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Malcolm McNeill and William S. Burroughs:
The Lost Art of Ah POOK IS HERE


Laurie Steelink 310.264.4678
Images available upon request

Malcolm McNeill and William S. Burroughs:
The Lost Art of Ah POOK IS HERE

April 4 – May 2, 2009

Over the years of our collaboration, Malcolm McNeill produced more than a hundred pages of artwork. However, owing partly to the expense of full color reproductions, and because the book (Ah Pook is Here) falls into neither the category of the conventional illustrated book nor that of a comix publication, there have been difficulties with the arrangements for the complete work. The book is in fact unique . . . –William S. Burroughs, 1978

26 February, 2009–Track 16 is pleased to present the west coast premiere of “The Lost Art of Ah POOK IS HERE,” paintings, drawings, and prints from the unfinished Word/Image novel Ah POOK IS HERE: a remarkable seven-year collaboration between author William S. Burroughs and artist Malcolm McNeill. The exhibition runs from April 4 to May 2, 2009, with an opening reception on Saturday, April 4 from 6 to 9 PM.

William Burroughs and Malcolm McNeill began working together in London in 1970 when McNeill was in his final year of art school. Their first collaboration, a comic strip entitled “The Unspeakable Mr. Hart,” appeared in the English magazine CYCLOPS. When the magazine folded, Burroughs and McNeill continued the project in book form. The proposed work, a 120-page word/Image novel was renamed Ah POOK IS HERE - after the Mayan death god.

There was no market for Graphic Novels at the time and without financial incentive the book could not be produced on a full time basis. After seven years, it was finally abandoned. It was subsequently published in 1979 in text form only. Apart from eleven pages published in Rush Magazine in 1976, none of the images from Ah POOK IS HERE have been seen publicly on the west coast. Track 16 Gallery will be showing prints, original drawings and paintings, as well as ephemera associated with Ah Pook and other projects McNeill worked on with Burroughs.

McNeill has produced illustrations for several publications including The New York Times, National Lampoon, Psychology Today and Marvel Comics. He also wrote and illustrated his own monthly science fiction series for Gallery Magazine. He was involved in television production for fifteen years, first as a designer, then as a director of music videos, commercials, and short films. He won numerous awards in this field including an Emmy for his first network project - the opening title sequence to Saturday Night Live in 1984. He has been a guest speaker on various aspects of Visual Narrative at Pratt Institute and Cooper Union in New York, The Art Director’s Club in New York and at the Broadcast Design Awards in Seattle.

The Lost Art of Ah POOK IS HERE will be shown concurrently with Sam Cherry: Photographs of Charles Bukowski, The Black Cat, and Skid Row. For more information, please visit our website at archive.track16.com.


Ah Pook Is Here was the formative creative experience of my life without question, beginning as it did at the end of art-school. And having Bill (William Burroughs) as a one-on-one mentor for all those years was a unique privilege. I gained insights into his personal life and working methods which could only occur during a collaboration such as Ah Pook and they fundamentally influenced my own sense of word and image making. –Malcolm McNeill