In January 2012 the celebrated cartoonist, artist, and Pulitzer Prize winner Art Spiegelman received a prestigious award for his life’s work: the Grand Prix of the city of Angoulême, France—famed as the “city of comics” on account of its Festival international de la bande dessinée. To mark this award for Spiegleman’s life work, the first major retrospective to encompass his entire oeuvre has been organized in Europe.
Taking center stage will be of course Maus, the now legendary comic-strip novel recounting how Spiegelman’s Polish Jewish parents survived the Auschwitz and Dachau concentration camps under dramatic circumstances. In Maus Spiegelman acquainted young people with the mass-murder of the Jews by addressing his audience in the medium that had taught him so much in his own youth—the comic strip. The book achieved success worldwide and now ranks as a modern classic. Spiegelman was later acclaimed for his graphic novel In the Shadow of No Towers (2002), first published in Germany, which tells of his experiences during and after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Along with the complete Maus, the exhibition features Spiegelman’s initial works for the bubble-gum industry, sketches and finished spreads, and illustrations and cover drawings for The New Yorker with over 300 works. The exhibition will also show the film portrait Art Spiegelman. Traits de Mémoire by Clara Kuperberg und Joëlle Oosterlinck (ARTE France/Wichita Films 2009). In Germany the exhibition will be shown solely at the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, with over 300 works, after first being hosted in Angoulême and at the Centre Pompidou, Paris.
In June 2012 Spiegelman became the recipient of the distinguished Siegfried Unseld Prize, which has been awarded to writers and scholars biennially since 2004 by the Siegfried Unseld Foundation. The Exhibition will be accompanied by Metamaus, an extensive volume of interviews and additional material tracing the genesis of the modern classic Maus (published in German by S. Fischer Verlag) as well as by the catalogue CO-MIX (published in English and French by Flammarion). Concurrently, the Stadtmuseum, Cologne, will present the exhibition Elftausend Jungfrauen. Ralf König: Das Ursula-Projekt. (October 13, 2012–February 9, 2013).
Exhibition Curator: Bodo von Dewitz