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   from the issue of February 8, 2007

'Chris Ware' exhibition focused on Omaha-based graphic novel


An exhibition of drawings and materials related to artist Chris Ware's upcoming graphic novel , "Rusty Brown," based in Omaha opens Feb. 16 at the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery.

"Rusty Brown's Lunchbox" by Chris Ware.

"Chris Ware" opens with a reception and public conversation between Ware and Daniel Siedell, Sheldon curator, from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 16. The conversation, which begins at 5:30 p.m., is available live via Web cast at

"'Rusty Brown' is a graphic novel I began many years ago and am serializing chapter by chapter in my regular comic book, 'The ACME Novelty Library,'" Ware said. " It concerns the doings of a group of seven people all either employed by or attending a private high school in Omaha, which bears a striking, affectionate and hopefully non-litigious resemblance to the 1970s version of my own high school, Brownell-Talbot, though all of the main characters and situations are completely invented."

The exhibition will include 18 pages of visual highlights (in original manuscript form) from the story, a Rusty Brown lunch-box, drawings and a doll of Quimby the Mouse, a character which Ware describes as "a stand-in for myself and a changeable cipher," and drawing and a doll of The Hurricane, who the artist says is a "third-rate superhero" who has emerged several times in his life.

Coinciding with this show is the exhibition, "Comic Art," which explores the place that comic art occupies in American culture and in the high art world today. "Comic Art," on view from Feb. 6 through April 29, includes works from Enrique Chagoya, Jon E. Gierlich and S. Clay Wilson, Howard Finster, Red Grooms, Philip Guston, George Herriman, Roger Shimomura, Saul Steinberg, Art Spiegelman and Walt Kelly, among many others.

"Chris Ware" continues at the Sheldon through April 29.

Public events and programs related to "Chris Ware" and "Comic Art" are:

• Artist Conversation, beginning 5:30 p.m., Feb. 16. Siedell and Ware discuss comic art in Sheldon's Ethel S. Abbott Auditorium. A reception will follow their dialogue.

• "Comic Art" panel, 5-7 p.m. Feb. 20, moderated by Patrick Jones, a UNL history professor. The panel, including Richard Graham, a UNL librarian; Timothy Schaffert, an Omaha author; and Siedell, will discuss the significance of comics. This event is sponsored by the Nebraska Humanities Council.

• Second Sunday gallery walk, 2 p.m. March 11. Comic artists Paul Fell and Bob Hall discuss "Comic Art."

• Comic Art Workshops for Sixth Graders, 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., March 10 and 24. The workshops, which have a cost of $20 per student, are available to the first 50 students with paid registrations. For more information, call 472-1170. The workshops are sponsored by Security Federal.

With the exception of the workshops, all events are free and open to the public, as is admission to the exhibitions.

For more information, go online to or call 472-2461.



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