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Chris Ware has created his own artistic category, joining people like Miles Davis, David Bowie, and Andy Warhol as one who has taken an art form beyond its own preconceived borders. With this monograph of his work spanning decades, Ware shows us how he quickly outgrew the cartoonist label to become one of the most lauded graphic artists and pointed social critics of the modern age. An amazing book to be savored by even the most casual art lover.
A flabbergasting experiment in publishing hubris, Monograph
charts the art and literary world's increasing tolerance for the language of the empathetic doodle directly through the work of one of its most esthetically constipated practitioners.
For thirty years, writer and artist (i.e. cartoonist) Chris Ware (b. 1967) has been testing the patience of readers and fine art fans with his complicated and difficult-to-comprehend picture stories in the pages of The New Yorker
, The New York Times
and other charitable periodicals--to say nothing of challenging the walls of the MCA Chicago and the Whitney Museum of American Art with his unevocative delineations and diagrams.
Arranged chronologically with all thoughtful critical and contemporary discussion common to the art book genre jettisoned in favor of Mr. Ware's unchecked anecdotes and unscrupulous personal asides, the author-as-subject has nonetheless tried as clearly and convivially as possible to provide a contrite, companionable guide to an otherwise unnavigable jumble of product spanning his days as a pale magnet for athletic upperclassmen's' ire up to his contemporary life as a stay-at-home dad and agoraphobic graphic novelist.
Shrewdly selected personal photos distract from justifiably little-seen early experiments littered among never-before-seen paintings and sculptures, all padded out with high-quality scans of original artwork publicizing jottings, mistakes, blunders and, especially, Mr. Ware's University juvenilia via which the reader can track a general cultural increase in tolerance for quality's decline since his work first came on "the scene." Expensive, heavy, and fashioned from the finest uncoated paper and soy-based ink, this thigh-crushing book is certain to cut off the circulation of all but the most active of comics boosters.
"There's no writer alive whose work I love more than Chris Ware. The only problem is it takes him ten years to draw these things and then I read them in a day and have to wait another ten years for the next one."--Zadie Smith.