If you grew up in the Eighties, you may well have fanatically collected and traded cards bearing images of the Garbage Pail Kids, a surreal and scurrilous parody of the Cabbage Patch Kids. The cards were produced by a New York-based company, Topps, which even today periodically issues new sets of cards featuring the characters. Now Gallery 1988, the Los Angeles outfit that specialises in showing and commissioning art with a pop-culture theme, has decided to reinvent the Garbage Pail Kids for its latest exhibition.
The project came about when one of Gallery 1988’s featured artists, Betso, mentioned to gallery co-founder Jensen Karp that he had approached Topps about doing a show, but wasn’t sure how to move things forward without a venue. “He asked me to take the reins,” said Jensen. “You can imagine how happy I was… the Garbage Pail Kids meant the world to me during my childhood.”
Idle Hans by Besto
Jensen negotiated with Topps for two years, even flying out to New York to see them. The result was a show with nearly 100 artists reinventing the characters, sometimes in an even more hard-hitting style. Around a tenth of the artists featured are working with the gallery for the first time. “It was awesome to see these creative people as influenced by Garbage Pail Kids as I was.”
Posters and framed originals are on sale, and clothing bearing the revamped characters looks like to follow, Jensen says, adding: “We knew if we exhibited artwork that we’d appreciate ourselves, then people would eventually find out and want to buy the artwork too.”
In the seven years that it has been open, Gallery 1988 has mounted exhibitions themed around vintage video games, cult movies, characters from comics and other pop cultural icons. “One of my dream shows since our inception has been to pay tribute to the Garbage Pail Kids,” Jensen says. Now that has been realised in some style.
Here's a selection of the work on show.
Sloshed Josh by Joshua Budich
Off Color Clara by Steve Bossler
Toasted Teddy by Two Arms, Inc
Meltin' Melissa by Aaron Jasinski
Off The Wall Paul by Alisa Ross
Yicchy Mickey and the Return Of Icky Mouse by Brandon Sopinsky