Gonzo! The Illustrated Guide to Hunter S. Thompson

July 12 – November 10, 2019
Special Exhibition, South Building

As one of Kentucky’s most famous exports, especially in the world of modern investigative journalism, the Speed is uniquely positioned to present this exhibition highlighting the professional collaborations (and personal relationships) that Thompson enjoyed with the artists and photographers who were tasked with illustrating his work, and even more importantly, articulating his vision through visual means.

Focusing on the years between 1964 and 1974 and covering the years between the publication of Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs through Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72, the exhibition features the work of Ralph Steadman, Annie Leibovitz, Tom Benton, and Thompson’s own photography, along with original letters and other ephemera to tell the story of the writer’s artistic partnerships.

The exhibition coincides with GonzoFest, the literary and music festival honoring the legacy of Hunter S. Thompson. The 9th Annual GonzoFest is held on Saturday, July 20 at the Louisville Free Public Library. In addition, Gonzo! The Illustrated Guide to Hunter S. Thompson is the third in a series of exhibitions celebrating Thompson in “A Year of Gonzo,” including Ralph Steadman: A Retrospective (University of Kentucky Art Museum) and Freak Power: Hunter S. Thompson’s Campaign for Sheriff (Frazier History Museum).

Public Programming associated with this exhibition includes:

  • Friday, July 19, 5 – 10 pm: After Hours at the Speed sponsored by Bulleit Bourbon
    • The Speed goes Gonzo for our monthly after hours party! Tour the exhibition with curator Erika Holmquist-Wall and Thompson scholar Dr. Rory Feehan before enjoying WFPL President Stephen George in Conversation with Juan Thompson (son of Hunter S. Thompson) and author Ron Whitehead. Don’t miss: live music from Brooks Ritter, a Gonzo-inspired tattoo flash sale from Tattoo Charlie’s, and MORE!
  • Friday, October 4, 6:30 – 7:30 pm: Tour with the Experts
    • Exhibition curator Erika Holmquist-Wall and author Tim Denevi lead a tour, after which will be a reading and signing from Denevi’s book, Freak Kingdom: Hunter S. Thompson’s Manic Ten-Year Crusade Against American Fascism, available for purchase at the Museum Store. FREE with admission.
Exhibition season support provided by:
Dav Fam Art Fund
Cary Brown and Steven E. Epstein
Paul and Deborah Chellgren
Debra and Ronald Murphy
Eleanor Bingham Miller