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Mati and The Music Book Review

By The New York Times

Date: 17-01-2013


This particular all-star lineup of art books includes that populist paragon Winslow Homer; Mati Klarwein, whose album covers shimmer with a cryptic hippie cool that seduced Miles Davis and Carlos Santana; Joel Sternfeld, whose reissued photographs snap us back to the dingy grays and ochers of the early 1980s; the gauzy and gaudy romanticism of Gustav Klimt; and the Abstract-Expressionist heights of Robert Motherwell.

Mati Klarwein liked to call himself the most famous unrecognized artist in the world. That’s a fair self-call given that he painted two of the 1970s’ enduring pop-culture images, the album covers of Miles Davis’s “Bitches Brew” and Carlos Santana’s “Abraxas.” The Santana sums up Klarwein’s style: Sculptural figures are set in a hypersurreal phantasmagoria that seems to reflect some groovy non-Western mythology, all complemented by an ample supply of bared breasts. (Klarwein was a master of the gratuitous breast.) Other covers include albums by Jimi Hendrix (above), the Last Poets, Gregg Allman — and, oh, Leonard Bernstein.