Ken Sanders rocks out on paper

Salt Lake City isn’t acclaimed or known for its art, or its rock and roll (save…ugh…The Used…and Kurt Bestor), but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. As authors Paul Grushkin and Dennis King unveil their latest work, a book titled, The Art of Modern Rock: The Poster Explosion tonight, to the City of Salt, a ray of rock-solid rock-art light may just break through Utah’s menacing Zion curtain.

Grushkin’s first expedition into the world of rock and roll illustration, The Art of Rock, detailed the genre’s humble origins in the organically creative psychedelia of the ’60s. Quickly becoming a Britannia to devotees of the art-rock scene as well as art buffs in general, the book’s popularity demanded a sequel that would chronicle the art form’s evolution into the new millennium.

Tonight, as The Art of Modern Rock: The Poster Explosion is released to the land of Zion, the people’s wanton cries for more will be silenced. This time around, Grushkin’s follow-up was compiled with the help of Dennis King.

The book tracks the progression of the concert poster over the last two and a half decades, and its pages possess more than 1,800 full-color posters from 375 artists, studios, and a foreword from Wayne Coyne of the infamously eccentric Flaming Lips. What does this mean? This means that an art form, too often written off as fireplace fodder, may finally garner the attention that it has long deserved.

The arrival of The Art of Modern Rock will be ushered in by a presentation from Gushkin himself at Salt Lake City’s haven for underground literature, Ken Sanders Rare Books. Contributors Guy Burwell, Li’l Tuffy and local legend Leia Bell will also be in attendance discussing the book and signing copies. Bell, the muse behind Kilby Court’s trademark flier style, claims a six-page spread in the chronicle. Selections from her spread will be on display at Ken Sanders, alongside works from a myriad of the book’s artists including Mike King, Liz Dagger “Electrofork,” Tara McPherson, Dan Springer, Thomas Scott “Eyenoise,” Brian Ewing, and cover artist Scrojo until Dec. 24.

The festivities will begin at Ken Sanders Rare Books (268 S. 200 East) at 7 p.m. and will run through 9 p.m., staking Sanders’ claim as the place to be during this December’s gallery stroll. Copies of The Art of Modern Rock will be for sale at a discounted, pre-publication price of $60, as well as copies of Grushkin’s original work, “The Art of Rock.” For the diehard, limited-edition, signed copies from many of the book’s contributors will available at Ken Sander’s for tonight’s event only. For more on the publication party or the book, check out or give Ken Sanders Rare Books a call at 521-3819.

Don’t miss this chance to step out of Salt Lake City’s snow globe of frigid, cultural cold and bask in the warmth of artistic freedom and rock and roll-besides, this might just be your only chance to get rocked with more than just music.

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