Picks and Pans Review: Zany Afternoons

updated 01/10/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/10/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Bruce McCall

McCall is by day a commercial artist at Manhattan's McCassrey and McCall advertising agency. But by night he creates fanciful illustrations with text that is off the wall, off the ceiling and off the floor. A drawing of a restaurant located on the broad wings of an airborne plane is described: "Hemingway always said the best tables were outboard beyond the prop wash, where you could see over the wing tip, see all France gliding past down below where usually there would be linoleum. Ernest would reserve all four tables and hold bun-throwing contests with Scott and the others; he was so proud of his ability to judge the wind." A brochure for a New York-to-Liverpool ship, the R.M.S. Tyrannic, points out, "A routine voyage uses up six thousand mops, four hundred acres of table linens, and a fifty-gallon drum of Mercurochrome. Kept in the stores are ten miles of shoelaces, one half-ton of flea powder, two hundred caskets, a like number of hummingbirds and a spare funnel." An ad for a product called "Liquid Carpet" says, "Hardens Overnight. Instant Broad-loom Look. Spray on, smear, trowel smooth." This surreal book makes a telling comment on the unreal, smooth surfaces of commercial art; it is also very funny. (Knopf, $25; paper $14.95)

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