A pivotal figure in the comic form: Art Spiegelman retrospective at Vancouver ArtGallery

Vancouver, 5 February 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA).

From 16 February 2013, the Vancouver ArtGallery is to house a retrospective of renowned comic artist Art Spiegelman, in “Art Spiegelman CO-MIX: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics, and Scraps”. The exhibition is to feature 400 preparatory drawings, sketches, studies and panels relating to his early underground comics from the 1970s. Visitors will be offered the opportunity of seeing Spiegelman’s most acclaimed work, Maus – the artist owes his earning of the Pulitzer Prize to this autobiographical graphic novel published between 1978 and 1991, depicting his father’s experience with the Holocaust and accounting for the complexity of father and son relationships. The event will also showcase some of Spiegelman’s most recent work, such as the striking In The Shadow of No Towers that the artist created in response to 9/11.

The exhibition evolves through a chronological pattern, which provides visitors with a clear insight of the artist’s work first as an underground comics artist, then reaching the position of a first-range cultural commentator and satirist. According to the Vancouver ArtGallery’s senior curator Bruce Grenville, “Spiegelman is a pivotal figure in the comic form. Drawing on a wide range of influences and inspirations from various styles drawn from the long history of the comic form, from traditional woodcuts to Cubism (…) Spiegelman’s influence on the modern comic form, both as graphic novel and comic strip, cannot be overstated.”

The Vancouver event is the first major Art Spiegelman exhibition since the presentation of Maus at the MoMA in 1992. The Vancouver ArtGallery was founded in 1931 and comprises around 10,000 artworks in its permanent collection.