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Comics Versus Art

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On the surface, the relationship between comics and the high arts once seemed simple; comic books and strips could be mined for inspiration, but were not themselves considered legitimate art objects. Though this traditional distinction has begun to erode, the worlds of comics and art continue to occupy vastly different social spaces. Comics Versus Art examines the relations On the surface, the relationship between comics and the high arts once seemed simple; comic books and strips could be mined for inspiration, but were not themselves considered legitimate art objects. Though this traditional distinction has begun to erode, the worlds of comics and art continue to occupy vastly different social spaces. Comics Versus Art examines the relationship between comics and the most important institutions of the art world; including museums, auction houses, and the art press. Bart Beaty's analysis centres around two questions: why were comics excluded from the history of art for most of the twentieth century, and what does it mean that comics production is now more closely aligned with the art world? Approaching this relationship for the first time through the lens of the sociology of culture, Beaty advances a completely novel approach to the comics form."


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On the surface, the relationship between comics and the high arts once seemed simple; comic books and strips could be mined for inspiration, but were not themselves considered legitimate art objects. Though this traditional distinction has begun to erode, the worlds of comics and art continue to occupy vastly different social spaces. Comics Versus Art examines the relations On the surface, the relationship between comics and the high arts once seemed simple; comic books and strips could be mined for inspiration, but were not themselves considered legitimate art objects. Though this traditional distinction has begun to erode, the worlds of comics and art continue to occupy vastly different social spaces. Comics Versus Art examines the relationship between comics and the most important institutions of the art world; including museums, auction houses, and the art press. Bart Beaty's analysis centres around two questions: why were comics excluded from the history of art for most of the twentieth century, and what does it mean that comics production is now more closely aligned with the art world? Approaching this relationship for the first time through the lens of the sociology of culture, Beaty advances a completely novel approach to the comics form."

30 review for Comics Versus Art

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ben Carlsen

    On the whole, it's a good exploration of the comics world and its intersection with the art world, but there are some glaring omissions. For one, while Beaty pays lip service to the fact that the "Masters of American Comics" museum show only featured white men, the cartoonists he profiles in his book are all men, and only one of them, George Herriman, is a person of color. Secondly, while the book seems to be trying to find somewhere that that the comics and art worlds meet, and somehow finds it On the whole, it's a good exploration of the comics world and its intersection with the art world, but there are some glaring omissions. For one, while Beaty pays lip service to the fact that the "Masters of American Comics" museum show only featured white men, the cartoonists he profiles in his book are all men, and only one of them, George Herriman, is a person of color. Secondly, while the book seems to be trying to find somewhere that that the comics and art worlds meet, and somehow finds it in Chris Ware, it makes no mention of Lyonel Feininger except in the list of artists featured in the "Masters of American Comics" show. Feininger not only was clearly accepted as part of the art world, as someone who taught at the Bauhaus and was a member of the "Blue Four," but also as an important member of the comics world, as creator of two newspaper comic strips. It's strange that this intersection wasn't explored at all. Thirdly, while I enjoyed the discussion on comics' place in museums, I think it would also have been interesting to discuss the place of museums like the Toonseum and the Billy Ireland museum, which are dedicated solely to comics, and their relationship to "fine art" institutions. And finally, I know it was just an offhand comment, but in mentioning the inability for the majority of cartoonists to get published by the big players in the industry, he mentions Marvel and DC on the comic book side, and as a way of being inclusive of newspaper comics, mentions United Feature Syndicate. Not only would King Features be a better comparison to Marvel and DC as the pinnacle of newspaper syndicates, but when this book was published in 2012, United Feature didn't even exist anymore, at least as a publisher of comics. All of their comic strip properties had been sold to what is now known as Andrews McMeel Syndicate (formerly Universal Uclick, which was formerly Universal Press). That's more than a bit of an oversight, in my opinion. All in all, I would recommend it be read, but I think a revised edition with some additional material would be necessary.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    if you like this review, i now have website: www.michaelkamakana.com 191116: this is an excellent source to understand mostly american and some french graphics. it offers technical, analytic, historical, definitions and descriptions, and the ways in which various critics, authors, fans, have elided some work or suggested perhaps too broad conceptions, of telling stories through words and pictures... unfortunately there is no exploration of japanese, indian, south american, or other traditions, as if you like this review, i now have website: www.michaelkamakana.com 191116: this is an excellent source to understand mostly american and some french graphics. it offers technical, analytic, historical, definitions and descriptions, and the ways in which various critics, authors, fans, have elided some work or suggested perhaps too broad conceptions, of telling stories through words and pictures... unfortunately there is no exploration of japanese, indian, south american, or other traditions, as the author admits his ignorance and focusses on style and history of 'western' comics, and of this 'graphic novels' and 'comics' but little of the daily 'strips' familiar from north american newspapers. there is some discussion, some argument, about how comics have been denigrated as art, some argument, some suggested psychology and reverse distrust with the apparently 'scam' academic valourization of movements of modern art, such as abstract expressionist, and how true art is exiled for thought art. the author does not neglect applying nietzsche's idea of 'ressentiment' of unappreciated comic artists versus mainstream artists... there is the case of 'pop art', lichtenstein in particular, and the way 'artists' have sourced what was thought anonymous graphics as material for their work. there is some argument about usual denigration of 'female' consumerist/popular art, and how masculinist art ideologically surpasses, comments ironically, on such work, refusing any inherent quality of the art. this conscious ideological re-positioning is by its champions seen as an attempt to overcome embedded prejudices that evaluate comics as essentially low status art, the sort educators railed against, the sort 'serious' critics, journals, museums, as gatekeepers of the 'artworld', refused to see as art. comics had the problem of being popular, amongst other sins... there is a later somewhat depressing chapter about collection, investment, auctioning, of works such as the action comics which debuted superman, which of course does not show the value as art but the value of value as investment. there are recounted several museum exhibits, the valiant, possibly mistaken but certainly 'culture capital' attempts to define some sort of 'canon', some sort of series of 'genius', which ignores the field and implies these artists are great 'despite' the medium, that they are closer to 'naive' or 'folk art', that art critics would rather connect their work to hieronymous bosch (garden of earthly delights) than say richard felton ocault (the yellow kid), and how academics find it easier to praise 'literary' and 'confessional' qualities than how words and pictures go together in this unique format... there is how art spiegelman declares he must not be a comics artist anymore because someone gave him a pulitzer... there is the seriousness introduced in the famous work 'master race', which took comics to an entirely new level, or the existential slapstick of 'krazy kat', there is extensive critical discussion of the quite common misogyny of this field, though it is probably not much worse than the 'artworld' in general, there is the interesting belated then conscious 'marketing' of such figures as jack kirby and stan lee and the entire disregarding of the 'superhero comic', there is the fame and art and art-personas of named comic artists like robert crumb and currently chris ware, the rise of the 'art comic' in some venues ending up looking and being often very similar, in an inversion of the 'house style' such as DC, Marvel, Disney. in all, this is an engaging, involving, educating book on at least some art and artists of comics and the 'mainstream'... final note: this is popular culture. this is not a place to contemptuously 'slum', for much as bestsellers in fiction, there must be something here, something to learn, something that appeals not simply but partly in nostalgia, in the medium of words and pictures together. i only want now to read something like this about the japanese, the french, the south american traditions. this is the best/only one i have read about india: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Whitney Borup

