Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Underground Classics on Tour

I am happy to say that Munson Art Consulting has partnered with co-curators cartoonist/publisher Denis Kitchen and archivist James Danky to find museums to host the well-reviewed survey show, Underground Classics: The Transformation of Comics into Comixon tour. The show originated at the Chazen Museum (University of Wisconsin) during the spring and summer of 2009. The hardcover catalog for the show, published by Abrams, is getting good reviews in US media outlets such as Boing Boing, The New York Times Review of Books and the San Francisco Chronicle. The catalog includes essays by comix scholars Jay Lynch, James Danky, Denis Kitchen, Patrick Rosenkranz, Trina Robbins and Paul Buhle, who all contribute to this serious examination of underground comix as art.

The exhibition itself collects 145 framed drawings, other artifacts and ephemera from the beginnings of the underground movement in 1963 through 1990. The pieces in the show are assembled from Denis Kitchen’s personal collection, the collection of Eric Sack and others, representing the work of some 60 different artists.

Cartoonist, writer, editor and publisher Denis Kitchen was present at the birth of the underground comix movement. From his first self-published effort, Mom’s Homemade Comics #1 in 1968, Kitchen has worked with every important artist active in producing underground comix. This long relationship with other artists, many of whom he published through Krupp Comic Works and Kitchen Sink Press, is the basis for both the exhibition and this catalog.

James Danky built an internationally recognized collection of alternative press materials in his four decade career at the Wisconsin Historical Society, publishing dozens of books along the way. Today he is on the faculty of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he continues to investigate the worlds of print and popular and alternative culture.

As an art historian, I am very aware of by the debt owed by many contemporary artists to the underground comix artists of the 1960’s and 70’s. I’m pleased to help underground comix artists gain well-deserved recognition from the arts community.

Other links related to Underground Classics:
Underground Classics official blog
facebook group page
SF Chronicle/Gate - Book Review
SF Chronicle recommends book as holiday gift
New York Times - Art of Rebellion (also features Kitchen & Buhle's Kurtzman book).
77 Square (Madison, WI) - Lynda Barry Talks Comix (co-curator Danky & Buhle are participants in this panel discussion as well).
Chazen Museum of Art The Chazen Goes Undergound with Comix Exhibition Inside Pop Culture: Underground Comics Exhibition at the Chazen Inside Pop Culture: Followup on Exhibit Opening
The Beat: The News Blog of Comics Culture
Isthmus Review of Exhibit
Badger Herald Arts: Chazen showcases ‘comix’ movement in radical exhibit
Boing Boing Review (of catalog)
Milwaukee Shepard Express Cover Story
Robert Crumb's visit - blog
Toronto Globe & Mail - Book Review/article
Miami Herald - Book Review
BlogTalkRadio - Denis Kitchen interview
Althouse blog exhibit photos
USA Today - Pop Candy Book Review
Rants & Raves blog - Book Review
GameZone Book Review (scroll down to 12/20)

The exhibition includes original art by - Joel Beck; Vaughn Bode; Tim Boxell; Roger Brand; Charles Burns; Leslie Cabarga; Dan Clyne; Richard Corben; Robert Crumb; Howard Cruse; Kim Deitch; Will Eisner; Will Elder; Shary Flenniken; Drew Freidman; Don Glassford; Grass Green; Justin Green; Rick Griffin; Bill Griffith; Gary Hallgren; Rory Hayes; Rand Holmes; Greg Irons; Jack Jackson; Jay Kinney; Denis Kitchen; Aline Kominsky Crumb; Harvey Kurtzman; Bobby London; Jay Lynch; Jim Mitchell; Victor Moscoso; Willy Murphy; Dan O’Neil; Jim Osborne; Harvey Pekar; Peter Poplaski; John Pound; Wendel Pugh; Ted Richards; Spain Rodrguez; Trina Robbins; Sharon Rudahl; Gilbert Shelton; Art Spiegelman; Frank Stack; Dan Steffan; Steve Stiles; William Stout; John Thompson; Larry Todd; Reed Waller; Bruce Walthers; Robert Williams; Skip Williamson; S. Clay Wilson and Kate Worley.


  1. Kim;
    Please contact my alma mater, Minneapolis College of Art & Design. They've curated some really good comics show in the past, including one of work from MOME this last academic year, and I've taught the history of Undergrounds there. You want to get in touch with Barb Schultz, head of the studio comics major, Tom Haakenson, chair of liberal studies, and the gallery curator. They have a new one now, and I'm not sure who it is, but you could start with Lars Mason.
    good luck,
    Diana Green

  2. Kim, CH here. I'm wondering if contacting CSU Northridge would also be a good idea. I met the Gallery director there, Jim Sweeters, last week, and, though I know he's working on a two-year delay at least, I would love to help bring this comix exhibit to my stomping grounds. It could be a great way to dovetail with comics-teaching initiatives I'm working on here, and the L.A. location could be optimal.

    Let me know if you would like me to put out any feelers on this. Thanks!

    PS. Spoke to Mike Dooley at the Panter opening at PCC last Monday, and had a wonderful time talking about teaching and writing projects, including your collaborative work with him. So many promising things happening right now!