Modern Cartoonist: The Art of Daniel Clowes | Museum of Contemporary Art | Galleries | Chicago Reader

Modern Cartoonist: The Art of Daniel Clowes Closing (Theater and Galleries) Member Picks

When: June 29-Oct. 13 2013

"Modern Cartoonist: The Art of Daniel Clowes" includes a long case displaying original issues of Clowes's seminal 90s comic Eightball. They're under glass, of course. They're also, and somewhat surprisingly, in clear plastic bags, like the kind that encase back issues in comic shops. I'm sure there are good preservation reasons for this choice. Still, the result—a fan collectible inside a museum case—neatly summarizes the uneasy relationship between art and comics. At least since Lichtenstein copied romance panels and declared them highbrow, comics and art have circled each other with a mixture of wariness, disdain, and lust. As Bart Beaty notes in his recent book Comics Versus Art, comic creators regularly, even ritually, sneer at the art world's pretensions ("It's all bullshit . . . the fine art world, the myth of the creative genius artist," as R. Crumb says) while coveting (and who wouldn't?) the prestige and money. Meanwhile, the art world looks at comics as through a microscope darkly, sometimes fascinated by their lowbrow cred (like Lichtenstein), sometimes sniffing at same. "Comics have a place in an art museum," the critic Kailyn Kent observes drily. "It's just the same place devoted to other crafts, like furniture and silverware." Continue reading >>

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