Untitled (from the Iron Butterfly portfolio), 1968
Iron Butterfly was a heavy-metal rock band of the late 1960s, best known for their song “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” with its eerie mixture of pounding bass, squeaky organ, and endless drum solo. Nicholas Krushenick appropriated the band’s contradictory name for this 1968 print portfolio, perhaps because it echoed his combination of hard-edged geometry with the gaudy look of comic books.
Krushenick studied at the Art Students League in the late 1940s and with Hans Hofmann. In 1958, he and his brother John founded the Brata gallery and frame shop, where they exhibited the work of friends and colleagues such as Al Held and George Sugarman. Like Held, Krushenik experimented with rough brushwork and simple geometric shapes. Later he perfected the style seen here—clean-cut brushwork and flat, smooth colors reminiscent of the graphic designs found on boxes of Tide detergent or Brillo pads.