Thursday, January 22, 2009

Comics get love from the Louvre

In the whole "comics as art" debate, someone will usually throw in the idea that comics get more respect in countries that aren't the United States. And for the most part they're right, with other countries embracing comics in a wide range of genres aimed at a variety of age groups without the stigma we seem to hold onto here in the States.

We're getting better about it, though, and in spite of the reputation other countries have for acknowledging comics as a legitimate literary art form, it's still big news when one of the most respected museums in the world has an exhibit dedicated to them.

That's why I was happy to read about the Louvre exhibit, appropriately titled "Small Design: The Louvre Invites Comic Strip Art," which opened today. The show will include the work of five artists, with the Louvre used as the setting for each. I realize it doesn't do you much good unless you live in Paris, but I thought it was nice to see comics finding their way into one of the world's top museums (even if the curator seems to waffle between approval and dismissal — what's up with that, M. Douar?).

Like most comic fans, I've seen comic book work displayed in shops and even some galleries, but I don't think I've ever personally seen it done in an established art museum. Has anyone out there seen comics get their due from a major museum? Share your story in the comments!


Menshevik said...

Yes, I've seen some comic-related exhibits in a few museums. For instance, in the 1990s I went to an exhibit on classic Sunday newspaper comics and another one about Hergé (Tintin) at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg. IIRC the Hergé one (which showed a lot of his original art and for which they produced a large-format catalogue) also was shown in other museums. Also in Hamburg, the Altonaer Museum has held exhibitions on various German comic series and/or artists who worked on comics.

In 1996/97 the Rheinisches Landesmuseum in Bonn had a very big special exhibition of original art in honour of a century of comics. The catalogue (format ca. 9 by 11 inches) has over 250 pages.

A couple of years ago when I went to the National Museum of Archaeology in St.-Germain-en-Laye near Paris (which exhibits some of the oldest works of art in existence), they had some original pages from a French comics series set in prehistoric times on display next to actual artefacts from the stone ages.

There also was a big exhibition on tour throush several European museums combining Asterix with Roman etc. archeology. Hardly surprising how many kids in Europe first learn(ed) about ancient history through reading Asterix!

Fred (SpaceBooger) said...

Like the great Michael Jordan said: “I enjoyed the Luge.” on his visit to some Paris Museum

quote from:

Maxo said...

Menshevik: It sounds as if you've been lucky enough to see some great exhibits! And that reminds me that I really need to read some more European comics.

Fred: Ha!