MalcolmLittle in "HardlyLand"

Chris Ware exhibits art from coming Acme Novelty Library #20

Posted on: September 18, 2010

Chris Ware’s upcoming graphic novel “Acme Novelty Library No. 20” will be released shortly and original pages from the book will be shown at The Adam Baumgold Gallery in New York City. The exhibition began September 16 and the gallery can be found at 60 East 66th Street.

No. 20 will focus on the Rusty Brown story-line. More information about the exhibition can be found here.

I remember hearing Chris Ware say that he didn’t really care for showing his work in such an unfinished state, and especially without color, and that the books were what he saw as the intended medium to see his work. The illustrations were meant to visualize a story that was to be read.

Chris Ware’s illustrations are breath-taking in how well they are constructed and how the panels are laid out on the page but it is the emotional impact of the stories and the characters that really makes his books dear to me.

One small part in the Acme Novelty Library collection called “The Acme Novelty Library Annual Report to Shareholders” is Chris Ware’s brief history of art. In one strip called The Hopeless Romantic a painter tries to make a perfect portrait of a lost love (who, of course, dies shortly after the angst-ridden and self-loathing man finally dares to express his feelings). After countless tries he manages to capture the woman’s likeness and he is of course over-come with sadness and joy. He however wakes up the following morning finding himself struck blind. He fumbles around his home trying to find the correct portrait but never knowing which is the right one. He grows old surrounded by his paintings, endlessly trying to figure out which one is his love.

“Until, one afternoon some young moderns, bouyed by the boredom born of their age, pay our hero a visit.”

The young moderns walk right into the old artist’s house, take hold of the paintings and begin to destroy them, stomping on them and throwing them out of the house.

“The more anguished his cries, the more hearty their laughter.”

The young men leave and the old man, infinitely small, is outside his home, crawling in the wilderness by the mountainside.

“The shards of his work scattered in the sun, he left to seek them among the stones, sticks and dust. But soon he loses his way, and, unaware that he is inches away from her true likeness, cries out in loneliness, and dies.”

Here are some images of Chris Ware’s original illustrations that has been shown at the Adam Baumgold Gallery.


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