The Serious and Profound Work of a Comic-Art Master

Few artists have so thoroughly and utterly blurred the lines of high art (what you might find in an art gallery or museum) and low art (what you might find in a comic book, newspaper or magazine) as Art Spiegelman. A new exhibition, Art Spiegelman’s Co-Mix: A Retrospective, will be the focus of his entire oeuvre and will run through March 23, 2014 at The Jewish Museum, in New York.

Spiegelman’s career began in the 1960s and 1970s as a brilliant voice of the counterculture art form known as underground comix, in which an artist will use a small press to produce a comic book, or simply self-publish it. In his work during this time, he produced a vast array of styles and covered many controversial and provocative subjects, including racism, sex and drugs. But it was in the 1980s that his brilliance came into full relief in two projects. The first was as the co-founder of Raw magazine, which was published between 1980 and 1991 and showcased some of the most inventive graphic artists of the time, such as Sue Coe, Robert Crumb, Gary Panter, and Ben Katchor. The second was as the author and artist of the graphic novel Maus, which recounted Spiegelman’s parents’ lives in Nazi-occupied Poland and at the death camp, Auschwitz. The book would be published in two volumes (in 1986 and 1991), and would win him a Pulitzer Prize. In the 1990s, Spiegelman continued to create provocative graphic artwork, as a contributing artist to the New Yorker, where he created many renowned and controversial covers, including the 9/11 cover that depicted the Twin Towers as black silhouettes set against a black sky.

The show will present 300 preparatory sketches, preliminary and final drawings, as well as prints and other ephemeral and documentary material. For more, visit www.thejewishmuseum.org.

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