Sunday, May 2, 2021

Behind the first book featuring the work of artist Steve Keene

Steve Keene, the prolific Greenpoint-based painter whose work on album covers for Pavement and the Silver Jews is likely well-known to indie-rock enthusiasts, is the subject of a new coffee-table book now in the Kickstarter phase.

East Village resident Daniel Efram,  a longtime Keene collaborator, is producing the art book.

"In my nearly three decades of working on various projects with Steve Keene, my home and many of my favorite SK moments came at 1990s indie rock shows at Brownies or the Lakeside Lounge in the East Village," Efram said in an email. 

Eric Ambel, the former owner of the Lakeside Lounge (RIP April 2012) on Avenue B, recalled how Keene helped give the bar-music venue its identity.

"I was in the process of opening ... with partner Jim Marshall (aka WFMU DJ The Hound). We had a name, the Lakeside Lounge, but we didn't have a concept for the decor," Ambel said. "I suggested we get Steve Keene to do a bunch of paintings for us that had a sort of 'lodge/lake vibe' to them. Steve was way into the idea, and after checking out the colors we had used in the bar, he created an amazing set of images for us. During our 16 years in business at the Lakeside, he would make three completely new sets of art for the bar."

According to Efram, "The Steve Keene Art Book: Live from Subliminal Projects LA, CA" is the first art book attempting to tell the story of Keene's career by showcasing the complete work from his 2016 show at Shepard Fairey's Subliminal Projects gallery. 

You can find more info on the Kickstarter page.

Photo by Daniel Efram

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