The designer Ladislav Sutnar (1897-1976) emigrated from Czechoslovakia to the USA in 1940. He rented a room in New York in a 3rd-floor apartment on 52nd Street, between 5th and 6th Avenue. On his very first night, he was submerged by the world of the New York streets, so different from what he was used to. His eyes saw for the first time all the shady forms of entertainment: liquor stores, rude slang and physical vulgarity: the human being laid bare by his search for temptations.
This new society unfurled in front of him to the rhythm of the nightclubs and the red and purple neon lights against the night sky, a sight that fascinated him and influenced his art from then on. In the early Sixties he publishes the Strip Street series, a daring collection of 12 erotic stencil paintings also known as “posters without words” or “Venus” and “Joy Art” that are soon forgotten, together with the street in which they appeared that was quickly transformed by the construction boom.
His words that accompany his works refer to that: "In these disturbed times of cool and alienated society," he wrote, "if the paintings can inject the feeling, the mission is accomplished." 2) Sudnar understood the courage of Tom Wesselmann, but also the figures of Matisse and the direct message of the colors of Saul Bass, and became a pioneer of artistic design, in an explosion of style, color, hedonism and fertility dance that electrify the spectator. And he called it “Joy Art”.