Here are some Don’t Miss Events
What’s on your to-do list?
At work, I have scattered notes about art conservation, labels to write, reading lists for graduate students, but most of the time I am thinking about exhibition planning and talking about art.
On my talking-about-art to-do list:
This autumn the museum hosts the exhibition Seeing the World Within: Charles Seliger in the 1940s (see the last post, August 13), so I am planning different kinds of presentations. One of them is “40 Things about the ‘40s,” and I have about five things listed thus far. World War II must count for, like, 25 things, though, right?
The Seliger show will overlap for a time with Shadow of the Sphinx so I had the brilliant idea that I should address them both. In one talk. What was I thinking?! Something about bugs, I suppose, important to Seliger’s early work, and there are all those beetles in Egyptian art, too.
I’ve been invited to speak about “Flowers in Contemporary Art” to the Herkimer Garden Club in October, something I’m looking forward to, so I have begun to collect pictures of, surprise (!), Georgia O’Keeffe, among other artists.
On my exhibitions to-do list:
The next Central New York Artists exhibition will be on view in March and April 2013 and I have to make an appointment with artist Kim Waale about a big spider web installation she wants to create for the show.
For our summer 2013 show, The Prints of Andy Warhol, I have to find a photo booth rental and see if we can afford to borrow one for some exhibition-related events we are planning. Will YOU be ready for your close-up, by the way?
And I am talking to artist Sam Van Aken (sculpture professor at Syracuse University) about creating the next Sculpture Court Project for autumn 2013. Lately Sam has been grafting different kinds of trees together to create hybrids that are lovely to look at and disturbing to think about. Sam thinks about how things can look like one thing but be something else. I wonder what he has in mind for us?
I’ll bet you have some interesting list-making going on in your mind. Care to share with us?
Okay, gotta run. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it, lucky me.
I read comic books and I’m not afraid to say it.
Like millions of others my age, I was addicted to the “Batman” TV show in the mid-‘60s, but since comic books were for kids, I soon abandoned them. It wasn’t until I was in college in 1980 that I took another interest in costumed heroes (I was an art student so it was ok). The Batman had gotten dark and brooding, Green Arrow was pursuing believable adventures, Jonah Hex was a ill-tempered antihero, and the X-Men were, well, they were the X-Men.
Go to any comic book shop and marvel at the racks of books, posters and other super-paraphernalia. Probably the last thing you will see in a comic book shop is someone under age 16. Comics have come a long way since the Man of Steel fought for truth, justice and the American way. The sophisticated story lines, “mature” dialog and intricate plots are geared purely for adults.
And why not? Reading, for a large percentage of the population, is to escape reality, so why not escapeit with tales of derring-do? “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” created by Baroness Emmuska Orczy in 1905 is considered great literature and features a title character who is a mild-mannered fop with a dual identity as a heroic champion of justice during the Reign of Terror following the start of the French Revolution. Take the same concept and put it in the Spanish colonial era of California and you’ve got Zorro, created by Johnston McCulley in 1919. Add illustrations and 20 years to that concept and you’ve got The Batman.
Not that illustrated tales of heroics started in 1939, mind you. Let’s jump back to the year 1070 and take a look at the Bayeux Tapestry. The Tapestry is a 230-foot illustrated account of the Norman conquest of England. In case you’re wondering, yes it is historically accurate, back in the 11th century horses actually were multi-colored, grand warships held about six soldiers, and people were much taller than horses and always stood perfectly side by side, even while fleeing broadswords and battle axes.
Throw a red cape and a unitard on William the Conquerer and you’ve got one whopper of a comic book. (By the way, did you know that Halley’s Comet is depicted in the Tapestry?)
Oh, what the heck, let’s go back even further and examine cave drawings. No doubt that 30,000 years ago, prehistoric geeks, after spending the day getting loincloth wedgies and being turned down for dates by cute pom-pom sporting “gruntleaders” gathered around caves marveling at the heroics of shaggy champions pummeling mastodons in the name of truth, justice and the Cro-Magnon way.
Which brings us to the exhibition, LitGraphic: The World of the Graphic Novel, opening this weekend in the Museum of Art. Here, illustrated stories get their well-deserved recognition and the art takes its place among other visual masterpieces. Stop by and savor the genius of Sue Coe, Marc Hempel, Will Eisner, Robert Crumb, Frank Miller and a host of other important graphic novel artists.
Join us on Sunday, March 4 for the public opening of LitGraphic, which begins with the presentation “Manga in the Context of the Graphic Novel,” by Oneika Russell, followed by refreshments in the Root Sculpture Court.
LitGraphic was organized and is toured by the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, and generously sponsored in Utica by Bank of Utica.