The Arab of The Future: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978-1984 by Riad Sattouf

Riad Sattouf’s The Arab of the Future: A Childhood in the Middle East, 1978-1984: A Graphic Memoir is the first of a two-part graphic memoir series.   This first book chronicles the author’s transient childhood in France, Libya and Syria from the ages of six to twelve.  In an intelligent, witty, and often dark manner, Sattouf tells the tale of a young boy’s journey through adolescence while following his zealous father through lands of extreme political unrest.  Although the novel paints a terrifying portrait of these countries, there are flashes of beauty that come with this coming of age story.  Sattouf’s fluid writing makes it a completely engrossing read.

Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia by Andrew Blauvelt

Pop, Conceptualism, Land Art, Body Art, and Minimalism are typically movements that come to mind when one thinks about art of the 1960s.  In the catalogue, Hippie Modernism: The Struggle for Utopia, author Andrew Blauvelt delves into the more esoteric artistic exercises that echoed the political landscape of this era.  

Artists and activists of the “counterculture” employed performance art, fashion, product and graphic design, architecture, and video to challenge the influence of the government and large corporations on mainstream society.  These efforts also promoted the fusion of art and life with inventions such as the Info-gonks (a predecessor to computer wearables like Google Glass), The Inflatobook (a DIY book for inflatable rooms and furniture), and The Witkar (one of the first technology-based carsharing projects).  

By using art as the medium to communicate their message instead of violence or wealth, the artists and movements profiled in this catalogue worked to put forth alternatives to society’s way of life, not to destroy it.

Catalogue of the 2016 show from the Walker Art Center.