Fiske * Grosz
George Grosz (1893–1959) was a German fine artist, cartoonist, and teacher who drew from pop culture, was active in the Dada and New Objectivist movements, and was an influence for artists like Ben Shahn. (His antiwar painting, Eclipse from the Sun, would inspire Vietnam protesters.) In this graphic biography, written and drawn by Fiske, angular art lays Kandinsky-like lines over scenes set in anything-goes, post–World War I Berlin: connecting, emphasizing, tracing movement. Curves evoke the fleshy sex of Grosz’s work. (Fiske channels the exuberance and fascination with line that typified Grosz’s work, and more generally early to mid-century art movements.) Symbolically, Fiske uses two colors—red for Berlin, a slash of Grosz’s lipstick, a flash of tie—and green for the jazz and trains of New York, where Grosz would flee from Nazi Germany. Fiske’s thoughtful Grosz is a far cry from the plodding pedantry of the graphic hagiographies that earnestly clutter library shelves; it’s a work of art in its own right.
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