06/20/2017

Aaron Cockle here today with Lauren Weinstein; Jillian Tamaki; Ad Reinhardt; Georgia O’Keeffe; Kriota Willberg; Snail Farm & Friends Book Fair

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Lauren Weinstein, from Normel Person

Normel Person
Lauren Weinstein continues her strong run of weekly strips at the Village Voice. 

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‘Each story shifts emotional and visual register.’
Jillian Tamaki’s new book, Boundless, receives another solid review, this time over at The Atlantic:

An ambitious and eclectic set of tales, it focuses on the interior lives of unexpected subjects: the writer of a pornographic sitcom, a shrinking woman, a plant-nursery employee with an internet doppelganger, even a fly. Boundless uses a constantly varying visual treatment that keeps readers on their toes and mixes and matches artistic styles with a proliferating set of genres, from speculative fiction to domestic drama to magical realism. If a reader comes to Boundless with assumptions about visual storytelling, Tamaki will confound them.

Jillian Tamaki, From Boundless

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5. No design. “Design is everywhere.”
Via ARTNEWS, Ad Reinhardt’s 12 Rules for a New Academy:

Much of today’s discussion of contemporary abstraction is centered on “Zombie Formalism”—Walter Robinson’s coinage for new work that revisits (or apes, one might say) historical forms of abstraction for purely stylistic reasons. Given the intensity of that debate, we thought it would be interesting, for this week’s Retrospective column, to jump back almost 60 years, to 1957, when Ad Reinhardt took up the subject of contemporary abstraction in ARTnews. Reinhardt, who had written for the magazine previously, said that the article—titled “Twelve Rules for a New Academy”—”constitute[d] his last words on art in terms of words.” He sharply criticized his formalist contemporaries, offering instead twelve ways to achieve purity in art. There would be no forms, no texture, no color, nothing—just pure blackness, as in Reinhardt’s most famous paintings. Reproduced in full below is Reinhardt’s article, which takes subtle swipes at Marcel Duchamp, Piet Mondrian, the Abstract Expressionists, and more. —Alex Greenberger

The Six General Canons or the Six Noes to be memorized are: (1) No Realism or Existentialism. “When the vulgar and commonplace dominate, the spirit subsides.” (2) No Impressionism. “The artist should once and forever emancipate himself from the bondage of appearance.” “The eye is a menace to clear sight.” (3) No Expressionism or Surrealism. “The laying bare of oneself,” autobiographically or socially, “is obscene.” (4) No Fauvism, primitivism or brute art. “Art begins with the getting-rid of nature.” (5) No Constructivism, sculpture, plasticism, or graphic arts. No collage, paste, paper, sand or string. (6) No “trompe-l’oeil,” interior decoration or architecture. The ordinary qualities and common sensitivities of these activities lie outside free and intellectual art.

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Georgia O’Keeffe, Patio with Cloud, 1956

Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern
At the Brooklyn Museum through July 23, 2017:

The exhibition is organized in sections that run from her early years, when O’Keeffe crafted a signature style of dress that dispensed with ornamentation; to her years in New York, in the 1920s and 1930s, when a black-and-white palette dominated much of her art and dress; and to her later years in New Mexico, where her art and clothing changed in response to the surrounding colors of the Southwestern landscape. The final section explores the enormous role photography played in the artist’s reinvention of herself in the Southwest, when a younger generation of photographers visited her, solidifying her status as a pioneer of modernism and as a contemporary style icon.

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‘The Internal Body Interacting with the External World’
New York Academy of Medicine’s Artist-in-Residence, Kriota Willberg, recently concluded a 4-week workshop, Visualizing and Drawing Anatomy, and has a brief recap about it. And in a post from 2016, Willberg looks at some historical anatomical drawings:

The images of Jacopo Berengario da Carpi’s Anatomia Carpi Isagoge breves, perlucide ac uberime, in anatomiam humani corporis… (1535) powerfully emphasize the fiber direction of the muscles of the waist. This picture in particular radiates the significance of our “core muscles.” Here, the external oblique muscles have been peeled away to show the lines of the internal obliques running from low lateral to high medial attachments. The continuance of this line is indicated in the central area of the abdomen. It perfectly illustrates the muscle’s direction of pull on its flattened tendon inserting at the midline of the trunk.

Figure in Berengario, Anatomia Carpi Isagoge breves, 1535

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A Cosmic Journey – 6-20-2017 – by Cameron Arthur

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Suzy and Cecil – 6-20-2017 – by Sally Ingraham

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Joanie and Jordie – 6-20-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio

06/13/2017

Aaron Cockle here today with The ClairFree System; Pope Hats; Blind Spot and Black Paper; The Republic of Samsung; Printer Steganography

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Jillian Tamaki, from Boundless

‘Here, she explains the inspiration behind her images and what she hopes readers to take from her work.’
Sally linked to this piece this past Friday, Claire Landsbaum asked Jillian Tamaki to dissect some of the panels from her story ‘The ClairFree System’, which is included in Tamaki’s new book, Boundless. Tamaki talks about incorporating found objects into the art-making process:

This is another sculpture from the Art Gallery of Ontario, but the original artwork was just the child — I created the rest. A lot of this story is about reframing context: taking a classical sculpture or a photograph, which is a specific instant in time, and stripping it of its information to make it universal, which is what I did here. The image itself is about someone’s hopes and dreams for their child — about everyone’s idea of a great parent, which is that they can give their kid everything they want. I’ve heard people say that a new child is a pure, unsullied human being who hasn’t ever made a bad decision — that they’re without sin. I find that extremely hopeful. I don’t have children, but I would imagine the desire to prolong that state is an emotion every parent feels.

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‘I keep returning to this notion: that the best feeling in the world is working really hard at creating something with no guarantee of a positive outcome.’
Ethan Rilly talks about his process for making Pope Hats #5, over at the AdHouse Books blog:

Enough people have asked me whether I’m a lawyer that it might be useful to answer here: No, and I never was. Never stepped foot in a law firm. This story might be autobiographical in all the regular faintly embarrassing ways but the lawyer stuff is a good distance outside of me. I did research and interviews.

