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Guys and Molls

Bold, garish and steamy cover images from popular pulp-fiction magazines of the 1930s and '40s have made their way from newsstands to museum walls

Contemporary British figurative artist Lucian Freud once wrote, “What do I ask of a painting? I ask it to astonish, disturb, seduce, convince.” For those with similar demands, pulp art delivers a satisfying kick. People can debate the aesthetic merits of these overwrought, disquieting, sometimes gruesome works of art, but no one can dispute their creators’ mastery of the paintbrush as a blunt instrument.

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