Style Icons: Male »Patrick Nagel

patrick nagelIt's easy, in our ironic age, to dismiss Patrick Nagel as a tacky piece of the past (the 1980's, to be specific), but I'd have to disagree with such a casual dismissal. Sure, the Nagel woman, prevalent in Playboy and on the cover of Duran Duran albums, was the emblematic visage of the greediest decade ever, but notice that unlike pin up artists before him, Nagel's women are strong and in charge.

Whether you appreciate the art yourself is up to you, but you've got to admit that Nagel was a trailblazer who created a look all his own that was subsequently copied everywhere, but never duplicated. Not many artists have such a distinct vision and look that comes to define an entire lifestyle.

Sadly, Nagel passed away at the age of just 38 in 1984, so we never got to see how his art might change as it matured; but there does seem to be a bit of a resurgence of interest in his work – maybe it's the return of neon and shoulder pads; as always, everything old is new again. Plus, as NYMag pointed out, one of his posters played a minor role in setting the mood for the Comedian's apartment in Watchmen. Super Rad Toys, an LA based company also just came out with a Nagel doll.

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Posted on April 6, 2009

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