Ethan Rilly, from Pope Hats #5

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Teju Cole, detail from Black Paper

‘I pray to Tarkovsky, Marker, and Hitchcock.’
Teju Cole will be exhibiting work June 15-August 11 at Stephen Kasher Gallery in NYC, photos and text from his new book, Blind Spot, as well as an installation piece, Black Paper.

The exhibition features over 30 color photographs from the series Blind Spot, each accompanied by Cole’s lyrical and evocative prose. Viewed together, these works form a multimedia diary of years of near-constant travel. In these photographs, we see what Cole has seen, from a park in Berlin to a mountain range in Switzerland, a church exterior in Lagos to a parking lot in Brooklyn; and we are drawn into the texts—which function as voiceovers—with which Cole complicates his already enigmatic images. At stake here is the question of vision, an exploration Cole began following a temporary spell of blindness in 2011, and which he presents here in a photographic sequence of novelistic intensity.

The exhibition also presents Black Paper, a visceral photographic response to Cole’s experiences following the election of November 2016. This continuously evolving, large-scale work explores buried feelings, haunted space, and all that can be seen through darkness.

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Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries, from Samsung

“ABOUT MY WORK AND MYSELF AND ALL THE REST I USED TO SAY:/,” “I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY AND I’M SAYING IT:.”
As a continuation of its online Net Art Anthology exhibition, Rhizome features and discusses Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries’s piece, Samsung.

The piece Samsung addresses the complex nature of the corporation—its existence not only as an economic entity but also as an emotional phantom, reaching its incorporeal fingers into relationships, daydreams, and fantasies. The text of Samsung, demonstrating many of the formal qualities of poetry, is interspersed with conversational breaks that establish intimacy with the viewer. The tone becomes conspiratorial as the narrator asks, “CAN/I CONFIDE/IN YOU?” There is no option to decline. The viewer is rendered complicit in the narrator’s confession of their adoration of Samsung.

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‘The printouts contained invisible dot patterns added by the printer to identify the worker who sent the print job’
I posted about Video Steganography, the imbedding of hidden information within electronic files, a few weeks back. Recently, the Boingboing blog posted a piece about one of the ways the National Security Agency was able to determine the source of leaked information about potential hacking involving the Russians in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, by examining the hidden dot patterns that are used with color printers.

There’s been much speculation on exactly how NSA leaker Reality Winner was exposed after giving The Intercept documents that showed the extent to which the security agency suspects Russian meddling (previously) in last year’s general election. On one hand, the filing against her talks of the “creases” seen in the scans The Intercept posted, tipping them off to it being a workplace printout from an insider–an insinuation of casual sloppiness on the reporters’ part. On the other hand, it seemed clear Winner did everything at a work computer anyway and was surely doomed once the story came out and internal investigations began.

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A Cosmic Journey – 6-13-2017 – by Cameron Arthur

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Suzy and Cecil – 6-13-2017 – by Gabriella Tito

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Joanie and Jordie – 6-13-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio

06/06/2017

Aaron Cockle here today with Davis/Tamaki; Alex Katz in the Subway; Line Hoven & Nora Krug; Ware on Steinberg; CAKE Reminder; Marginalia; NY Times Comics

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‘I am constantly bewildered by the juxtapositions of city-life.’
Eleanor Davis in conversation with Jillian Tamaki, in support of Tamaki’s new book, Boundless:

ED: Did you write “World Class City” after you realized you were gonna leave New York?

JT: Oh yes. Definitely. I had always had a very weird, uncomfortable relationship with New York, but it was my home and leaving was very melancholy despite being 100% the right decision.

ED: I read it in the voice of someone who is in love with a thing, but is aware of being in denial about its flaws. A keening sort of mournful love.

JT: Oh, I never fell in love with the place. But, I’m glad. I prefer that, instead of it seeming sarcastic.

ED: How did you decide the images for it?

JT: To be honest, I can feel increasingly confined by the image part of comics. Perhaps because often, for more commercial works, the images need be a lot more literal? I feel like images can “lock” an idea. To depict someone specific can be nice sometimes – the books I do with Mariko are always about specificity of time and place and character. But sometimes it’s nice, when reading prose, to have the ideas and concepts more open. They can feel more universal or possibly even symbolic. So I guess this comic was about trying to stretch that word-image relationship. I don’t want to show you what kind of person thinks this way, acts this way, etc.

Jillian Tamaki

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Alex Katz, Man with Newspaper on the Subway, c. 1940s

‘Lost Romance Will Soon Be at Your Neighborhood Itch.’
Alex Katz with some early-career subway drawings:

Later this month, the Cleveland Museum of Art will mount “Brand-New & Terrific: Alex Katz in the 1950s,” an exhibition of the paintings that Katz made in the decade after he graduated Cooper Union and spent two influential summers at the Skowhegan School in Maine. “It rolls out of this,” he acknowledges of the work in that show. “I changed styles the minute I got out of school. In a practical sense, it was one of the dumbest things I ever did in my life. I applied for a Fulbright. I had three teachers who gave me A’s on the jury. And one of them said to me: ‘Alex, why did you send this? It’s crap. We couldn’t do a thing for you.’ ”

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Line Hoven

Ferocious Ink: Line Hoven & Nora Krug

MFA Visual Narrative and the Goethe-Institut New York present an evening with authors and illustrators Line Hoven and Nora Krug. Hoven and Krug will present their explorations of German identity in their graphic work and discuss ways of weaving the personal, cultural and historical into new forms of storytelling.

Tuesday, June 6, 7-10pm, School of Visual Arts SocDoc Auditorium, 136 West 21 Street, ground floor. Free and open to the public. RSVP here.

