Exhibition: January 13–March 4, 2023
Gallery hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 12–4 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday.
Friday, January 13, 12 p.m., talk by Malcolm Mobutu Smith; 5 p.m., panel discussion; 6–8 p.m., opening reception. All events take place in Grunwald Gallery.
The Deep End: Golden Age Comic Books showcases the theme of underwater imagery in comic books created between 1938 and 1961, the medium’s golden age. The exhibition is drawn from the comic book collection of Eskenazi faculty member Malcolm Mobutu Smith, associate professor of ceramics.
Amassed over the last 30 years, Smith’s collection of comic books and related material of around 20,000 items represents a diverse array of artists, designers, editors, and art directors active during this period. The exhibition will showcase nearly 500 examples of comics featuring underwater imagery. In evidence in every genre in the medium—superhero, adventure, western, crime, science fiction, humor, and funny animal subjects—the shared aquatic theme demonstrates powerful visual connections and extraordinary graphic solutions employed by the artists. The exhibition also reveals an evolutionary transformation of visual and commercial production unique to the comic book industry.
The collection has inspired visual explorations for Smith’s own creative practice. “I want to share how our environments and experiences are rich, deep, and varied and feed us in many ways,” Smith says. “The inspiration for this project is derived from a study of the drawn details in the books and shows that all media are ripe for mining toward research and creative reinforcement.”
Smith offers a talk in the gallery at noon on Friday, January 13, and participates in a panel discussion in the same location at 5 p.m., together with Andre Molotiu, senior lecturer, art history; artist Raphael Cornford; designer Sarah Edmands Martin; and IU PhD student Jesse Matlock.
The exhibition and related events are sponsored by the College Arts and Humanities Institute at Indiana University.