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After years of sporadic work on other books and projects and following the almost complete loss of his virility, it's here: a new graphic novel by Chris Ware.
Building Stories imagines the inhabitants of a three-story Chicago apartment building: a 30-something woman who has yet to find someone with whom to spend the rest of her life; a couple, possibly married, who wonder if they can bear each other's company another minute; and the building's landlady, an elderly woman who has lived alone for decades. Taking advantage of the absolute latest advances in wood pulp technology, Building Stories is a book with no deliberate beginning nor end, the scope, ambition, artistry and emotional prevarication beyond anything yet seen from this artist or in this medium, probably for good reason.
Chris Ware was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1967. While attending the University of Texas at Austin, he published a regular comic strip in the student newspaper, which Art Spiegelman happened upon and then subsequently gave the unknown cartoonist four pages in RAW magazine. Ware moved to Chicago in the early 90s and began publishing in the pages of the Chicago alternative weekly New City and then until 2006, The Chicago Reader, which has formed the bulk of material that he's been collecting in his regular periodical, The ACME Novelty Library, since 1994. Offering both serialized stories and short experiments in comics form, a confusing collection of the same name was issued in a large-format hardcover by Pantheon Books in 2005. From both this strip and periodical emerged the graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan — the Smartest Kid on Earth (Pantheon, 2000) which received an American Book Award in 2000, the Guardian First Book Award in 2001, and the obscure French comics award "L'Alph Art" in 2003. In 2009 Jimmy Corrigan was named as one of the “100 Best Books of the Decade” by The Times (London). Ware is also the author of The Acme Novelty Datebook Volumes 1 and 2 (Drawn & Quarterly, 2003, 2007), Quimby the Mouse (Fantagraphics, 2003), was the editor of the 13th issue of McSweeney’s (2005), and was the guest editor of Houghton-Mifflin's Best American Comics 2007. He is a contributor to The New Yorker, and was the cartoonist chosen to inaugurate the New York Times Magazine’s “Funny Pages” section in late 2005.
Chris Ware's work has appeared in many national and international art exhibits, including, inexplicably, the Whitney Biennial exhibit in 2002. He continues to publish his strips as he finishes them in the pages of the Virginia Quarterly Review. His ongoing Acme Novelty Library series reached its 20th issue in 2010. He was recently awarded the Hoi Fellowship by the newly formed United States Artists, a non-profit organization that makes direct grants to working artists. Ware lives in Oak Park, Illinois with his wife, Marnie, a high school science teacher, and their daughter, Clara.
The moderator for the evening will be Hillary Chute. Professor Chute is the author of Graphic Women: Life Narrative and Contemporary Comics (Columbia UP, 2010) and Associate Editor of Art Spiegelman’s MetaMaus (Pantheon, 2011). Her essays have appeared in American Periodicals, Mfs: Modern Fiction Studies,PMLA, Twentieth-Century Literature, and WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly, among others. In 2006 she co-edited the Mfs: Modern Fiction Studies special issue on Graphic Narrative. Her current book project is titled “Disaster is My Muse”: Visual Witnessing, Comics, and Documentary Form. She is Neubauer Family Assistant Professor in English at the University of Chicago and will be a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences for 2012-2013. In spring 2012, Chute and the cartoonist Alison Bechdel received a collaborative Mellon Foundation Arts and Practices grant to co-teach the course “Lines of Transmission: Comics and Autobiography” at the University of Chicago. .
Your ticket may be redeemed for $10 off the cover price of Building Stories at the event.
10% of all book sales at this event will be donated to the Unity Temple Restoration Foundation.