Nora Krug

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Saul Steinberg, Untitled (Table Still Life with Envelopes), 1975

‘As a cartoonist myself, I am dismayed that there’s little in the show I can steal…’
Caleb Orecchio linked to this Chris Ware catalog essay for the Along the Lines: Selected Drawings by Saul Steinberg show at the Art Institute of Chicago in yesterday’s newspost, but I wanted to post an excerpt, it’s always nice to see cartoonists writing about other cartoonist’s work:

One can’t overstate the importance of Steinberg’s working for reproduction, of his creating drawings to be disseminated to the mailboxes, laps, and, I guess, bathroom walls, of receptive readers and not, at least initially, to museum walls. The Museum turns on an eminently Steinbergian tool—the rubber stamp—and, as a lithograph, manipulates the idea of reproduction while pictorially lampooning and dissembling it. Identical figures are plunked out to represent visitors and viewers of (what else?) official stamps of approval; over the museum’s horizon, stamps rise like suns, the entire composition grounded and buttressed by illegible signatures and, of course, more stamps. As a visa-seeking emigré in his early life, Steinberg’s fascination with legal seals is easily understandable. Riverfront and Certified Landscape pivot on the objectively ridiculous but fundamentally necessary imprimatur of government made corporeal, territorially imprinted as a skein of walls and fences. Steinberg quietly added his own signature directly into the rather unaccommodating landscapes—are they farms, factories, or concentration camps?—rather than putting it in the traditional antiseptic nonspace outside the pictorial “border.” But in The Museum, Steinberg bundles the stamp’s sanctioning power and aesthetics into the frame of the art itself, stamping his own authorizing red imprimatur in that expected nonspace outside the image, along with his signature (legible, one notes) and, as a digestif, a blind stamp (a stamp without ink, visible by the impression it leaves on the page), just to snuff out any lingering doubt about the drawing’s authenticity and, by proxy, the artist’s own legitimacy.

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Anya Davidson

Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE)
Saturday and Sunday, June 10 and 11, 2017
11 am – 6 pm
Center on Halsted
3656 N Halsted
FREE and open to the public!
http://www.cakechicago.com

Promotional artwork by Anya Davidson.

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Srinivas Mangipudi, Page from Lost To Be Found, 2012-present

Marginalia at the Drawing Center

Marginalia: Open Sessions 10 declares our present geo-political and ideological constructs to be permeable and malleable. The artists in this exhibition view borders and barriers as material through which to build new avenues of both trespass and solidarity. Marginalia features Daniel Bejar, Ana Peñalba, Sue Jeong Ka, Carolyn Lambert, Srinivas Mangipudi, Irini Miga, and Rodrigo Valenzuela.

Drawing is a mode of inquiry throughout the exhibition Valenzuela visualizes the American dream in deserted landscapes; Bejar traverses communities tenuously linked through political maneuvering; Peñalba sketches visionary architecture from the waste of the present; Ka explores the aesthetics of deportation; Miga archives tender and almost unnoticeable gestures; Lambert finds legible marks deep in Arctic ice; and Mangipudi creates notebooks inviting strangers to add their marginalia.

Curated by Lisa Sigal and Nova Benway.

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New York Stories
Caleb linked to the New York Times Magazine’s all-comics issue yesterday as well, but it’s definitely worth another look.

David Mazzucchelli, from Fake Notes

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A Cosmic Journey – 6-6-2017 – by Cameron Arthur

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Suzy and Cecil – 6-6-2017 – by Sally Ingraham

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Joanie and Jordie – 6-6-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio

05/30/2017

Aaron Cockle here today with Saul Steinberg and Cauleen Smith at SAIC; Kevin Czap at CCS; FBI Art; Writers’ Woes; Douglas Wolk

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Saul Steinberg, Downtown Building

Along the Lines: Selected Drawings by Saul Steinberg
At The Art Institute of Chicago through October 29, 2017:

Steinberg defined drawing as “a way of reasoning on paper,” and he remained committed to the act of drawing in an era dominated by large-scale painting and sculpture. Throughout his long career, he used drawing to think about the semantics of art, reconfiguring stylistic signs into a new language suited to modern life. He was, as the title of one of his books puts it, the “inspector,” seeing through every false front, every pretense. Sometimes with affection, sometimes with irony, but always with virtuoso mastery, Steinberg peeled back the carefully wrought masks of 20th-century civilization.

While you’re there, you can also check out the Cauleen Smith: Human_3.0 Reading List exhibit:

In this series of 57 drawings—each produced on 8½ × 12- inch graph paper in watercolor over graphite, occasionally elaborated with acrylic—the artist proposes a selection of books that is both personal, conveyed by the frequent inclusion of fingers or a thumb shown holding up a given book, and idiosyncratic. Harriet Tubman, C. L. R. James, and bell hooks find their place alongside Starfish, Sea Urchins, and Their Kin by Nelson Herwig. Together the drawings ask challenging questions: Have you read these books? Will you read these books? What will they mean to you? What do they mean to us now? Which titles might be missing?

An artist whose primary discipline is film, Smith has incorporated various influences and references in her images—science fiction, the black diaspora, and the lyrical potential of landscape. She first garnered national recognition with her feature-length film Drylongso (1998), which she completed during her graduate training at UCLA’s film school. In 2010, Smith moved to Chicago, where her work has grown increasingly site-specific and engaged in social activism. She created the Solar Flare Arkestral Marching Band Project, which has organized flash-mob appearances of a marching band composed of youth groups from the city’s South Side. This and other recent works have explicitly invoked the legacy of pioneering composer and performer Sun Ra, whose music and elaborate self-defining mythology also propelled the broader artistic movement of Afrofuturism.

Cauleen Smith, from Human_3.0 Reading List

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Kevin Czap, from The Letting Go

GOOD NEWS! Kevin Czap is The Center for Cartoon Studies 2017-18 Fellow
Congrats, Kevin!

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On Bodies & Redaction
A photo-essay from J.K. Trotter at the sorely-missed Black Bag blog about the human hand of the state, using art supplies:

In their most common form, government-sanctioned redactions obscure text: names and code names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers, the classified and top-secret—each a tiny black site housing a discrete, unknowable entity. For all of their apparent precision, each redaction expresses a set of underlying assumptions about identity and recognition, about the way we discipline noise into information.

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The Dadaists had Cabaret Voltaire; Dorothy Parker, the Algonquin Hotel. Margaret Atwood cut her teeth in Toronto coffeehouses.
Jason Guriel looks at the life and the writer, the lives of writers, and which is better: the individual or the community.

“‘What is the role of the writer to her society?’ was a question Wallace Stevens took up and his answer was: none,” says Souvankham Thammavongsa, a poet whose strange poetic miniatures underscore her belief that she represents a constituency of one. A writer’s real responsibility, she suggests, is “to build a voice and to keep building that voice.” This stands in stark contrast to the civic-minded suggestion that writers apply their bricks and mortar to some cloud-city of togetherness. The latter sounds lovely, the former, merely honest.

