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Think comics are a solitary experience? Art Spiegelman wants to throw that idea out the window.
The legendary creator of Maus is in the middle of a worldwide tour of a stage performance titled WORDLESS!. Described as the cartoonist’s “Intellectual Vaudeville Show,” this live event mixes slides and spoken word by Spiegelman with musical performances by jazz composer Phillip Johnston and his sextet. In many ways, WORDLESS! is a guided tour by Spiegelman into the world of graphic novels, going from the early 1900s to the modern era, including a new comics piece the cartoonist created specifically for the event.
Launched last year for Australia’s GRAPHIC festival at the Sydney Opera House, WORDLESS! is now beginning an American leg with three announced dates. Spiegelman & Co. will begin with a performance on Jan. 18 at New York City’s Brooklyn Academy of Music, followed on Jan. 22 by a stop at Denver’s Colorado College, and then on Jan. 25 at the University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts.
WORDLESS! is coming to the United States at the same time as the cartoonist’s first retrospective exhibit in America is being shown at the Jewish Museum of New York. The exhibit, titled Co-Mix: A Retrospective, chronicles Spiegelman’s work from his humble underground comics beginnings to Maus, Raw and own through to his recent work. It runs through March 23.