Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

November 9, 2013

A Reminder To Make Time To See The Art Spiegelman Retrospective At The Jewish Museum


I am not going to pretend that I saw enough of Art Spiegelman's Co-Mix: A Retrospective at The Jewish Museum in New York City in the focused, intellectually engaged way that reviewing the exhibit would require. I don't remember, for instance, if the above image is in the show or just a selection from that part of his career made it in. What I can tell you having witnessed the exhibit is that it is as wholly impressive as reactions to versions of it in other venues stretching back to the 2012 Angouleme show would have you believe. If this is the kind of thing you just don't get to, I hope you'll make the extra effort.

Something that struck me about the show that I saw was the tone of it. It is presented in a way that's comfortable rather than casual, that allows the work to speak for itself without making it seem like it's nervous or unsure about the case being made. There's a wealth of interesting material there but the show-stopper for the people with whom I experienced it last week was a presentation of Art's original pages for the second volume (the first is still being prepared, and will eventually be slipped into the show over professional quality facsimiles currently holding that place on the wall. Spiegelman works very small relative to more traditional ways with which I'm familiar, which is sort of remarkable to actually see as opposed to hear about. The presentation also means the work has now been preserved in order to allow it to be exposed to the ravages of being hung for the duration of the show. Hooray for institutions that invest in elements of artistic expression.

My impression is that the show is strong enough that you could build a little trip to see it, maybe a half day on a longer outing that has nothing to do with comics at all that finds you in New York, or part of a lengthier comics weekend. It won't make it to next year's MoCCA Festival, but there's a lot of time left and a lot of reasons to visit that great city. I'm not sure we'll see something quite like this again, and if we do that means this one was first.
posted 8:10 pm PST | Permalink

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