You’ve probably seen the artwork of Jim Flora (1914-1998) if you’ve ever browsed for jazz or classical albums from the 40s and 50s–and if you’ve seen it, I’ll bet you remember it. His manic, stylized style virtually embodied the idea of “crazy, man, crazy,” his frenetic Picassoid human forms and gamboling Matisse-ish animals blinking and writhing at you in an eye-popping colors. His sleeve work is compiled is a book by Irwin Chusid, The Mischievous Art of Jim Flora, which is also the title of an exhibit that opened last weekend at the Lake County Discovery Museum in Wauconda. It runs 11 AM-4:30 PM Monday-Saturday and 1-4:30 PM Sundays through August 31. There’s a coupon for $1 off museum admission (regularly $6 for adults) here (pdf).
Besides his album covers and relatively family-friendly book illustrations, Flora also did some work that was flat-out disturbing and/or sexual. (These you can find in another Chusid book, The Curiously Sinister Art of Jim Flora.) Though the exhibit’s got the same title as the clean collection, it contains examples of both kinds of work.