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Steve Gianakos at Fredericks & Freiser in The New York Times

It is just as well that we don't know what most people think about in the privacy of their own dirty little minds. But in Steve Gianakos, who has been downloading his twisted preoccupations onto paper and canvas since the early 1970's, we have an exception. With formal perfect pitch comedic elan and fearless indiscretion he creates disjunctive cartoon allegories of surrealistic perversity.


Sex, drugs and violence are the themes that he realizes in a boldly linear style and in chopped up and scrambled images derived from juvenile picture books. In a busy farmyard scene a pubescent femme, naked but for a pleated miniskirt, gets down on all fours on the backs of fat piglets in their wallow, as other animals delight in the view of her nude backside. In "She Came With a Creamy Sauce With a Hint of Lemon," a winsome girl wearing a McDonal's server's hat snorts white powder through a straw. In "She decided to Throw the Party Anyway," a curious kitten paws the water of an aquarium in which a girl's severed head is submerged.

The tension between innocence and prurience is exquisite, if not unprecedented. Artists like R. Crumb and John Wesley have also conflated adults-only subject matter and suitable-for-children styles. In his own incisive, morally probing way Mr. Gianakos gets at the crazy-making mix of the infantile and the pornographic that popular culture routinely broadcasts to a vast audience of the dazed and confused.