‘We are on the brink of fascism’

In Robert Coover’s Novel Street police, published in June of this year, the American writer describes a messy, wacky, quirky but not entirely alien world in which “everything is a projection and an illusion”: a place where killers are caught by robots, unreliable clocks, self-driving police cars, a pet shop of the living dead, and a rather mutated urban landscape in its own right. black, where the streets are paved with recyclable thermoplastics and the adjacent areas are intersections.

The character in the title, when first met, is not a law enforcement officer but “a real nuisance, derelict” who is being chased by the police. Deciding to fail to turn himself in to the police station, he instead showed up with a street police gig the sergeant assumed he was applying for (the interview included being asked to describes the first time he was fired). He “steps out in uniform, joining hunters chasing a ghost.”

Street police Published by independent outfit isolation. Their subscription-based ultraportable – iPhone-sized model is nimble; Their editorial theme is very engaging (their latest title is correspondence between Édouard Glissant and Hans Ulrich Obrist.) The duo behind isolation approached conductor cartoonist Art Spiegelman for a visual pairing with Coover’s postmodernist novel.

Spiegelman read the story and was drawn to Coover’s work across genres: crime, westerns, sci-fi, gothic, monster, romance. He has anything to do with anything: “If you don’t like the story, draw whatever you want,” he was instructed—anything is allowed. For there was no connection on the subject with rats or with the Jews – which he felt bound after his epic and Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel Maus– it’s the game.

In recent years, Spiegelman has dominated himself by writing essays and illustrating erotic poems. So the effort is “learning how to redraw…trying to keep my hands from going numb”, as he described it in a talk at Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judasme in Paris, during which time he switched between his native English, accented French, and puffing on an electric cigarette. At the time she reached out — “during COVID’s “holiday” — he was living “in a bunker in the woods” in Connecticut on a retreat from the pandemic, nesting with his wife, Francoise Mouly, and their eldest daughter. .

Drawing brought him back to the comics of the early 20th century: using the form economy to speak volumes. “I don’t want to illustrate, I want to live,” he said. Going back to the cartoonist vibe of his youth feels “revived.” From 1993-2003, he was consists of New Yorkers, but “that’s not my duty,” he said. His interest in having to comment on current affairs has dwindled, even though “I see New Yorkers over the shoulder of Francoise,” he said fondly of his wife, the longtime art editor of that prestigious publication.

Spiegelman initially reviewed his preliminary sketches for Street police “Stupid, useless, brutal” —but when based in Paris Galerie Martel, specializing in illustration and comic art, asked to display them, he agreed. Spiegelman admits to having “changed my brain” to think of them as drawings instead of “notes”. (The other people’s brains demand absolutely no change: There’s a line of over 25 people arriving at Martel Street at 3 p.m. on a quick Monday afternoon in November, anxious to see the exhibit as soon as it arrives.) open doors and receive books, like the French version just released by Flammarion.) Spiegelman’s studies of the book’s images, on display in the gallery until December 4, are an exciting, frenetic, spirited array of dynamics — images in stages. Various of colorful doodles, messy, tangled. There are also some small unpublished selections New Yorkers cover.

The cartoonists have disappeared. Humor is becoming more and more dangerous… The image is very dangerous.

– Art Spiegelman

“Comics are an art of communication, as opposed to a so-called ‘high art’,” says Spiegelman. In the past, “communication is too easily seen as commercial,” he notes, but simply counters: “I think art is anything that gives shape to a thought or emotion. your.” He denied the reverence for ignorant artists, claiming that they “masturbate”. Anyway, this is the kind of art that he feels is appreciated today.

“The cartoonists are gone,” says Spiegelman. “The humor is becoming more and more dangerous… The image is very dangerous.” Editors fear “different interpretations,” he lamented: “The newspapers want to keep every reader they have – so it’s better to talk to stupid people.” He concluded: “Every time someone says something sarcastic, they get rescinded.”

“How do you tell a violent story without continuing or participating in that violence?” a member of the audience asked him. Spiegelman explains that his own relationship with violence is very confusing. His father wanted him to become a doctor, but Spiegelman majored in philosophy before he was expelled from school. Since he was afraid of blood, his father suggested dentistry as an alternative. (“I have a much better relationship with my father now that he is dead,” he joked.)

“My approach to violence is to show as little as possible,” explains Spiegelman. He distanced himself from the “Grand Guignol” aspect of its spectacle. Even in Maus, as his father recounted hearing of Jewish children being grabbed by their feet and banging their heads against the wall, Spiegelman found a subtle way to accompany this horrifying recollection. He used comic bubbles as camouflage, turning the anecdote into an abstraction — emphasizing, moreover, that it was something his father had heard about, but not witnessed.

If the Trump party wins, you’ll find me in France more than you’d like.

– Art Spiegelman

New types of violence are pervasive in today’s world, caused by a different cultural tone – especially in the United States. He admits he was stuck on how to paint a scene from Coover’s book with a sly, menacing modular government building – until the uprising at the Capitol on April 1, 2016. January 6 produced an “Aha” moment on that front. “I have to thank Trump for that — and nothing else,” he said dryly. “In North America, we are on the brink of fascism — if the Trump party wins, you will find me more in France than you would like.”

There is a strange, chilling bridge between Coover’s fictional vision and the dire sociopolitical reality of America today. “The future has melted into the present, because it feels like science fiction,” says Spiegelman. “We are living in dangerous times.”

https://www.thedailybeast.com/maus-author-art-spiegelman-we-are-on-the-brink-of-fascism?source=articles&via=rss ‘We are on the brink of fascism’


ClareFora is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. ClareFora joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: clarefora@interreviewed.com.

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