some postmodern paradigm
and the embattled belief that somewhere on the continuing journey “Art” took a turn off the well traveled road and found itself on the corner of “POP” and “Counter Culture”
where commercialism, and that anti-establishment reigned. Changing our comprehensions that in some circles are held onto with worn out perspectives that
cling to the notion that art for art’s sake separates the “pure art” from commercial and counter culture worlds, which tend to be evaluated conditionally.
Art has never been on the short end of descriptions, definitions and explanations not to mention classification it’s all good when viewed as a collective continuum embodying all
influences but not good when segregated because it does not always encompass new paradigms that don’t need titled conditions…“Artspeak” is a virtual battlefield whose principal weapons of defense are the changes in the meaning of words. Still many are still addicted to old meanings and the notions that certain venues and periods of art reign over others as having more importance: and that there is a formula sufficient to dictate
compartmentalization and too often have excluded the representations of counter culture as well as the artists whose professional backgrounds have been launched in commercial venues: illustrators, designers, outsiders, and the notion that their sources of inspiration and creation hold less “Mana”. So for those “addicts” this hopefully will serve as an intervention.

New Brow is a very important American Art Movement that erases boundaries. It has its own chronology in the big picture and its cultural and sociological voice is that of a generation of new story tellers just as POP Art did in elevating “popular” icons to the state of the art…So it’s important to first recognize that “lowbrow” has nothing to do with being less than Highbrow / Fine Art. It is in all ways conceptually, and technically proficient and its creators along with their art are in great demand by museums, galleries and the most discerning collectors.

Briefly stated Lowbrow / Pop Pluralism continue to evolve and that now includes its new tag New Brow. Collectively this movement has its root connection in the commercial art venues drawing its inspirations from cartoons, street graffiti, retro images, street culture, vintage commercial icons, tattoos, Tike, Hot Rods, vintage toys and all of art history, whose shadows can be found in the movement and its deliberations and inherent controversy.

Lowbrow (art) is still probably the most widely used tag and some would say its rise began in Los Angeles, California. The internationally acclaimed artist Robert Williams in an article in Juxtapose magazine (February 2006 issue) coined the tag “lowbrow” art, which titled "The Lowbrow Art of Robert Williams” on an art book that featured William’s paintings. As their was no specific institutional recognition of the art at that time
It’s been said that “Lowbrow” was used to philosophically serve as the opposition to “highbrow”, not so much by name as by intention. The immediate irony is that New Brow, like its’ namesake “lowbrow” erases elite boundaries make its’ cultural goal extremely artistically relevant, and in that sense by previous historic standards
distinguishes it intellectually as highbrow, then again its image applications stretch beyond the canvas as commercial; collectible designer toys and “wearables” and more keeping it in opposition.

This new American art movement has many postmodern attributes from a reactionary
perspective the most important embracing change. Can anyone envision an art world
that didn’t change, come on…No art is the offspring of birthing inside a vacuum. Just wander down the Avant Garde Road of art history and connect the dots allowing for new paradigms-philosophical shifts between formalism and anti-formalism you will find the transitions from nature to culture to industrialism to commercialism and the umbilical cord to Lowbrow / New Brow. We’re not looking for a debate this is how we see it.
New Brow rejects the distinction between commercial and fine art, it integrates
sociological, cultural and anti-cultural platforms, has no time lock barriers, accounts for
the difference in geographical culture, crossbreeding perspectives and it’s so cool and
comparatively affordable so for those becoming collectors and those established as collectors the investment potentials very good.

Want to know more? Hear what the artists, galleries and collectors have to say who started and continue to expand the new American art movement. Check out the film New Brow Contemporary Underground Art from Humble Pictures in association with The Shooting Gallery.

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