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BOOKS

The Mischievous Art Of Jim Flora

By Tom Pryor

Irwin Chusid & Jim Flora

Fantagraphics Books

Jim Flora (1949-1998) was a graphic artist who, in the ’40s and ’50s, helped lay the foundations for modern album cover art with his hallucinatory, playful and sometimes diabolic covers for the Columbia and RCA Victor labels. Flora’s vivid and arresting designs were informed by his prior work in both advertising and children’s books, but with a hip, adult twist perfectly suited to the jazz artists whose albums they graced. Flora also mixed elements of Mexican folk art and the modernism of Paul Klee and Joan Miro into his hyperkinetic American vernacular style. This is the first comprehensive collection of Flora’s album art, with 225 exuberant, eye-popping images, including most of his known covers and rarely seen ’40s and ’50s catalog and magazine work. Complied by pop-culture archivist/gadfly Irwin Chusid (author of Songs In The Key Of Z), this collection gives a near-forgotten American original his belated due.