From server Thu Feb 25 13:10:15 1993 X-Delivered: at request of kmcvay on oneb Return-Path:
Received: by oneb.almanac.bc.ca (/\=-/\ Smail220.127.116.11 #18.33) id ; Thu, 25 Feb 93 13:10 PST Date: Thu, 25 Feb 93 13:10 PST Message-Id: <9302252042.AA15227@fl08-g.comm.mot.com> Comment: Holocaust Research Distribution List Originator: firstname.lastname@example.org Errors-To: email@example.com Reply-To: Version: 5.5 -- Copyright (c) 1991/92, Anastasios Kotsikonas From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Charles P Schultz) To: Multiple recipients of list Subject: Spiegelman Art Exhibition Status: RO Pulitzer-winning cartoon epic makes up compelling exhibition By Helen L. Kohen Herald Art Critic Of all art forms, the comics would seem the most ill-suited to detailing the human story of the Holocaust. The outrageous nature of the time, its moral significance, seem unlikely to be conveyed through the irreverence associated with catchy cartoon figures and texts that rarely rise above "whiz" and "wow." Yet in Maus, the Pulitzer Prize-winning two-volume cartoon epic subtitled A Survivor's Tale, artist/writer/editor/car- toonist Art Spiegelman does just that - delivers a story too large for us to bear through a means small enough to tempt. Published in book form in 1991, Maus was, in a sense, a work in progress for almost 20 years, the time during which Spiegelman came to terms with the multiple tragedies of his family's Holocaust experience in Poland, his mother's later suicide and his tortured relationship with his father, Vladek. The tangible parts of that process - including 40 taped hours of the elder Spiegelman recounting what happened to him and the artist's early sketches, trial pages and drawings for the completed volumes - make up the compelling exhibition The Road to Maus now at the Museum of Art in Fort Lauderdale. Unveiled at New York's Museum of Modern Art last January and here in South Florida under the auspices of the planned International Museum of Cartoon Art in Boca Raton, the display shows us how Spiegelman juggled with the literary and visual content of the story, editing his father's words into plot and scene, recasting the key players as cats (Nazis) and mice (Jews). This is really two shows: the original page-by-page Volume II of Maus and the accompanying drama of the artist finding the right scale for his strip and the right body language and facial expressions for his animal symbols. There is fascinating art material here, both in Spiegelman's hand and among his sources. Because photographs of concentra- tion camps are hard to come by, Spiegelman took his own at the now-preserved sites. He also relied on sketches of camp life compiled by survivors and on a page from an old trade publica- tion for the segments about his father learning to repair shoes. There are a few bits of family memorabilia as well, old passports, a photograph of a brother who died. Through the process of paring down the characters, overlay- ing a complex story with graphic clarity, the mice have empty eyes - like Little Orphan Annie. They are almost undifferen- tiated, yet in the play of the narrative retain individual characteristics. You always know who's talking, who's sick, who's wise. And you never lose sight of Vladek, whose diffi- cult personality was forged in hell. It was daring and brilliant of Spiegelman to risk unburden- ing so personal a Holocaust story through caricature. It works because he is so inventive, so creative an artist, novelist and historian. Still, the exhibition is just The Road to . . . The books, Maus, Volumes I and II, are a must. from The Miami Herald Wednesday, February 24, 1993 page 7E
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