Comics are not fine art (nor should they strive to be), but lately the fine art world has begun to awaken to the merits of its pop culture counterpart. Though full-blown acceptance of comics as an art form may be a long way off, a number of examples from the New York scene from just last year show quite clearly that the door has been kicked open: an exhibition of contemporary African comics at the Studio Museum in Harlem; Comic Abstraction, a show at MoMA that reflected on contemporary fine artists’ use of some of the basic aesthetic elements of comics; and of course, the two part Masters in American Comics show at the Newark and Jewish Museums.
Gallerist Adam Baumgold seems to subscribe to this fine art school that welcomes comics into the fold; having shown Chris Ware drawings in the fall of 2005, a collection of Jules Pfeiffer comics in the summer of 2006 and Aline Kominsky Crumb’s first New York solo exhibition in February of last year, the man is clearly an art lover with a penchant for the funnies.
Now Baumgold has once again turned his attention to Chris Ware, currently exhibiting the artist’s work for New York periodicals. The show includes five Thanksgiving covers that Ware drew for The New Yorker in 2006, five other drawings for The New Yorker, and thirty weekly drawings entitled “Building Stories” done for The New York Times Sunday magazine in 2005.
Anyone who has ever read or even glanced at a Chris Ware book knows that his work is anything but simple…
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