Why call this new museum show Beyond the Cape? Compared to so many other exhibitions around the world about comic books, this original and unconventional take soars beyond just superheroes. Beyond the Cape! Comics and Contemporary Art shows how some of the most currently sought-after contemporary artists are influenced by graphic novels and comic books. The artworks in this pioneering show take viewers on a deeper dive into adult realms, tackling some of today’s thorniest issues: politics, divisiveness, immigration, religion, racial prejudice, planetary climate Armageddon, feminism, LGBTQ rights, and gender.
Grouped together for the first time in this new way, the exhibition includes prominent art world superstars, including: Kumasi J. Barnett, George Condo, Renee Cox, Liz Craft, Kota Ezawa, Chitra Ganesh, Mark Thomas Gibson, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Christian Marclay, Kerry James Marshall, Takahasi Murakami, Elizabeth Murray, Yoshitomo Nara, Joyce Pensato, Raymond Pettibon, Peter Saul, Kenny Scharf, William T. Wiley, David Wojnarowicz, and Michael Zansky. Some of the most acclaimed underground comic book artists are also front-and-center, including: R. Crumb, Aline Kominsky-Crumb, and Mimi Pond. Also featured in the exhibition are artists from The Hairy Who: Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, and Karl Wirsum.
The show features more than 80 works by 40 artists: paintings, video, photography, sculpture, prints, drawings, and tapestries. Rare comics will also be shown, plus contemporary animation and rarely seen historic cartoons from the early 1900s on vintage TVs.
This exhibition is curated by Kathleen Goncharov, who recruited as her ‘muse’ Calvin Reid, the Senior News Editor at Publishers Weekly and a leading expert in the field of comics. Reid was one of the first critics to recognize comics as a literary form for adults, and selected the comic books and graphic novels in the reading room where the public can comfortably lounge and enjoy reading (many from Reid’s own private library). “Beyond the Cape delves into the world of comics and graphic novels and their influence on contemporary artists. Their work defies commonalities, but come together to present a boldly visual, eye-opening mirror of our contemporary world and present issues,” said Irvin Lippman, the executive director of Boca Raton Museum of Art.