SEX (King Kong) - Martin Sharp

July 30, 2020

Martin Sharp

SEX (King Kong), 1967

72 x 50 cmoffset lithograph in black, blue and pink over a silver metallic heavy base and laminated paper,Other Notes: Martin Sharp’s psychedelic rock posters reflected the fashion, art, music, and sexual mores of the mid to late 1960s. It was the era of the birth control pill, free love, psychedelic drug use, and rock and roll. There was a new attitude toward sex, one that sought to eliminate the morality-laden rules of previous generations and encouraged both men and women to explore the new sexual freedom. In his blog, Michael Organ goes on to say that “Sex was a significant part of the swinging London scene during the years 1966-68, and Martin Sharp was an active participant and the poster SEX was a public expression of that.” The Sex poster with the image of the violent ape creature veers away from the feminist concept of sexual freedom for women. Instead it depicts the darker, dominant, predatory nature of sex in a man’s world where men still dominated women for their own pleasure. This is a departure from other works by Sharp that depict a positive, artistic, modern view of the 1960s counterculture in which Sharp existed at the time 'Sharp is internationally recognised for the originality and impact of the psychedelic images he created whilst living in London during the 1960s, when he was working as art director of the underground magazine Oz with Richard Neville and others. Oz epitomised the anti-establishment era of the 1960s with its irreverent, satirical and often controversial take on topics as diverse as police brutality, censorship, homosexuality and abortion. During his time in London, Sharp established a strong reputation as a graphic artist, designing psychedelic posters and album covers for musicians and bands including Bob Dylan and Cream. His poster designs in the so called 'decadent' graphic style inspired Oz magazine associate Peter Ledeboer to set up Big O Posters in September 1967, to produce, promote and distribute all his work in this sphere and a number of these images (including 'Jimi Hendrix') are regarded as icons of the era. 'Sex' parodies the fictional 'beauty and the beast' characters of the 'King kong' movies, first screened in 1937.' Art Gallery of New South Wales Condition: