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September 14, 2006

Art Spiegelman Withdraws Art From Jewish Museum Portion of Masters Exhibit

In a story that if it hasn't already should break more widely in this weekend's coverage of the split Masters of American Comics exhibit between the Jewish Museum and the Newark Museum opening today, a story that's been known in several comics circles all week, the cartoonist Art Spiegelman has withdrawn his work from the Jewish Museum's portion of the show.

imageAsked if Spiegelman had withdrawn his support from the show, Jewish Museum Director of Communications Anne Scher told CR, "Let me tell you what I think is accurate. Art Spiegelman withdrew his work from the exhibition. I can't address the word 'support.' I think you'd have to talk to him. I will tell you that he's here right now [approximately 5:30 ET Thursday] going through the exhibition with a New York Times critic, so I'm not sure how you'd want to interpret that." She went on to say there would be no statement or explanation at the show for the absence of Spiegelman's work.

"What I can say to you is that the Jewish Museum greatly admires Art Spiegelman's work. It was his personal decision to withdraw his work from the exhibition. It would have been our preference for him to be in the exhibition. We cannot speak as to the artist's reason." Scher noted that the Jewish Museum had a long history with the cartoonist. "We included his work in a group exhibition as early as 1986. That was an early point when comics art wasn't shown in art museums. We also showed him in a group show of contemporary art in 1996."

A phone call to Speigelman's studio on Thursday afternoon was not immediately returned. The consensus of the rumors -- emphasis on rumors -- was that the withdrawl was in part due to the Jerry Robinson guest-curated "Good and Evil in American Comics," exhibit also running at the Jewish Museum. Whether that's true, and if so what the nature of those objections might be, we will try to explore here by talking to the cartoonist or if that's not possible than linking to his statements to other sources.

posted 10:15 pm PST | Permalink

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