cover image Art Comic

Art Comic

Matthew Thurber. Drawn & Quarterly, $29.95 (200p) ISBN 978-1-77046-300-4

Those who inhabit the world of fine art would do well to steer clear of this latest effort by Thurber (1-800-Mice), as they’ll quickly realize what a magnificent job it does of skewering their milieu. Originally published as a series of comic pamphlets, this collection begins with a cast of characters in the final stages of art school. Their teacher alternately encourages and berates them, demanding originality and integrity while questioning how he ended up in his soul-destroying occupation. But Thurber’s criticism extends beyond the classroom, taking aim at art criticism, the realities of the working artist, and the suppression of new talent. Thurber’s colorful, cartoonish creations are pitch perfect for the subject, their exaggerated mannerisms underscoring the frivolous and mercurial field. The satire is at its incisive best when one of the characters is driven to extremity because his work has yet again been put down by his teacher, not knowing the teacher ridicules promising students for a cash kickback from the ruling art elite who want to quash talented upstarts who may threaten their primacy. Whether it’s the “Free Little Pigs” spreading their “soul manure” to destroy the foundations of the art world or the knight-and-squire team of Ivanhoe and Turnbuckle taking vengeance upon it, Thurber’s stories mercilessly take on art-world hypocrisy. [em](Oct.) [/em]