MCA Show Highlights Chicago’s Contributions to Cartoon History | Chicago News
Chicago is well known for comedy, architecture, blues – the list goes on. Less well known is the city’s continued role in the development of comics and graphic novels.
And the artists who were on the comics page have now earned their place in museums. A new exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art shines a light on Chicago comics from the 1960s to the present day.
Marc Vitali: There are scary monsters. Classics of the counter-culture. And lots of things that are family.
From Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy and Lynda Barry’s original art to new works by acclaimed painter Kerry James Marshall, peruse the galleries of MCA Chicago and it’s clear the big summer show has arrived.
“Chicago Comic Books: The Sixties To The PresentArgues that Chicago has long been a magnet for creative cartoons.
Michel Cheri, MCA Chicago: Every two years at MCA, we hold exhibitions that go beyond contemporary art and look at some sister genres and disciplines, be it furniture design, fashion design, ‘architecture. And in this case, it was just a special time to really watch the Chicago comics. The more you dig, the more you realize that this city has been the zero point of American comics since the turn of the 20th century.
Dan Nadel, curator: there are several different historical reasons, it dates back to the late 19th century when Chicago really became the hub of the Midwest for lithography, billboard printing, children’s book printing , then these big papers here that really encouraged and nurtured a really individualistic caricature.
Vitali: There are underground newspaper graphics from the 1960s, popular comics from the 1970s, and the show has a heavy emphasis on the many African-American artists who have made Chicago their home.
Nadel: I selected the artists really based on those who had a truly unique voice in the medium, both writing and drawing, and wanted to make sure the show featured a diversity of voices both in terms of voice. ‘where they came from but also what they said. and how they said it.
Vitali: There is also an abundance of new work done specifically for the show. Models and installations bring some three-dimensional comics to life.
Another reason Chicago has been a draftsman’s and graphic designer’s paradise: it’s more affordable than LA or New York.
Darling: Artists could come here and work and do very experimental work and still be able to live a decent life.
Nadel: And as comics became more popular in the 21st century, cartoonists were able to stay and teach. So now a lot of the cartoonists on this show are teaching and creating comics, which is really the first time in media history that this has happened – at the college level I should say – and so that made the city. a real hub.
Darling: True comic book aficionados know that this city has been an incubator for this work. They know this is where you have to come to study it, but the general public I think ignored it. Every once in a while you’ll find someone like Chris Ware taking center stage. Or Daniel Clowes wrote some of his influential papers while living here in Chicago at Wicker Park.
I just feel like this is one of those exhibits that I think Chicagoans can be proud of. We know of Chicago’s contributions to jazz, sports, and the visual arts, but it’s a whole different story of the creative arts in Chicago to really be reckoned with.
“Chicago Comic Books: The Sixties To The Present“is on view at the MCA through October 3. A sister exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center takes a look at the city’s even older comic book history with “Chicago: Where Comics Came To Life (1880-1960).”
Follow Marc Vitali on Twitter: @MarcVitaliArts
Note: This story will be updated with a video.