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I’VE DONE IT!! I’M DRIFTING INTO A WORLD OF LIMITLESS DIMENSIONS!!
Noted comics and culture critic Douglas Wolk has a process blog at All of the Marvels:

From Journey Into Mystery #87, 1962, by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, et al.

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A Cosmic Journey – 5-30-2017 – by Cameron Arthur

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Suzy and Cecil – 5-30-2017 – by Gabriella Tito

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Joanie and Jordie – 5-30-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio

05/23/2017

Aaron Cockle here today with Roz Chast (and Françoise Mouly); Pan Terzis; Graphic Medicine; Florine Stettheimer; Maggie Umber; Dieter Lumpen

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Back of Motherboard embroidery piece, Roz Chast

‘I like taking on complicated, detailed projects, especially if I’m not a hundred-per-cent sure how they’re going to turn out.’
Françoise Mouly looks at the wonderful embroidered piece Roz Chast made for the May 15, 2017 issue of the New Yorker, including an animation of the process that went into making the cover.

Roz Chast

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A spread from Trapper Keeper #4 by Brenna Murphy

‘Each issue has a secret formula that I have to discover.
Frank Santoro continues his survey of recent developments in Art Comics Risography – this week he talks with Pan Terzis:

People want to show up. They want to look at your thing in person, hold it in their hands. They want to talk to others in person about it and look at it at their own pace, without the publisher or distributor knowing how long they spent lingering on a page or whether they got to the end of the book in the same time as 76.3% of other consumers. All of this activity is still happening in the context of capitalist systems of production, supply and demand and distribution, but I think that people who work with this kind of cultural ephemera must know on some level that the real art is what happens in between the object and the viewer, and the consumer of that piece of art and the person they describe it to. It’s inherently a social act, and this can manifest through all stages of the process. People-power is what drives this activity, and just like a blade of grass can slowly destroy a piece of concrete given enough time to push to the surface, I think DIY culture might be the key to breaking out of the mechanistic, algorithm driven nightmare that our tech overlords are driving us towards.

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SAVE THE DATE:
2017 Comics & Medicine Conference: Access Points
June 15-17, 2017, Seattle Public Library Central Branch

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Florine Stettheimer: Painting Poetry

The artist Florine Stettheimer (1871–1944) is an icon of Jazz Age New York. Born to a wealthy Jewish family in Rochester, she studied at the Art Students League in New York City and then in Europe, where she encountered two profound influences: the Symbolist painters and poets and, on the eve of the Great War, the Ballets Russes. Returning to Manhattan, she hosted an elite salon together with her sisters Carrie and Ettie and their mother, Rosetta, attracting many of the leading lights of the artistic vanguard. Her circle included Alfred Stieglitz, Carl Van Vechten, Georgia O’Keeffe, Elie Nadelman, Gaston Lachaise, and many others. Among her intimate friends was Marcel Duchamp.

Through over 50 paintings and drawings, a selection of costume and theater designs, photographs and ephemera, as well as critically acclaimed poems, the Jewish Museum will offer a timely reconsideration of this important American artist, revealing Stettheimer’s singular and often satiric vision and significant role in American modern art. The exhibition highlights the artist’s distinctly personal style of painting, Stettheimer’s position amidst New York’s artistic elite and avant-gardes, and her continued influence on artistic practice today.

May 5-September 24 at the Jewish Museum, 1109 5th Ave at 92nd St, NYC.

Florine Stettheimer, Family Portrait II, 1933. Oil on canvas 46¼ x 64⅝ in. (117.4 x 164 cm). Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Miss Ettie Stettheimer, 1956. Image provided by The Museum of Modern Art / SCALA / Art Resource, New York

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2dcloud in Toronto
Maggie Umber has a nice photo-recap of the TCAF show:

Some of my favorite 2dcloud convention moments – talking with Carta’s wife Emily about our shared adoration of Junji Ito and Emily Carroll. @cartamonir letting me read Ghost Call on her phone since my Tumblr app never let me read the end last Halloween. Meeting @tommipg and watching them embroider a beautiful panel, meeting @goodcomicsbykim and being astonished by her energy and exhaustion, her humor and her seriousness. Blaise rearranging the 2dcloud table into a better format that sold more books. Juliacks casual yet persistent (and very successful) sales style and her gorgeous book trailer. I was also very excited to meet @artbl0g Xia Gordon when we did a panel together. 2dcloud is publishing a mini-comic with her soon!!!!!!

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Heavy Metal issue #121, July 1989 – Pages 34&35 Caribe: Dieter Lumpen by Ruben and Zentner

‘To be sure, these are the adventures of a white European wandering through the wreckage of a post-war world.’

Lastly, RM Rhodes looks at The Adventures of Dieter Lumpen, by Jorge Zentner and Ruben Pellejero:
Pellejero uses color and a confident line to build on top of a very solid foundation. The real appeal of the series are the settings. The premise is that shortly after the war, a German named Dieter Lumpen gets a job as a chauffeur and the first page of the first story finds him being chased through an Istanbul market by a man with a gun. From there, he travels to the Agean, Haifa, India, Sri Lanka, Paris, Manaus, Tunisia and the Caribbean. The appeal of these destinations is Pellejero’s ability to render them almost like a documentary film maker, matter of fact about amazing sights, which adds verisimilitude. The amount of detail on each page means that every time you return to a page, you notice something new. And the stories are very rereadable.

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Announcing the Summer Semester of the Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers!

8 weeks! 500 bux! Payment plans are available! Summer Course starts June 1st 2017!

Applications are due by May 25th.

Visit THIS page for more details and email santoroschool@gmail.com with applications and questions!

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A Cosmic Journey – 5-23-2017 – by Cameron Arthur

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Suzy and Cecil – 5-23-2017 – by Sally Ingraham

05/16/2017

LATE EDITION: TCAF NOTES
As promised, here are some notes and pictures RE: TCAF 2017. I’ll return to my usual posting structure next week, highlighting the ins-and-outs and comings-and-goings within and without the comics community, as well as some more expansive thoughts about TCAF.

