ImageTexT: Interdisciplinary Comics Studies

ISSN: 1549-6732

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[cfp] Comics and Fine Art

Posted 04 Nov, 2017
Guest Editors: Mark Hodge and Chase Machado

ImageTexT is accepting paper submissions for a special forum on the topic of "Comics and Fine Art." In his 1939 article "The Avant-Garde and Kitsch," art critic Clement Greenberg lamented that the "superior consciousness" that was avant-garde culture, the high art of "Picasso, Braque, Mondrian, Miro, Kandinsky, Brancusi" and so on, was under assault. According to Greenberg, it was being threatened by the "rear-guard" of cultural production, which he termed "kitsch." Greenberg included under the label of kitsch "...popular, commercial art and literature with their chromeotypes, magazine covers, illustrations, ads, slick and pulp fiction, comics, Tin Pan Alley music, tap dancing, Hollywood movies, etc., etc..." The placement of comics into the so-called rear-guard of culture is indicative of the way in which academics have viewed comics for much of the last century, predominantly in Northern America.

This hierarchy in which comics exist below fine art on the spectrum of cultural production has tended to render comics unfit for serious academic inquiry among mainstream art historians, despite the fact that, as Bart Beaty has pointed out, comics have been mined and utilized by contemporary artists for decades. Likewise, fine art has been addressed and commented upon in comics continuously throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. It is to this complicated relationship between comics and fine art, and to the nature and the mechanisms of the hierarchy that divides the two that this forum turns.

In general, we are interested in papers, which address some aspect of the dialogue between comics and fine art. The goal of this volume is not to claim a position in the canon of art history for comics, nor is it simply to criticize the system that has placed comics outside of that canon. We are looking for papers instead that seek to analyze, through comics, the nature of the perception of what is high and low culture, and the increasingly complicated relationship between the two in our postmodern world. Submissions in the range of 6,000-10,000 words are welcome.

Topics could include but are not limited to:

  • The work of comics artists who operate in (traditionally) fine art modes, such as Ho Che Anderson, Bill Sienkiewicz, Hanneriina Moisseinen, Dave McKean, Ashley Wood, and David Mack
  • Work by fine artists which actively engages comics form and content, such as Philippe Parreno, Rivane Neuenschwander, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and Jasper Johns
  • Artists who work both in comics and fine art, such as Marcel Duchamp, Ad Reinhardt, Phoebe Glockner, Julie Doucet, and John Jennings
  • Work by comics artists or fine artists which defy, ignore, or attempt to bridge distinctions between comics and fine art, such as Aidan Koch, Saul Steinberg, William Steig, and Mark Newgarden
  • Comics which engage with fine art practices, artists, pastiches or parodies of art works, as well as the various Fine Art movements from around the world
  • Comics through the theories and methodologies of art history and criticism, either entirely new or responding to existing work, such as Scott Bukatman's work on Mike Mignola and sculpture
  • Artistic training and the position(ing) of cartooning within art schools

Completed submissions for this special forum are due on April 1st, 2018. Please send all submissions or questions to Chase Machado at machadoc@ufl.edu and/or Mark Hodge at mch22@ufl.edu. Please also read the ImageTexT submissions guidelines: http://www.english.ufl.edu/imagetext/submissions.shtml. All images should be provided as ZIP files.

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