Post image for Damien Hirst Is Building a Batcave Beneath His Historic London Mansion

Damien “World’s Richest Living Artist” Hirst is expanding his historic home facing London’s tony Regent’s Park, though you won’t notice much of a change at street level.

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Post image for Whether Gotham or Metropolis, New York Is the City of Superheroes

Superhero stories mesh easily with New York, whether it’s the new Jessica Jones series, which follows its super-strong private investigator around a noir Manhattan, or the first appearance of Batman, in 1939, soaring over the city.

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Photo Essays

An Army of Artists Draws Batman

by Allison Meier on November 3, 2015

Post image for An Army of Artists Draws Batman

There are few fictional characters that can be evoked through just a symbol, but Batman is one of them, with the outline of his flying namesake, or a suggestion of the crime fighter’s black mask.

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Post image for A Sculptural Sequel for Blockbuster Movie Miniatures

The Swiss Institute’s basement gallery space looks like the set for an avant-garde science fiction movie right now.

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Post image for Joyce Pensato’s Messy Imagination, Laid Bare

Joyce Pensato is best known for her stark, large-scale paintings of cartoon characters and in particular for her series of Batman paintings that depict the cape crusader’s iconic mask using splashy skeins of black and white paint.

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Post image for When the Joker Was a Contemporary Artist

Today is a very important day in contemporary art history. Yes, today is in fact the 47th anniversary of “Pop Goes the Joker,” a very amusing and at times slightly disturbing two-part episode of the original Batman television series starring Adam West. The episode depicts Gotham’s “art world” and opens with a scene in which The Joker enters a rather proper art gallery and sprays paint all over a series of priceless works, which are later praised as an act of artistic genius.

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Post image for The Artistic Nightmares of Dark Knight Rises

Hyperallergic writers and siblings Brendan and Marisa Carroll recently went to see The Dark Knight Rises, the final film of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. The gist of the last installment: After eight years of self-imposed seclusion, Bruce Wayne/Batman returns to the fray to save Gotham City from the “reckoning” imposed by a fearsome terrorist named Bane, who has the entire city under siege as a bomb ticks away. Wayne must also contend with a slinky cat burglar named Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman), who is on the hunt for a device that will virtually erase her criminal past — and who will do anything to get it.

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Post image for The Ordinary Adventures of an Extraordinary Batman

LOS ANGELES — The appeal of Batman has always been that he’s a regular old human being. This is why artist Sara Johnson’s Ordinary Batman Adventures are so delightful.

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Paint It Black, Blacker and Blackest

by John Yau on February 18, 2012

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Joyce Pensato draws in charcoal and paints in enamel — dense, clinging soot and viscous liquid. For years her palette has been black, white and silver, though color is beginning to make an appearance in her recent paintings, mostly as splatters and drips. The drawing process is one of making marks, rubbing them out and making more marks, with line being the essential form. In the paintings, the line is made of enamel that initially appears to have been applied quickly, though its varying densities and its field of drips and splatters makes it clear that it wasn’t done in a single shot. In both drawing and painting Pensato is committed to finding the linear form that captures her subject matter, be it Homer Simpson, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Batman, Groucho Marx, Felix the Cat, toy clowns, or not-so-cuddly monkeys.

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Star Wars Modern has posted an extensive essay on the evolution of American superheroes, particularly Batman and Superman, and their relationship to modernity and urbanism. His post incorporates many figures that loom large in the 20th C. American urban imagination and he focuses mainly on pop culture as a barometer of changing public attitudes. The essay, titled “The Urbanism of Superheroes,” careens across many ideas and suggests there is more that binds these seemingly disparate things than may be evident at first glance.

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