VANCOUVER.- For the first time, the Vancouver Art Gallery will bring the worlds of anime, comics, cartoons, video games, manga, graphic novels and contemporary art together in one exhibition. Offering an innovative and dynamic survey, KRAZY! The Delirious World of Anime + Comics + Video Games + Art reveals the uniqueness of each medium, while uncovering their histories, interrelations and future trajectories. On view from May 17 to September 7, 2009, the exhibition is co-curated by some of the art forms most influential artists and cultural producers, including Maus author Art Spiegelman, The Sims creator Will Wright, comic artist Seth and animated feature film director Tim Johnson. Conceived and developed by Vancouver Art Gallery senior curator Bruce Grenville, the exhibition will travel to a New York City arts institution in March 2009.
The Vancouver Art Gallery is committed to fostering new and dynamic understandings of visual culture. With the exhibition KRAZY!, we seized a tremendous opportunity to forward the study of some of the worlds fastest growing art forms, said Kathleen Bartels, director of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Despite the pervasive presence of these media, little has been done to assess the ties that bind them. By offering an interdisciplinary account in a major survey exhibition for the first time, we will illuminate their importance as a sustained cultural force.
One of the largest exhibitions ever organized by the Gallery, KRAZY! will occupy two entire floors of gallery space and is designed in collaboration with Tokyo-based architectural firm Atelier Bow-Wowa design team renowned for their understanding of informal culture and ability to enhance communal visual experiences. Divided into seven sections defined by medium, the exhibition takes viewers through ever-changing gallery environments, which include a mini-theatre for viewing animated cartoons and anime, immersive video spaces and innovative reading environments for visitors to experience a deluge of manga, graphic novels and comics. Built to ensure visitors are exposed to the full breath of the media, the exhibition comprises more than 600 artworks, including original sketches, concept drawings, sketchbooks, storyboards, production drawings, films, video games, animation cels, three dimensional models, sculptures, books, manga and much more.
The artists and works in the exhibition were selected by a group of co-curators, including Bruce Grenville, the exhibitions coordinating curator and curator of the visual arts section; Tim Johnson, curator of animated cartoons; Kiyoshi Kusumi, curator of manga and anime; Seth, curator of comics and graphic novels; Art Spiegelman, curator of comics and graphic novels; Toshiya Ueno, curator of manga and anime; and Will Wright, curator of video games. Each curator was invited on the strength of their unique knowledge of their particular field, favouring practitioners, artists and cultural producers who are highly regarded for their work. Using their strong historical knowledge, each curator was asked to select a small group of artists who had made a significant contribution through a particular work or body of work. To give the overall selection historical context, curators selected precursors in their respective fields, artists who had established their given genres and artists who are leading the way to the future.
The co-curators, who are also co-authors in the publication that accompanies the exhibition, are among the most active and sought-after practitioners in their respective fields. Despite their own vigorous workloads they shared their extraordinary insight and experience of this art, said curator Bruce Grenville. No one person could have selected the work in this show, but collectively we have drawn a new map of the world of visual culture.
KRAZY! is a rare opportunity to see artworks that have shaped the history of contemporary visual culture, including Art Spiegelmans drawings for the first three-page version of his Pulitzer prize-winning Maus; George Herrimans last three drawings for Krazy Kat; Lotte Reinigers 1927 The Adventures of Prince Achmed, the first feature-length animated cartoon; a sneak preview of Will Wrights groundbreaking video game Spore; and an extraordinary selection of drawings from Yuichi Yokoyamas latest manga, New Engineering. The exhibition also includes works by Moyoco Anno, Lynda Barry, Marcel Broodthaers, Chester Brown, Cao Fei, Milt Gross, Pierre Huyghe, Ichiro Itano, Tim Johnson, Yoko Kanno, Satoshi Kon, Harvey Kurtzman, John Lasseter, Roy Lichtenstein, Christian Marclay, Winsor McCay, Sid Meier, Shigeru Miyamoto, Junko Mizuno, Mamoru Nagano, Claes Oldenburg, Mamoru Oshii, Katsuhiro Otomo, Nick Park, Raymond Pettibon, Seth, Iwatani Toru, Chris Ware, Masaaki Yuasa and many more.
The Curatorial Team:
Bruce Grenville (Coordinating Curator and Curator Visual Arts)
Bruce Grenville is senior curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery. He has organized many innovative exhibitions, including Massive Change: The Future of Global Design an exhibition which described a new world of design in which the goals and means of production had radically changed for the better; The Uncanny: Experiments in Cyborg Culture, a thematic survey of the image of the human machine in art and popular culture from the early 19th century to the present; and The Post-Colonial Landscape Project, a six year series of exhibitions and a book which examined the land and its representation within the colonial and post-colonial state.
Tim Johnson (Curator Animated Cartoons)
Tim Johnson is an animator and feature film director. He made his feature-length directorial debut in 1998 with DreamWorks first computer animated feature, Antz (1998), starring the voices of Woody Allen, Sharon Stone and Sylvester Stallone. His most recent film, Over the Hedge (2006), was both a critical and commercial success and further solidified Johnson's reputation as one of the preeminent animation directors in Hollywood.
Kiyoshi Kusumi (Curator Manga and Anime)
Kiyoshi Kusumi is a freelance writer and cultural critic. He was formerly the editor-in-chief of the Japanese art journal, BT Magazine. Kusumi is currently the editor of the Japanese manga magazine Comickers and is credited with identifying and naming the Nouvelle Manga movement. He is an established art critic and cultural theorist and is considered a global authority on manga.
Seth (Curator Comics)
Seth is the pen name of Gregory Gallant, a Canadian comic book artist and writer. Considered one of the best cartoonists of the past decade, Seth's distinctive style has been featured in The Washington Post, Details, The New York Times, Spin and The New Yorker. Drawn and Quarterly has published his work in both comic book and graphic novel format and he has contributed cover illustrations for a diverse range of publications, including Fantagraphics' best selling Complete Peanuts series.
Art Spiegelman (Curator Graphic Novels)
Art Spiegelman is an American comic artist, editor and critic, best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning comic memoir, Maus. Spiegelman has been instrumental in the development of the comic medium, both for his support of emerging comic artists and for his role in creating a broader acceptance of comics as an art form. Spiegelman is currently the editor of a childrens comic anthology, Little Lit, and has recently completed a compilation of his New Yorker submissions called Kisses from New York.
Toshiya Ueno (Curator Manga and Anime)
Toshiya Ueno is a sociologist, media theorist and critic who lives and works in Japan and Amsterdam. He is currently an associate professor in the Expressive Cultures Department at Wako University, Tokyo. He has written numerous articles, essays and reviews on media, rock/pop music, film, contemporary art, architecture and urban design.
Will Wright (Curator Video Games)
Will Wright is an American computer game designer and co-founder of the game development company, Maxis. He is best known for creating groundbreaking and genre defining computer games like SimCity and The Sims. His upcoming release, Spore, is the most highly anticipated computer game of the past decade and the game's scope and level of player interactivity are expected to revolutionize the video game industry. He is considered an industry pioneer and one of the most influential and innovative designers of our time.