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Art Spiegelman Retrospective at the AGO, Toronto

I am currently in Toronto, Canada, and went to visit the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) to see the Alex Colville exhibition (with over 100 works and projected documentaries on the walls of a man who’s art has influenced the likes of Wes Anderson and has even had graphic novels written about him, it’s a real must-see!)

Wondering around afterwards it was a total surprise to find an exhibition entitled ‘ART SPIEGELMAN’S CO-MIX: A RETROSPECTIVE’.

As a a cartoonist, graphic artist, writer and editor, Art Spiegelman has torn down the barriers that until recently separated high culture from low. His rich and varied career, spanning five decades, has ranged from edgy bubblegum cards for kids to socially charged New Yorker covers for grown-ups.

Spiegelman (born in Stockholm, 1948) has always been an innovator, from his early experiments in underground comics in the 1960s to his Pulitzer Prize-winning Maus, the book-length graphic novel that confirmed this medium as a serious form of literature and art.

Spiegelman mixes words and pictures, memory and history, avant-garde and mass culture, the personal and the universal. He has always maintained an analytical and self-reflective approach to comics.

He restlessly varies his style, adapting his visual language to suit his topic. His work is infused with a historical and social consciousness, drawing upon subjects from the history of comics as well as general history. He frequently cities early comics masters in his work, including Winsor McCay, George Herriman, Harold Gray and Chester Gould.

Above all, Spiegelman brings his relentlessly critical eye to bear upon himself. He has embraced the credo that comics are a medium for personal expression, creating candid accounts of his own experiences, dreams, neuroses and frustrations. As he once noted, ‘Spiegel means mirror in German, so my name co-mixes languages to form a sentence: Art Mirrors Man.’

Originals from his earlier comics and comics magazines.

The many rooms of the exhibition.

And finally, an extensive look at Maus, Spiegelman’s best selling graphic novel, and one of the best selling graphic novels ever. Showing originals, sketches and alternative cover options.

For more information on the AGO and to see what’s on visit their website:

A snapshot of the rest of my stay in Toronto: