The Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco has featured artwork by many of our caroonists from Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez to a future M.K. Brown show. Currently on exhibit is Pretty In Ink: The Trina Robbins Collection from now until August 24th, 2014 (postcard pictured above). We pulled Andrew Farago, curator at CAM, aside for a few quick questions about the process of getting a show ready.
What do you look for when choosing works from a singular artist/cartoonist? Is it a plan to arrange them visually by era or area (like if they did paintings, cel animation, comics)?
"It depends" is my basic answer for that. If it's a career retrospective, I'll find out if the artist has kept most of her originals or if they've been scattered amongst friends and collectors. Sometimes we'll be focusing on a book that's been recently published, sometimes we'll have our own exhibition catalog in the works. Sometimes I work with a co-curator who's tracked down most of an artist's major works. The fewer sources I'll need to tap into to produce a well-rounded exhibition, the more likely I am to pursue it.
Although that's really more of a technical answer. Before I get into any of that, I make sure that we're focusing on a talented artist whose work will make for a compelling exhibition. I show favoritism to established artists with a substantial body of work, and always prefer to work with the artists directly whenever that's possible. It's incredible getting to collaborate with people likeStan Sakai, Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, M.K. Brown, Steve Purcell, Eric Drooker, Nina Paley, Jeff Smith, and Dan Piraro, just off the top of my head, when putting together giant solo exhibitions.
Getting art ready for the Pretty in Ink show
Describe the basic layout of the gallery (or if you have a blueprint bird's-eye view of it) and do you aim to have people travel through the show the same way every time? (forgive me, I haven't been before so this question may seem odd)
This particular gallery has two entrances. Visitors will usually enter from the back-right corner entrance, and from there, they'll either wander up to the actual start of the exhibition at the opposite corner of the room, or they'll just start walking through and might end up viewing that particular room a time-and-a-half when passing through. With an exhibition like M.K.'s, which will be more focused on single-panel cartoons than multi-page stories, that won't be an issue for visitors.
Have you ever had an incident where you hung a show and then had to replace/take down art before it opened/while it was open?
Sure. I changed over our Sandman exhibition three times due to late arrivals. The original art for the second issue of Overture wasn't available to us until late March, and I swapped out an entire room to put up the first two issues. Artists and collectors have sometimes sold pieces while they've been on display, to buyers who don't want to wait until the exhibition wraps up before getting their artwork (although that's pretty rare). I don't generally like to change things once a show's up, since that's fairly labor intensive and I don't usually build time for re-hanging into my schedule.
Art matted and framed, ready for a wall
Is work for sale if the creator wishes it to be?
Generally not. We're a museum, so we don't sell art off the walls, but sometimes an artist or collector will ask us to include a note with contact information letting people know that the art's available for purchase through their websites.
How long have you worked at CAM?
I started as a volunteer in the summer of 2000, got hired on as Gallery Manager in the fall of 2001, and eased into the Curator job in 2005. I've worked on a little bit of everything over the years.
Photo by Lani Schreibstein
Are you donation-based? How can people help? Thanks!
There are plenty of ways to support the Cartoon Art Museum. Signing up for an annual membership, making a one-time cash donation (and asking your workplace to match it), donating original artwork, shopping at our bookstore, visiting the Museum, buying books or artwork from us at conventions...Here's a good place to start: http://cartoonart.org/join-support/
Sidenote: the CAM booth at San Diego is a GREAT place to pick up a $10 sketch to support the museum, they feature all sorts of fun cartoonists like Raina Telgemeier, Jeffrey Brown and Sina Grace. Last year, I sketched next to Gene Yang and Zack Giallongo and someone wanted us all to draw Morrissey. What a blast!
Thanks again to Andrew Farago for answering a few questions and carefully, lovingly putting work up on the walls with his crew. If you want to see Pretty In Ink yourself general admission is $8 while students & seniors are $6. Children 6-12 are $4 while WOO-HOO! Members & Children under 6 stroll in through the door for free. Check out Trina Robbin's book Pretty in Ink: North American Women Cartoonists 1896-2013 today.
