“Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Dead, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles; I Paint to This Music All the Time and It Feels Good.”Peter Max
He has painted popes, presidents, The Beatles and American heroes. His color-blasted, kinetic images have been expanded to 40,000 square feet to cover the hull of a Norwegian cruise ship and shrunk to the size of a postage stamp for a 1974 USPS 10-cent stamp celebrating Spokane’s World’s Fair, Expo ’74. He has painted sections of the Berlin Wall and Super Bowl stadiums. He has been on the covers of Time, Life, Newsweek and New York Times Magazine. He has been famous since the 1960s, a decade he defined perhaps better than any other artist.
Max was born in Berlin. At just one-year-old, he and his family fled those damn Nazis and he was raised in a Buddhist monastery in China, and then they fled the communists, landing in Brooklyn.
Max considers himself an American artist, and like a true American, he doesn’t mind combining art and commerce. He has done work for big corporate clients, including NASCAR and Coca-Cola, and he considered projects that appealed to him with their energy, usefulness, beauty and benefit.
Now he is suffering the ravishes of advanced dementia, the result of Alzheimer’s disease. He has been a longtime vegan, yoga master, an environmental activist and defender of Human and Animal Rights.
Max chose to sort of disappear during the 1970s, but he was back again in the early 21st century creating posters and portraits. He painted portraits of all 356 firefighters who perished in the September 11 attacks. In 2002, Max helped contribute to rescue efforts for Cincinnati Freedom, a cow that escaped from an Ohio slaughterhouse. The cow jumped over a six-foot fence while the slaughterhouse workers were on break and eluded capture for eleven days. Max donated $180,000 worth of his art to benefit the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, part of a chain of events that finally led to the cow being sent to Farm Sanctuary in upstate New York, a permanent home where the cow remained for the rest of her life.
He has been the subject of 40 museum exhibitions around our pretty planet. He used to show up at his museum and gallery shows. Max was super friendly and loves to meet fans. He signed my USPS Spokane stamp.