Featuring work by 15 contemporary artists who freely mix cubism, figurative painting, and gestural abstraction with the visual strategies of cartoons and comics, Comic Future presents conceptually adventurous and visually bold interpretations of our frequently absurd world. Appropriating subjects from mythology, advertising, print culture, and children’s television, these artists employ discordant approaches that twist representations of their immediate environment into skewed, often apocalyptic visions of the future.
The exhibition showcases works from the 1960s through 2013 through a wide range of artists and media—including career-spanning works on paper by Sigmar Polke, a comic-book collage by Walead Beshty, sculpture by Aaron Curry and Liz Craft, and a video by the always-provocative Paul McCarthy. The late Mike Kelley is represented by works from two series that bookend his influential career: an early grouping of doodle-like drawings and a selection of recent illuminated sculptures based on Superman’s home city of Kandor. Also on display are paintings by Arturo Herrera, Carroll Dunham, Lari Pittman, Dana Schutz, and Sue Williams that explore the uneasy boundary between abstraction and figuration.
Make it a comics-packed trip and visit our friends and neighbors at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (located in Sullivant Hall, next to the Wex). On view through August 3 are Exploring Calvin and Hobbes, a retrospective of the landmark comic strip and its creator Bill Watterson, and The Irresistible Force Meets the Immovable Object: A Richard Thompson Retrospective, a look at the work of this major comics artist, featuring his acclaimed strip Cul-de-Sac and his work as cartoonist and painter. The Billy Ireland also is home to Treasures from the Collections of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, a permanent exhibit highlighting the breadth and depth of its collections. The museum is open 1–5 PM Tuesday–Sunday. Admission is free.
Organized by Ballroom Marfa, Texas, and curated by its Executive Director Fairfax Dorn.
Support for Comic Future at the Wexner Center for the Arts provided by Mike and Paige Crane.
Presented at Ballroom Marfa with the support of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the Brown Foundation, Inc., Houston; the Meyer Levy Charitable Foundation; Texas Commission on the Arts; Foundation for Contemporary Arts; and generous contributions by Ballroom Marfa members.