Contemporary culture's obsession with street art and the rise of lowbrow, pop surrealism or whatever else the broader postcomic, anticanon movements are being called right now has always included a fascination with the personalities behind the visuals. Now the sumptuously produced book Heroes & Villains, from independent artisan press ZERO+ Publishing, goes a long way toward satisfying that curiosity. An idea that began six years ago and captivated audiences as a memorable 2008 gallery show, Heroes & Villains has since been expanded and refined, presenting more than 100 artists in glowing, arresting, expressive, intimate, charming and confrontational portraits by accomplished photographers Tatiana Wills and Roman Cho. Depicting favorites like Robert Williams, Liz McGrath, Dave Kinsey, Mark Ryden, Natalia Fabia, Shepard Fairey, the Clayton Brothers, David Choe, Gabrielle Bell and Saber One, it's more than just a volume of portraits. As the book's collected essays by Amanda Erlanson demonstrate, this is a close-up look at the individuals who changed everything. The book signing and release party promises at least 30 of the artists in attendance, along with Wills and Cho — great news for devoted fans on a mission to get all the signatures. Expect crowds, cocktails, music and epic Sharpie shortages.

Thu., Sept. 1, 7-10 p.m., 2011

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