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Some Books of Note
I purchased/traded for a bunch of work, some notables are shown above. Tommi Parrish did the ONESTEPINSIDEDOESNTMEANYOUUNDERSTAND book. Not pictured is the 5th issue of the always-excellent Pope Hats, by Ethan Rilly, which was the first and only book I needed to read as soon as I got the chance. Still working through the stack, there was so much great and beautiful work on display at the show.

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Tom Spurgeon’s Recapitulation
Over at the Comics Reporter, Spurgeon looks at the show, including some notes on the Sammy Harkham/Kevin Huizenga talk about the past and current state of comics distro-ing:

Kevin Huizenga and Sammy Harkham presented on the distributions system as it has an effect on their recent attempts to self-publish. Kevin Huizenga provided a history of distributors — including his own USS Catastrophe effort — that may not have been aces in terms of getting books out there but were deeply personally meaningful for him at the time. Harkham went on an interesting mini-rant about how crowd-funders interfere with his conception of how the artist/audience relationship best works. I like both of those guys a lot and appreciate their seriousness about the comics they made, and thus enjoyed every second of that panel. In an after-panel conversation, Huizenga noted to me how one problem with doing things to help the small-press end things is that there are SO MANY cartoonists that they often bury any such attempts without meaning to. That helped me clarify some thinking I had on industry reform. Huizenga is a smart man and scrambles to points of perspective as well as anyone I’ve ever known, so it’s always great to talk to him.

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Random Cellphone Pics

View from the 3rd floor of the Toronto Reference Library, Sunday, 14 May 2017

 

Guy Delisle display at the Toronto Reference Library

 

Anna Haifisch artwork exhibited as part of the German Comics Pavilion installation at the Toronto Reference Library

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Economies of Scale Something Something
There is a part of this work (cartooning, comics, these shows that we attend) that is in a way absurdly, almost aggressively anti-capitalist, while at the same time fitting safely and snuggly within a traditional capitalist framework. I was thinking about this a lot over the weekend, based on what came up in that Harkham/Huizenga talk, as well as some conversations I had with other people/cartoonists, and time spent sitting at my table ruminating. I need to better formulate all of this, obviously, and do some math before going into it more extensively, but these are the thoughts that plague me during these 2-day shows.

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AM EDITION: Aaron here today with sincere apologies. Please bear with me, I was at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival this past weekend, and my flight was delayed Monday evening coming back to NYC, where upon arrival I found that there were extensive (and fairly impressive, actually) traffic delays going out of the airport due to construction. I’ll have some quick notes about TCAF later today, so please check back, and I’ll take a closer look at the show in my post next week.

Thanks, as always, for taking the time to read this newsblog and supporting the work we’re doing here at Comics Workbook.

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Announcing the Summer Semester of the Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers!

8 weeks! 500 bux! Payment plans are available! Summer Course starts June 1st 2017!

Applications are due by May 25th.

Visit THIS page for more details and email santoroschool@gmail.com with applications and questions!

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A Cosmic Journey – 5-16-2017 – by Cameron Arthur

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Suzy and Cecil – 5-16-2017 – by Sally Ingraham

05/11/2017

Aaron filling in today with a pre-TCAF run-down.

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Eleanor Davis

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) is scheduled for Saturday-Sunday, May 13-14. Here is a brief listing of some of the many wonderful event offerings that may be of interest to our regular and patient readers:

Gengoroh Tagame
My Brother’s Husband – Exhibition by Gengoroh Tagame
May 9th to May 30th, 2017 @ Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street, 1st Floor Display Room (Near the Browsery), Free

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival is proud to a host a small display of materials from the creation of My Brother’s Husband, the new graphic novel series by TCAF Featured Guest Gengoroh Tagame. Winner of the Excellence Award for manga at The 19th Japan Media Art Festival, My Brother’s Husband is the moving story of a Japanese man learning to accept his late brother’s Canadian husband, the first LGBT person he’s ever met, who is visiting Japan. Upon winning the award, a small display of roughly 16 pieces of Tagame’s artwork, from layouts, to penciled pages, to final artwork, was assembled to be displayed for the award ceremony. It is this exhibition of materials, with additional English language material, which will be exhibited at Toronto Reference Library this May, as a part of The Toronto Comic Arts Festival. My Brother’s Husband will make its English-language debut at The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, May 13th and 14th, 2017, from Pantheon Books, a division of Penguin Random House. TCAF would like to thank Toronto Public Library, and Pantheon Books, for their assistance with this exhibition.

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The German Comics Pavilion 
Featuring Anna Haifisch, Ulli Lust, and Martina Schradi
Saturday May 13, 9am-5pm & Sunday May 14, 10am-5pm
The Appel Salon, Novella Room, Toronto Reference Library 2nd Floor
Presented in association with the Goethe-Institut, Internationaler Comic-Salon Erlangen, Germany @ Canada 2017: Partners from Immigration to Innovation, the Federal Foreign Office and the German Comics Association

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival is proud to welcome a special pavilion of cartoonists, publishers, associations, and gallery shows from Germany! Germany is home to a thriving comics and artistic scene, and at TCAF 2017 you’ll be able to sample some of the diverse wares, thanks to a special international exchange between TCAF and Internationaler Comic-Salon Erlangen in Germany, with the incredible support of the Goethe-Institut. The pavilion is located on the second floor of Toronto Reference Library in the Appel Salon. TCAF will travel to Erlangen in 2018 with a cadre of Canadian cartoonists, to complete the exchange. Exhibiting in the pavilion will be cartoonists Anna Haifisch, Ulli Lust, and Martina Schradi, as well as Internationaler Comic-Salon Erlangen and The German Comics Association, and German comics publisher Rotopol (who will also be present but exhibiting on Toronto Reference Library’s first floor, so look for them there). The Pavilion will also house 3 small art exhibitions, including: “Ach, So Ist Das? (Oh, is that so?),” a survey of contemporary LGBTI society; a survey of contemporary German comics curated by comics journalist Lars von Törne for the Frankfurt Book Fair and presented here in collaboration with the German Comics Association; a selection of prints by Anna Haifisch.

Anna Haifisch

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Tyler Landry will be representing Comics Workbook at TCAF with a special workshop on Sunday, May 14th, in the Writers Room, on the 3rd floor of the Toronto Reference Library.

