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smArt speak Proudly Presents Pulitzer Prize Winner Art Spiegelman

ASHEVILLE, NC.- The Asheville Art Museum ’s smArt speak: Distinguished Artist Series proudly presents Art Spiegelman: History of Comix 101 on Thursday, September 11 at 7:00 p.m. at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium.

As part of its 60th Anniversary Celebration, the Asheville Art Museum brings, for the first time to Western North Carolina audiences, Pulitzer Prize-winning illustrator Art Spiegelman. Spiegelman is the creator of Maus, a gripping graphic novel about the Holocaust, and In the Shadow of No Towers, a personal work about his experiences during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Because his graphic novels are powerful, autobiographical and universal, Spiegelman was chosen to help us explore the theme of “Graphic Memory” for the Asheville Art Museum ’s smArt speak: Distinguished Artist Series. After college he joined the underground “comix” movement rife with social and political commentary. In addition to a prolific career as a regular contributor to various underground publications, he also co-edited a comix revue, Arcade . In 1980, he started the avant-garde comics magazine RAW with his wife Françoise Mouly and more recently, is co-editor of the children’s comic series Little Lit. He has drawn for Topps Bubble Gum Co. and The New Yorker, in addition to teaching history and the aesthetics of comics.

Spiegelman’s works experiment with the techniques and form of comics in addition to plot and narrative drive. His works, while deeply personal, have the ability to resonate across national, geographical, and generational divides, tapping into wider historical events with a personal link to the author’s own life. Maus I and II and In the Shadow of No Towers play with both form and story to give the reader a sense of shared fear and anxiety, the nature of family relationships, and the effects of history on the present moment. His career has helped to shape new conceptions of the comic form as a platform for both children and adults, combining entertainment with controversial social commentary.

Spiegelman’s illustrated talk, History of Comix 101, discusses the history of independent comics and his experiences of more than 40 years in the business. Tickets go on sale August 8 and are expected to sell out, so reserve a seat early. Cost of tickets is $26 General Admission, $14 Students and $22 Museum Members. Tickets are available at the Thomas Wolfe Box Office, at or by calling 828-251-5505, additional fees may apply. Visit for more information.

Spiegelman’s books, signed by the author, will be available at the Asheville Art Museum shop. They will also be available at Thomas Wolfe Auditorium the evening of the lecture. Proceeds support the Museum’s education programs.

smArt speak, Asheville Art Museum ’s Distinguished Artist Series, is sponsored by a grant from MetLife Foundation. A series partner is the Buncombe County Library System. Additional partners are the University of North Carolina at Asheville and The Asheville School. In-kind sponsors include Haywood Park Hotel, Renaissance Asheville Hotel, Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe, Fugazy Travel and WCQS Public Radio.

Events held in conjunction with smArt speak: Distinguished Artist Series with Art Spiegelman:

American Splendor
September 4 – Thursday at 6:00 p.m.
Pack Memorial Library
Starring Paul Giamatti, this 2003 film celebrates the life of comic book creator Harvey Pekar, exploring his inspirations, eccentricities and the artistic literary style he pursued.

Graphic Novelist Evan Dahm
September 13 – Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
Pack Memorial Library
Evan Dahm will discuss the history of graphic novels, the process of creating your own and his graphic novel, Rice Boy.

Richard Chess: Maus I & II
September 16 – Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.
Pack Memorial Library, Lord Auditorium
Dr. Rick Chess is an Associate Professor at UNCA, the Director of the Creative Writing Program, and the Director of The Center for Jewish Studies at UNCA. He has used Maus as a primary text for many of his courses. Join him at the Pack Memorial Library for a lively and informative book discussion of Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel Maus. Refreshments will be provided by the Western North Carolina Jewish Federation, co-sponsors of this event.

Persepolis I & II: The Story of a Childhood
September 17 – Monday at 5:00 p.m.
Swannanoa Library
The group will discuss Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood, a poignant memoir about growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Pizza and drinks will be provided, and there will be a drawing for door prizes. To get a copy of the book and sign up for the discussion, contact the Swannanoa Library at 250-6486.

September 20 – Saturday at 2:00 p.m. Asheville Art Museum
Free with Museum Membership or Admission
Marjane Satrapi adapted her poignant graphic novel into this 2007 animated film. An Academy Award Nominated film for Best Animated Feature, this coming of age story of a young girl during the Iranian Revolution in the 1970s combines the universal trials of an adolescent with a unique perspective on the history of Iran . Created in the same visual style as her graphic novel, Persepolis is both political and personal, commenting on the consequences of war to the individual.

Hope Larson: How to Draw a Comic Strip
September 21 – Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
Asheville Art Museum
Free with Museum Membership or Admission
Illustrator and graphic novelist Hope Larson will do a demonstration of the process of drawing a comic strip — from script through pencils and inks and various comics tools. In her portable studio she will walk us through the process step-by-step. An Asheville native, 25-year-old Larson has recently returned to the area. She has penned three graphic novels, signed a book deal with Simon + Schuster, and won prestigious awards. Join us for a book signing after her demo.

Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru No Haka)
September 28 – Sunday at 2:00 p.m.
Asheville Art Museum
Free with Museum Membership or Admission
Released in 1988, this film explores the tragedies of war through the lives of two orphans struggling to survive in Japan during WWII. Based on the semi-autobiographical novel by Akiyuki Nosaka and told in the style of Japanese anime, Grave of the Fireflies argues that compassion and comfort in times of grief are as important to survival as food and shelter.

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