Saturday, July 21, 2012

San Diego wrap-up: Kirby, Modernism and Abstraction

The session that Mark Badger and I gave at Comic Con on "Jack Kirby, Modernism, and Abstraction" went really well, and we got some excellent feedback on it.  (Unfortunately, we blabbed on for too long--my fault!--to take questions from the audience, but many came up to discuss it with us afterwards).

The session was covered (though without mentioning our names!  Grrr!) in two paragraphs of one of Seth Stevenson's dispatches from SDCC.  As you'll be able to guess once you read it, I find his take rather problematic.  Fortunately, I was also interviewed, on the same subject, by the San Diego Union-Tribune's Susan Myrland, and I'm quite proud of our exchange, I must say:  Susan's sensitivity to comics and her knowledgeable questions place it head and shoulders above most newspaper comics coverage.  I think we should get more art critics out there to write about comics!  Also check out the rest of Susan's pieces on comics; I especially like her interview with Scott McCloud, and her post, "Is Comic Con our Art Basel?"

Since the interview is largely a follow-up to my presentation, I should briefly summarize my argument here:  I analyzed, through a variety of comparisons, the formalizing/abstract aspect of Kirby's post-1965 art, and I argued that Kirby may have been prompted in that direction (among other causes) by his competition with and artistic dialogue with Roy Lichtenstein.  I already have publication plans for the piece (though it might take a while for it to come out), but this together with the interview should give you the basic traits of the argument.  See the relevant comparisons here and here.

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