12:30pm – Comics Workbook : Composing a Spread – This workshop is about visual storytelling. Learn essentials of generating ideas, building a page, editing, and refining a functional comic spread layout. This workshop is PERFECT for beginners, or anyone more seasoned who wants to try a different approach to bringing their ideas to the page This workshop is being facilitated by Tyler Landry (Comics Workbook Member, Santoro Correspondence Course Alumnus, Cartoonist, Art Director, Head of the Charlottetown Comics Club)

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Other Programming Highlights

      • Saturday, May 13:
        • 11:00 AM – Koyama Press 10th Anniversary Celebration – Koyama Press is now 10 years old! Join founder and publisher Annie Koyama, as well as a slew of artists whose work she has helped usher into the world, as they reflect back on the past 10 years, challenges and highlights of independent comics, and what their plans would’ve been had Koyama Press not come along. The comics world would be very different, that’s for sure! Happy Birthday KP!Panelists: Michael DeForge, John Martz, Jane Mai, Fiona Smyth, Aaron Leighton, Anne Koyama. Moderator: Dustin Harbin.
        • 01:30 PM – Expressive Lines And The Power of Restraint – There are many ways of showcasing expressive art in comics. Join Hellen Jo, Ron Rege Jr., Keren Katz, Maggie Umber, and Xia Gordon as they talk about what goes into composing a page, what influences their art, and how they use expressiveness to tell a story.
        • 2:00 PM – Watercolour and Comics – Julia Bax is an illustrator based in São Paulo, Brazil. She has been drawing comics for the majority of her career, and has been published in the United States, France, and of course, Brazil. In 2015 her book Princesse Caraboo (story by Ozanam) was published by Le Lombard in France. In this album the pages were illustrated using watercolor, and that is the theme of this workshop. Julia will explain her process from layout to completed page, and demonstrate the technique she used in Princesse Caraboo. If you have a love for traditional media and isn’t afraid of getting your hands dirty, this is the workshop for you!
        • 02:45 PM – Spotlight: Marcelino Truong x Thi Bui – With Such a Lovely Little War and The Best We Could Do, Marcelino Truong and This Bui share their powerful and compelling stories about the Vietnam War. Following their families’ experiences in getting out of the country, to the struggles of immigration, these creators explore the traumas of war. Join Marcelino and Thi as they discuss what drew them to comics to tell their stories, and what challenges they still see ahead for Vietnamese communities around the world.
      • Sunday, May 14
        • 10:30 AM – Book Shrinking – Make a miniature version of your favourite zine/comic book/artist book! Bring: A book you’d like to shrink and drawing supplies (preferably dry media, i.e., markers, coloured pencils, pens, scissors and transparent tape/double sided tape). This workshop is being facilitated by Keren Katz (The Academic Hour).
        • 12:00 PM – Comics As Political Resistance – Comics are amazing tools for communicating. This is never more vital than when telling your stories involves speaking out against oppressive systems or political climates. Join Nate Powell (March), Ben Passmore (Your Black Friend), Julia Alekseyeva (Soviet Daughter) and Matt Lubchansky (The Nib) as they talk about how creating and sharing comics can be an act of political resistance in these troubling times.
        • 02:00 PM – So Pretty / Very Rotten – So Pretty / Very Rotten is a collection of comics and essays that are at once academic and intimate, exploring the world of Lolita fashion and cute culture. In celebration of their new book and art show, Jane Mai and An Nguyen will be at the Japan Foundation for a reading and presentation that goes beyond the clothes.
        • 4:00 PM – 10 Years 10 Years: Koyama Press x 2dcloud – Annie Koyama & Raighne talk about 10 years at their respective labels and what the next 10 years might look like.

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Michael DeForge, https://www.instagram.com/richardsvalley/

Wowee Zonk Small Press Showcase
The Toronto Comic Arts Festival and Wowee Zonk proudly present the Wowee Zonk Small Press Showcase for 2017. Curated by Toronto Artists Chris Kuzma, Ginette Lapalme and Patrick Kyle, the Wowee Zonk Small Press Showcase highlights some of the best and most exciting work being made in comics, zines, and independent publishing.

See below for the entire list of artists! You’ll be able to find all these fantastic folks in the Browsery at the Toronto Reference Library.

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Pretzel by Frank Santoro

Announcing the Summer Semester of the Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers!

8 weeks! 500 bux! Payment plans are available! Summer Course starts June 1st 2017!

Applications are due by May 25th.

Visit THIS page for more details and email santoroschool@gmail.com with applications and questions!

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Blinkers – 5-11-2017 – by Jack Brougham

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Suzy and Cecil – 5-11-2017 – by Gabriella Tito

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Joanie and Jordie – 5-11-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio

05/09/2017

Aaron here today with Kyung Me Comics; RIP Pepe; Review of Crickets 6; Interview with Keiler Roberts; Dash Shaw at SVA; Font Maps

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Kyung Me

Copy Kitty
The featured comic on the CW site this week is Copy Kitty, by Kyung Me.

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Pepe the Frog, RIP?
Marykate Jasper talks about Matt Furie’s ‘Death of Pepe the Frog’ comic, whose wake was recently depicted in Fantagraphics’ World’s Greatest Cartoonists comic for Free Comic Book Day:

Feelings-wise, I’m a little torn. I love Furie’s bold, take-that rejection of a hate group’s co-opting of his art. But I’m also sad that true control of this fun, easily meme-able character was taken from him in such a way. It must be disturbing to see your “blissfully stoned” frog character used by actual Nazis to facilitate jokes about genocide and hate.

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‘This could be the final chapter of Blood Of The Virgin, or it could not.’
arecomicsevengood posted about Sammy Harkham’s most recent issue of Crickets, #6:

The scenes of driving around L.A. seem like they were researched specifically to achieve the pleasure someone takes in seeing the area where they live in a movie, taken from a time before they lived there. This new issue is good scene after good scene, capturing a flow of feelings. There is none of the internal monologue that makes up the sort of novels I mentioned. It’s unspoken, one can read that sort of thing elsewhere if they want to fill in the blanks. One feels as if it’s totally possible the characters might have read these sorts of novels, just as they go to see the sort of movies they’re making. The work alluded to fills in the milieu of the character’s emotional landscape.

