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    Art Spiegelman's Co-Mix: A Retrospective

    Tuesday, 06 January 2015 12:08

    Written by Mark Wigmore

    Senior Arts Editor Mark Wigmore has a look at one of the most celebrated artists from the world of comics and illustrations, and his new exhibit at the AGO

    Art Spiegelman is a historian, a comedian, a provocateur and a political commentator. He has made his name through art, but more specifically, by drawing and writing comics. Spiegelman has made it his mission in life to expand the medium from the mediocre chuckles of the funny papers to long form graphic novels about subjects as sober as the holocaust. Not so much Denis the Menace, more War and Peace.

    Where have you seen his work? Maybe on the cover of The New Yorker, maybe in a package of Garbage Pail Kids trading cards, but his most recognizable work is his Pulitzer Prize winning World War II tome, Maus. The novel follows the heartbreaking, but harrowing story of his father who survived Nazi-occupied Poland and the Auschwitz Concentration camp. The conceit, the Jews are depicted as mice and the Germans depicted as cats.

    A massive swath of Spiegelman’s work, low and high brow, is being displayed now at the AGO, and the exhibit is free with your AGO admission price. It’s called “Co-Mix”.

    Spiegelman spoke at the AGO just days before “Co-mix” opened, and described how he came to changing the landscape of how comics were consumed.

    Over the holidays, I picked up the Pulitzer Prize winning graphic novel, Maus. There is something both accessible but truly heart-breaking about his cartoony portrayal of these events. Not a surprise that it is a profound piece of artistry that has both put Spiegelman on a pedestal, but also thrown him into a subject matter cage in the years that have followed. The Shadow of Maus has been long.

    Spiegelman spoke about the origins of Maus and the impact it had on our understanding of the war.

    For all of the poetic accolades for Maus, Spiegelman can certainly do low brow. He is responsible for the hyper-gross “Garbage Pail Kids” collectible cards, and a whole host of comics aimed at adults.

    Co-Mix is a pop cultural must see, especially if you go for that counter culture; Robert Crumb type of material. Original art from “Maus” and much more is on display through March 15th www.ago.net for details.


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