Comicology: The New Magical Real
Marc Bell, Charles Burns, Dame Darcy, Kim Deitch, Anders Nilsen, Ron Rege, Jr.
September 10-October 22, 2005
Reception on Saturday, September 24, 2005
Slought Foundation, a non-profit organization rethinking contemporary art, announces the opening of "Comicology: The New Magical Real" (September 10 - October 22, 2005), an exhibit of original comic book art in a magical realist vein. Independent curators Judith Stein and Gabriel Greenberg organized the show with the assistance of Joseph Hu. The opening reception is September 24th, 2005 from 6:30-8:30 pm, and is free and open to the public.
Comicology features work by Marc Bell, Charles Burns, Dame Darcy, Kim Deitch, Anders Nilsen, and Ron Regé, Jr. These artists represent an emerging wave of underground comics creators whose fictions are an alchemy of reality and fantasy. Populated with talking animals, impossible deformities, and cosmological surprises, their stories are a shocking reminder of the strangeness behind comic books’ accepted conventions. Drawing in part from superhero serials, Sunday morning cartoons, horror comics, and Newspaper strips-- as well as sources as diverse as Victorian nursery rhymes and Christian iconography-- this is a magical realism that defies genre or convention.
At once disturbing and surreal, funny and mundane, wildly metaphysical and obsessively detailed, these stories refuse to be explained away. They are among the most ambitious and visually inventive-- not to mention creepy and hilarious-- achievements in comics today.
The work of the artists of Comicology reveals an impressive range of styles and themes. Kim Deitch, the longest established creator in the exhibit, began his career in the underground comix movement of the late 60s, but has continued to produce groundbreaking work ever since. Charles Burns first achieved prominence in the pages of Art Spiegelman’s alternative comics magazine RAW in the 80s. Equally inspired by 60s artists and the punk aesthetic, Burns was part of a new wave of alternative comic artists that reinvigorated the medium. All inheritors of this liberated mood, Dame Darcy, Marc Bell, Anders Nilsen, and Ron Regé, Jr. began their comics careers over the course of the 90s, each defining their own highly individualistic style while refusing to settle for conventional means of expression.
Read the full curatorial essay
Judith E. Stein is a Philadelphia-based independent curator and critic. A recipient of a Pew Fellowship for her writings on art, she is a former curator at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Her book on the Barnes Foundation, The Best of the Barnes, will be published by Running Press in Fall 2006.
Gabriel Greenberg is a graduate student in philosophy at Rutgers, as well as a comic artist. He is the curator of Comic Art in the Green Mountains, which runs through February 5, 2006 at Vermont’s Brattleboro Museum, and creator of the Vera Hall Project (verahallproject.com) and Mutatis Mutandis (namingdistances.com/mutatis).
Gabe Greenberg, Judith Stein
Marc Bell, et al. "Comicology: The New Magical Real." Slought Foundation Online Content. [24 September 2005;
Accessed 19 May 2013]. <http://slought.org/content/11301/>.