Drawings by Chris Ware. Text by Klaus
Published by Pantheon in 2012 after a decade in the making, Building Stories is a technical tour de force both in terms of narrative and in the use of format where Ware (unintended cacophony) challenges the reader with a non-linear, multi-faceted narrative, told from multiple points of view via a variety of different vehicles. The final object, which includes parts previously published in Acme Novelty Library #18 (2007), The New Yorker, Nest magazine, Kramers Ergot, The Chicago Reader, Hangar 21 Magazine, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, McSweeney’s iPad app and The New York Times Magazine, comes in the form of a box (itself a readable surface) containing fourteen other pieces. Among them, the reader/bricoleur can find cloth-bound books, newspapers, broadsheets and flipbooks (in all, four broadsheets, three magazines, two strips, two pamphlets, a four-panel storyboard, a hardcover book, and a book mimicking a Little Golden Book), which he is challenged to piece together with the disputable help of the diagrams printed in the inside of the box. Building Stories has been named one of the best books of the year by New York Times Book Review, Time Magazine, Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Washington Post, and Entertainment Weekly, a deserved recognition that is also somewhat of a misfire, for a piece that is less of a book than a work located in a vague terrain somewhere between the experiments of OuBaPo, Joseph Cornell’s boxes and Marcel Duchamp’s Box in a Valise.
Chris Ware is a comic book artist and cartoonist best-known as the creator of the Acme Novelty Library, publications in various formats that feature the adventures of such characters as Quimby the Mouse and Jimmy Corrigan. Not quite comic books, not quite graphic novels, Ware’s work mines art history, popular culture, and personal experience, capturing a queasy sense of reality of modern life in a “retro” style distinctly his own. His latest book is Building Stories (Pantheon, 2012).
Klaus is a frustrated cartoonist who lives in an old castle in Europe, intermittently uploading his cartoons in Klaustoon’s Blog since 2009. Much to his surprise, his work is often published in architectural publications, such as The New City Reader, Aequus, eVolo, (In)forma, Clog, (Dis)Courses, Harvard Design Magazine, The Harvard Satyrical Press, MAS Context, Conditions, Studio, Project International, or Volume. Also, it has been exhibited in places such as Barcelona, Cambridge, Chicago, London, Naples, New York, Portimao, or, most importantly, OMA’s canteen. Currently, he publishes a monthly cartoon in the “Klaus’s Cube” section of uncube magazine and still owes Sanford Kwinter a cartoon. He is not Rem Koolhaas.
klaustoon.wordpress.com | @klaustoon