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‘El Grito’ artist visits

Submitted by Jamila Brown on October 15, 2010 – 10:27 amNo Comment

Hugo Crosthwaite stands next to his 13-foot piece titled “Atlanta.” Photo by Jamila Brown.

For many of us, New York City seems light-years away from the small town, southern hospitality feel of Little Rock. But our two worlds collided in Fine Arts last week, when visiting artist and New York resident Hugo Crosthwaite and his entourage came to give a speech on his piece in the “El Grito” exhibit that closed Oct. 11.

Stereotypical New Yorkers, the crew was dressed in all black and were even bad drivers, nearly hitting my car when they pulled into the parking lot. While Crosthwaite stood for pictures, the bleach-blonde promoter shrieked at exhibit browsers, “He is going to be remembered as the one of the top five artists of our century,” which we are only 10 years into by the way, and “The Village Voice has compared him to the likes of Caravaggio.” Interestingly enough, Caravaggio was infamous for his short temper, constantly being arrested, and even forced to permanently flee Rome after the murdering a man over a tennis match.

Luckily for Crosthwaite, his humble beginnings in Tijuana, Mexico made him much more bearable than a native New Yorker, and this sensitivity is reflected in his art. 

Combining elements of his eclectic background and the grid-like aesthetics ruling urban life Crosthwaite’s 13-foot mural “Atlanta” was a dominating piece in the exhibit.

His lecture highlighted his early years in Tijuana, selling gesso Bart Simpsons to American tourists, and his lack of artistic training.

Yet despite these disadvantages, he has established himself as a very prominent artist. He half-jokingly explained to us that in some of his more recent commissions to create and deconstruct wall murals for galleries, he becomes not only a draftsman, but a painter and performance artist too. After the lecture he spoke with a couple art students in the gallery, even showing them the most private of all artistic expressions, his sketchbook.

All of the works shown by Crosthwaite that night have a certain quality Art History Professor Laura Amrhein describes in her modern art class as sublime and beautiful, disgusting and attractive at the same time. To view more of Crosthwaite’s garishly appealing works, featuring subject matter ranging from transvestites to the terrors of war, visit his website at

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