Sandow Birk is one of my favorite modern artists, and not just because he's an Angeleno like me, or that his drawings and paintings are full of fascinating anachronisms. It's more about the way he addresses contemporary subject matter while leaning heavily on the stylistic traditions of the past, as in his strangely compelling series of etchings Leading Causes of Death in America (which is accurate as of 2005). Check a few of them out after the jump, and keep an eye out for more Birk here this week -- or check out his website and new movie.
... the painting hanging on this unfortunate old man's wall in the background, by the way, is probably a reference to turn-of-the-century painter George Bellows, after whom Birk modeled the style of these etchings. He, like Birk, was known for his bold depictions of urban life. The painting is perhaps Bellows' most famous, Both Members of This Club (1909):