I volunteered last Friday night at MoCCA (that's the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art) at the opening reception for a new exhibit focusing on legendary independent artist (and all around nice guy) Kim Deitch. MoCCA had recently renovated their museum space, and the studio looked incredible. Somehow, I was unable to snap a picture of the esteemed artist with my sad little cell phone camera [this photo of the artist was found via a google search] but I did capture some of the ambiance of the event when able as you'll see below.
Deitch was born into an animation family, the son of animator Gene Deitch. His early work in the underground comix movement of the 1960s solidified his place among the indy comics elite and he has worked non-stop ever since. The MoCCA exhibit, a Kim Deitch retrospective, features samples his art from over the years and it is an excellent collection of his work.
At first some friends, fans and other curious folk appeared and took in the original art, sketches and even a looping video of Deitch's work, enjoying their time wandering the floor. The below photo is my view from behind the counter as I greeted folks as they arrived. The museum also had a few of Deitch's books for sale, all proceeds going to the museum of course].
Above photo of the cover and pages of Deitch's Alias the Cat graphic novel from the good folks at Pantheon. I had carried along with me an early review copy I had rec'd as a book club editor in the hopes to get a signature. Alas, I didn't want to bother Mr Deitch as he generously signed copies of his books for sale for the museum beforehand, or as he videotaped an interview for a comics media organization which walked the viewer through his pieces in the collection as he explained the process.
[Editorial note: If anyone knows the link to the video, or what site posts it, please send it along to me, I'd love to see it - and I'll post link here of course, thanks!]
Update, 9.16.08: The people who were filming at the event were comicology.tv, and here is a link to their Sept. museum round-up piece: http://www.youtube.com/user/comicologytv
As the evening progressed, the opening reception continued to be a big hit, and I was on dual duty as greeter [with my trusty sidekick Will] as well as bartender, doing my best to keep the complimentary wine a-flowin'. As you can see from this shot, the rainy Friday evening couldn't stop cool kats from coming down to check out the exibit on it's opening night.
Sadly, Peter Parker I am not. I was unable to get a photo of Mr. Deitch before I had to run to another engagement. Nor was I able to snap shots of notable Deitch supporters who arrived like: comics legend Gary Panter (who was just the nicest guy when we chatted for a sec), the emminent comics blogger for Publishers Weekly, Heidi McDonald, the ever witty comics culture reporter, Laura Hudson, and of course, MoCCA volunteer coordinator, and Associate Editor at Tor, Liz Gorinsky. I know there are others I'm forgetting, chalk it off to actually volunteering without note-taking afterwards. Either way it was a really well-run event and everyone seemed to enjoy the evening.
Aparently all I can really handle is turning the camera around and taking awkward self-photos like this one in front of some of Deitch's masterful work.
The retrospective exhibit runs through Dec. 5th and is a real treat for any fan of comics art, NY culture or simply art in general. And the museum is neatly located on Broadway just below Houston street. Good times.