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

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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.

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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.

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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."

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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.

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Oakland Museum of California

1000 Oak, Oakland, CA

Category: General

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