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‘It happens to be mine, but I no longer need people to connect to me because of it.’
Krystal DiFronzo talks with Keiler Roberts, whose new book, Sunburning, debuts this weekend at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival:

KD: I’ve always found your pacing dynamic and this book is a great example of it. Some of the bits are one page snapshots while others develop into fully realized memories or mini-memoirs. There’s no dividing line between them, no titling to alert the reader immediately that one chapter has ended while another has begun. It connects all the stories in a way that feels most alike actual memory and thought. One moment you focus on a trauma and another moment your daughter, Xia, is saying some genius line like, “My tummy is horrified.”  This feels very deliberate, how do you go about planning your books? 

KR: Thank you! When I’m writing individual stories, I don’t know where they’ll be located in a book. I lay them all out on the floor and find an order that creates an emotional line that I like. I’m drawn to contrast and inconsistency. Maybe it’s the effect of bipolar rapid cycling on my personality, or maybe it’s just that jokes are funnier when they’re paired with something dark.

The themes that emerge aren’t planned before I begin. I didn’t set out to write so many stories with a medical component. I’d like to write more about my close friends and my teaching job because they are huge parts of my life that make only brief appearances in the book. This is where the line exists that separates my stories from my life, though. Powdered Milk has never been a totally accurate picture of my life. It’s all honest and true, but so much is excluded. It might just be about timing, though. I finally wrote Xia’s birth story, which wasn’t traumatic at all. I can’t predict which events will turn into comics, or when.

Keiler Roberts

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Dash Shaw Discusses the Unique Beauty of Comics and More [Video]

Dash Shaw, still from animation of Bottomless Belly Button

Next up in the SVA Features series is Dash Shaw (BFA 2005 Illustration), a comic book writer/artist, animator and author of the critically acclaimed graphic novels Cosplayers, Doctors, New School and Bottomless Belly Button, published by Fantagraphics. He has also written Love Eats Brains (Odd God Press), GardenHead (Meathaus), The Mother’s Mouth (Alternative Comics) and BodyWorld (Pantheon Books). Shaw’s feature-film debut, My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea, starring the voices of Jason Schwartzman, Lena Dunham, Reggie Watts, Maya Rudolph and Susan Sarandon, is currently in theaters.

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Interactive map designed by IDEO

Finally, the bringing together of typography and artificial intelligence you (may) have been waiting for:

in an exercise to investigate the ways in which machine learning can be applied to various creative challenges, designers at IDEO are bringing artificial intelligence to the world of typography. recognizing font choice as one of the most frequent visual decisions a designer makes, the IDEO team wanted to create an insightful and valuable tool that lets designers look at letterforms in an entirely new way. using AI and convolutional neural networks to draw higher-vision pattern recognition, IDEO created ‘font map’ — an interactive interface comprising more than 750 fonts that users can digitally engage with and explore.

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Announcing the Summer Semester of the Santoro Correspondence Course for Comic Book Makers!

8 weeks! 500 bux! Payment plans are available! Summer Course starts June 1st 2017!

Applications are due by May 25th.

Visit THIS page for more details and email santoroschool@gmail.com with applications and questions!

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A Cosmic Journey – 5-9-2017 – by Cameron Arthur

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Suzy and Cecil – 5-9-2017 – by Gabriella Tito

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Joanie and Jordie – 5-9-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio

05/02/2017

Aaron here today with Risography!, Kickstarter(s) of Note; Anthologies of Europa; The Necrophilic Landscape; Fax Art; Jacob Khepler.

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John Pham

A p-shop airbrush set to “dissolve”
Frank Santoro continues to look at recent use and development of comics printed on Risograph machines. This time around he talks with John Pham:

[SANTORO] I’ve noticed risograph printers have “meet-ups,” little fairs and conventions. I imagine it is like any other subculture, however this one interests me because of the direct connection to book making. It reminds me of zine culture and comics fandom in a way. Can you speak to how risograph printers are different than other printers, beyond obvious differences in materials?

[PHAM] I’ve got a lot respect for the other Riso printers out there, folks like Mickey Z, Colour Code, George Wietor and Sarah McNeil. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a really sloppy and brutal printer. Printing my books is one of the last steps in my process and at that point I’m usually pretty sleep deprived and grouchy. So I kinda just shove the books through the printer and try to troubleshoot as I go along. This sort of urgency probably creates its own aesthetic but I’m definitely not as knowledgeable or precise as a lot of the printers mentioned above. I think the differences between riso printers and other kinds of printers is pretty negligible, but they’re likely to be more inclined to focus on holistic book making than, say, just prints and covers.

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Cover by Kevin Czap

Tiny Report and Retrofit Comics
2 contemporary comics institutions are currently Kickstarting publishing endeavors:

Yuichi Yokoyama

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‘In this context, the works are comics, sequential art, visual narrative, comics-adjacent storytelling, informatics and some other lumpy labels for stuff that tells a story with pictures.’
Elsewhere on the CW site, Matt Rhodes writes about European comics anthologies:

Through the 1920s, there was a series of art journals and publications put out by various art groups in Europe: de Stilj, Dada, Cannibale, Le Couer, Cabaret Voltaire. Due to modern advances in printing technology, it is easier to self-publish zines with better production values. But it’s also interesting to note that the impulse to run an amateur publication of random stuff is perfectly normal. There’s a certain amount of debate regarding how and when the cartooning tradition in Western Europe became the comics tradition of Western Europe. Some point to the broadsheets of the 17 century that introduced the twin concepts of anthologies and episodic storytelling as a precursor to modern sequential art. But it’s more likely that comics as we know them grew up during the 19th Century. And anthologies were an important part of that maturation.

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Tracy Auch

“No one would expect that these two figures are in fact a single man: the fearless detective Lucas Barrette.”
Greg Hunter reviews Tracy Auch’s excellent The Necrophilic Landscape over at TCJ:

Despite being, unrelentingly, an art comic, The Necrophilic Landscape isn’t shy about utilizing genre conventions. Pulpy, ironic narration describes the detective’s quest, the sort that would not have been on a ’40s radio serial: “No one would expect that these two figures are in fact a single man: the fearless detective Lucas Barrette.” (The detective, for his part, bears a sideways resemblance to McGruff the Crime Dog.) The children’s means of infiltrating the adult world echoes the comedy trope of two kids walking one atop the other in a single large coat. And the story’s dystopian trappings provide a context for Barrette’s fantastical procedure. But the most compelling generic element is one the story shares with horror: the protagonist, Barrette, stands for order and orthodoxy, with the story’s antagonists, the children, deviating from that orthodoxy—and readers are likely to empathize with the antagonists to a degree that the protagonist does not. (By the end of the comic, Barrett hasn’t assumed the role of villain, but he doesn’t have much of a defense to offer on behalf of the prevailing order.)

