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Art Break: Comic Book Art at Society of Illustrators; a Prized Private Collection at Hauser & Wirth; and Chinese Folktales at James Cohan Gallery

By A. E. Colas, Contributing Writer, April 23, 2018

This week Art Break is all about storytelling — but with images, not words. What do we mean? For instance, you can write an exciting story about a thief with a genius for planning and plotting but to make the narrative come alive, there should be some pictures.

That’s where illustration comes in and the new exhibit at The Society of Illustrators shows you how it’s done. Shawn Martinbrough (April 24 – June 30) is a successful comic book artist and commercial illustrator who has gained critical acclaim for his stellar work on the Thief of Thieves series by Robert Kirkman as well as Marvel Comics characters Luke Cage Noir, Black Panther, and Captain America. His style is instantly recognizable, using the technique of high contrast to make images stand out on the page. And after all, why wouldn’t you like an artist who places a Lucian Freud painting in the background of the hero’s apartment?

Shawn Martinbrough: image from ‘Black Panther’ publication; courtesy of the Society for Illustrators.

The Society of Illustrators
128 East 63rd Street
Hours: Tues and Thurs: 10-8, Wed and Fri: 10-5, and Sat: 11-5
Admission: Adults: $15, Seniors: $10, Students with current id: $10, Children under 10 years of age, accompanied by an adult: Free (Tuesdays between 5-8pm, admission is free)


Vanessa Beecroft (b. 1969) Untitled (Performance, Detail, Solomon R. Gugghenheim Museum, New York, NY) 1998 Digital C-print 127 x 159.7 cm / 50 x 62 7/8 inches; courtesy of Hauser & Wirth.

At Hauser & Wirth there is A Luta Continua: The Sylvio Perlstein Collection (April 26 – July 27), a completely gorgeous one of a kind show: 3 floors of outstanding 20th century art, the kind of collection you’ve dreamed of having yourself. Go, look, learn – you’ll leave with a new appreciation of what a single collector can achieve with education, imagination, and money.

Keith Haring, Untitled (1981) oil on canvas 127 x 127 cm / 50 x 50 in.; courtesy of Hauser & Wirth.

Hauser & Wirth
548 West 22nd Street
Hours: Tu – Sat: 10-6
Admission: Free


Yun Fei Ji, Eight Neighbors (2017); ink on Xuan paper (detail); courtesy of James Cohan Gallery.

James Cohan presents Yun-Fei Ji: Rumors, Ridicules, and Retributions (April 28 – June 17). This artist explores the links between folktales of the supernatural with the current stresses and conditions that China’s rural communities face. You’ll empathize with the people who describe their challenging situations through the templates of storytelling and culture.

James Cohan Gallery
291 Grand Street
Hours: Wed – Sat: 10-6, Sun: 12-6
Admission: Free


Cover: Robert Doisneau (1912–1994), ‘Untitled’ (composition with objects) (1964); silver  print, 26.5 x 22.5 cm / 10 3/8 x 8 7/8 in.; courtesy of Hauser & Wirth.


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