N.O. Mustill’s ‘Critic’ Lowers the Boom, Whimsically

If I said I put him in a class with the great collagists dating back through the 20th century (like Hausmann, Heartfield, or Höch) — which I do — he’d laugh at the presumption. But anyone who has seen Flypaper, his book of demonic collages in black and white, or the huge collages in blazing color that hang on the walls of his desert lair, would know what I’m saying. Not many have seen his work because he refused to play the art game. He has shunned publicity and guards his privacy to an extreme. You certainly won’t find much about him on the Internet. If you’re lucky enough to know him personally, you’ll often find yourself chortling in gales of laughter. Because nothing pleases him more than entertaining friends by taking note of the world’s absurdities or making exquisite fun of its solemnities. Sometimes he is merely whimsical. Look at “Critic,” from 1971. Nothing but decal lettering on music paper, it still makes me smile.

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