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Fax Machines and Their Discontents
For those interested in showing dissatisfaction with the recent talk about the National Endowment for the Arts de-funding, and who are also able to access a fax machine, and who also want to be artistic about it, Claire Voon at Hyperallergic has a piece about organizations contacting United States Congresspeople via fax:

The process may sound archaic in 2017, but as Kathryn Schulz recently wrote for The New Yorker, faxes do reach congressional representatives. They get entered into a “constituent-management system” like any other message, and staffers will read each one. And as Schulz reported, personalized forms of material communication actually have more sway on a lawmaker’s opinion than a phone call. Faxing a message may take much more time — but that’s why services like Artifax are particularly handy for amplifying your concerns while adding a little creative flair to your political activism.

Fax by design studio Open

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Jacob Khepler‘s run at the Outline has ended, but he has preserved the column he wrote weekly from Dec. 2016-April 2017 HERE. Never one to lose momentum, he is currently working on editing a Mothers News collection book among other projects.

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A Cosmic Journey – 5-2-2017 – by Cameron Arthur

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Suzy and Cecil – 5-2-2017 – by Gabriella Tito

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Joanie and Jordie – 5-2-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio

04/25/2017

Aaron here today with Annie Mok/Gabrielle Bell; Mohammad Sabaaneh; Sophie Calle; Anthony Cudahy; Paul Laffoley.

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Gabrielle Bell, from Everything is Flammable

“Can I put that in a comic?”
Sally linked to this last Friday, but here’s another look at the Annie Mok/Gabrielle Bell talk, in support of Bell’s new book, Everything is Flammable.

MOK: At least one of your minis for Uncivilized consists of roughly drawn diary comics. What’s the difference between the diaries and the finished product for you?

BELL: Mostly I keep a diary every day. Then I’ll take one of those entries and turn it into a more refined story. I’ll stop keeping a diary while working on a story. And I would sort of lose the connection to the source of the story. I always have to break it down and go back to the roughest version, which is the diary. I go through cycles. Sometimes I don’t keep diaries at all because I get so absorbed in the one part of it. Or I’ll get this standard in my head where I think the diary has to be a refined story, to look like a the finished product. I always get to some point where it doesn’t have any spontaneity anymore, [laughs] so I have to let myself be bad at it again. Let it be boring and awkward and have no point again, to get back to the raw data of it.

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A special meeting of the NY Comics & Picture-story Symposium will be held on Wednesday,  April 26, 2017 at 7pm at Parsons School of Design, 2 West 13th Street, in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public. Please note: This is a Wednesday night event.

The Art of Political Cartooning in Palestine
Mohammad will discuss his craft, including his production methods and artistic choices, and his artistic influences and how he navigates the challenges of editorial cartooning in Palestine. He will discuss, accompanied by slides of his work, his own development as an artist and cartoonist – from how he started out, to how his techniques and style evolved over time.

Mohammad Sabaaneh is a Palestinian graphic artist based in Ramallah in the West Bank. He is the principal political cartoonist for Al-Hayat al-Jadida, the Palestinian Authority’s daily newspaper, and has published his work in many other newspapers around the Arab World. He is a member of the International Cartoon Movement, as well as the VJ Movement connecting visual journalists across the globe. Sabaaneh’s work has been displayed in numerous collections and fairs in Europe, the United States, and the Middle East. He won third place in the Arab Caricature Contest in 2013.

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Sophie Calle, from The Sleepers

Sophie Calle gets the full-on, super-slick, NY Times Magazine treatment over at the NY Times Magazine:

Though Calle works in a variety of media, she favors photographs with text, written or edited in her precise, detached style, with its poker-faced humor. Some projects live only in books, small works of art unto themselves. Her writing has long been acclaimed, her pictures not as much. That began to change in 2010, when she won the Hasselblad Award for her photography. And she is currently shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize (the winner will be announced on May 18) for 2016’s “My All,” a petite portfolio of postcards covering her entire oeuvre. Several of her most recent projects, with arguably her best pictures — including “Take Care of Yourself” and 2011’s “Voir la mer” — will be part of “Sophie Calle: Missing,” a major show in June, when Calle takes over four buildings at San Francisco’s Fort Mason Center for Arts & Culture, with parallel programs throughout the Bay Area curated by Ars Citizen.

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‘But the things I make paintings about, I don’t want to make zines about. And the things I make zines about, I don’t want to make films about. ‘
Justin Alvarez paid a studio visit to Anthony Cudahy a couple of years back:

You should be able to see a conflict in every painting. A lot of times, I’ll think I’m done with a work, but when I stand back, it looks so rendered and tight. If I realize that I didn’t learn anything from it, I’ll wipe the whole thing.

I don’t keep a sketchbook. I always thought there was something wrong, that I wasn’t a real artist because I didn’t like sketching. But the idea behind sketching is to experiment, and I like to experiment on the canvas itself. I also try to limit the color palette. I hate yellow as a color, but that’s not a good reason not to use it. Limiting color expands what you can do with the colors you’re using.

Anthony Cudahy, Patti, 2013, oil on canvas, 16″ x 20″.

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Paul Laffoley, The City Can Change Your Life, 1962

I think what happened to me on the night before I headed for New York City was a precognitive dream brought on by extreme anxiety of being “grand juried” out of the “Harvard Graduate School of Design” for “conceptual deviance.”

Kent Fine Art has a PDF available with work by Paul Laffoley from the 2015 exhibition, THE FORCE STRUCTURE OF THE MYSTICAL EXPERIENCE.

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A Cosmic Journey – 4-25-2017 – Cameron Arthur

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Suzy and Cecil – 4-25-2017 – by Sally Ingraham

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Joanie and Jordie – 4-25-2017 – by Caleb Orecchio