    I liked this book as a kind of history/state of the field. I didn't buy his points about comics being feminized in their relationship to the art world and that's why they compensate with such masculine themes, and I agree with Hannah Miodrag that comics won't benefit from a closer association with fine art when that association might de-emphasize their literary qualities. But I liked his critique of Chris Ware, and the first couple chapters were especially interesting. I liked this book as a kind of history/state of the field. I didn't buy his points about comics being feminized in their relationship to the art world and that's why they compensate with such masculine themes, and I agree with Hannah Miodrag that comics won't benefit from a closer association with fine art when that association might de-emphasize their literary qualities. But I liked his critique of Chris Ware, and the first couple chapters were especially interesting.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Child960801

    I just wasn't in the mood for academic reading, so I'm done with this one. I read the first chapter, out of nine, which had a fascinating analysis of the comics versus art problem, defining it and using a great case study to illustrate what he was talking about. The case study involves a painting in which the artist has reproduced an explicit panel from an erotic European comic, so be warned. I just wasn't in the mood for academic reading, so I'm done with this one. I read the first chapter, out of nine, which had a fascinating analysis of the comics versus art problem, defining it and using a great case study to illustrate what he was talking about. The case study involves a painting in which the artist has reproduced an explicit panel from an erotic European comic, so be warned.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    Many young comics artist exhibit and publish their works at the same time. But the book discusses only early 2000s.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Kent

    Good erudite scholarly stuff, if yer into this scholarly s$%t.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sin.Ner

  8. 5 out of 5

    Pablo

  9. 4 out of 5

    Janice Parker

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tom Shapira

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jochen

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dennis Jacob

  13. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

  14. 4 out of 5

    Vicente

  15. 5 out of 5

    Allison

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chinchilla

  17. 4 out of 5

    Aslı Yazıcıoğlu

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ricardo Baptista

  19. 5 out of 5

    James

  20. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

  21. 4 out of 5

    Güven Namazoğlu

  22. 4 out of 5

    David Doorakkers

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bob

  25. 4 out of 5

    John

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katie

  27. 4 out of 5

    Scott Ashworth

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Lange

  29. 4 out of 5

    Templehurst

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brian

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