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Bard Fisher Center and Live Arts Bard Present Neil Gaiman in Conversation with Art Spiegelman

Image Credit: L to R:
Enno Kapitza – Agentur Focus;
Kimberly Butler

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.— The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College and Live Arts Bard are pleased to present a conversation between acclaimed author Neil Gaiman and celebrated cartoonist Art Spiegelman, about cartooning and writing, working across artistic mediums, friendship, identity, and more. This special event takes place on Friday, April 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the Sosnoff Theater. Tickets are $25; $5 for Bard students, faculty/staff, and alumni/ae. To purchase tickets go to, or call the box office at 845-758-7900.

Art Spiegelman has almost single-handedly brought comic books out of the toy closet and onto the literature shelves,” writes LA Weekly. In 1992, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his masterful Holocaust narrative Maus— which portrayed Jews as mice and Nazis as cats. Maus II continued the remarkable story of his parents’ survival of the Nazi regime and their lives later in America. His comics are best known for their shifting graphic styles, their formal complex­ity, and controversial content. In his lecture, “What the %@&*! Happened to Comics?” Spiegelman takes his audi­ence on a chronological tour of the evolution of comics, all the while explaining the value of this medium and why it should not be ignored. Spiegelman believes that in our post-literate culture the importance of the comic is on the rise, for “comics echo the way the brain works. People think in iconographic images, not in holograms, and people think in bursts of language, not in paragraphs.”

Neil Gaiman is an internationally acclaimed author of over 20 novels including Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book, as well as the comic books series, The Sandman, and is a prolific creator of works of poetry, film, journalism, comics, song lyrics, and drama. He is the recipient of the Hugo Award, Newbery Medal and Carnegie Medal in Literature, among other prizes, and is listed in the Dictionary of Literary Biography as one of the top ten living post-modern writers. Gaiman has achieved cult status and attracted increased media attention, with recent profiles in The New Yorker magazine and by ‘CBS News Sunday Morning.’ Gaiman is Professor in the Arts at Bard College.

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About Art Spiegelman

Having rejected his parents’ aspirations for him to become a dentist, Art Spiegelman studied cartooning in high school and began drawing professionally at age 16. He went on to study art and philosophy at Harpur College before becoming part of the underground comix subculture of the 60s and 70s. As creative consultant for Topps Bubble Gum Co. from 1965-1987, Spiegelman created Wacky Packages, Garbage Pail Kids and other novelty items, and taught history and aesthet­ics of comics at the School for Visual Arts in New York from 1979-1986. In 2007 he was a Heyman Fellow of the Humanities at Columbia University where he taught a Masters of the Comics seminar. In 1980, Spiegelman founded RAW, the acclaimed avant-garde comics magazine, with his wife, Françoise Mouly—Maus was originally serialized in the pages of RAW. Before being published by Pantheon, who have published many of his subsequent works including an illustrated version of the 1928 lost classic, The Wild Party, by Joseph Moncure March.

He and Mouly more recently co-edited Little Lit, a series of three comics anthologies for children published by HarperCol­lins (“Comics-They’re not just for Grown-ups Anymore”) and Big Fat Little Lit, collecting the three comics into one volume. Currently, he and his wife publish a series of early readers called Toon Books—picture books in comics format. They have co-edited A Toon Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics (Fall 2009). His work has been published in many periodicals, including The New Yorker, where he was a staff ar tist and writer from 1993-2003.

In 2004 he completed a two-year cycle of broadsheet-sized color comics pages, In the Shadow of No Towers, first published in a number of European newspapers and magazines including Die Zeit and The London Review of Books. A book version of these highly political works was published by Pantheon in the United States, appeared on many national bestseller lists, and was selected by The New York Times Book Review as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2004.

