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date: 05 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter argues that the history of physical, juxtaposed displays of comics and art in museum and gallery settings embodies curatorial containment strategies that perpetually fail. To pursue this claim is at the same time to assert that comics’ entrance into the art world, rather than a function of a postmodern turn and its contemporary reckoning, has been ongoing since the 1890s. To sketch this 130-year history, the chapter analyzes three key exhibitions in which museums and galleries have been unable to either fully disavow or fully integrate the connections between comics and art, comics as art, in the past century: the 1913 Armory Show, 1990’s “High and Low: Modern Art and Popular Culture” at MoMA, and the 2013 exhibition of Ad Reinhardt’s comics alongside his black cruciform paintings at the David Zwirner Gallery.

Keywords: comics exhibitions, art exhibitions, comics art, serial art, cartoons, modernism, postmodernism, curation, popular culture

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