This collection, Bob Hope is Dead, recounts Bret Falk's thirty year love affair with American Pop Art and Abstract Expressionism. His paintings were influenced by the work of the major artists of Bret's time, and they're all here: Jackson Pollock's drips and spills; Roy Lichtenstein's pulp comic book style; Andy Warhol's high-contrast masterpieces exalting the mundane; Jenny Holzer's profound and public text messaging; Ed Ruscha's deadpan irreverence; Jasper Johns' "Map"; the bold color pallete of Mark Rothko; Robert Rauschenberg's embrace of found materials; the bright colors and graffiti accessibility of Keith Haring; the minimalist school of Ellsworth Kelly; the hard-edged sensibility of Frank Stella; and finally the proto-pop cubism of Stuart Davis.
Bob Hope is Dead tracks Falk's artistic development as he moves through several phases into a style all his own. Call it ironic pop: trenchant wit in vibrant color. Despite his productivity -- this book catalogs at least 75 works -- Bret never sold any paintings, instead preferring to give them away as wedding presents and at baby showers, or to a surprised friend who had just complimented his work.
Bret Falk died in 2006, just after his 48th birthday.