Monday, May 14, 2012

putting to bed the fine artist vs. some other kind of artist argument...

my friend doug harvey was recently part of an incredible panel discussion on comics journal regarding comic book legend (and one of my own heroes) jack "king" kirby. at one point doug offers a beautiful summation of the ridiculousness of the "he was a commercial artist not a fine artist" dilemma...

"I consider Kirby a visual artist, and a modern artist, by the same token and on the same playing field as any visual artist or modern artist, from Picasso or Duchamp to Jessica Stockholder or Banksy. And I rank Kirby very highly. I don’t see any need to make apologies or rationalizations for narrative or commercial parameters – Shakespeare and Hiroshige were commercial artists. It’s important to avoid self-ghettoizing the comics medium. Do we need to strain out the narrative intent inherent to virtually any pictorial artwork in order to assess its visual impact? Would we propose that for Picasso’s Guernica or Duchamp’s Large Glass? Personally I consider even the most abstract and conceptual artworks to be engaging the viewer in a narrative of some kind – often a more convoluted, context-dependent and reference-heavy one than that dictated by more patently illustrational figure paintings. For me, Kirby’s work holds its own on the strength of its visual impact, which necessarily includes his mastery of pictographic symbolism and graphic narrative composition. There’s no stronger argument than the work itself, and I’m astounded that anyone would need to read any book other than The Golden Helmet to recognize the genius of Carl Barks! Critics."

you can read the whole thing here.

and check out doug's blog about his own artwork (an opening next weekend), his writing (par excellance) and the whippets...


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