Viz art goes on show at Tate Britain gallery

ART lovers may be in for a shock as rude artwork by the founders of cheeky comic Viz goes on show at one of the United Kingdom’s leading galleries.

viz, Simon Thorp

ART lovers may be in for a shock as rude artwork by the founders of cheeky comic Viz goes on show at one of the United Kingdom’s leading galleries.

Visitors to Tate Britain’s next show may be surprised or, possibly, even offended by Rude Britannia.

Put together by some of the country’s best-known cartoonists and comedy writers, the exhibition explores British comic art from the 1600s to the present day.

Brothers Chris and Simon Donald first published Viz 31 years ago from their parents’ home in Jesmond, Newcastle, and it has amused and outraged readers ever since.

Now bosses of the comic will be adding their own work to the exhibition alongside Harry Hill’s Alice in Wonderland illustrations, Donald McGill’s smutty seaside postcards and Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell.

Simon Thorpe of Viz said: “What we did was make a big comic and blew it up very, very large. We thought they might think it was a little coarse as we are not particularly cultured people, so we drag everything down to our own level and make jokes about the lavatory. In the end, it was just our usual thing that we sent in and so far we haven’t had any complaints or requests to take bits out.

When it is art you can get away with being more rude.” Work from Viz, including Mucky postcards issued in 1996 and the Fat Slags, will be on show at the exhibition, which will run in the gallery on Millbank in Westminster from June 9 until September 5 Starting with the 17th century, the show overs the illustrations of Thomas Rowlandson, the art of Aubrey Beardsley and David Shrigley’s sculptures.

Simon added: “It’s an exhibition about British comic art through history. We are only a very small part of it.

“We’re supposed to be curating part of the exhibition which is divided into various sections.

“There’s the bawdy section and social satire – whatever that is – which is what we’re part of.

“The show is an exploration of humour, but of course not everybody will find everything funny.”

A spokesman for the gallery said: “Tate Britain will collaborate with a host of comic talent to present a ground-breaking exhibition on the role of humour in British visual culture.

“The exhibition will be presented and interpreted by some of the country’s best-known cartoonists and comedy writers.

“Their expertise and opinion will not only offer visitors a fresh take on comic traditions from the 1600s to the present day, but also encourage debate around the wider role of humour in British life.”

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