This one is pretty special, a joint Society of Illustrators/SPX exhibit focusing on Alt-Weekly Comics. The show is jointly curated by Bill Kartalopoulos and Warren Bernard so its pretty much guaranteed to be museum quality. Bill K has been posting tantalizing sneaks at the events FB page, and this is pretty certain to be a generation-defining reunion of the 90s Max Fish crowd at the very least.
Friday, March 6, 2015
beginning at 6:00 PM EST
Featuring artwork by: Doug Allen, Lynda Barry, Alison Bechdel, Marc Bell, Mark Beyer, Ruben Bolling, Charles Burns, Kim Deitch, Derf, Jules Feiffer, Ellen Forney, Matt Groening, Ben Katchor, Kaz, Denis Kitchen, Keith Knight, Michael Kupperman, Carol Lay, Tony Millionaire, Mark Newgarden, Jen Sorensen, Mark Alan Stamaty, Karl Stevens, Tom Tomorrow, Chris Ware, Shannon Wheeler and more.
The Society of Illustrators and SPX: The Small Press Expo are pleased to announce Alt-Weekly Comics, the first museum retrospective dedicated to the comics of the alternative weekly newspaper world, running March 4 through May 2 at the Society of Illustrators. While alternative weekly newspapers have their roots in the immediate post-war period, the format exploded in the 1980s and ’90s. Covering issues relevant to their local communities, alternative weekly newspapers across North America expressed political and cultural points of view underrepresented in the mainstream press, and served as a platform for a dizzying array of comic strips that brought alternative expressions of the form into contact with local audiences. Alt-Weekly Comics is comprised of original artwork, artifacts and ephemera that reveal the diversity of artistic and storytelling styles of this important and influential genre.
The exhibit will trace the history of the form from its acknowledged inception with Jules Feiffer’s groundbreaking comic strip for The Village Voice in 1956, through the underground comix movement of the 1960s and ’70s with works by Kim Deitch, Denis Kitchen, and others.
The focus of the exhibit will be the artists who worked in the blossoming of alt-weekly papers that began in the late 1970’s and created a network for the independent syndication of vital comic strips. This exhibit presents a rare opportunity to see original art from the two germinal series of the alt-weekly comics genre: Matt Groening’s Life In Hell and Lynda Barry’s Ernie Pook’s Comeek which, in many ways, provided both the aesthetic and the economic models for many of the artists who followed.
The works on show range from the the dark world of Charles Burns’s Big Baby to the the postmodern politics of Tom Tomorrow’s This Modern World; from the seedy punk gags of Kaz’s Underworld to the everyday lives of the queer community in Alison Bechdel’s Dykes To Watch Out For, and far beyond.
Other alt-weekly creators represented in the exhibit will include Marc Bell, Mark Beyer, Ruben Bolling, Derf, Ellen Forney, Ben Katchor, Keith Knight, Michael Kupperman, Carol Lay, Tony Millionaire, Mark Newgarden, Jen Sorensen, Mark Alan Stamaty, Karl Stevens, Chris Ware, Shannon Wheeler and more.
The exhibit will run from March 4 through May 2 at the Society of Illustrators at 128 East 63rd Street. An Opening Reception will take place on Friday, March 6th. There will be programming dedicated to the alt-weekly comic strip at both the Society of Illustrators and the MoCCA Arts Festival, which will occur April 11 and 12 at Center 548 in Chelsea, with simultaneous programming taking place at the High Line Hotel. This exhibition is a joint production of the Small Press Expo and the Society of Illustrators, and is curated by Warren Bernard and Bill Kartalopoulos.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.