The Chazen Museum of Art, which is located on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, is presenting “Underground Classics: The Transformation of Comics into Comix,” an exhibition that will run from May 2nd until July 12th, 2009. The festivities begin on Friday May 1st with an opening reception that features a conversation between the exhibition’s curators, Denis Kitchen, founder of Kitchen Sink Press, and James Danky, author of Print Culture in a Diverse America.
With a combination of original art, printed pages, and comic book covers assembled from private collections, the exhibition details how underground comix with their adult-oriented emphasis on sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll differed from mainstream superhero and funny animal comics as well as the ways in which this expression of the “counterculture” attacked the corporate-friendly norms of the comics industry’s business model. Underground comix artists retained ownership of their original art and of the characters and stories they created. They developed new more cooperative publishing operations and new methods of distribution.
Artists in the exhibition include: Joel Beck, Vaughn Bode, Tim Boxell, Roger Brand, Charles Burns, Leslie Cabarga, Dan Clyne, Richard Corben, Robert Crumb, Howard Cruse, Kim Deitch, Will Eisner, Will Elder, Shary Flenniken, Drew Friedman, Don Glassford, Grass Green, Justin Green, Rick Griffin, Bill Griffith, Gary Hallgren, Rory Hayes, Rand Holmes, Greg Irons, Jack Jackson, Jay Kinney, Denis Kitchen, Aline Kominsky Crumb, Harvey Kurtzman, Bobby London, Jay Lynch, Jim Mitchell, Victor Moscoso, Willy Murphy, Dan O’Neil, Jim Osborne, Harvey Pekar, Peter Poplaski, John Pound, Wendel Pugh, Ted Richards, Spain Rodrguez, Trina Robbins, Sharon Rudahl, Gilbert Shelton, Art Spiegelman, Frank Stack, Dan Steffan, Steve Stiles, William Stout, John Thompson, Larry Todd, Reed Waller, Bruce Walthers, Robert Willaims, Skip Williamson, S. Clay Wilson, and Kate Worley.