Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Pittsburgh, 31. January 2003

ARTISTS EXPLORE THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CARTOON CHARACTER AND ITS IMPACT ON SOCIETY
Purnell Center for the Arts, Carnegie Mellon University - Comic Release: Negotiating Identity for a New Generation
Kurt Shaw (Tribune-Review art critic)

 

Although cartoons and caricatures have played an important role in Western culture since the Middle Ages, the development of the comic strip and comic books are a unique American phenomenon and has contributed significantly to American visual culture.
...Gottfried Helnwein's "American Prayer," which is a large hyper-realistic painting of a boy kneeling in bedtime prayer to a large and looming Donald Duck.

About Helnwein's piece: Clark says, "In many ways, this is the signature piece for this whole show, because it shows how cartoon imagery has entered our culture, our world, our daily life."

Although cartoons and caricatures have played an important role in Western culture since the Middle Ages, the development of the comic strip and comic books are a unique American phenomenon and has contributed significantly to American visual culture.
Nowadays, the contemporary art world is rife with American artists who use cartoon imagery as their main mode of expression. Artists such as Christian Schumann and Barry McGee, who use cartoon imagery in everything from uniquely complex drawings and paintings to equally involved installations, are just two examples.

These artists have joined the ranks of international art stars who also use cartoon imagery, such as Japanese artists Takashi Murakami and Yoshitomo Nara, who both draw inspiration for their art from upbringings that constantly exposed them to an increasingly materialistic society through cartoons and animation.

Works by all of these artists and many more are included in a new show that opened recently at Carnegie Mellon University's Regina Gouger Miller Gallery. "Comic Release: Negotiating Identity for a New Generation" is an exhibition that explores the use of cartoon imagery in everything from fine art to "alternative" comic books.

The idea for the show began three years ago when Vicky A. Clark, an independent curator and adjunct professor in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon, noticed the trend while gallery hopping in New York City.

"It seemed like every time I was in New York, I kept on seeing art that used comic and cartoon imagery," Clark says.

 

 

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