I had the pleasure of listening to Art Spiegelman talk about his goal for comics as a young artist at the public opening of CO-MIX. Spiegelman said that he knew that he had to make comics that could be sold in bookstores, kept in libraries, and studied by universities. Here we are in 2014 with his work in the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Spiegelman discussed the importance of narrative in his work. Narrative seems to be implied everywhere in the exhibition: the title CO-MIX seems appropriate, as Spiegelman’s work began in comix, an underground comic world with “x” rated content. But the title also works as a way to unify the content of the exhibition: Spiegelman’s style always shifts, making itself appropriate only for the artist’s need to convey a narrative, moving from sexually charged underground comics, to modernism, to a distinctive style in Maus and then past that distinction. The style of each work is made part of the content of many of the comic’s discussions: look out for art referencing itself as art. My favourite example of this was a story about a man falling in love with a woman, drawn in a cubist style, because of her curves.
For those unfamiliar with Spiegelman’s work, CO-MIX may be a good preparation for understanding the artist’s interest, as it covers the breadth of his career in large pen-marks. But the exhibition is an absolute pleasure for those who already have an interest in the works, or know very little about Spiegelman other than Maus. It covers everything about Spiegelman’s comics and more, including fun things such as his work with “Garbage Pail Kids” and his illustrations of a poem called “The Wild Party.” The exhibit also includes drafts of various works, including Maus, RAW Magazine covers, and others. Don’t be fooled by the compact space CO-MIX is presented in, you’ll still be surprised by all the little details you’ll find.
For more details visit: AGO
Fun Tip: This exhibit is included with General Admission to the AGO, so if you visit on any Wednesday from 6-8:30pm it’s free!