Downtown gallery spotlights reclusive comic artist Mark Beyer
Local art collector Tom Wagner was smitten the first time he entered Mark Beyer’s surreal comic world in a late ’80s issue of NME. “I photocopied all of his strips from the magazine and saved them,” recalls Wagner, who has since stockpiled one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of the artist’s work.
More than 70 of the pieces he owns will take over the OSU Urban Arts Space from Jan. 8 to Feb. 23 during retrospective exhibit “Mark Beyer: With/Without Text.” While the notoriously reclusive Beyer hasn’t achieved the fame of bizarro brethren Art Spiegelman, R. Crumb or Harvey Pekar, his work has colored MTV’s “Liquid Television,” beloved alt-comic mag Raw and even noise-rock album covers. Wagner wants to bring Beyer’s work—which often uses primitive line drawings and bright colors to convey bleak social critiques—to a wider audience than comic fiends.
“Some people don’t think of comics as really art,” Wagner says, “but these should be known as fine art.”