Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Anime Sensibilities through Fine Art Object

Or "Anime Revered Through Fine Art" (Past)
First, I'd like to talk about anime-style art gaining Fine-art status through legitimization.

Let's say that an artist is someone who groups things in order to create connections and new feelings and ideas. The past few years have seen an explosion in American comic and comic memorabilia exhibitions in the US. Galleries have staged numerous exhibits of actual comic artifacts, such as storyboards, original pages, and toys. As you can guess, the same has happened for manga.

In a Duchampian "If it's in the Gallery, it is art," manner, when the west puts your illustrations in a gallery, they supposedly gain the "importance" of fine art. But do they have to be something more than illustrations first?
Exhibitions like "Shoujo Manga:Girl Power" or "How Manga Took Over the World," seek to make fine art out of collections of memorabilia to talk about a social history. What does Shoujo Manga, as a trend, mean as cultural phenomena? What is the effect of Manga on the world? When you put all of Osamu Tezuka's work in one gallery, what is he saying about Japan and Culture? These questions, or rather, the answers generated by their respective exhibitions, are the work of art. The actual discreet objects never shake their "low art" status, but together, they add up to "high art."

So, manner number one in which animé-style art becomes fine art: Group it for Examination as a Cultural Phenomenon.

The only related exhibition I was able to attend was "Masters of American Comics" at the Jewish Museum New York. It examined comics artifacts from the 1950's onward. It was fascinating, as it depicted a change in American values, tastes, and tolerances over the years, as well as allowed for an appreciation of the individual comic artist's skills. It included work by Will Eisner, Jack Kirby, Harvey Kurtzman, R. Crumb, Gary Panter, and Chris Ware.

Image Credits:
Both photos from the Tour of "Shoujo Manga: Girl Power" at http://www.csuchico.edu/~mtoku/vc/Exhibitions/girlsmangaka/girlsmangaka_index.html

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