Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Ah, Comic-Con International: when comics publishers are tripping over themselves to announce new projects, and movie producers throw star-power at the fans to drum up word-of-mouth support for their latest efforts. Of course, there will be all kinds of lower-profile launches that can tend to get bulldozed off the front pages by the big ticket news items.
Ashley Wood’s 3A Publishing releasing Kent Williams: Ophthalm there is probably a case in point. It’s an art book by a painter whose last major comic project was published in 2005. I’ve loved Williams’ work since he was collaborating with Jon J. Muth in the 1980s, but the work he was producing then doesn’t hold a candle to the canvases he now exhibits. It’s amazing work, as viewable at his website. Wood is quite the advocate for Williams, publishing several portfolios of his work in IDW’s Swallow, then a pocket book of his paintings in their Sparrow series, and recently a collection of drawings through his own Goya imprint. The book’s press release is, however, rather purple. This is the art world we’re dealing with now, people, not comics! And the book’s title? That’s Greek for “the eye.”
I wrote in January about James Jean’s Parallel Lives exhibition at the Tilton Gallery in New York City, and then, a few days later, about the show’s catalog selling out in record time. Unfortunately, in the gap between uploading the images for the post and writing the text, the book went from on sale to out of stock, causing me to do a quick re-write. I thought the amazing examples of Jean’s artwork were newsworthy in their own right, and chose to file the story anyway. But as one commenter wrote at the time, “Thanks for all the great pictures of a book I can’t buy!”
Paul from Vancouver, you completely nailed the problem, and your comment has stuck with me. So you were the first person I thought of when I saw this: The catalog’s publisher, Pressure Printing, has brought the book back on the market, now as a decidedly innovative-sounding digital edition.
Sometimes, artists who make the jump from comics to galleries have been out of the drawing-funny-books business for so long, it’s hard to tell what their current feelings are toward the medium that gave them their first push forward.
For example, it’s been a while since I heard an interview with David Choe, but when I did, they all focused on what his Facebook stock options were worth, rather than if he had any plans to bring Slow Jams back into print. We’ll give Choe the benefit of the doubt, though: He may have chanced of becoming the fourth- or fifth-richest living artist (depending on whose estimate you believe), but he still seems to be living the same productive bohemian life he’s always led. Just this week, two new projects of his have reached the internet: some street art he collaborated on in LA, and the release of a screen-print based on a mural painted on the former home of Pablo Escobar in Medellín. The print is called “Stockholm Syndrome,” presumably a comment on the madness that overtook Columbia during Escobar’s reign.
Just as an addendum to Wednesday’s news when we ran a link to the modern art blog Arrested Motion’s preview coverage of the new James Jean exhibition at New York’s Tilton Gallery: they have now posted a couple of pages of images from the show’s catalog, published by Pressure Printing in a signed-and-numbered limited edition of 1000 that sold out in less than two days — well, it was an extremely handsome edition, packed full of beautiful new work, priced at only $38! Presumably when these start showing up soon on Ebay, they’ll be going for considerably more than that. Join me in consoling yourself for missing out on this bargain by checking out the gallery of beautiful artwork below. Continue Reading »
James Jean‘s new solo exhibition “Parallel Lives” opens today at the Tilton Gallery in New York City. It’s great to see the former Vertigo staple continue to make a splash in the fine art world with his amazing work. The art blog Arrested Motion has a three-page preview of the spectacular show, with many shots of Jean and his team installing giant multi-canvas/multi-media pieces. See some examples below.
For over a decade, artist Mike Kelley has been re-creating the bottled city of Kandor in various forms, including blown glass, lightboxes, and videos, as a commentary on memory and change (Chris recently noted an exhibit of his work in LA). While doing this, he realized that—unlike every other aspect of superhero comics—the appearance of Kandor, the last remaining city from Superman’s home planet of Krypton, is not canon. From the exhibit catalog (quoted at Super Punch):
Interestingly, the image of Kandor was never codified and the numerous representations of it in the comic book throughout the years vary widely in appearance. In this exhibition Kelley reconstructs ten unique versions of Kandor, with its enclosing bottle, which, despite obvious differences, purport to depict the same city. Thus, Kandor – as an eternally maintained, but constantly reconfigured, relic of Superman’s childhood – is an apt symbol of Kelley’s interests in the vagaries of memory…
and so on and so forth. This isn’t the only thing Kelley does—if it was, he would be a mere obsessed fanboy as opposed to a Fine Artist—and his other work ties into it in different ways.
Anyway, Kelley’s work has been collected in a new book, Mike Kelley: Kandors, and that has prompted the New York Times to put a slideshow of some of his images online. They are beautiful but also oddly generic; I think of Kandor as being more detailed than that, but as Kelley is interested in what is forgotten as well as what is remembered, maybe that’s part of the concept.