Exhibition | 15.06.2013 - 6.10.2013


Comics in Art
Comic strips and cartoons have been a constant source of inspiration for artists since the very beginning. But it was only with British and American Pop Art that the world of speech balloons made its grand entry into galleries and museums. Roy Lichtenstein, Öyvind Fahrström, and many other artists introduced the aesthetic of comics into their paintings. In this way, they provocatively undermined the distinction between popular culture and established art. The Weserburg is taking up this theme with a large-scale exhibition. On display are works by more than thirty international artists. They offer an impressive demonstration of the influence of comics on contemporary art from the nineteen-fifties until today.

Particular emphasis is being given to the works of a younger generation of artists. They bear witness to the contemporaneity and innovative energy which today still emanates from an involvement with comics. These works make use of the visual worlds and formal peculiarities of comics in an exciting and unusual manner. Transcending genres, the artists work with paintings, collage, video, and drawings, as well as creating sculptures and space-encompassing installations. In so doing, they do not reproduce a supposedly naive and cheerful surface. Instead, they conduct a critical investigation of aesthetic and social phenomena, and this frequently occurs with wittiness, humor, and biting irony. 

In her harsh, black-and-white paintings, the American artist Joyce Pensato brings to the fore another, darker side of comics which confronts us with the ugly and the grotesque. Martin Arnold uses sequences from Disney animated films and turns the heroes of childhood into ghostly revenants. Innocuous motifs are transformed into eerie scenes. For their part, the drawings of Raymond Pettibon are suffused with the spirit of Punk and Underground. They are capable of engaging in a veritable dissection of the sensibilities of Western society. 

One overarching theme is that of the superhero. The Afro-American performance artist William Pope.L, for example, donned a Superman outfit and crawled the entire length of Broadway in New York. In a bizarre inversion of the white superhero, he dismantled the myth of American omnipotence in a striking manner. This work with the notable title The Great White Way has been brought up-to-date in a special form. Already in 1967, Keiichi Tanaami, a representative of Japanese Pop Art, made the stumbling, broken hero the theme of a collage. He thereby created an ironical counter-image to the Western influence on postwar society in Japan.

The invited artists take up familiar motifs and narratives of comics which they process, deconstruct, and reassemble in a new shape. Many of the works are from time to time disturbing psychograms of society with surprising, subversive-political allusion. With deliberate reference to comics, art accordingly attains new forms of visual expression; it becomes the site of special aesthetic experiences and recognitions. 

Artists of the Exhibition

Siemon Allen (ZA), Martin Arnold (A), Dara Birnbaum (USA), Peter Blake (GB), William Copley (USA), Reinhard Doubrawa (D), Erró (IS), Öyvind Fahlström (SE), Gerard Hemsworth (GB), Arturo Herrera (VE), Andy Hope 1930 (D), John Isaacs (GB), Bertrand Lavier (FR), Mark Leckey (GB), Roy Lichtenstein (USA), Michel Majerus (LU), Christian Marclay (USA), Kerry James Marshall (USA), Matt Mullican (USA), Juan Muñoz (ES), Rivane Neuenschwander (BR), Chris Ofili (GB), Joyce Pensato (USA), Raymond Pettibon (USA), Sigmar Polke (D), William Pope.L (USA), Mel Ramos (USA), Allen Ruppersberg (USA), Francesc Ruiz (ES), Keiichi Tanaami (J), John Wesley (USA), Sue Williams (USA), Jordan Wolfson (USA).

Comics in Artist's Books

(in the rooms of the Research Centre, floor 3 1/2)

In the framework of the exhibition KABOOM!, the Research Centre for Artists' Publications is drawing from its extensive collections to present Comics in Artists' Books. The points of contact with the popular medium are quite evident. Especially since the nineteen-sixties, the artist book, along with the artist newspaper and magazine, has developed into an important form of artistic expression. At an affordable price, artist publications were disseminated at the initiative of artists themselves beyond the bounds of museums and galleries, and they were deliberately directed toward a wider public. Curated by Bettina Brach, ca. 100 works are being shown by such artists as Dieter Roth, Ad Reinhardt, Ferdinand Kriwet, Claus Böhmler, Lawrence Weiner, and Matt Mullican.



„Die Ausstellung macht Spaß.“ (TAZ)

„Sie ist vielschichtig, unterhaltsam, anregungsreich geworden.“ (Kreiszeitung)

„Das Ausstellungskonzept geht auf.“ (Deutschlandradio)

 „Inspirierende, doppelbödige und oft witzige ‚Comic in der Kunst‘-Schau.“  (Nordwestradio)

 „Das Museum greift das Thema auf spannende und überraschende Weise auf.“ (Weser-Kurier)

„Ein schöner Nebeneffekt dieser auch sehr politischen Ausstellung: Die Besucher können viel darüber lernen, wie Comics funktionieren.“ (Der Tagesspiegel) 


Catalogue and App

Appearing in Kehrer Verlag on the occasion of the exhibition is a catalogue with in-depth essays by  Ingo Clauß, Peter Friese, Guido Boulboullé and Bettina Brach. The publication offers color illustrations and descriptions of all exhibited objects in both English and German. Design: Cabinet Gold van d`Vlies.

The museum app of the Weserburg makes available audio texts, pictures, and background information which make possible an individual visit to the exhibition—and what is more, outside the opening times of the museum. Download: Google play / App-Store


We are grateful for the committed support of: 

Media Partners

Collaborative Partners

Universität Bremen, www.film.uni-bremen.de
Hochschule für Künste Bremen, www.hfk-bremen.de
Institut français Bremen, www.institutfrancais.de/breme
Instituto Cervantes Bremen, bremen.cervantes.es
City 46 / Kommunalkino Bremen, www.city46.de
CinemaxX Kino Bremen, www.cinemaxx.de
belladonna Bremen, www.belladonna-bremen.de
Panel e.V. - Verein zur Förderung der neunten Kunst, www.edition-panel.com
Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Bremen, www.suub.uni-bremen.de
Stadtbibliothek Bremen, www.stadtbibliothek-bremen.de
Comic Café Bremen, www.comiccafe.de


Der Kinotrailer zur Ausstellung

Sonderführungen zu KABOOM!

Donnerstag 18 Uhr
Samstag und Sonntag, jeweils 15 Uhr
EUR 3 zzgl. Eintritt

Aktionswerkstatt SPLASH!

Mehrere Stationen laden zum Experiment mit dem Medium Comic ein. Ein Angebot der Kunstvermittlung. [mehr]


Media-Guide und App

Unterhaltsam und informativ. Leihen sie den Media-Guide im Museum aus oder laden sie die App zur Ausstellung auf ihr Smartphone.
Download: Google play / App-Store



Gemeinsam sehen, erleben, experimentieren. Lernen sie unsere Angebote für Schulklassen kennen am Dienstag 20. August und Freitag 23. August [mehr]


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