September 18 - October 30, 1993
John Carlin and Carlo McCormick
Vaughn and Mark Bode
Mark Marek Mariscal
Kevin C. Pyle
S. Clay Wilson
On September 18, 1993, Exit Art / The First World presented Comic Power: Independent/Underground Comix, U.S.A., a group exhibition of over 75 contemporary comic artists from the past 30 years.
Comic Power focused upon the emergence of underground and independent comics, commonly referred to as comix, in the United States. Unlike the commercial comic industry, underground comics are designed primarily for an adult audience. The themes and issues engaged by underground comic artists are explicitly personal, with powerfully idiosyncratic sexual, social and political themes. Also, underground comic art is strongly visual, putting forth an innovative approach to graphic design and artistic expression that is builds upon and challenges traditional comic strip form and content.
Comic Power considered underground comics in the context of its hybrid nature: as an art form and as an instrument of popular culture. The exhibition highlighted the innovative design that forms the basis for all comic art, providing audiences with an understanding of the relationship between art and text; subject matter and audience.
Comic Power consisted of over 250 examples of work by comic artists. It included original drawings published in independent comic books. Comic Power also included a reading area consisting of hundreds of comic books, anthologies and other independent publications from across the U.S., Canada and abroad providing an important context for which to understand the art work presented. The reading area was be a comfortable place for the public to read, learn and enjoy discovering more about the wide and diverse range of comic publications.
Comic Power were four specially curated projects:
1. Newspaper Comic Strips, 1898-1945 curated by Patrick McDonnell, artist and author of a history on Krazy Kat, was a selected overview of early weekly comic strips printed in the United States. This section included over 40 examples of the color Sunday pages by such well known comic artists as Lionel Feininger (The Kinder Kids), R.F. Outcault (Buster Brown), Winsor McCay (Little Nemo In Slumber Land), and George Herriman (Krazy Kat), among others. This section traced an aesthetic relationship to the work of underground comic artists working today.
2. Back to the Future: Politically Blacklisted Cartoonists curated by artist Sue Coe featured the political cartoons of the 1930s from The New Masses and The Daily Worker to work currently presented in the People's Weekly World. These cartoonists remain largely unknown in the United States, although their work is deserving of serious attention. This installation presented the work by these politically black-listed cartoonists in the context of the social issues of the 1930s that are still pertinent today.
3. Cheap Laffs: The Art of the Novelty Item from the collection of artist Mark Newgarden was a selected group of toys and gadgets. These pop culture artifacts familiarized the public with these esoteric and forgotten objects from America's past. Some of the objects were designed by comic artists, some were advertised staples in commercial comic magazines, and others reflect a sundry group of odd-ball trinkets.
4. ZAP artists curated by Jacaber Kastor of Psychedelic Solution, NYC
COMIC POWER exhibition and invitation concept and design by Papo Colo.
Exhibit travels to
Massachusetts College of Art
January 20 - February 20, 1994
Vancouver Art Gallery, Canada
April 15, - June 15, 1994
Dunlop Art Gallery, Regina, Canada
July 7 - September 18, 1994
Under the Influence of Comics Oct. 5
John Carlin, Donna DeSalvo, Carlo McCormick, Art Spiegelman
Serial Strips: Comics and Cinema Oct. 12
Lewis Klahr, Gary Panter, J. Hoberman
Comix Stripped: Creating & Distributing Alternative Comix Oct. 19
Howard Cruse, Eric Drooker, Kaz, David Mazzucchelli, Bob Sikoryak, Leslie Sternbergh, Seth Tobocman. Peter Kuper and Scott Cunningham, moderators
Free lunchtime talks
An Epic Battle Through the Comix Universe Sept. 29
John Carlin, Carlo McCormick
The New York Political Comix Magazine Speaks Out! Oct. 6
Scott Cunningham, Sabrina Jones, Peter Kuper, Seth Tobocman
Painting and Installation Oct. 13
Gary Panter, David Sandlin, John Carlin
Politically Blacklisted Cartoonists Oct. 20
Sue Coe, Norman Goldberg, Charles Keller, Tim Wheeler
Exhibit Archive | 94-95 Calender