Images have been circulating around the web recently from a show opening at a Los Angeles art gallery dedicated to artists' work inspired by the movies and TV shows of sometime Vanity Fair editor Judd Apatow. To learn about the genesis of the project, we exchanged emails with Gallery 1988's Jensen Karp, who curated the show.
The nine-year-old gallery specializes in displaying work inspired by pop culture, Karp explained, and overtime it became popular among the Apatow set, with Seth Rogen, Jonah Hill, and Martin Starr becoming patrons — along with the man himself, eventually. After realizing Apatow was a fan, the gallerists broached the subject of whether he'd be interested in the show. Though he was initially reluctant, Apatow ultimately gave his seal of approval: "Judd was always like, 'Ummm, are you sure this makes sense? Who wants to see my stuff everywhere?' And we immediately yelled back, 'Us!' Karp wrote. "I think he trusts us and saw it as a fun way to celebrate with us, because he is obviously too busy to even take a breath and think about all the amazing stuff he's done. So we'll do it for him. In a cool way."
So the gallery gathered over 70 artists to produce their takes on movies like Superbad, as Jeff Boyes did in this piece:
"I love Jeff Boyes's "Superbad" print for the same reason I love Judd's movies," Karp wrote.
"There's inherently comedy in the movies. That's obvious. But what makes Judd such a great producer is he can both find, and inspire others to find, the emotion below it. It's not just that a kid wants to have sex on the last day of high school, it's a kid who is having issues developing and is nervous to leave his friends and family behind when he leaves for college. That bleeds through, beyond the fart jokes. And I think Jeff's piece is able to convey that with the emotion in the actors' faces."
When not making art for this show, Karp says, the Apatow artists have merely been fans of his work. "Freaks and Geeks in particular means so much to us, and to the artists we've curated," Karp wrote. "He's really spoken for the artist in a lot that he's done, so we figured why not have art portray that."
Here are some examples of Freaks and Geeks-inspired pieces and others from the show: