March 5, 2008
by Canadian Architect
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, 2008, 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 world’s 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 cells, 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 exhibition’s 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 Spiegelman’s drawings for the first three-page version of his Pulitzer prize-winning Maus; George Herriman’s last three drawings for Krazy Kat; Lotte Reiniger’s 1927 The Adventures of Prince Achmed, the first feature-length animated cartoon; a sneak preview of Will Wright’s groundbreaking video game Spore; and an extraordinary selection of drawings from Yuichi Yokoyama’s 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.