Spurge has the text of Art Spiegelman’s full statement on why he withdrew from the NY run of the “Masters of American Comics.” You should read the whole thing but the short version is he simply didn’t like the way the show was being handled in NYC — split up in New York and Newark — and had always had some ambivalence about the show, leading to his pulling out completely.


  1. The show was chronologically split into two venues from its inception at the Hammer and LA MoCA (these original two venues, due to LA’s endless megapolis layout, are roughly the same distance and commute time apart as are the Jewish Museum and The Newark Museum)–so why didn’t Art Spiegelman pull out when he was putting it together in the first place?

    In his now open letter to the LA Times, Spiegelman stated that his own opinion was provincial when he protested that The Newark Museum is too hard to get to. If you have to postscript a statement that you make, perhaps your intuition is telling you something . . . “provincialâ€? rings of coarse authenticity–in this case, try dumb or stupid instead.

    I suspect his major conflict was with the Jewish Museum and that he felt obliged to buttress his personal distress at being potentially culturally Balkanized by making a really lame swipe at the largest art museum in NJ. BTW, how hard is to go to Penn Station NYC–take the midtown direct to Newark (~25 minutes) and walk all of 4 blocks? I guess he must really denigrate the Brooklyn Museum, The Cloisters, PS1 and anything else that isn’t accessible via the A train–and by the way, it will take twice the time to get to those institutions as it takes to get to The Newark Museum.

    Ah well, love the art and don’t look too closely at the artist–he just may turn out to be overly self-absorbed jellywump that is piteously unable to cope with even the most mild jolt to his routine (like walking outside his beloved immediate neighborhood or forgoing cigarettes for more that an hour), let alone working collaborativly with peers without taking his toys home–it’s a wonder he could make it to LA for the original show (it must have taken him at least an hour, or two, just to get to the airport alone!).

    Is he pleased that he has managed to shift the spotlight, aided by a press desirous of controversy, from the absolutely amazing and seminal artwork of the early cartoonists–that he claims to value so highly–to his (perhaps marginally justified) disagreements with The Jewish Museum and his apparent distaste for undertaking pilgrimages of more that 30 minutes to view the bedrock canon of this wonderful Americana of art?

    In my view, “Artâ€? Spiegelman, the great self-styled mouse, has for this important exhibition, yanked the focus away from the true masterful “ARTâ€? of cartooning and “ratted” out the cause of elevating comics.

    More “Art” Spiegleman opining in the press and less about the visceral, visual/literary “ART” . . . which is a shame, because the material is really great; originals, color proofs and tear sheets displaying not only the steps in the process, but the increadibly consistent high quality that each of these “masters” were able to sustain over decades of change and refinement througout their careers.

    Next time, Art, try harder to let the real art speak for itself and be big enough to let go of your temporal disgruntlements–just because you draw comics well–doesn’t mean you can play the comic foil well. Stay out of the spotlight and go back to your drawing board.