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Friday, April 13, 2012

Head to Oakland -- Cartoonist Daniel Clowes Launches His First Museum Exhibition

Posted By on Fri, Apr 13, 2012 at 10:30 AM

click to enlarge Daniel Clowes - TERRY LORANT
  • Terry Lorant
  • Daniel Clowes

"Up until four or five years ago, I still thought of myself as a Midwesterner," says Daniel Clowes, who has called Oakland home for two decades. "I'd close my eyes and see water towers and Chicago at night. And then one day I was closing my eyes and seeing palm trees and the Paramount Theater."

With deadpan delivery he continues, "I'm a regional artist now. That's my goal, is in my obituary it'll say, 'Noted regionalist.'"

Noted regionalist Clowes is making a lot of noise for "The Town" in the way that only a quiet but incredible illustrator can. He is currently developing a feature film adaptation of his most recent graphic novel Wilson, which is set in Oakland. Fox Searchlight plans to shoot the movie there.

click to enlarge Clowes previews "Modern Cartoonist" at the Oakland Museum of California. - TAMARA PALMER
  • Tamara Palmer
  • Clowes previews "Modern Cartoonist" at the Oakland Museum of California.

Clowes also now has his first-ever exhibition in any part of the country: "Modern Cartoonist: The Art of Daniel Clowes," on view starting Saturday (April 14) at the Oakland Museum of California.

His full body of work is on display, including his best-known comic series Eightball and the graphic novel Ghost World, the film adaptation of which launched the film career of Scarlett Johansson. Clowes calls himself a "hoarder" because he has kept his original drawings; he sure never envisioned they'd go up on the walls of a museum one day.

click to enlarge Self-portrait - DANIEL CLOWES
  • Daniel Clowes
  • Self-portrait

"This is a bit surreal," he admits. "I'm a guy who draws in his pajamas at 4 in the afternoon who is read by other guys in their pajamas at 4 in the afternoon."

click to enlarge TERRY LORANT
  • Terry Lorant

After the show ends in the East Bay, it'll continue to other museums around the United States. First stop: Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art, which will give the Midwest a chance to reclaim Clowes as a beloved regional artist.

"Modern Cartoonist: The Art of Daniel Clowes" continues through Aug. 12 at the Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak (at 10th St.), Oakland. Admission is $6-$12.

Follow us on Twitter @ExhibitionistSF, follow Tamara Palmer @teemoney415, and like us on Facebook.

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Tamara Palmer

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