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Hot-rodding art

Looking around at the utter blandness of car designs today, it is hard to believe that cars were once considered the pinnacle of working-class artistic expression. Ed “Big Daddy” Roth is revered for his custom-built hot rods with amazing paint jobs, and now a series of miniature die-cast replicas of his creations, named Rat Fink after his cartoonish emblem of a rat seemingly on speed, are available ($3.99 at Target or www.rcertl.com).

The artist Robert Williams used to work for Roth, and despite having an amazing body of work, he is best known for his painting “Appetite for Destruction,” which Guns N’ Roses used on the cover of their album Appetite for Destruction. A good introduction to Williams’ work can be found in the big, colorful collection of his work, Malicious Resplendence: The Paintings of Robert Williams, by Robert Williams (Fantagraphics Books, $49.95, 300 pp.).

Tom A’Hearn pays attention here every other week. E-mail letters@metrotimes.com

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