By Matthew Thurber. Published by Drawn & Quarterly.
Hardcover, 200 pages, Colour, 2018.
A RAUCOUS SKEWERING OF THE ART WORLD AS TOLD BY A MASTER OF ABSURDITY
Matthew Thurber’s Art Comic is a blunt and hilarious assault on the swirling hot mess that is the art world. From sycophantic fans to duplicitous gallerists, fatuous patrons to self-aggrandizing art stars, he lampoons each and every facet of the eminently ridiculous industry of truth and beauty. Follow Cupcake, the Matthew Barney obsessive, Epiphany née Tiffany Clydesdale, the divinely-inspired performance artist, Ivanhoe, a modern Knight is search of artistic vengeance, and his Squire, Turnbuckle. Each artist is more ridiculous than the last, yet they are tested and transformed by the even more absurd machinations of Thurber’s fantastical art world. Can the Free Little Pigs destroy this blighted system? Will “The Group” continue its indirect assassination of promising young artists? Can artistic integrity exist in this world, amidst the capitalist co-opting, petty rivalries, otherworldly portals, heavenly interventions, and murders at sea?
Art Comic is brimming with references and cameos, outsized personalities and shuddering nonsense–Robert Rauschenberg smashes a beer bottle, Francesca Woodman, a wine glass. Amidst it all, Thurber’s twisting drawings and laugh-out-loud dialogue convey a complicated picture of an industry at the intersection of fantasy and reality. Part scathing condemnation, part irreverent appreciation, Thurber’s comics skewer the art world in a way only an art lover can.
Praise for Art Comic
Thurber’s criticism extends beyond the classroom, taking aim at art criticism, the realities of the working artist, and the suppression of new talent. Thurber’s colorful, cartoonish creations are pitch perfect for the subject, their exaggerated mannerisms underscoring the frivolous and mercurial field.Publishers Weekly
If there is such planet as the Art World, then Matthew Thurber is an intergalactic ranger and Art Comic is the trippy travelogue. Thurber turbo-charges through a vast and vapid landscape; one where wishes wither, hopes get popped, and dreams die or otherwise get coopted by fat-heads and bullies. Along the way we meet top-hatted wannabes, art handlers, maligned piggies, violently vengeful knights, and my favorite, the inhabitants of UXOBI, ‘where fecal matter is the only artistic medium that has ever existed.’ Take me there!Jim Drain
A blistering take on the art world, rife with cameos from Robert Rauschenberg to Matthew Barney. Thurber’s absurd narrative takes to task the often farcical nature of a notoriously self-aggrandizing industry.Artsy Gift Guide