What Do Lou Reed and Agatha Christie Have in Common

What Lou Reed and Agatha Christie have in common is the American-born, but British-raised illustrator Tom Adams. When Reed was searching for an artist to design his self-titled album for the UK market in 1972, he chose Adams. Ironically, although the artist was known in Britain for creating rock concert posters and album covers, Reed selected him based on his book cover design work. Along most of John Fowles’ novels, Adams also did the cover art for a poplar series of reissued Christie mysteries. The paperback covers were created for Collins UK and Simon & Schuster in the USA. Two monographs have been published on his work: Tom Adams’ Agatha Christie Cover Story (published as Agatha Christie: The Art of Her Crimes in the United States), Paper Tiger, 1981 and Tom Adams Uncovered, HarperCollins, 2015.

According to Wikipedia:

Adams’s book cover artwork, while usually instantly recognizable, runs to quite distinct modes. Some covers are still-life tableaux; some are depictions of a scene in the novel; some are surrealist collations of items and images. Organizing the vast majority of them, however, is Adams’s unique exploration of a form that was vital for much of twentieth-century art: the collage.

Adams’s unique take on this was to bring the collage back into the realm of the painterly. Seen in this light, even Adams’s covers that seem like still lifes are, in actuality, juxtapositions of elements and objects that normally are not in such proximity. It is this uncanny proximity—despite (or, rather, precisely because of) the near photo-realistic accuracy—that creates the unsettling effect.

This element also goes to explain one of the most distinctive features of Adams’s art: the combination of a sought-after realistic accuracy with an unsettling, surrealist, if not alienating, effect. As Janet Morgan, Agatha Christie’s first biographer, put it, Adams’s drawings are “alarmingly realistic.”



This entry was posted in Art, Books, Europe, Music, USA, Writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to What Do Lou Reed and Agatha Christie Have in Common

  1. Sherry Felix says:

    Love the art. Always been partial to surrealism.

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