CO:MIX AT THE VAG
|Art Spiegelman, Self-Portrait with Maus Mask, 1989|
On now at the Vancouver Art Gallery is the first-ever retrospective of Art Spiegelman's work, Co-mix: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps.
Spiegelman is best known for Maus, an autobiographical work that is dark, complex, and unequivocable. The graphic novel details the horrors of the Holocaust as told by Spiegelman's father, it also explores the fundamentally flawed and strained relationship between father and son. At once a grudging eulogy for a single individual and a grief-wracked testament to the ultimate horror and hardship of the Second World War, Maus is every bit as iconic and important as the critics have made it out to be.
|Art Spiegelman, Maus (excerpt), 1991|
It goes without saying that Spiegelman's narrative and formal innovations have become influential touchstones for the graphic novel as we know it today, but Spiegelman's role in publishing and exhibiting new talent is not to be downplayed. Comic magazines Arcade and Raw, edited by Spiegelman, Bill Griffith, and Francoise Mouly, have featured early works by cartoonists such as Lynda Barry and Chris Ware, who have gained attention for their similarly dark content and frank narrative style.
Also on display will be works related to Spiegelman's most recent graphic novel, In the Shadow of No Towers, which approaches Spiegelman's experiences as a New Yorker of the events surrounding 9/11. A critical work about 9/11 as strikingly candid as Maus proved difficult to publish in America, but was serialized in the German newspaper, Die Zeit. Working on In the Shadow of No Towers proved to be crucial in Spiegelman's recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder, which he suffered from after the attacks.
Spanning preliminary research, exercises, materials from both Arcade and Raw, drawings, paintings, and original pages from Spiegelman's graphic novels, this retrospective is sure to suck you into Art Spiegelman's world. The exhibition is on from now until June 9, 2013.