Monday, October 5, 2009

Superhero Art exhibition: We were there!

We didn't take many photos at the art exhibition. It just got too crowded (the picture at the top, of the hall, was taken before the general public was allowed in), and besides, Tofu (left) had spent too many hours in the car and was antsy. So we stood by Seth's pictures, here and in one other place, and tried to listen to what viewers had to say.

The exhibit is gorgeous. This is a serious look at superhero comic book art as Art, its history in our culture, how it reflects our inner longings, its evolution from the 30's to the present, and just, well, the pleasures it has brought to a lot of people.

The only drawback for me was that, while each piece was labeled, there was no commentary on the wall. I know that commentary is not always welcome; after all it is one or two people's understanding of what we should be able to see for ourselves. But when you take sequential art out of its context in a story, and a historically relevant piece out of its historical period, unless the viewer is a serious student of the genre, or at least a serious looker, it is hard to understand the importance or the value of a single work. Even though a person can see without having to have learned how, still, Seeing is harder than reading. Without words to explain what is happening, a person has to work harder to understand what is happening. That's why reading wordless books sometimes feels like Work: the reader is forced to exercise an often unused capacity.

The page on the wall to the right of Tofu is page 41 in Willworld: the giant eraserhead gestapo ruthlessly erasing a swath in retribution for Hal's "illegal" activity. It is one of the wittiest pages in Seth's repertoire, I think. We stood beside it and explained what is happening in it to several viewers, who then said, "Ah, now I get it. Wow!" That was gratifying.


j_ay said...

Tofu is getting so big! (deep into spiders it seems?)

Those 3 look great together...LOVE that Bog in Japan cover.

Hope you had a good, relaxing trip

Vicki said...

Wow, you are a careful observer. Yes, he is getting tall, and BIG into spiders. He actually looks a lot like Seth did at his age.