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GRAPHIC- the Counter Culture of Cartoons, Comics & Graphic Novels in Northeast Ohio

July 19, 2018 @ 5:30 pm - September 8, 2018 @ 5:30 pm


  • Zachary Feador, Guardian of Cleveland #1 Pg. 1: Cleveland: The Birthplace of the Superhero, Ink on Bristol board with digital color
    Zachary Feador, Guardian of Cleveland #1 Pg. 1: Cleveland: The Birthplace of the Superhero, Ink on Bristol board with digital color

Opening reception – Videography by Brad Masi with Blue Heron Productions

Show Dates:  July 19th – Sept 8th, 2018

Opening Reception: Thursday, July 19th, 5:30 – 8:00pm

Accompanying Program: The History of Street Art with Roger Gastman and Bob Peck
Date of Program: Saturday, August 18th, 1:00 – 4:00pm
Location of Program: 78th Street Studios


It is true.  Most people in Northeast Ohio are excited for the arrival of FRONT International- and with good reason.  This massive, multi-city triennial for contemporary art promises to attract the influential eye of the international creative community as well as provide a healthy dose of revenue to our diversifying economy.


It is also true that some local artists feel disenfranchised by the event and have expressed concerns the international exhibition descending upon their region provides few avenues for grass roots participation. AAWR’s Summer show, Graphic: The Counter Culture of Cartoons, Comics and Graphic Novels in Northeast Ohio was created as a two-fold response to this divide.


AAWR Executive Director and exhibition curator, Mindy Tousley explains “We like the idea of juxtaposing our focusing on ‘low art’ against the ‘high art’ from non-regional artists that FRONT is promoting.  By holding this show at the same time [as FRONT], we are re-enforcing our position as advocates for local artists” and supporters of all forms of art, regardless of their position in the hierarchy of the art world.


Graphic will feature a diverse survey of cartoons, comics and graphic novels by regional artists from the 1930’s until present day and will illustrate Northeast Ohio’s influential role in the development of this uniquely American art form.  On display will be the work of such pivotal artists as Robert Crumb, Derf, Gary Dumm, Laura Dumm, James Giar, Archived Artist Marvin Jones, Jake Kelly, Gerry Shamray and Siegel & Shuster.


The exhibition will be co-curated by Gary & Laura Dumm, two native Cleveland artists with long histories in comics and commercial art.  For over 35 years, Gary collaborated on American Splendor, a Cleveland-centric autobiographical comic.  His cartoons have been printed in Entertainment Weekly, the New York Times, the VillageVoice and France’s le Monde.  Laura owned her own graphic arts business for over 20 years and widely exhibits her pop-art style of pattern-based painting.


Laura explains that though comics have faced discrimination from the high-art establishment, the possibilities of the genre are meaningful and infinite.  “Comics fall somewhere in the twilight zone between fine art and the cinema… they are basically finished storyboards for movies of the mind. The artwork has no rules… Although there may be a commercial aspect to their creation”, a distinction often used to separate “low” art from “high” (or “fine” art from craft and commercial), “there is often the commonality of creative inspiration and dedication that is evident in the work, as long as the viewer does not dismiss it out of hand as low-brow… Any art that the viewer enjoys IS ‘fine’ art.”


Harvey Pekar, the author of America Splendor, often said this about comics: “With the combination of words and pictures you can do anything.”  Please join the Artists Archives this Summer, as GRAPHIC uses the power of words and pictures to appreciate local creators and celebrate art in all its forms.


Continuing in this vein of regional advocacy, the Artists Archives is also pleased to offer our program, The History of Street Art with Roger Gastman and Bob Peck on Saturday, August 18th. 78th Street Studios


This two-part presentation will cover both the regional graffiti/street art scene as well as the broader history of street art on a national and international level.


Cleveland artist Bob Peck began his long career with street art and is considered one of the region’s leading experts in the genre.  Peck has exhibited his abstract, graffiti-inspired paintings in galleries for over a decade and has been creating commissioned public art and murals for nearly twenty years. Peck’s portion of the presentation will focus on the history of Cleveland graffiti from the 1980’s to present day.  It will showcase photos of regional work, spotlight local artists/crews and even include a few harrowing stories of “close calls and sketchy situations” while painting.


Roger Gastman, one graffiti’s foremost international authorities, will place the regional street art scene into a larger national and global context.  Gastman is a curator, graffiti historian, urban anthropologist and collector who Forbes says “has made a career of being the cultural connector between street artists and the art world.” Gastman founded and co-published Swindle magazine with Shepard Fairey, co-authored The History of American Graffiti and co-produced the Oscar-nominated Banksy documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop. His most recent project, BEYOND THE STREETS (BTS) is the premier exhibition of graffiti, street art and beyond and will feature over 100 artists including Shepard Fairey, Jason REVOK, FUTURA 2000, LADY PINK, Lee Quiñones, INVADER, HAZE, SWOON, Guerrilla Girls, Barry McGee, Stephen Powers, CHAZ, FAILE, Kenny Scharf, Dash Snow, Jenny Holzer, C.R. Stecyk III, Felipe Pantone, Maripol, RETNA, Gordon Matta-Clark, Martha Cooper, TAKI 183 plus Dennis Hopper, Takashi Murakami, and Mark Mothersbaugh. BTS opens to the public in Los Angeles on May 6, 2018.


The History of Street Art with Roger Gastman and Bob Peck is free and open to the public, courtesy of a matching grant by Cuyahoga Arts and Culture (CAC). Please call our offices, 216.721.9020 to reserve your spot.


July 19, 2018 @ 5:30 pm
September 8, 2018 @ 5:30 pm
Event Category:


Artists Archives of the Western Reserve
1834 E. 123rd St.
Cleveland, 44106-1910 United States
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