Monday, November 15, 2010

Nov 19: Party Crashers exhibit opens in Arlington



NOV 19, 2010 – JAN 16, 2011

Rosaire Appel - Victor Kerlow

Rina Ayuyang - Blaise Larmee

Derik Badman - Andrei Molotiu

Gabrielle Bell - Robert Pruitt

Jeffrey Brown - Jim Rugg

Joshua Cotter - Dash Shaw

Warren Craghead III - Deb Sokolow

Anton Kannemeyer - Olav Westphalen


November 19, 7 – 9pm


PARTY CRASHERS mashes up comic art and contemporary gallery culture, and features artists who pass back and forth between the two worlds. This massive two venue show results from a crosstown collaboration between AAC Director of Exhibitions Jeffry Cudlin and Artisphere Gallery Director Cynthia Connolly. The show's two independent halves feature different types of work: Connolly's show presents fine artists who mimic the appearance of comic art; Cudlin's show at AAC contains:

alternative comic artists who also show their original pages and drawings in art galleries

fine and comic artists working side-by-side on a national curated project (Creative Time Comics)

fine and comic artists creating avante-garde, purely abstract sequential art without words or recognizeable imagery


In the late 1960s, Andy Warhol, Pop Art, and Fluxus caused a radical shift in what could be shown in galleries or museums—art went from being rarefied, academic and anti-literary to embracing narrative, mass media, and the stuff of everyday life.

Yet the underground comics that began to emerge at that same time were arguably more transgressive and more influential on a subsequent generation of fine artists than any gallery or museum show.

Now MFA students are as likely to be influenced by comics as by art history. In addition, many comic artists also show their original drawings in galleries alongside contemporary painters, sculptors, and photographers.


Philadelphia artist Jim Rugg's Afrodisiac refers to '70s blaxploitation and mimics the look of aging pop artifacts—each page features simulated yellowing and tattered edges. Rugg uses comic tropes in unexpected ways: advancing a narrative through fragments, covers for nonexistent stories, or sketched, incomplete splash pages.
London-born, NY-based
Gabrielle Bell is known for her confessional autobiographical mini-comic, Lucky, which documents her life as a struggling twenty-something artist in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Her style is decidedly unironic and disarmingly direct.
Chicago artist Deb Sokolow contributed to Creative Time Comics. In her art, viewers must follow directional arrows through tangles of drawings and diagrams that describing outlandish conspiracy theories concerning pop culture, politics, and the artist's own neighborhood.

Philadelphia's Derik Badman is a critic, librarian, and comic artist, who transforms found texts, images, and even other comics to acheive unexpected results.

Chicago artist Robert Pruitt, another Creative Time Comics participant, creates large afro-futurist drawings in which isolated black figures are shown wearing the trappings of superhero and science fiction culture—as well as references to avante-garde early 20th century European art.

New York artist Victor Kerlow not only creates surreal stories that bridge the gap between urban ennui and paranoid fantasy, but also observes his environment with a reporter's eye, making energetic line drawings of the city in which he lives and places to which he has traveled.

Portland, Oregon artist Blaise Larmee creates washed-out black-and-white worlds populated by childlike young adults. His current book, Young Lions, highlights the artist's fascination with 'zine culture, bohemian lifestyles, and Yoko Ono. (Larmee also designed and illustrated the PARTY CRASHERS catalogue.)

Charlottesville, VA artist Warren Craghead III creates drawings, collages, books, and mail art inspired by his everyday life experiences. Craghead's stories are free associative and decidedly nonlinear.

Capetown, South Africa-based artist Anton Kannemeyer (aka Joe Dog) creates potent, troubling drawings that explore the legacy of Western colonialism in his home country; the hypocrisy and racism hiding beneath the surface of white society; and the corruption of South Africa's political elite.

Chicago artist Jeffrey Brown draws gently humorous autobiographical pieces, exploring not only the author's experiences with fantasy and comic culture, but also his relationships with his own wife and son. Brown was also featured in the Creative Time Comics series.

New York artist Dash Shaw pairs a powerful, reductive drawing style with sprawling, convoluted narratives. His latest book, Body World, follows botanist Professor Panther's encounters with a strange new psychedelic drug that threatens to turn humanity into a single hive mind, open to alien influences.

New York artist Rosaire Appel creates books and sequential images with asemic writing—a wordless form of writing that often resembles pictograms or reflects the mechanical act of producing text.

Bloomington, Indiana-based artist and scholar Andrei Molotiu is the editor of the award-winning Abstract Comics anthology. Molotiu offers digital animations, abstract comic drawings, and a catalogue essay about the uneasy relationships between comics, literature, and contemporary art in the present tense.

Oakland, California based Rina Ayuyang's Whirlwind Wonderland follows the daily life of a Filipino American girl, navigating, in the artist's words: "sleepy suburban sprawls, empty diners, fantasy-filled commuter traffic jams, misplaced football fanaticism, ethnic identity crash courses, and just good ole family hi-jinx."

Chicago artist Joshua Cotter's latest book, Driven by Lemons, is a sprawling sketchbook packed with ideas, story fragments, and intricate abstract exercises, all struggling against the boundaries of the comic form.

Hamburg, born, New York based artist Olav Westphalen uses the conventions of comics and caricatures to challenge the traditional baggage of fine art, creating outsized (and outlandish) sculptures, drawings, and performances. Westphalen was also featured in the Creative Time Comics series.

Founded in 1974, the AAC is primarily dedicated to supporting new work by contemporary artists in the Mid-Atlantic region. Located in the historic Maury School building, 3550 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, it mounts five exhibitions of contemporary art per year, rents studio spaces, and conducts educational programs for students of all ages. Normal public hours are Wednesday through Friday from 1 pm to 7 pm, and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5pm. For more information, call 703.248.6800 or visit


Eden said...

I probably would've missed this (I always forget to see what's at the Arlington Arts Center). I'll definitely go check this out.

Mike Rhode said...

Note that it's in 2 venues - the older Arlington Arts Center and the new Artisphere.

Anyone going to the opening?