Providence, RI: Rhode Island School of Design will host Janet Hamlin, as she presents a lecture on her book Sketching Guantanamo, and her experience at the military tribunal of Guantanamo Bay as the official courtroom artist. Begins at 4:30 pm. Open to the public! (More details)
Toronto, Canada: World Balloon Academy, presented by TCAF, is featuring a whole series of events during the convention, including one by Trina Robbins on Women Cartoonists. Check out this presentation at 4:15 pm, and many others all weekend long! (More details)
Saturday, May 10th
Toronto, Canada: Fantagraphics and its heroines, The Jen Vaughn and Jacq (Attack) Cohen, will be at the Toronto Comics and Art Festival all weekend! Click here for more details about our signing schedule, artist spotlights and presentations, and debut books!
Seattle, WA: The Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery will be hosting alternative comics guru, Peter Bagge, for the gallery opening of his new book, Buddy Buys a Dump. Join us at 6 pm for special music, original art, and a book signing. The art exhibition will continue through July 9th. (More details)
The lecture goes from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. This event is FREE and open to the public, however RSVPs are required, so email
or call 416-979-5000 ext. 7668 today! Refreshments will be served, and books are available for purchase and will be signed by Trina.
This Saturday, March 22nd Fantagraphics publisher and editor Gary Groth will be holding down the comics fort at PIX, Pittsburgh Indy Comix Expo. The tables are open from 10am to 5pm. As part of the evening programming (plenty of time to get some dinner, dudes) Gary will be interviewed by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Tony Norman from 10-11pm, complete with a Q&A session. Cartoonists Ed Piskor and Trina Robbins will also be attendence so you can get Hip Hop Family Tree Vol. 1 and Pretty in Ink: North American Women Cartoonists 1896-2013 signed. Trina will be signing from noon to 1pm at the Fantagraphics table.
PIX is located at 10 S.19th Street in the city's South Side neighborhood. The building is located directly across S.19th Street from the South Side Giant Eagle shopping plaza. With its own lot and off-street parking, you won't have to pay a dime to get into PIX (more money to spend on comics!)
Gary is also doing some portfolio reviews at the ToonMuseum on the Friday before the show. Please see the PIX website for registration, limited spots are available. See you there!
• Pittsburgh, PA: Herstorian Trina Robbins brings her collection, Wonder Women: On Paper and Off, to the ToonSeum, and will be giving a special presentation to museum goers at 7:30 PM (tickets available here)! (more info)
If you were at San Diego Comic-Con last year, you may have had a chance to see the Wonder Women: On Paper and Off exhibit. And if not, it's now heading to the ToonSeum in Pittsburgh!
The collection of our "herstorian," Trina Robbins, this exhibit explores the role of women as artists and in the workplace of the comics industry, and the way the way women have been portrayed in the art form of comics.
We're excited to announce that our awesome "herstorian" Trina Robbinswill be a special guest at the 2014 San Francisco Writers Conference!
The conference begins on Thursday, February 13th, and runs through Sunday, February 16th. Trina will be speaking about graphic novels for teens and tweens on Friday at 4:30 PM, and about research on Saturday at 4:00 PM. Register now for the conference, and come here Trina talk about her comprehensive new collection Pretty in Ink: North American Women Cartoonists 1896-2013, her ultimate book, a revised, updated and rewritten history of women cartoonists, with more color illustrations than ever before, and with some startling new discoveries!
ultimate book, a revised, updated and rewritten history of women cartoonists, with more color illustrations than ever before, and with some startling new discoveries - See more at: http://www.fantagraphics.com/browse-shop/pretty-in-ink-american-women-cartoonists-1896-2013.html?vmcchk=1#sthash.zOWeG91Y.dpuf
On her blog, Trina writes, "If you come to my presentations or run into me on the floor, please stop and say hello; I am always up for a coffee break at the conference’s Cafe Ferlinghetti."
The San Francisco Writers Conference takes place at the Mark Hopkins Hotel at 999 California Street, located at the crest of famed Nob Hill at the intersection of three cable car lines. It is within walking distance to Union Square, Chinatown and the Financial District, as well as a short ride to Fisherman’s Wharf and Golden Gate Bridge. For more travel details, visit their website here.