Batman

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.

Continue Reading →
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.

Continue Reading →
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.

Continue Reading →

GalleriesWeekend

Paint It Black, Blacker and Blackest

by John Yau on February 18, 2012

Post image for Paint It Black, Blacker and Blackest

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.

Continue Reading →

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.

Continue Reading →