Museum Exhibit; "Beyond Words: Visual Narratives from the Block Book to the Graphic Novel"

Event Details
  • Dates/Times:
    • Monday January 6, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Tuesday January 7, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Wednesday January 8, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Thursday January 9, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Friday January 10, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Monday January 13, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Tuesday January 14, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Wednesday January 15, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Thursday January 16, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Friday January 17, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Monday January 20, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Tuesday January 21, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Wednesday January 22, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Thursday January 23, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Friday January 24, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Monday January 27, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Tuesday January 28, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Wednesday January 29, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Thursday January 30, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Friday January 31, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Monday February 3, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Tuesday February 4, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Wednesday February 5, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Thursday February 6, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Friday February 7, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Monday February 10, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Tuesday February 11, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Wednesday February 12, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Thursday February 13, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Friday February 14, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Monday February 17, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Tuesday February 18, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Wednesday February 19, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Thursday February 20, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Friday February 21, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Monday February 24, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Tuesday February 25, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Wednesday February 26, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Thursday February 27, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Friday February 28, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Monday March 2, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Tuesday March 3, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Wednesday March 4, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Thursday March 5, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Friday March 6, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Monday March 9, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Tuesday March 10, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Wednesday March 11, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Thursday March 12, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Friday March 13, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
    • Monday March 16, 2020
      9:00 am - 5:00 pm
  • Location: Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking, 500 10th St NW
  • Phone: 404-894-5700
  • URL: Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking
  • Email:
  • Fee(s):
    Free
  • Extras:
Contact

Virginia Howell

Museum Director

404-894-5726

virginia.howell@rbi.gatech.edu

Summaries

Summary Sentence: Exhibit dates: January 6 - March 16, 2020

Full Summary: From the block books of the Middle Ages to the graphic novels of today, this exhibition examines how pictures and words work together to construct narratives that are complex, subtle, sophisticated, and powerful. 

Media
  • Beyond Words: Visual Narratives from the Block Book to the Graphic Novel Beyond Words: Visual Narratives from the Block Book to the Graphic Novel
    (image/jpeg)

Writers tell stories with words; artists tell stories with pictures; and together, words and images form a powerful tool for communication, expression, and narrative. From the block books of the Middle Ages to the graphic novels of today, this exhibition examines how pictures and words work together to construct narratives that are complex, subtle, sophisticated, and powerful. 

We often think of the comic strip as a rather recent invention, but the history of sequential narrative begins with the history of art. Beyond Words: Visual Narratives from the Block Book to the Graphic Novel picks up this thread toward the end of the Middle Ages, when early book printers in the West used carved wooden blocks to stamp words and images onto the page. Because of their method of production, these books later came to be known as “block books.”

New mechanical printing processes in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries made books and printed pictures much more widely available than they had ever been before. As a result, artists produced humorous, satirical cartoons, and sequential art for serialized publication.

In the United States, comics first appeared in newspapers in the late nineteenth century. Newspapers attracted readership by recruiting popular cartoonists to draw comic strips, some of which were later syndicated nationally.

The comic book developed in the early twentieth century as a way to resell collections of newspaper strips, but the single-storyline comic book, devoted to a particular character, did not emerge until Superman became a hit in the late 1930s. This development allowed artists and writers freedom to expand stories and artwork beyond the single page.

While commercial artists were busy pioneering the first newspaper and magazine comics, a similar interest in sequential art was forming in the fine art world. Frans Masereel and Lynd Ward, two artists working in and around the Expressionist movement, translated their interest in the medieval woodcut into something entirely new: the woodcut novel. Other artists followed Ward and Masereel, and the genre flourished in the 1920s and 1930s.

Masereel and Ward are often cited by scholars as fathers of the graphic novel movement that started in the 1970s and 1980s with the work of Will Eisner, Art Spiegelman, and others. Before the 1960s, comics were seen as decidedly low-brow. In 1978, with the publication of Will Eisner’s A Contract with God, the perception of comics started to shift. It was a graphic novel, and although the term had been in use since the 1960s, A Contract with God established the genre.

Rather than presenting an evolutionary history of visual storytelling, the works selected for this exhibition allow us to situate woodcuts, engravings, comic strips, and graphic novels in a long tradition of word- and image-making, to consider the roles of image and narrative in our cultures, and to examine storytelling techniques in different media.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then pictures and words together form an even more powerful tool for communication, expression, and story-telling than either would alone. Stories tell us who we are and where we’ve been; they provide a shared fount of experience that shapes and defines culture.

The works in Beyond Words are from the Rare Book Collection and the Comic Art Collection in the Division of Special Collections, Archives, and Rare Books at the University of Missouri Libraries.

www.eusa.org/beyondwords

Additional Information

In Campus Calendar
Yes
Groups

Robert C. Williams Museum of Papermaking

Invited Audience
Faculty/Staff, Postdoc, Public, Graduate students, Undergraduate students
Categories
Arts and Performance, Other/Miscellaneous
Keywords
art exhibit, art exhibition, museum, comics
Status
  • Created By: Virginia Howell
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Jan 13, 2020 - 3:51pm
  • Last Updated: Jan 13, 2020 - 3:51pm