Spiegelman’s work also includes a new edition of his 1978 anthology, Breakdowns (Fall 2008); it includes an autobiographical comix-format introduction almost as long as the book itself, entitled Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*!; as well as a children’s book (published with Toon Books), called Jack and the Box. In 2009 Maus was chosen by the Young Adult Library Association as one of its recommended titles for all students (the list is revised every 5 years and used by educators and librarians across the country). McSweeney’s has published a collection of three of his sketch­ books entitled Be a Nose. A major exhibition of his work was arranged by Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, as par t of the “15 Masters of 20th Century Comics” exhibit (November 2005). In 2005, Art Spiegelman was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People and in 2006 he was named to the Art Director’s Club Hall of Fame. He was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France in 2005 and—the American equivalent—played himself on an episode of “The Simpsons” in 2008. In fall 2011, Pantheon published Meta Maus, a compan­ion to The Complete Maus – it is the story of why he wrote Maus, why he chose mice, cats, frogs, and pigs, and how he got his father to open up (the new book includes a DVD of the transcripts of Art’s interviews with his father ; it is not a graphic novel, but it is populated with illustrations, photos and other images). MetaMaus has been awarded the 2011 National Jewish Book Award in the Biography, Autobiography, and Memoir category.

About Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is listed in the Dictionary of Literary Biography as one of the top ten living post-modern writers and is a prolific creator of works of prose, poetry, film, journalism, comics, song lyrics, and drama. His work crosses genres and reaches audiences of all ages. His most recent adult novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a #1 New York Times Bestseller; other adult works include Neverwhere, Stardust, Anansi Boys, and Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett); the award-winning Sandman series of graphic novels; and the short story collections Smoke and Mirrors and Fragile Things. His novels for younger readers include Coraline and The Graveyard Book, which was awarded the Newbery Medal, the highest honor given children’s literature, as well as the Locus Award for Best Young Adult Book and the Hugo Award for Best Novel. The awarding of the 2010 UK Carnegie Medal makes Gaiman the first author ever to win both the Newbery Medal and the Carnegie Medal with the same book. His most recent book, Fortunately, the Milk (“the funniest work of literature since Catcher in the Milk”) has been on bestseller lists since publication, and a recent reading and performance of the entire book sold out Central Hall in Westminster. His work has been adapted for film, television, and radio, including Stardust (2007), directed by Matthew Vaughan, and the animated feature film Coraline (2009), which secured a BAFTA nomination for Best Animated Film and was nominated for an Oscar in the same category. In March 2013, BBC Radio broadcast a new six-episode production of Neverwhere, with a star-studded cast that includes James McAvoy, David Harewood, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Romola Garai. Gaiman has written and directed for film and television, and his 2011 episode of Doctor Who, “The Doctor’s Wife,” caused The Times (London) to describe him as “a hero” and won the Hugo, Ray Bradbury, and SFX awards. Make Good Art, the text of a commencement speech Gaiman delivered at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, was published in a volume designed by renowned artist Chip Kidd; his recent speech in support of libraries and reading will be published as a book in 2014. More than 1.8 million people follow him on Twitter. Born in Hampshire, he currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his wife, the rock star Amanda Palmer, with whom he sometimes performs. For more information about Gaiman and his work go to

About The Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College

Named for the late Richard B. Fisher, the former chair of Bard’s Board of Trustees, the Fisher Center has become an influential force in performing arts programming, earning critical acclaim for innovative productions of opera, orchestral, chamber, dance, and theater programs. The Center was designed by legendary architect Frank Gehry and distinguished acoustician Yasuhisa Toyota, and has received international praise for its breathtaking architecture and superb sound.

Each summer the Fisher Center presents the Bard SummerScape festival, eight weeks of performing arts programs reflecting the life and times of the featured composer of the esteemed Bard Music Festival, now celebrating its 25th year. Fall and spring seasons include original productions, special one-night-only concerts, and touring artists from around the globe. 

The Fisher Center is home to the Bard College Theater & Performance and Dance Programs, providing students access to exceptional theater facilities and opportunities to work with professional directors and dramaturges on publicly attended productions throughout the year. Live Arts Bard, a residency and commissioning program, is a laboratory for professional artists in theater, dance, and performance to test ideas and develop new projects, many of which premiere at the Fisher Center. The Bard College Conservatory of Music and the Bard College Music Program stage regular orchestral and chamber concerts. 

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February 27, 2014


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This event was last updated on 05-05-2014