A Conversation with Peter Bagge

04/26/2017, 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM

$9/$5 members and students with valid ID. map


Join alternative writer, artist and creator Peter Bagge, best known for the 1990s comic series Hate, featuring the semi-autobiographical anti-hero Buddy Bradley and published by Fantagraphics, in conversation in the Brooks’ Dorothy K. Hohenberg Auditorium.

Bagge’s Neat Stuff, a one-man humor anthology that ran from 1985 to 1989, serves as a comedic, serialized addendum to the concept of American still life. Like his fine art counterparts, Bagge provides commentary on the economic times and on the objects that are dear to society—yet in his case, the focus is on the pre-grunge era slackerdom that defined late-2oth century Seattle. Instead of the fruit and flowers depicted in works such as Raphaelle Peale’s Orange and Book or John La Farge’s Hollyhocks, Bagge renders slices of greasy pizza or stacks of vinyl records in thick black lines. In William Merritt Chase’s The Japanese Book, the subject wears a kimono and holds a folio loosely in one hand. Alternatively, Bagge’s semi-autobiographical character Buddy Bradley sports flannel and clutches a rare Harvey Kurtzman comic. Bagge’s fondness for the detritus of life is also comparable to that of Wayne Thiebaud’s affection for objects of mass consumption. The bird’s eye view of messy consumerism makes each scene real.

Throughout his vast career, Bagge has created illustrations for alt-press publications such as Punk Magazine, Weirdo, Reason and Screw; authored several graphic novels, including Apocalypse Nerd, Other Lives, and Reset; designed a series of Japanese toys sold by Kidrobot; and illustrated a swath of grunge and garage rock album covers for bands including the Action Suits, Flat Duo Jets, Girl Trouble and Tad. Most recently, Bagge has written and drawn two full-length biographical comics, Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story and Fire!!: The Zora Neale Hurston Story, both published by Drawn and Quarterly. Bagge is the 2014 USA Rockefeller Fellow in Literature, a Harvey Award winner, and graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

Fire!!, released in March 2017, is a bold and dazzling graphic novel that follows the success of his New York Times bestselling biography of Margaret Sanger. It chronicles the life of Hurston as she challenged the norms of what was expected of an African American woman in early 20th century society. Hurston’s writing prowess blossomed at Howard University and then at Barnard College, where she was the sole black student. She went on to become a noted folklorist and critically acclaimed novelist, publishing dozens of works including the provocative Their Eyes Were Watching God. Despite these landmark achievements, personal tragedy and shifting political winds rendered her almost forgotten by the end of her life. With admiration and respect, Bagge reconstructs her vivid life in resounding full-color.

After the conversation, Bagge will be signing copies of Fire!! and other works in the museum rotunda.

A Conversation with Peter Bagge is presented in conjunction with A Feast for the Eyes: 200 Years of American Still-Life Painting from the Hevrdjs Collection, featuring rarely seen works by major American artists including James Peale, John F. Peto, Thomas Hart Benton, Georgia O’Keeffe and Andrew Wyeth, which is on view April 21 through July 30.

$9/$5 members and students with valid ID.