CBLDF Executive Director Charles Brownstein recently had the opportunity to tour the current exhibit Our Comics, Ourselves: Identity, Expression, and Representation in Comic Art at Brooklyn’s Interference Archive. Impressed by the visit, he wrote it up for The Beat.
Interference Archive is a volunteer-run, community-funded collection of “objects that are created as part of social movements by the participants themselves: posters, flyers, publications, photographs, books, T-shirts and buttons, moving images, audio recordings, and other materials.” Our Comics, Ourselves incorporates works from this collection, as well as a selection of comic artists’ favorite pieces on loan from their personal collection. The exhibit homepage describes the scope of the work on display:
Our Comics, Ourselves includes comic books, graphic novels, DIY comics, and various comics paraphernalia primarily from the United States, 1945 to present. The works range from autobiographical to sheer fantasy, and explore feminism, abortion, racism, cultural identity, social activism, labor unions, veterans of war, sexual abuse, student debt, immigration, public health, civil rights, gender and sexual identity, and a lot more.
In his review, Brownstein appreciates the exhibit design, which highlights the intersectionality between movements, from Women’s Rights to LGBTQ rights to Civil Rights to anti-war movements. Ultimately, he concluded, the show successfully showcased the democratizing nature of the comics medium:
What I liked best about this exhibit is that it emphasized the importance of what the comics had to say above all. Corporate work sat beside hand-made small run xerox comics. The ideal was comics as a medium for communicating ideas of social value to peer communities. It was very well done. It engaged the content and the creators with an eye to showcasing the work that is the change we want to see, rather than creating a parade of outrage or schadenfreude about the errors and omissions of large corporations. It was a street level exhibit that encouraged engagement with the content, and invited the viewer to seek out more, and to tell their own story.
Read Brownstein’s full review at The Beat, then check out the exhibit if you’re in the area! Our Comics, Ourselves is on display at Interference Archive (131 8th St. in Brooklyn) through April 17. Also listed at the bottom of the exhibit page are several associated special events including readings, creators presenting their work, a screening of the documentary Comic Book Confidential, and a Valentine’s Day comics lovefest.
Contributing Editor Maren Williams is a reference librarian who enjoys free speech and rescue dogs.