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Comic Book Masters at the Whitney Museum

Listen to Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware and Gary Panter talk comics at the Whitney.

Thursday, July 21, 2011 - 11:29 AM

From Left: Artists Gary Panter, Chris Ware and Art Spiegelman, with moderator John Carlin, talking comics at the Whitney Museum. (Carolina A. Miranda)

Three of the biggest names in comic books gathered at the Whitney Museum on Wednesday evening for a roundtable to discuss the intersection of fine art and comics: Gary Panter, the auteur behind the underground Jimbo series; Chris Ware, the creator of Jimmy Corrigan; and Art Spiegelman, the award-winning creator of Maus. The panel was moderated by John Carlin, one of the curators behind the incredible Masters of American Comics exhibit that landed at the Jewish and Newark Museums five years ago. (If you're at all into comics, the catalogue from that exhibit is a must have.)

The topics of discussion at the hour-long panel were wide-ranging. The artists talked about the work of early cartoonists such as Winsor McCay and Lyonel Feininger (the latter of whom is currently the subject of a sprawling retrospective at the museum). And they discussed hippie comics and the theoretical perils of art school. Things loosened up at Minute 29, when Spiegelman began to rant about how irritating he finds the comic book appropriations of pop painter Roy Lichtenstein. The group also debated the merits of using digital media to create and display their work. Some of the artists embraced technology, others not so much. (Panter likened drawing with a computer mouse to trying to draw with a pencil sharpener.) Overall, the panel offered an honest, insightful view of how each of the artists visually arrived at some of their most important works.

Note if you listen to the audio of the panel above: Spiegelman is garrulous. Ware is self-deprecating. And Panter is cool as a cucumber. Carlin opens the session and is followed by Spiegelman. Ware's voice is a little high pitched, while Panter's is more gravelly. For the record: there was a bit of a problem with the audio on-site (hence the slight scratching sound), but you can still hear everything the panelists have to say, loud and clear!

Gary Panter — the creater of the cult favorite <em>Jimbo</em> series, at the Whitney's panel. Panter infuses his comics with painterly techniques.
Carolina A. Miranda
Gary Panter — the creater of the cult favorite Jimbo series, at the Whitney's panel. Panter infuses his comics with painterly techniques.
Chris Ware, the artist known for the stripped-down
Carolina A. Miranda
Chris Ware, the artist known for the stripped-down "Jimmy Corrigan" series, signs books for fans.
Comic book artist Art Spiegelman, the founder of RAW Magazine and creator of the Pulitzer Prize-winning comic <em>Maus.</em>
Carolina A. Miranda
Comic book artist Art Spiegelman, the founder of RAW Magazine and creator of the Pulitzer Prize-winning comic Maus.

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About Gallerina

Carolina A. Miranda is a regular contributor to WNYC and blogs about the arts for the station as "Gallerina." In addition to that, she contributes articles on culture, travel and the arts to a variety of national and regional media, including Time, ArtNews, Travel + Leisure and Budget Travel and Florida Travel + Life. She has reported on the burgeoning industry of skatepark design, architectural pedagogy in Southern California, the presence of street art in museums and Lima's burgeoning food scene, among many other subjects. In 2008, she was named one of eight fellows in the USC Annenberg/Getty Arts Journalism Program for her arts and architecture blog C-Monster.net, which has received mentions in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. In January of 2010, the Times named her one of nine people to follow on Twitter. Got a tip? E-mail her at c [@] c-monster [dot] net

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