My own exposure to Mexican pop art came from a friend—a self-identified East LA chola who had retired her dickies to teach Latin American studies, but kept the Jean Harlow eyebrows as a nod to home. There were tropes recognizable in American pulp of course—busty babes of the coquette and vamp variety, plus harrowing danger—but where American pulp art pulled from the aesthetics of film noir, its Mexican counterpart the has a distinctly sci-fi comic feel to it. Not only is there way more supernatural subject matter, but the colors are brighter, the brush strokes are meatier and the scenes are absolutely insane. There’s this hilarious sensationalism to it all that I just love.
The book Mexican Pulp Art is a fantastic resource, but now New Yorkers have the opportunity to actually see some of these tempera masterpieces up close, at “Pulp Drunk: Mexican Pulp Art,” at the Ricco/Maresca gallery in Chelsea. Think robots, little green men and werewolves—but with hot babes and confusing, outrageous irreverence.