Viz Creator Kicks Off Against Tate Britain Exhibition

Viz Creator Kicks Off Against Tate Britain Exhibition

Posted by November 15, 2009 Comment

VIZ_190Chris Donald, co-founder of Viz Comic, now celebrating its thirtieth anniversary is a little annoyed.

He retired from Viz Comic ten years ago on the back of his fortune made. But he’s not too please with the currrent management and creative team for agreeing to a Viz exhibition at the Tate Britain gallery in London.

The diaplay next June, as part of a British Comic Art exhibition, includes work from William Hogarth, Steve Bell, Gerald Scarfe and Donald McGill.

The Sunday Sun quotes Donald as saying;

I wouldn’t say it was an honour. Viz isn’t ‘art’ in the modern, public-funded, pretentious sense of the word. Frankly I don’t know what they – the Tate or Viz – are playing at.

Viz tried to avoid being part of the Establishment in my day. Maybe now they’re trying to infiltrate the Establishment in order to subvert it. But I think it’s more likely some haughty toff offered them a few quid to lend them some dirty pictures, and they thought ‘What the heck’.

Since quitting Viz in 1999 I’ve been out of the loop. I was consulted about the Viz 30th anniversary exhibition of cartoon artwork that’s on in London at the moment, but only cos they wanted to borrow some cartoons off me.

Since then I’ve only heard about the Tate exhibition through the grapevine. I have no idea what it will consist of. I won’t be going anyway.

I met Chris Donald a few times when I was a student at Newcastle University and consider Viz to not only be a fine ongoing comic, but also an integral part of modern British culture. So I’m glad no one told Donald about the Harrods British Comics Exhibition I curated last year, which featured Viz work in the bowels of the mighty department store…

The Sunday Sun also quotes early Viz creator Simon Thorpe, still at Viz, saying

That sounds like Chris. He can be a bit gloomy and perhaps you caught him on a bad day. He does have problems with his bowels.

It’s an exhibition about British comic art through history. We’re a very small part of it. We’re supposed to be curating part of the exhibition which is divided into various sections. There’s the bawdy section and social satire – whatever that is – which is what we’re part of.

We’re not attempting to ingratiate ourselves with the Establishment. We’re all over 40. You can’t go round defacing bus shelters all your life.

I look forward to covering British Comic Art at Tate Britain closer to the date. I bet Paul Gravett is involved in some way…

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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(Last Updated November 15, 2009 6:59 am )

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